Parkdean Resorts operate a different grading system to Haven and Away Resorts when it comes to their caravans and lodges.
At some of their 60+ resorts around the UK, you will see the grading of 'Standard' (£), 'Superior' (££) and 'Premium' (£££).
When you see this it means:
However, this system isn't in place at all Parkdean Resorts and there's no published list of what is included with each grade.
For example, it's not possible to say that premium accommodation always includes a hot tub, a sea view and an ensuite.
Also worth noting is that the names of the caravans at one Parkdean resort aren't the same as those at another resort. For example, Parkdean Resorts Thorness Bay Holiday Park has caravans and lodges named after maritime things (Port, Commodore etc.) whilst Parkdean Resorts Landguard Holiday Park has caravans and lodges named after trees (Elm, Birch etc.).
You couldn't - for example - stay in an Elm caravan at Landguard and then look for the same grade caravan at Thorness Bay.
So, how do I choose the best caravan or lodge I can afford at Parkdean Resorts?
My advice is to a) use the filters on the booking form and b) look at our guide to the main nine upgrades below.
The filters on the Parkdean Resorts booking form give a better idea of what's included than you get from the 'standard' 'superior' and 'premium' listing. It's a bit hidden on mobile devices, but it's still there.
Here's a typical filter screen that you'll see when you get through to the Parkdean booking page.
So, you might decide that you really want a dishwasher and a hot tub. Once you've ticked them, check the results are in price order and you'll see what the cheapest options are.
The description next to each caravan or lodge gives some information, but the filters reveal a lot more information about what is and isn't included.
Here's our guide to the nine main things to look for - and our opinion on which are the upgrades worth getting.
The top 9 accommodation upgrades at Parkdean Resorts - and which are worth the money:
1. A newer caravan
On the booking form, look for a green rectangle which will either say:
If there isn't a green rectangle then it means the caravan is more than three years old.
It's not a disaster if the caravan is more than three years old, but grab a newer caravan if it isn't very expensive to upgrade.
You'll find that the difference in price between an older and newer caravan can be quite affordable. We searched for peak time holidays at Thorness Bay on the Isle of Wight and found that we could get a caravan which was less than three years old for only £40 more than one which was more than three years old. Other than that, they were pretty similar.
That is money well spent in my book.
2. A wider caravan
Parkdean Resorts offers three main sizes with their accommodation:
If you are on holiday with four energetic teenagers then sharing a 10 foot wide caravan for a week will be hard work. However, if it's summer then you may well spend most of the day out and about. If you're eating out for most meals then it's much more realistic to share a small caravan.
3. Sea views, lakeside views and verandas
Lakeside views, sea views and verandas are offered at a lot of Parkdean Resorts. They tend to have holiday parks in prime beachside locations and you'll pay more for a front row property with a good view. You can check the box which says 'sea view' on a lot of resorts.
My personal opinion is that this is worth paying for if you're inclined to spend a lot of time sat outside on a veranda. If you've got young children then it's a nice thing to do in an evening. If you have older children then you may well be out later and not really make the most of the view and veranda.
The amount you pay for a sea view or lakeside view varies a lot, but it tends to come with the more expensive accommodation. You won't many cheap caravans with a great view.
The location is also a factor. I wouldn't pay a lot for a veranda at a resort which doesn't have decent views.
4. Ensuite facilities or a bigger bathroom
The cheapest and smallest caravans tend to just have a single shower. If you upgrade to a more expensive caravan you will sometimes get an ensuite as well or a bath or second shower.
A bath is pretty useful for us, as it's easier to give young children a bath than a shower.
The availability of baths and ensuite facilities varies a lot between Parkdean Resorts holiday parks. For example at Crantock Beach Holiday Park in Cornwall I struggled to find available accommodation with a bath. At Landguard Holiday Park on the Isle Wight, I found three different types of accommodation with baths.
5. A hot tub
The availability of hot tubs varies a lot at Parkdean Resorts.
Trecco Bay Holiday Park in Wales is their biggest resort in the whole of the UK, but I couldn't find any accommodation with hot tubs for August 2023.
