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There are currently five Center Parcs locations in the UK to choose from. When we first started visiting Center Parcs we focused on visiting the resort closest to us. However, over time we’ve started to look at other Center Parcs resorts to see how they compare.
While the principles of each of the Center Parcs remain the same, there are some differences that make some resorts better than others – Especially if you’re looking for a specific experience or adventure during your visit.
Whinfell and Sherwood are joint winners of the best Center Parcs in the UK. Both locations offer a wide range of accommodation options to suit all budgets and have the largest number of activities available.
They offer better value for money being situated in the north of England compared to the south without compromising on the facilities and services that you come to expect from a Center Parcs resort.
Best Center Parcs For Entertainment & Activities
There is an incredible number of activities to participate in when visiting Center Parcs. All of the Center Parcs locations have been chosen specifically so that they can offer these activities.
However, there are a couple of slight differences that make some resorts better than others when it comes to activities and entertainment.
Woburn Forest is the most recently updated Center Parcs resort and therefore has the newest and most modern facilities.
While some Center Parcs resorts have an on-site clothing store (i.e. Joules at Woburn) we’d still recommend packing thoroughly to avoid having to spend money on clothing and accessories (i.e. bike stabilisers or towels)
Whinfell Forest is one of the oldest Center Parcs resorts and hasn’t been fully updated in over a decade. However, the staff at this resort are incredible. Many of them have worked here since it opened and have a real passion for what they do.
This really comes across when you need their help as a customer and goes some way to balance out the negatives of the slightly older facilities.
The variety of activities does vary between the different Center Parcs resorts too. For example;
The Mini Captains Adventure is only available at Sherwood Forest, Elveden Forest and Longford Forest which make these the best Center Parcs resort if you have little wanna-be captains.
Escape Room activities are perfect for rainy days and/or if you’re visiting Center Parcs with a number of adult friends. However, these are only available at the Longleat Forest resort.
Best Center Parcs Swimming Pool
One of our favourite things to do when visiting Center Parcs is to go swimming at the Subtropical Swimming Paradise. This is one of the only activities that is completely free as it’s included in the cost of your stay.
All of the Center Parcs resorts have a Subtropical Swimming Paradise which includes;
- Wave Pools
In fact, one of the only differences we noticed between the Subtropical Swimming Paradise at different resorts was the layout. Everything else was pretty much the same.
Best Spa At Center Parcs
Each of the Center Parcs resorts features the award-winning Aqua Sana Spa. Here expert therapists offer a range of treatments suitable for both men and women.
When looking for the location with the best spa I would say it is a tie, between Woburn Forest which is the newest and biggest with better facilities and Sherwood Forest which is friendly and has a treetop sauna.
Afternoons tend to be quieter and if you really want to make the trip special you can have evening spa treatments to make you fully relaxed before heading back to your lodge to sleep. You can even shop in the store at Aqua Sana Spa to take some of the products and ranges home with you.
Best Center Parcs For Dining Out
Though pretty much each Center Parcs village and dining out options are the same there are a couple of differences. You can also book a welcome pack to be waiting for you at your lodge on arrival.
One of the biggest charms of Center Parcs is having the feeling that you are at home. Having the options available to cook in your lodge, get a takeaway or even go out for a meal.
While many of the locations have the Pancake House, Bella Italia, Huck’s American Bar and Grill and Rajinda Pradesh. There are a couple of locations that have a little more to offer such as The Lakeside Inn, which is unique to Whinfell Forest.
Other places to dine such as Las Iguanas is only available at two locations, Woburn Forest and Longleat Forest. Another restaurant Strada is Italian cuisine that is only available at the Woburn Forest location.
Best Center Parcs For Shopping
Center Parcs has a number of shopping facilities available from sportswear, sunglasses, jewellery, treats and toys. Each of the locations has the same shops available on site and only vary slightly by size and specific items within the shops.
This may have been a deciding factor for you as they do offer a lovely array of handmade items, bespoke gifts and locally sourced goods.
While we haven’t tested the WiFi at every Center Parcs resort we have tested a few and the difference is negligible. It is worth noting that you are in woodland and so the signal may be weak.
Some of these include things like honey, pottery, wooden toys and homemade cakes and fudge.
This needn’t be a factor when deciding the best Center Parcs for you. The prices at the Parc Market and other shops on-site tend to be a little higher in price compared to off-site shops but are useful if you forget anything or want to treat yourself while there.