Image Credit: Centerparcs UK
Centerparcs is one of the UK’s most popular holiday destinations for staycation. The holiday group has 5 locations across the UK at Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire, Longleat Forest in Wiltshire, Elveden Forest in Suffolk, Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire and Whinfell Forest in Cumbria
Founded in The Netherlands in 1968, Centerparcs now also has locations across Europe in Germany, France, Belgium and Ireland and is currently developing parks in Denmark and China.
A Centerparcs holiday is all about enjoying a luxury holiday in a beautiful forest, with lots of fun activities for all the family. The site is car-free except for days when guests are checking in and out. This means that you and your children can walk or cycle in safety.
You will find yourself staying in a lodge in a quiet forest location. Look out of the windows and see just trees. Watch as rabbits and squirrels frolic just a few feet away. Maybe an inquisitive deer will come up to your patio doors to say hello.
It’s the perfect holiday for families who love an active holiday – you can have a go at adventure golf and aerial tree trekking, archery or boating. There are lots of sports to play and go-karting.
Centerparcs is famous for its Subtropical Swimming Paradise, a heated water park complete with water slides, wave pool and whirlpools. It is also legendary for its Aqua Sana spa for pampering treatments, relaxing massage or get a manicure. Relax in the sauna and swim in the spa pool or chill out in a hot tub.
For the kids there are lots of activities so that parents can have a break while the kids play sports, or take part in special seasonal activities.
But maybe Centerparcs is a bit expensive for you. Maybe the locations don’t suit you or you just cant book for the dates that you want. What are the alternatives to Centerparcs?
The good news is that there are lots of places in the UK that are similar to Centerparcs and offer the same active, centre-of-the-forest holiday experience but with a bigger choice of locations and activities.
Here are some of the best.
Image Credit: Ian Cylkowski
Nestled in the beautiful Welsh Pembrokeshire countryside, Bluestone is located in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, designated for the beauty of its coastal landscape, its diverse ecology and the cultural heritage which includes over 200 ancient monuments.
It was recently voted one of the UK’s best value holiday resorts by Which? the independent consumer organisation, who named it one of only four recommended providers.
Bluestone Resort covers 500 acres with outdoor woodland activities, indoor crafts, or spellbinding entertainment. The Steep Ravine combines epic outdoor experiences with the beautiful surroundings of Bluestone's ancient forest. There you can scale the treetops, tackle assault courses 60ft off the ground, fly down zip wires, get your hands dirty, knees muddy in the outdoor playground.
If the pool is an important part of your holiday, the subtropical Blue Lagoon has flumes, wave pools and paddling pools for the littlest ones.
Bluestone also has Well Spa, a luxurious spa experience with saunas, a choice of massages, pedicures and manicures, facials and more.
When you visit Bluestone, you will stay in a choice of lodges, holiday cottages or studio apartments. There are also adapted lodges which are all on one level.
Entertainment is provided with an extra charge, with special seasonal events for the kids for Halloween and Christmas.
If you want a holiday in a beautiful Welsh location with lots of outdoor activities, a fantastic pool and a luxurious spa, Bluestone would be a great alternative to Centerparcs.
Image Credit: Rachel
If your main reason for choosing a Centerparcs holiday is the fantastic choice of outdoor activities, a more affordable way of having an active holiday would be to visit one of PGL’s two locations which are available for family weekend breaks.
Now, you are not going to find a subtropical swimming pool or a spa at a PGL site, but what you will find is a huge choice of outdoor activities and sports for lovers of activity holidays.
With a choice of Barton Hall in Devon and Caythorpe Court in Lincolnshire, both are located in beautiful countryside which will give you a quiet and peaceful break, away from the hustle and bustle.
The activities that are included are all the sort of physical things that you would expect from PGL, so if you want to try abseiling, archery, go canoeing, have a go on the obstacle courses, climbing walls, dragon boating or even a go on a dry ski slope, this is the break for you! Or you can play football, netball, volleyball or basketball as well.
Accommodation is in family rooms rather than a separate lodge, but be aware it’s all single beds or bunk beds, but you might have guessed that as their usual guests are groups of school children! However the catering is all inclusive, so no kitchen required.
So if fresh air and sport are most important to you, PGL would be a good alternative to a holiday at Centerparcs.
Image Credit: Tom Rickhuss
Crieff Hydro in Perthshire Scotland offers just the sort of luxury mix of activities with a spa that you could be looking for as a Centerparcs alternative.
You have a choice of staying in a hotel room or one of the secluded self-catering lodges that are dotted all over the 900-acre Crieff Hydro estate.
The spa offers a variety of treatments, haircuts and manicures while you can also enjoy the swimming pool. The pool may not have a wave machine but it does have slides and a smaller pool for little ones. Plus parents can slip away to the adults-only Victorian baths which also boasts a sauna and steam room.
All the family can keep busy during the day with nearby activities that are either walkable or a short drive away, including a treetop adventure, archery, mountain biking, alpaca trekking and axe throwing, golf, crazy golf and mini off-roading for kids.
This is a great Centerparcs alternative for lovers of an activity filled holiday in the beautiful Scottish countryside.
Morton of Pitmilly countryside resort is set in a stunning location just outside St. Andrews in Fife.
With luxury holiday accommodation and extensive leisure facilities and activities, plus spa treatments on site it is certainly a good potential holiday alternative for fans of Centerparcs.
Accommodation is a choice of The Courtyard which features ten beautifully appointed four-star cottages or The Steading, comprising five-star boutique properties with sea views.
The indoor pool is small and aimed at leisure swimmers rather than children so if hours by the poolside is important to you this might not be the perfect choice, but it makes up for it in the wide variety of outdoor activities that you can try. There is a gym for the grown-ups as well as tennis courts, football, a kids play area, croquet and cornhole (a beanbag tossing game). With beautiful gardens and a wealth of nature in its 150 acre farm where you can walk and spot some of the local wildlife - pheasants, partridge, ducks, heron, badgers, hares and deer.
If peace and quiet is what you are looking for, Morton of Pitmilly is certainly worth considering as another possible holiday similar to Centerparcs.
Image Credit: Benjamin Elliott
If you particularly want a holiday where you can hideaway in the depths of the forest, Forest Holidays does what it says on the tin! With eight parks in England and two each in Scotland and Wales there will definitely be one of these locations that is right for you.
Accommodation is in log cabins or lodges all of which offer a hot tub. Some lodges offer a log burner, barbeque or even an outdoor kitchen (don’t worry; there is an indoor kitchen too!)
Take one of the Forest Ranger adventures, go kayaking and canoeing, cycling and have a go at archery. Or just immerse yourself in the beautiful forest by walking and hiking. Nine of the sites are close to branches of Go Ape where guests can get discounted entry, and park has its own unique activities on offer, which can include horse riding, watersports, or a tour of a local brewery or gin distillery!
Forest holidays do not have a spa onsite – they are more about the activities and the locations – but you can book a spa weekend with in-cabin treatments.
The one thing you won’t find at Forest Holidays is a pool, so if swimming is important to you this may not be the holiday for you, but if you love the great outdoors and want a peaceful holiday tucked away in nature, then Forest Holidays would be a good alternative to Centerparcs.
If you are looking for a holiday that is similar to Centerparcs in the UK, there are lots of possible places to go which will offer the same peaceful countryside locations, a wealth of outdoor activities, swimming and luxurious spa treatments.
Here's what's new on eParenting