Meanwhile, all four of Parkdean Resorts' Isle of Wight holiday parks have hot tubs in at least one grade of accommodation.
If you do want a hot tub, you need to be prepared to pay a lot more. They tend to only be in the posher lodges, so don't be surprised if you are paying two or three times as much as you would for the cheapest caravan.
For example, we searched for a week at Thorness Bay Holiday Park and found that the cheapest caravan for a week in August 2023 was about £900 whilst the cheapest accommodation with a hot tub was just over £2100 (a difference of £1200).
Obviously that wasn't the only upgrade, but if it's the only upgrade that matters to you then you're paying a huge amount of money for a few dips in a hot tub!
My advice is to go for a hot tub upgrade if you a) plan to spend a lot of time onsite or b) if you're visiting off peak.
The difference in price is much less severe outside of school holidays. For example, we searched at Thorness Bay again for a week in mid September 2023. The cheapest caravan was £439 whilst the cheapest accommodation with a hot tub was £1289. So, the upgrade is £800 rather than £1200.
6. Double glazing and central heating
The vast majority of Parkdean Resorts caravans have double glazing and central heating.
If you're looking at the cheapest caravan available for a break during the colder months then I would check for both first. Upgrading is unlikely to be very expensive and will make quite a difference to your comfort levels.
Central heating isn't an issue in summer, of course, but double glazing does a good job of temperature regulation whether it's hot or cold outside.
7. Dishwashers and washing machines in the kitchen
I would say that most Parkdean Resorts accommodation doesn't come with a washing machine or a dishwasher.
If you do have a dishwasher it will likely be in a lodge where there's a lot more space, rather than crammed into a 10 foot wide caravan.
Personally, I can do without a washing machine for a week. There's usually a launderette onsite if we really need it.
However, I'm a big fan of dishwashers! The conundrum is that upgrading to accommodation with a dishwasher can cost hundreds of pounds, so you will probably be better to spend that money on eating out for most meals!
8. Towels provided
Parkdean Resorts always provide bedding, but towels are only offered at some resorts. Even then, you only get towels with the more expensive accommodation.
My advice is to not pay much attention to this when you're deciding what upgrades to pay for, unless you're arriving by public transport.
When I checked at Thorness Bay Holiday Park, you only got towels with the four most expensive types of property. It's a nice bonus if you're upgrading anyway, but it's not a big deal to throw a few towels in the car.
9. An extra bedroom
You might think that the number of bedrooms offered would be the main factor in determining price. However, that's not really the case at Parkdean Resorts. The cheapest caravan is sometimes a three bedroom caravan which sleeps eight people (including two in the lounge).
It's worth scrolling down to see if you can get a similar caravan with an extra bedroom for a few pounds extra. That's certainly preferable to having someone sleeping in the lounge, or getting children to share a room if they usually have separate rooms.
Which Parkdean Resorts accommodation upgrades are worth paying for?
Have a think about how much of an explorer you are, what time of year you are on holiday and who you are on holiday with.
A small family which mostly eats out and which likes to use the onsite facilities and explore the local area will probably be best to go for the cheapest caravan available. You can then increase your budget for meals out, local attractions and naff souvenirs which the children are begging for.
A bigger family with several children who tends to mostly self cater (perhaps because of intolerances or allergies) will get better value out of an upgrade to a wider caravan or a lodge with a hot tub.
Also consider that upgrading is much cheaper outside of school holidays. I am more inclined to pay for upgrades off peak than on peak.
My personal experience is that upgrading to a more modern caravan is usually worth it and doesn't cost a huge amount more. I also like to have enough bedrooms, rather than sleeping in the lounge so I think that's a worthwhile upgrade. If we are somewhere scenic then I like to have a veranda so that I can sit out whilst the children are asleep. I enjoy hot tubs, but I don't feel I can justify paying £1000+ extra for a week's holiday. I just spend my time calculating how much each visit to the hot tub has cost me!
