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How to save money on your next Center Parcs getaway

Center Parcs, yay or nay, pirates? Whoever we talk to, we either find massive fans or critics who question the value-for-money experience.

We've looked closer at how you can make it an affordable getaway, especially if you're planning a trip during the school holidays (that's usually when you pay big bucks as prices double or triple compared to non-peak travel dates).

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Where are the Center Parcs in the UK?

First of all, for those who've not been yet, where are the Center Parcs locations in the UK? There aren't any in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, these are the ones in England:

  • Sherwood Forest: Nottinghamshire

  • Elveden Forest: Suffolk

  • Longleat Forest: Wiltshire

  • Whinfell Forest: Cumbria

  • Woburn Forest: Bedfordshire

There is one in Ireland:

  • Longford Forest, Longford County

How can you save when planning a Center Parcs holiday?

1. Off-peak booking:

While not always possible, especially when you have kids at school age, you’ll be able to save money by not going during peak or highly sought-after times, such as bank holidays or school holidays.

2. Look for discounts:

Keep an eye on Center Parcs' official website for special offers, discounts, and package deals. Subscribe to their newsletter. Or, just follow us, their discounts are so rare, we’ll definitely tell you about it. Like we did here.

3. Bring your own groceries & essentials:

The Center Parcs shops are usually more expensive than regular supermarket prices outside the parks. So, planning meals and bringing it all with you is a smart move to save money. Also, dining out is more expensive when you're there. You’ve got the kitchen, make use of it when you can.

4. Use facilities wisely:

There are often plenty of recreational options that don't require additional spending. You can use the swimming pool free of charge, there are beautiful woods around, go for walks. There are cycle paths, bring your bikes instead of renting them. The adventure playgrounds are free and the lake usually has a little beach you can hang out on.

5. Compare prices:

The Center Parcs website here in the UK will let you choose only 2 parks to look at pricing at one time, so you’ll have to do some research before you know where you want to go. If you don’t mind a little drive, make sure to check all parks, as there can be a big price difference, depending on what kind of accommodation is available, at each of the parks.

This brings us to our research!

Research & findings

If you're not bound to school holidays, you can currently find prices as low as £399 for a 4-night trip to Center Parcs as they have a January promotion on, which we found via their website and the newsletter. Keep checking throughout the year, they'll alert you if there's a sale on.

For those who are bound to go in the school holidays, it's worth doing some research to find the cheapest option for you!

We've started looking at a Center Parcs trip in the UK roughly a monthy before February half term and were surprised to find last-minute accommodation at relatively low prices, compared to similar shoulder-season holidays (October half term), which if booked now, are mostly more expensive or the same price as the last-minute February getaways.

You could argue, that in October you might be able to have better weather, true, but it's worth checking last-minute pricing if you have the time off and nothing booked as they might be giving away accommodation that might otherwise be empty.

It's quite obvious when pulling out the numbers that you CAN save on a Center Parcs break at home or abroad. Just by checking all parks against each other, you can end up with a £50-£100 saving by choosing the cheapest one at home.

If you consider to go abroad the saving can be much bigger. We've gone with a 4-night break for a family of four for our example and for October half term you could spend up to £1,449 as opposed to paying as little as 789 EUR (approx. £665) in the Netherlands.

There's a few things to check before you book your Center Parcs trip abroad, though. First, is how much you'd pay for LeShuttle or the ferry, depending on your preferences. In our example, it's a £700 saving vs. around £200-£300 costs for the crossing. So, still quite a nice chunk of money you'd have left to spend on fuel, food and activity costs abroad.

IF you are considering booking in France, Belgium or the Netherlands, check the local Center Parcs websites as opposed to They're mostly cheaper, if you're struggling with the language, use your browsers translation tool to get all information in English.

Another thing to think about is reviews! All Center Parcs in the UK hit a 4 out of 5 rating on Tripadvisor (or they score even higher). That's not the same abroad. Definitely check if you're happy with the reviews before you book.

Also, we've only pulled out the Center Parcs with short drives from the border. If you're prepared to drive a bit longer, check all parks to find the ones with top reviews.

And last, but not least, compare the pricing for different length of time (depending on how much time you have available). We've seen week-long breaks abroad at lower cost compared to a 4-night getaway at home.

Alternatives to Center Parcs:

If you're looking for experiences similar to Center Parcs in the UK offering a combination of accommodation, outdoor activities, and leisure facilities - here are some alternatives:

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