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Try a holiday in Centerparcs Europe instead of in the UK

If you are on a budget but love Centerparcs then why not give one abroad a try? We have done it twice before and have just booked our third for this year. Cheaper prices, and a whole different experience - what's not to love?



As a family of five we often struggle to find budget holidays, which is a problem when I absolutely love to travel, especially with my travelling companions of my family. Always on the look out for a good holiday deal we have embraced caravan holidays, discounts, Sun £9.50 holidays and much more. But our favourites probably have to be the European Centerparcs holidays.


Run by separate companies, they are still the same Centerparcs holidays but are in Europe instead; Netherlands, France, Belgium and Germany. If you time it right you can go when the Dutch children are still at school, for example our May half term holidays. Making it cheaper than going in the UK.


See my review of a village below as well as hints and tips for these holidays. This is not an ad and there are no affiliate links in this blog post. Just review of my experiences.


Natural sites


Centerparcs is about finding time to reconnect, to truly connect to each other, and to nature. Set in forest locations, the holidays are a car-fee haven of peace.


Every park is located in the heart of nature. Enjoy the exuberance of life in Belgium, explore castles in France or have a sporty week in Germany. Each park has a unique environment - on the North Sea coast, near Disneyland Paris, at the foot of the Alps or in the rolling hills of Sauerland...


Included for free


In the European villages you still get the same accommodation in the forest, the swimming pool, slides, rapids and relaxed nature vibe. You get a lot more for your money at the European sites though, including free activities and attractions. Every village includes subtropical swimming paradise Aqua Mundo like in the UK, but as well as the slides, rapids and lazy river some villages also boast water playhouse and a snorkelling pool with its tropical fish, you can dive into an exotic world and see them.


Some villages have a BALUBA Indoor Play World for children to enjoy. Het Heijderbos in the Netherlands, features a free indoor tropical Jungle Dome - your children can enjoy an adventure on the rope course and discover the jungle. The Jungle Dome has been created in collaboration with the WWF.


As well as this some sports are free too, such as football, volleyball, fishing, ping pong and family board games. Some villages also have a real children's farm: rabbits, goats and other animals are just waiting to be stroked. My kids loved seeing the goats and sheep running around and petting them.


Plus there is free entertainment including a kids' disco, children's bedtime stories, activities and gameshows, live music and family quizzes,


Whereas at the Centerparcs in the UK I've been to the only free thing is the swimming pool and other activities are really pricey.


Erperheide, Belgium


We have been to one European Centerparcs now as a family, and have just booked our second. We went to Erperheide in Limburg, Belgium which was a lovely site, boasting four restaurants, an indoor play world, animals, three water slides including a giant slide, Water Playhouse and wild water rapid, as well as family activities. They even offer Pony Holidays. The kids loved petting the animals and it added an extra element to our trip.


We went in October half term and the weather was chilly but not too cold. The site was geared up for Halloween with decorations all around and workshops where the children could go and dress up as ghosts and witches. Our children loved this.


We also did a day trip to Maastricht, one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands. This was a fab day out and we experienced lots of lovely little cafes to have beer, hot chocolate and apple cake in.



De Kempervennen, The Netherlands


The holiday we have booked for later this year is De Kempervennen, Netherlands, Noord Brabant, Westerhoven. Perfect for indoor action, lake adventures and rustic moorlands to explore. Located in Brabant near Eindhoven, with two large lakes, endless activities and an indoor snow hall for water and winter sports, all year round.


We booked a Comfort cottage for 6 people. It came to €729, then we got a family discount of €233 on top of that. It includes linen, a free location preference and three x Activity Gift Vouchers. It then came to just €572 (£509) for an 8-day Centerparcs break! At the current time of booking ferries from Harwich to the Hook of Holland, including a night crossing with an overnight cabin for 5 people, costs £450. However I have several months to find a deal on the ferry and they regularly release offers.