Center Parcs holidays during school holidays are pretty pricey. We wrote a blog recently about the £10,000 Center Parcs holiday, although that was for rather plush accommodation admittedly.
Thankfully, there are lots of ways to make Center Parcs better value.
Some guides offer rather obvious tips which you've already thought of (e.g. 'visit during term time!'). We will try to avoid those.
Other guides suggest penny pinching which is just too much hassle to be worth it (e.g. 'why not leave the Center Parcs site and play table tennis at a local leisure centre to save yourself £7!').
Hopefully our tips for saving money at Center Parcs will be of some use.
1. Head for Center Parcs Europe
This may sound a little drastic, but visiting a Center Parcs resort in Europe is a big money saver if you are a planning a week's break during the summer school holidays. It probably isn't worth the extra hassle for a weekend in winter once you factor in travel times and costs.
For example, we found a week at Center Parcs De Vossemeren in Belgium was £1025 for August 2022, compared to £2048 at Center Parcs in the UK. That's almost exactly half price.
The European Center Parcs are run by a different company which means that the pricing structure is completely different. You'll often find 'flash sales' and discounts at the European Center Parcs which you don't get at the UK Center Parcs.
We found that you usually get the best prices on European Center Parcs by booking through the French version of the website. For some reason, the prices vary a bit depending on which website you book through - but the holiday is the same. Use your browser's translation tool rather than relying on your GCSE French.
Some Center Parcs in Europe get very similar reviews to the UK resorts, whereas others score much more poorly. Some European Center Parcs have been rebranded from other resorts rather than being purpose built as Center Parcs.
Five European Center Parcs which get good reviews and which aren't a huge drive from the UK include:
Of course, you need to add on travel time and cost.
A reasonable estimate is that travelling to a Center Parcs in Europe will cost you about £300-£500. The savings for a week's holiday in August will vary, but I've seen many examples where you can save £1000 or more. See our guides to the best Center Parcs in France, Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Of course, you'll need passports already or the cost of getting them will wipe out your savings...
2. Get clever with holiday dates
If you are keen to stick with Center Parcs UK then the next step is to get a bit clever with booking dates.
A lot of advice guides suggest you book a midweek Center Parcs during term time, but that advice is about as useful as an inflatable dartboard to the majority of Center Parcs customers.
Some more practical things to try:
3. Whinfell Forest and Sherwood Forest are usually cheaper than Woburn Forest or Longleat Forest.
We've done various price comparisons of Center Parcs over the years.
Generally speaking, we've found Whinfell Forest in Cumbria and Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire to be a little cheaper than Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire and Longleat Forest in Wiltshire. Elveden Forest is mid-priced.
For example, a two bedroom lodge in August 2022 at Whinfell Forest started at £2028. Woburn Forest was £100 for the same grade of accommodation, Longleat Forest was £200 more expensive.
Reviews of Center Parcs in the UK are admirably consistent so you are as likely to have a good time at any of them.
Of course, it's not worth driving an extra 300 miles to save yourself £100. However, if you live half way between two resorts then I would go for Whinfell Forest or Sherwood Forest over the others.
4. Bring your own things as much as possible
As you'll have guessed, buying things onsite at Center Parcs is a bit pricier than off-site. They've got a captive audience and you will pay for the convenience of having everything provided.
Sometimes you'll decide to cough up and just pay extra to make the whole thing more enjoyable. At other times, you can easily save yourself some money.
Some popular ways to save money:
5. Consider which accommodation upgrades you really need
We've written a long blog post which compares the different types of Center Parcs lodges. It explains what you are getting for your money by upgrading.
The gist of it is that you are choosing from:
There are also sub categories of lodges including 'newer' and older versions.
If you go for the cheapest accommodation (which is what we did) then the main things you don't get compared to higher grades are:
If any of those are absolutely essential to you for a holiday then you'll need to upgrade. Otherwise, I would go for a Woodland Lodge and save yourself some money.
Woodland Lodges are still pretty decent. You get towels provided, log burners, kitchen facilities and a patio or similar outside space.
