Center Parcs on a budget
Center Parcs is my “happy place”
Nothing makes me happier than being in the great outdoors, the fresh air or in the warmth of the subtropical paradise with my nearest and dearest.
From when the doors of Sherwood Forest opened in 1987, my parents brought me and my sister here annually.
Fast forward 30 years and now my partner and I bring our children here annually, aswell as enjoy a break with the extended family. To us, Center Parcs is our little family tradition and where we spend good old quality time together.
Seeing as this is an annual holiday I literally cannot live without, I wanted to share my top tips on how we make it an annual occurrence without breaking the bank!
You can check out our latest break at Center Parcs Longleat on YouTube by clicking here 💗
1. Book mid week instead of weekend- during term time where possible
Book your stay Mon-Friday instead of Friday to Monday and not only will you save money you'll get an extra nights stay in most cases. Staying during term time will also save you hundreds!
For example, a 2 bedroom lodge in the Whinfell resort was £1948 in the last week of August school holidays...However going the first week of September when the schools are back is £948. That’s £1000 off the price! 😮
2. Book out of season, last minute or very early in advance
Checking out dates that are ‘out of season’ will make it more affordable. The cost to go in January rather than in May saves £1000s!
Check out the last minutes page on the main website, as prices come down roughly within 8 weeks of travel.
Booking early in advance can often also secure you the best price, we like to book a year ahead where we are most flexible with dates and location and there is a lot more choice available. You can book up to 18 months ahead, when Center Parcs releases availability.
I also find I only enjoy Center Parcs in winter, nothing beats sitting in a hot tub under the star lit sky as the steam rises into the forest 😍😍
so this is a bonus for us, as it’s cheaper than summer!
3.Consider Center Parcs abroad for further savings
Center Parcs has resorts in France, Germany Belgium and the Netherlands which massively undercut the UK resorts prices. Well worth a look! I recommend using price matching websites like Skyscanner and Kayak for the best prices on flights. ✈️
4. The bigger the group, the cheaper it is per head..
As a rule, the larger the accommodation the cheaper the cost per head, so booking a trip with friends or family can significantly bring the cost down.
Here's an example; a 4 bedroom lodge in Longleat was £1338/week in late September (sleeps 8 = £24/night pp) the same week a 1 bedroom studio was £878 (sleeps 2=£63/night pp) and a 2 bedroom lodge was £858 (sleeps 4 =£31/night pp If your looking for a break for just the two of you, take a look at the hotel rooms as this can work out most cost effective compared to a lodge - you still get a kitchen but everything is on a smaller scale than a lodge.
5. Fill your break with free & cheap activities
Center Parcs is well known for the huge range of activity's it offers, but these can start adding up pretty quickly!
🍁We love to base our stay around the Sub tropical paradise (swimming pool) as its free to all guests and for us, its where the fun really is!
🍁Think babies pools, splash park, waterslides, lazy river, wave machine, jacuzzi baths, wild outdoor rapids, outdoor pools, outdoor jacuzzi baths and some new water rides! Throw in a Starbucks and a pool bar serving food and drinks in 30+ degree heat, what else do you really need?!
Cocktails anyone?! 🌴🍹
🍁Book last minute to find deals on Cabana hire inside the pools. Prices are usually around £90 for 3 hours hire but I’ve seen them come down to £55 (nearly half price!) on change over days if your more flexible.
🍁There is a supermarket here also, but things can get a bit pricey... doing a food shop before you go saves you time and money. You can always pop into the supermarket to pick up any extras if eating out is off the cards as all of the accommodation have kitchens. Super easy to rustle something up!
🍁Make use of the babies free swimming lesson before the pool opens for the day. Starts at 9am for an hour.
🍁If you follow me on Instagram - @bucketlist_mumma - you will regularly see me turning up to a Center Parcs resort randomly for the day and this is one of my best kept secrets! Hello you cheeky guest pass! 🥰
🍁 If you or someone you know has booked a break at Center Parcs they will be entitled to offer Guest Passes to friends or family who want to come and visit for the day (10am- midnight)
Charges do apply, however this is a great way of getting to experience the resort and all it has to offer at a much cheaper rate! You are able to use the pools, restaurant and book on to activity’s like any other guest!
🍁Use the online free itinerary on the Center Parcs app (after you have booked) to plan your stay out hour by hour. I find it’s really helpful to plan and use your time wisely. Any activity’s or spa treatments you book automatically gets added to it so its easy to keep track of what you have going on.
If your on a tight budget use this to plan out your stay and book a variety of cheaper activities, mixing free activities in to keep it full of fun & adventure!
🍁In need a little TLC but can’t stretch to a full spa day? Check out the ‘Twilight spa’ at Aqua Sana, which is reduced hours but full access to the whole spa in the evening at a fraction of the cost. 💆🏽♀️
I really hope my tips are helpful and save you some money if your looking to book a break here!
After all, making memories and embarking on new experiences shouldn’t have to break the bank 😉
Until next week,
Dream, Explore & Discover