I’ve have blogged about our visits to Center Parcs before so it should be no secret that I am a big Center Parcs fan, I have visited almost every year since I was about 4 years olds! I therefore like to think I am somewhat of an expert in how to get the most out of your stay, so here are my top tips:
1: Look for the cheapest weeks and best accommodation for your money.
When you are booking try to be as flexible as possible on the weeks you can go as sometimes even going one week earlier can save you a good chunk of money, of course avoiding the school holidays is always cheaper but sometimes some non school holiday weeks are cheaper then others. Also some weeks of the year the same price is listed for up to three different grades of accommodation, so obviously always go for the best grade possible!
2. Expect it to be busy on arrival and departure days:
We always enter the park at the earliest time possible on arrival day to get the most out of our money, and leave late on departure day, and so do lots of other people. Therefore these days the park is always much busier. Usually the busiest places are the restaurants that are closest to the car parks as people arrive and then think they will kill time before they can get into their accommodation buy having a drink or lunch. If you want to do this too head for the restaurants that are furthest fro the car parks as they will be quieter, usually this is the country club. Or alternatively take a packed lunch for this day and enjoy it on one of the many picnic benches around the park.
Or if you are very organised, you will have packed you swimming bags already, and can head straight to the pool. Must people won’t have done this so they won’t be able to go to the pool until after they have unpacked their car at 2 or 3pm so heading for a morning or early afternoon swim on arrival/departure day can actually be a really good idea, and there is food available in the pool too.
3. Book activities and restaurant reservations in advance.
Popular activities and restaurants can book up very fast for the best times so book these in advance of your trip. This also helps you to plan your trip better and make the most of your time. Remember if you are doing something crafty, like paint a pot you will need to go early enough in the week for your creation to be dried out so you can collect it before you leave.
4. Take your own…
There are lots of things you can buy or hire at the park but if you have enough car space and you want to save some pennies then I would recommend you take your own bike (will save you £25 hire fee) bike chain (£2 hire fee) groceries ( will certainly be cheaper then the on site supermarket) as well as sports equipment ie badminton rackets etc (will save you a couple of pounds) also take your own disposable BBQ’s and logs for the fire as both come at a premium on site.
5. Be prepared for a long day at the pool:
Especially if you have kids, you will easily be able to spend the best part of a day at the pool. In order to get the most out of this go prepared, take your own drinks and food etc in a cooler bag ( vital as the pool area is very warm) and set up a base of towels and some t shirts to sit on at the pool side. I would also recommend taking some magazines to flick through while you are having a rest from all the pool activities. The pool is the best activity for kids on the park and it is free so make the most of it and use it to its fullest! If it’s a wet day on the park, it will be busy, so wear your costume to the pool so you can strip off in the changing rooms without the need of a cubicle as family changing rooms in particular can be hard to get.
6. Know what services are availible:
There are loads of extra services that the parks offer that not everyone is aware of such as a baby sitting service, take away and delivery service from the restaurants, early check in, baby feeding stations in restaurants and a driver service for people with disabilities. So make sure you read all the literature when you arrive as there might be something really handy that you don’t know about!