6. Book Center Parcs early
There is a last minute page on the Center Parcs website, but my experience is that booking early is usually better value.
This is because the cheaper accommodation gets booked up and you'll be left paying for an upgrade that you don't really need.
I compared a couple of 'last minute' prices and found that the savings were pretty modest - or non-existent.
For example, a midweek holiday at Whinfell Forest in a 2 Bedroom New Style Woodland Lodge was £679 on the Last Minute Page, starting on May 2nd 2022 (I searched on April 27th 2022). The same accommodation was only £20 extra if booked three weeks later. If you booked the same holiday for May 1st 2023 (a year later) it was £569 - a whole £110 cheaper.
I then found a 'last minute' weekend at Elveden Forest for £999 in a 3 Bedroom New Style Executive Lodge starting on May 6th 2022. The same holiday a year later was £899. That's £100 cheaper (starting on May 5th 2022).
I am sure there are good last minute deals sometimes, but I wouldn't hold on for a bargain if you know when you want to go on holiday.
7. Fill up a 3 bedroom lodge instead of booking 2 x 2 bedroom lodges
Center Parcs holidays are priced per accommodation unit rather than per person.
So, two families of three people will get much better value if they are willing to share accommodation. I appreciate this one is only relevant for a small number of people but the savings are considerable.
For example, 2 x 2 Bedroom New Style Woodland Lodges will cost you £4396 at Whinfell Forest for a week in early August 2022 (2 x £2198).
For six people, that works out as £104 per person, per night.
A 3 Bedroom New Style Woodland Lodge will cost you £2528. For six people, that is £60 per person, per night. That's a whopping saving of £1868 over the week.
8. Get the best value whilst you are there
I've read several good bits of advice about how to get better value from Center Parcs once you've arrived.
Some of my favourites include:
Haven recently announced it was leaving The Sun's Holidays from £9.50 promotion.
Fear not, bargain hunters! Haven are now offering a replacement deal which is actually pretty similar once you dig out a calculator.
After all, the Sun's £9.50 deal is the minimum per person price, whereas Haven's £49 deal is per holiday. Once you do the sums, you realise that The Sun's minimum price is £41 for a four night break including booking fees, which is only £8 less than Haven's cheapest four night deal. Also, lots of The Sun's holidays are actually £19.50, £29.50, £39.50 or £49.50 per person (read our full guide), so the total is often £81, £121, £161 or £201.
You may even prefer Haven's new best value deals, as the booking process is simpler and it's easier to see what's available near you. I personally find The Sun Holiday website a little trickier to use, as you have to choose your top four choices and then see what comes up.
Here are our thoughts on Haven's holidays for £49.
How does Haven's £49 holiday deals work?
Haven's Best Value holidays from £49 works just like any other Haven holiday. You don't need to collect tokens or whisper a secret password.
You just need to visit this page on Haven's website to see everything that's currently available. When I checked, there were 176 bargain holidays up for grabs, but it does vary.
I prefer to rank them by price and see what is cheap near me. Remember, this is holidays 'from £49' rather than 'for £49'. Holidays for £100 or less is another way to look at it.
Alternatively, you can filter by location or date.
These deals aren't 'last minute bargains'. Some of them are for holidays many months in advance. If you're looking for last minute holidays from Haven then there's a different page for that.
Can you really get a holiday for £49 with Haven? Or is it marketing hype?
Well, yes you can genuinely get a holiday for £49 with Haven but there a number of caveats.
1. These are four night midweek breaks. You won't get a week or a weekend for that price. Over four nights you are paying £2.87 per person, per night which is pretty staggeringly cheap considering that it includes electricity and gas.
2. All the bargain breaks are outside of school holidays. That's good news if you have pre-schoolers or if you're a couple looking for a cheap base for exploring the coastline. It's less good news if you want to avoid scowls from the headteacher for taking the children out of school. Further good news is that lots of cheap breaks are available during the warmer months of the year. Haven resorts are closed in winter, so you won't be spending four nights watching the rain on your caravan window in January.