To put this into perspective, a 3 bedroom New Style Woodland Lodge in Elveden Forest in the UK costs £2,398 for just 6 days at the same time of year! With my location preference I booked a cottage right near to the Aqua Mundo (swimming pool) as that is our favourite activity at Centerparcs. To book a cottage in the central area at Elveden Forest, near the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, would cost an extra £67. This makes it cost £2,465 plus the cost of three activities which are already included in the cost of our break. This is an increase of 384% from the UK price!


Meaning it will cost me around £950 to go for 8 days and 7 nights to the Netherlands by ferry, including three activities. Compared to over £2,500 for 6 days and 5 nights in the UK, with no activities. Crazy! Plus my break will also include the following free activities: interactive football wall, football, basketball, animal care at the children's farm with rabbits, goats and other animals, activities and entertainment including kids' disco, puppet show and more. The only thing included with the UK break is the swimming pool.



Days out


The benefit of going abroad is that you can also visit the local area when you are there. For example Village Nature Paris in France is an oasis of nature just 30 minutes from Paris and Disneyland Paris. Whereas at Parc Eifel in Germany there is a volcanic landscape in which you can cycle and do cross-country skiing. And don't forget to visit the beautiful castles in the cities of Cochem and Nürburg. Whilst Park Hochsauerland in Germany is in one of the most beautiful winter sports regions of Germany and you can go to Europe's longest outdoor playground AVENTURA 2.0.




Travel to get there



We live near right near the port of Harwich so our favourite way to get there is to drive there and get an overnight ferry to Hook of Holland. The kids love it and it makes travelling all part of the holiday. They go to sleep, wake up and we are there! We then drive to our destination, remembering we have to drive on the other side of the road!


Accommodation



You can get a lot of different types of accommodation in the villages, the same as in the UK but also a lot more choice. These include cottages (Comfort, Premium and VIP), apartments, houseboats, flats, hotel rooms and hotel suites. VIP Cottages include luxuries such as a sauna, bubble bath and rain shower, towel package and daily bread delivery service before 9.00 am.


You can also get an Animals of the Forest cottage, Pony cottage, Adventure cottage or a Children's Cottage. An Adventure Cottage promises an adventurous stay full of exciting discoveries with a themed interior, where every room takes you on a trip around the world and dedicated (interactive) features that truly give you the feeling of being on an expedition.


Pony Cottage is for children aged 4 to 12. The cottage comes with your very own pony for the holiday as well as an official welcome and presentation of your pony, a Pony Passport, introducing the pony and the programme for the week, a pony grooming kit (on loan) filled with grooming products such as a brush, a training ride in the riding area, a pony ride in the holiday village and a fun farewell gift. Your child will get to groom their pony, plait and braid its mane. Enjoy a private terrace with garden furniture that is located next to the riding arena of the pony's.


An Exclusive Lakeside cottage boasts panoramic views of the lake, with private waterfront decking with patio furniture, kamado BBQ, outdoor sauna and outdoor shower, plus slippers and dressing gown.



Food and Drink


Like the UK parks, there are many restaurants and cafes to eat and drink at. The lodges are equipped with kitchens but one thing to note is they don't have ovens. There is a hob and microwave though. You can get takeaway too, and also order a Table-Top Cooking experience. You can choose gourmet food, a stone plate or a Barbecue grill and the food will be brought to your lodge along with the equipment you need to cook.



What about the language barrier?


The language barrier has never been a problem for our children, they still went to the holiday clubs and enjoyed the entertainment.


Why not have a look and compare a similar holiday in the UK and Europe, I’m sure you will find a good saving.


Top Tips


  • Use the Early booking discount - you can get booking discounts of up to 20%, choose a Preferred Location of your cottage and get a free Activities Gift Pack. This is a set of vouchers, valued at €30, whereby you can book up to 3 experiences and activities.

  • Alternatives to Centerparcs can also be less pricey but a similar experience. Try Landal holidays which has locations in both the UK and Europe, or Forest Holidays.

  • Use Tesco Clubcard points for some holidays to bring down the cost of the holiday too.

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