The little-known way you can save more than £800 on your Center Parcs holiday this year

BRIT holidaymakers can save £852 on Center Parcs breaks in the UK by switching to European sites.

Consumer watchdog Which? crunched the numbers on the price of Center Parcs breaks in the UK and Europe.


Consumer watchdog Which? crunched the numbers on the price of a Center Parcs breaksCredit: Alamy
Brit holidaymakers can save £800 on their Center Parcs break by swapping a UK site with a European one


Brit holidaymakers can save £800 on their Center Parcs break by swapping a UK site with a European oneCredit: Alamy

The consumer experts compared the cost of a four-night stay for a family of four at 32 Center Parcs sites across England, France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany.

Prices were compared during five separate weeks of the school holidays in May, July, August and October.

The research found that the average prices at Center Parcs resorts in the UK were “considerably higher” compared to other sites in Europe.

This means Brit holidaymakers could potentially save hundreds of pounds by booking a Center Parcs stay in countries like Germany and the Netherlands.

Across the dates analysed by Which?, the average price of a four-night break at a Center Parcs site in the UK was £1,435.

Meanwhile, the average cost of a break in Germany and the Netherlands was a lot lower – at £857 and £886, respectively.

There was also potential for savings in France and Belgium, where an average stay costs £1,098 and £1,121.

Which? found the May and October half-term holidays to have the biggest savings; however, this could be because of calendar differences in the school holidays.

For example, in the May half-term, a family of four could save £852 by booking to stay at a Center Parcs in France compared to the UK.

A UK stay in the May half-term costs £1,449, on average, compared to just £597 in France.

Top tips for travelling with a family including in-flight fun and safety wristbands-

Over the same week, Brit holidaymakers could also save an average of £788 in Germany, £742 in the Netherlands and £672 in Belgium.

In the October half-term, swapping the UK for the Netherlands saw the biggest cost-saving, with breaks costing £804 less than in the UK.

A UK stay in the October half-term will cost an average of £1,449 compared to £645 in the Netherlands.

Center Parcs breaks in Germany were the cheapest during the summer holidays in each of the three weeks analysed by Which?.

The biggest savings were at the end of the summer holidays between August 26 and 30.

During this time, the average cost of a break in Germany was £803, which was £606 less than a stay in the UK.

What about travel costs?

Even with travel costs to Europe, the consumer watchdog still believes that there are savings to be had by swapping destinations.

Parks in France and Belgium are among the easiest to reach from the south of England.

For example, Park de Haan in Belgium is approximately just over an hour’s drive from Dunkirk, while Calais is around two and a half hours from Center Parcs Le Lac d’Ailette.

Which? found return ferries for roughly £147 for a family of four during the October half-term and £165 in the May half-term.

Parks in the Netherlands had the cheapest average prices in October, and can be reached on a ferry from Hull, Harwich or Newcastle.

For example, Center Parcs De Eemhof has the lowest price in October of £505 for four nights, with return ferries from Harwich costing £188.

At a total cost of £693, that’s a saving of £606 compared to the Center Parcs Whinfell Forest in Cumbria, which is the UK park with the lowest available price that week (£1299 for a four night stay).

Brit holidaymakers should factor in longer journey times and travel costs when making a booking.

What it’s like to stay at Zandvoort Center Parcs in the Netherlands

Travel writer Catherine Lofthouse saved £400 by heading to the the Netherlands instead of her usual UK breaks, she said:

My family of five think we’ve found the perfect solution to our downtime dilemma by ditching the Brit breaks and going Dutch instead.

We paid about £400 less at Zandvoort Center Parcs in the Netherlands, just a short train ride outside Amsterdam.

Our pounds stretch further abroad, with a better standard of accommodation, €30 (£26.22) of activities vouchers and the choice of which lodge to stay in, all included in the price.

Once our travel costs were added, I reckon we paid about £150 less than in the UK, and we were getting a better holiday just a stone’s throw from one of Europe’s most vibrant cities, with the beach a stroll from our lodge.

There were lots of free activities at the European parks, including a massive indoor play area that would put the small soft plays at the UK Center Parcs to shame, a petting farm and kids’ club sessions.

Naomi Leach, Deputy Editor of Which? Travel said: “While UK holiday parks offer families an easy way to explore the great British countryside, our research has found that casting your net further afield could make your break more affordable.

“Those holidaying in the May and October half-terms stand to make the most significant savings, but even during the summer a family could save hundreds of pounds on their accommodation costs.

“Do factor in the cost of transport and travel insurance to ensure the swap is worthwhile and always double check European parks have the facilities and activities you expect.”

A spokesperson from Center Parcs UK said: “Despite sharing a brand name, Center Parcs UK and Center Parcs Europe are entirely separate companies which operate very differently.

“At Center Parcs UK, our unique offering attracts loyal guests, a high number of whom return year after year – last year, we welcomed approximately 2.2 million guests and had continued occupancy of around 97%.

“We continue to invest heavily in our facilities, accommodation, people and the woodlands in which we operate.

“With Center Parcs villages across the country, we offer the opportunity to enjoy a high-quality and convenient short break in a beautiful woodland setting, without the need for lengthy travel with children.”

Read more on the Scottish Sun

In 2022, travel writer Catherine Lofthouse revealed that she’d saved £400 by holidaying in Center Parcs abroad.

She said: “We’re paying about £400 less at Zandvoort Center Parcs in Holland, just a short train ride outside Amsterdam, next spring, compared to staying at one of the five Parcs in the UK.”

Brits can save an average of £852 by holidaying in a Center Parcs in France during the May half-term


Brits can save an average of £852 by holidaying in a Center Parcs in France during the May half-termCredit: Alamy
The savings remain even when travel costs from the UK to Europe are factored in


The savings remain even when travel costs from the UK to Europe are factored inCredit: Alamy

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