3. The £49 breaks don't include the use of any activities or facilities (they are called Haven Hideaways). You can use the restaurants onsite but you can't go for a swim or sign up for paid activities. However, when we checked, there were deals available where you could get the full Haven experience for only £20-£30 extra for the four days. That's the price for the whole family, so I would strongly recommend upgrading!
4. As you'd expect, the £49 Haven breaks tend to be in the cheapest grade of caravan ('saver'). We've written a full guide comparing the Haven grades. The cheapest caravans are narrower, they don't have central heating, they don't have a balcony and they don't have things like a freezer or a dishwasher.
There were some exceptions though. Some of the 'best value' deals were glamping safari tents or 'bronze' caravans (one step up from 'saver'). However, these started at £69 when we checked, rather than £49.
5. Perhaps most importantly, you need to be flexible on either dates or location. When we checked, there were bargain breaks at most of Haven's resorts but not all of them. If you wanted a cheap break at Devon Cliffs (a huge and very popular site in Devon) then there were just three dates to choose from. If you wanted a cheap holiday at Haven's The Orchards holiday park in Essex then there were 21 holidays to choose from.
How to get the best value from Haven's £49 holidays
My controversial advice is to try to stretch your holiday budget to about £100, rather than obsessing over getting the £49 deal.
I appreciate that every penny counts at the moment, but I think it could be a false economy to go for the £49 deal.
Which are the best Haven holiday parks in the £49 deal?
The majority of Haven's caravan holiday parks are available with the £49 deal. When I checked, there were bargain breaks at 32 out of Haven's 37 holiday parks.
They certainly aren't just trying to flog off caravans at poor quality sites.
Haven holiday parks which make our top 10 guide, which had availability when we checked include:
Which is best? Haven holidays from £49 or The Sun Holidays from £9.50?
As discussed, the difference in price between the two deals is not as significant as it first appears. The Sun's £9.50 deal is per night, whereas Haven's £49 deal is per holiday.
You'll potentially save yourself £8 by going for The Sun's cheapest deals, but it gets more complex when you are comparing anything other than the very cheapest offers.
The Sun's deals are probably better for you if you have children at school. Haven's deals are only midweek breaks when we checked, whereas The Sun includes some weekends and occasional school holiday deals.
I personally found the booking process much simpler with Haven, as you can see every offer available rather than submitting four suggestions and then seeing what appears. You also don't need to collect tokens with Haven's £49 offer, although most people just search for the codes online rather than buying 10 newspapers.
Haven's deal is better if you want to try Glamping, as there are some safari tents in the offer.
The other big factor is which holiday park brand you prefer.
Overall, I would say that Haven gets better customer reviews on TripAdvisor than Parkdean Resorts. I haven't done a detailed comparison of this, but that's my gut feeling from running this site! It is certainly the case that Haven gets better review scores than Pontins, which is another brand on The Sun's deal.
For several years, The Sun has been working with Parkdean Resorts, John Fowler, Park Holidays UK, Pontins and others to offer holidays under it’s £9.50 headline price.
However, Haven recently dropped out of the promotion and launched a rival £49 offer so it seemed like a good time to assess the merits of The Sun's 9.50 Holiday deal.
How does The Sun's Holidays from £9.50 work?
You collect 10 tokens from the paper (or find the codewords online) and can then book 3 night weekend breaks or 4 night midweek breaks at a cut price. Most people book online, although there are postal options too.
In case you're searching for them, The Sun Holidays codes for 2022 are DOZE, STAY, ACRE, KENT, HIDE, PATH, BALL, WING, 3W4K and SWIM.
Is it really £9.50 for a holiday?
Well no, not exactly.
The £9.50 price is the lowest possible price, per person per break.
The actual lowest possible price by my calculations is £41 for a four night break, as you have to pay £9.50 x 4, plus a £3 booking fee.
Holidays are for three nights or four nights (either a weekend or a midweek break) and the minimum group size is four people so you’ll pay the same price even if there are three of you.
