Is Visiting Center Parcs Worth the Money?

Over the past decade, I have travelled to Center Parcs several times (both with kids and without). Subsequently, I’ve seen the cost of visiting Center Parcs increase and, like you, questioned whether it’s still worth the money.

Whether a trip to Center Parcs is worth it for you is personal. It depends on your budget, interests, who you’re travelling with and what you want from your trip.

For that reason, I’ve broken down this article into two sections:

  • Who will find a trip to Center Parcs worth it
  • Who won’t find a trip to Center Parcs worth it

Of course, there are some exceptions. However, after reading this article, you should clearly understand whether a Center Parcs break is worth it for you.

A Center Parcs Break Is Worth It If

Here’s when I think you will find Center Parcs worthwhile:

You Can Travel During Term Time

Center Parcs is significantly cheaper during term time when most kids are at school.

To give you an idea, a mid-week break in a two-bedroom lodge may cost £400 – £500 during term time. However, that same lodge can be over £1,100 during the school holidays.

That’s the same lodge, for the same duration, in the same Center Parcs village, just one week later. That one week later just happens to be when most kids are off school.

Therefore, if you can visit Center Parcs during term time, you will likely find the break worth the cost. However, if you’re paying an extra £600 – £700 for the same experience one week later, Center Parcs may not seem as great.

You Don’t Want to Go Abroad

If you can’t or don’t want to go on holiday abroad, then Center Parcs can be a fantastic alternative. Center Parcs has that resort-like feel and is relatively high-end as far as UK breaks go.

I visit Center Parcs when we only have a couple of days spare. Sometimes, going abroad for three or four nights with a toddler can be a hassle. Throwing everything in the car and driving to a nearby Center Parcs village can sometimes feel more like a holiday instead.

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You Can Split the Costs With Family / Friends

We’ve already determined that visiting Center Parcs can be expensive. However, the cost can be cheaper if you can split your accommodation by staying with friends or family.

The largest Center Parcs lodge has four bedrooms and can sleep up to 8 guests (over the age of 2). Four-bedroom lodges are available at all Center Parcs villages in several formats:

  • New style lodge
  • Exclusive lodge
  • Treehouse

You Enjoy Sports & Outdoor Activities

If you enjoy sports and outdoor activities, then you’ll love Center Parcs. Every Center Parcs village has a range of activities to choose from, including:

  • Swimming
  • Cycling
  • Rock Climbing
  • Archery
  • Tennis

However, most of these Center Parcs activities come at an extra cost. Swimming is free, as is cycling if you bring your own bike.

Otherwise, the cost of Center Parcs activities can be rather expensive. Especially when compared to, say, hiring a tennis court at your local leisure centre. As such, if you enjoy outdoor activities, be sure to budget for your Center Parcs trip accordingly.

While those who enjoy sports and outdoor activities are likely to enjoy Center Parcs, that doesn’t mean those who can’t or don’t like sports and outdoor activities won’t.

I’ve visited Center Parcs with my elderly disabled parents several times, and they’ve always enjoyed it – especially the non-strenuous activities such as pottery painting and willow weaving.

You Want a Similar Experience to Camping

Sadly, you can’t bring a caravan, campervan or camp at Center Parcs. However, Center Parcs is ideal for those who want the adventure of sleeping in the woods with the comfort, warmth, and functionality of a home.

This makes Center Parcs perfect for my family. My wife has always loved camping under the stars. In contrast, I prefer the comforts and amenities of a more traditional accommodation.

A Center Parcs Break Is Not Worth It If

Here’s when I think Center Parcs isn’t worth it:

You Enjoy Evening Entertainment

Evening entertainment at Center Parcs is limited compared to similar UK holiday parks. For example, Haven and Butlins have a central bar area, a disco for the kids and shows each evening.

If you enjoy this style of evening entertainment, then Center Parcs may not be suitable for you. Instead, evening entertainment at Center Parcs is in the form of activities such as;

  • Bowling
  • Pool
  • Table Tennis

All of these Center Parcs activities must be booked and come at an extra cost. However, the Subtropical Paradise swimming pool is free and is open until 9 pm each evening.

You Want to Explore a Destination

You can leave Center Parcs during your stay. However, the concept of Center Parcs is not designed for exploring outside attractions.

Instead, Center Parcs is a self-contained resort. Therefore, if you’re looking for a city break or to explore culturally rich areas, a Center Parcs break may not be suitable for you.

You Have a Tight Budget

Center Parcs is very expensive compared to similar holiday breaks in the UK. The listed price of a Center Parcs break includes:

  • Your lodge
  • Access to the Center Parcs village
  • Swimming at the Subtropical Paradise

However, the cost of a Center Parcs break doesn’t end there. When budgeting for a Center Parcs break, you’ll also need to think about the following:

  • Food & drink
  • Transport
  • Activities

You’ll need to pay for your transport, plus food and drink on most other UK breaks. However, it’s the Center Parcs activities that drive up the cost.

The fantastic range of activities sets Center Parcs apart from similar breaks. However, the price of Center Parcs activities is higher than you may be used to. This, combined with the resort-based concept, makes finding alternative budget-friendly options difficult.

You Want a Weekend Getaway

Center Parcs offers three break durations:

  • Weekend (Friday to Monday)
  • Mid-week (Monday to Friday)
  • Week (Monday to Monday or Friday to Friday)

While Center Parcs is perfect for short getaways, a weekend break is often the worst. There are three reasons for this:

  1. Weekends are more expensive than mid-week breaks, despite it being one less night
  2. Unless it’s a Bank Holiday or you have Monday off work, you’ll likely need to leave Sunday evening
  3. Unloading and loading your car and driving it to/from the car park for such a short duration can be a hassle

Subsequently, if you want to visit Center Parcs, I recommend visiting mid-week. It’s better value for money, and the hassle feels worthwhile, given the extended break.

You Want a Romantic Break

Center Parcs is marketed towards young families. Therefore, while you are welcome to visit Center Parcs as a couple, you may sometimes feel out of place.

I visited Center Parcs with my wife on our UK honeymoon. While we both enjoyed the experience, we enjoyed it more when we returned a few years later as a young family.

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2 Comments

  1. Shobha Bhardwaj says:

    Very informative and comparable information to choose centre parc holiday. For our family of 7 adults and one child, it was a great place to have enjoyable time with our grand daughter. It was fulfilling and rewarding to share her excitement during each activity. Our 3 year old made full use of riding her scooter on the very safe car free roads. Looking for another trip soon with my daughter’s twins may be next year

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed the article. We always enjoy Center Parcs, especially the kids as they get so much freedom to ride their bikes and run around. I also like that each one is slightly different to the next.