That price is for the most basic accommodation. There are optional extras too, including 'entertainment/clubroom passes, holiday home upgrades, bed linen, half board and a charge for taking your dog(s).'
These upgrades tend to be reasonably priced, in my opinion. For example, the entertainment passes are sometimes only £5 per person, per break. That's good value if it includes the use of an indoor swimming pool. For Isle of Wight holidays, you can get a special discount on the ferry.
So you can't actually get a holiday for £9.50, but £41 for a holiday is still pretty remarkable.
So, what holiday can I get for £41?
It's worth realising that the price of The Sun Holidays varies according to the time of year and what you want to do.
For example, we checked prices at Parkdean Resorts' Thorness Bay on the Isle of Wight and found that the £9.50 price was only available on four different midweek breaks starting during term time in late September and early October 2022.
During other times of the year, the prices are £19.50 per person, £29.50 per person or £39.50 per person. To save you getting the calculator out, that works out as £81, £121 or £161 per holiday.
Generally speaking, you’ll pay more for holidays when the sun is more likely to shine. A weekend in October is likely to be cheaper than a weekend in May.
At Thorness Bay Holiday Park, you also need to pay a supplement if you want to use the onsite facilities such as the swimming pool. It’s only £5 per person, per break which I would say is well worth it. For a midweek break, that's only £1.25 per day, per person.
That takes our total prices to £61, £101, £141 or £181 for your holiday depending on the time of year.
Can you use The Sun’s £9.50 holidays deal during school holidays?
It depends how picky you are.
When we searched, we could only find Pontins holidays available during the school holidays in August 2022. Admittedly, we left it a bit late to book so there may have been more choice earlier.
It’s worth noting that TripAdvisor reviews for Pontins resorts are not as good as rivals such as Haven or John Fowler Holidays (see our Pontins guide). Pontins resorts score somewhere around 4/10 or 5/10 from reviewers whereas some Haven resorts score 8/10 or 9/10.
We did manage to find a non-Pontins resort offering holidays during May half term from £49.50 per person (£201 per break) but there weren’t many.
Generally, these breaks from The Sun Holidays are best for a weekend during term time or a midweek break if you can work around school dates.
Which are the best holiday parks in the Sun’s £9.50 holidays promotion?
Previously, I would have enthusiastically recommended Haven’s resorts within the Sun’s £9.50 holiday deals. However, Haven has left the scheme and is now offering its own ‘best value’ deals from £49. More on that later!
Are The Sun’s Holidays from £9.50 better value than going direct?
Now that’s a good question!
The short answer is that you can save some money through The Sun's holiday deals if you are willing to be flexible and fit around the dates and resorts they offer you.
For example, The Sun was offering a four night break at Parkdean Resorts Breydon Water from October 10th for £16.50 per person. That’s for a Comfort Plus caravan and works out as £89 for a holiday once you’ve paid the modest booking fee and the cost of the entertainment passes.
Meanwhile, the cheapest deal available by going direct was £109 when we checked the same dates (£20 more expensive). The caravan grading is a little confusing, as the caravans aren't referred to as ‘comfort plus’ on the Parkdean Resorts websites.
Of course, if you didn’t want the entertainment passes then you could get the Sun’s deal for £69 which is £40 cheaper than the cheapest option by going direct.
Let's look at another example.
We searched for a three night holiday at Park Holidays UK's Martello Beach caravan site. The Sun Holidays offered a four night midweek break in a Premier Plus Caravan starting on September 26th 2022 for £93. That included 'clubroom' passes.
By going direct, the cheapest accommodation was £115 and that was a bronze caravan. Again, it's hard to compare accommodation. The Sun holidays site doesn't make clear whether a 'Premier Plus Caravan' is bronze, silver or gold by Park Holiday UK's ratings. However, it is an 'extra wide upgrade' so I would guess that it is at least a Silver Plus caravan which costs £128 by going direct.
So, you're saving about £35 by booking via The Sun Holidays.
However, it's worth mentioning that Park Holidays UK was offering a £30 food and drink voucher by going direct. If you were going to eat onsite anyway, then the saving by going via The Sun Holidays would only be £5.
What about Haven? How do they compare to the £9.50 deals with The Sun.
Haven dropped out of The Sun’s £9.50 holiday promotion in 2022. This is bad news for a lot of people who used the deal to get a good value break with a popular brand.
However, Haven has launched its own best value deals offering holidays ‘from £49’.
At first, this may seem like a price hike but (as previously discussed) the £9.50 deal is per person, whereas the £49 price is per holiday. Also, Haven don’t charge the £3 booking fee which comes with The Sun’s holidays.
When we checked, all of the £49 deals from Haven were for their Haven Hideaway holidays. That means you just get accommodation and you can’t use the onsite facilities apart from the restaurants. They were all four night midweek breaks during off peak times.
So, you’re paying £49 for something which is similar to the £41 deal with The Sun holidays. Personally, I would pay the £8 extra if it meant I could stay at a better or closer resort.
The cheapest ‘standard’ Haven holiday we found was £69 (i.e. one where you can use the onsite facilities).
Again, that’s a similar price to the cheapest breaks with The Sun’s £9.50 promotion (£8 more expensive if you’re being picky).
We did find a couple of cheap deals from Haven which were caravans which slept six people instead of four. For example, we found four nights at The Orchards in Essex for £60 in October 2022 (accommodation only, not including activities). That works out as £10, per person per break which is the same price as the Sun's £9.50 holidays once you've added on the booking fee.
Center Parcs' newest resort in Europe is called Les Landes de Gascogne. It's in France and it opens this Spring. You can book holidays at Les Landes de Gascogne from the end of May 2022.
Here's our guide to what we know so far about Center Parcs Les Landes de Gascogne.
Where is Center Parcs Les Landes de Gascogne?
Center Parcs Les Landes de Gascogne is in southern France, between Toulouse and Bordeaux. The other six Center Parcs in France are in the north of the country, so this one is a whole lot further from the UK.
In fact, it will take you a whopping 9 hours 30 minutes to drive from Calais.
What facilities and activities will be available at Center Parcs Les Landes de Gascogne?
So far, we know that there are 30 activities at Center Parcs Les Landes de Gascogne. That compares to somewhere between 73 and 113 activities at the other Center Parcs in France.
However, we don't know if that number of 30 will increase.
We also know that the swimming pool/ water park at Center Parcs Les Landes de Gascogne will have whirlpools, a slide with boats, a twin flume for racing and a wild river.
Overall, the resort is one of the smaller Center Parcs in France. According to our research, it will cover 130 hectares. That's a similar area to Les Hauts Des Bruyeres and Les Villages Nature Paris (next door to Disneyland Paris) but it's much smaller than Les Trois Forêts which is 435 hectares.
As it's a new park, we don't have any customer reviews and we've not been able to visit the resort ourselves. Sorry about that!
How much are holidays at Center Parcs Les Landes de Gascogne?
We looked at a couple of dates and found that Center Parcs Les Landes de Gascogne was the most expensive Center Parcs in France for a week in August 2022. However, it was mid priced for an off peak week in October.
See our full Center Parcs France guide for more details.
If you’ve been to a Haven holiday park before, you’ll have a fair idea of what to expect. You’ll get a good location near to beach, activities for the children and a swimming pool and other facilities to fill some time. There are also restaurants so you don't need to cook all week.
However, there have been some changes at Haven over the last few months which will affect 2022 holidays:
Back in 2021 you were asked to choose between Haven Stay or Haven Stay + Play. A Haven Stay holiday meant you got accommodation and access to the restaurants. However, you couldn’t use the swimming pool, watch the entertainment or sign up for the paid-for activities (minigolf, climbing walls etc).
Haven Stay + Play meant you could do anything you wanted, although you still paid for some activities.
For 2022, Haven Stay has been renamed as Haven Hideaway. Meanwhile, Haven Stay + Play is now just called a ‘Haven holiday’.
The big question is whether it is worth upgrading from a Haven Hideaway to a Haven holiday. We've written a whole blog post on this, but the summary is that:
2. You no longer need to book swimming (although you probably should...)
In 2021, you had to book a swimming session in advance at Haven holiday parks. Some people loved this as it spread out the visitor numbers and reduced queues. Other people were less keen and wanted to be more flexible.
In 2022, it isn't essential to book but most people should do anyway.
The new setup is that you can:
So, if you want to swim indoors with younger children then you will want to book. My children would not cope well with an evening swimming session!
You can book 28 days before your holiday arrival date - stick it in the diary and get in early! The link for booking is the Haven Experiences page.
3. The caravan grading system has changed
For the 2021 season you were asked to choose a Haven caravan in the following categories:
For 2022 holidays at Haven, the caravans are graded as:
Personally, I find the new system easier to understand. You wouldn't automatically know that 'deluxe' isn't as good as 'prestige' whereas 'bronze' and 'silver' is more straightforward.
It's not as simple as saying that Standard has become Saver or that Prestige has become Silver.
We've written a blog post comparing the different grades and explaining what you get for your money.
The difference in price between grades can be huge - a saver caravan for four people at Perran Sands is £1769 for a week in August 2022 (at the time of writing). A top-grade Signature Caravan is £4059 - that's £2290 more expensive. Gulp!
However, a brief summary is that:
4. Three Haven parks are getting big upgrades
Each year, Haven spends a good chunk of money on big upgrades to some of its parks. For 2022 that includes:
5. You don't need to book for live entertainment any more
Haven previously asked you to book for live shows in the evening. That's now been scrapped for 2022, so you can just turn up.
Meanwhile, if you want to dine at a restaurant then you only need to book if you want an inside table. Outside tables aren't reserved. For indoor seating, you can book from home up to 28 days in advance. Alternatively, you can book when you arrive.
Here's the link for booking a restaurant.
You may have noticed a couple of different prices appear when you’re booking a Haven holiday.
Option one is a ‘Haven’ holiday whilst option two is a ‘Haven Hideaway’ holiday. The ‘Haven Hideaway’ holiday is usually £80-£300 cheaper for a week.
So, what’s the difference and is it worth paying the higher price?
In summary, a Haven Hideaway holiday means that you can't use the onsite facilities except for the restaurants, shop, launderette and takeaway.
The official explanation is here, or you can read on for more details of what a Haven Hideaway holiday includes and our opinion of whether it's worth upgrading.
'Haven Stay' is now called 'Haven Hideaway'
Haven has offered two options for its holidays for a while now but they were previously called ‘Haven Stay’ (now called 'Haven Hideaway') or ‘Haven Stay + Play’ (now just called a ‘Haven’ holiday).
In summary, a standard Haven holiday gives you accommodation plus access to all the free onsite facilities (e.g. swimming pool, evening entertainment). You can also choose whether you want to pay for the extra activities (e.g. climbing walls, archery, zip wires etc)
A Haven Hideaway holiday just gives you accommodation, plus access to the restaurants. You can’t use the swimming pool and you can’t sign up for the paid for activities.
Haven Hideaway is aimed at people who want a good value caravan holiday but just want a base for exploring the local area.
My understanding is that Haven introduced these options when Covid-19 led to a boom in staycations. They were getting lots of first time visitors who didn’t want to mingle with everyone else but liked the beachside location and the reliable accommodation offered by Haven.
What you need to know about Haven holidays vs Haven Hideaway holidays
What’s the difference in price between a Haven holiday and a Haven Hideaway holiday?
Roughly speaking, you’ll save about £80-£300 if you don’t use any of the facilities at a Haven holiday during a week’s holiday.
However, the exact amount you save by going for a Haven Hideaway holiday varies depending on a) the time of year b) the number of facilities at the holiday park and c) how long you are staying for.
For example, a family of four staying at Haven Devon Cliffs for a week in August 2022 would pay from £1505 for a Haven Hideaway holiday or £1715 for a standard Haven holiday (based on the cheapest accommodation available). That’s a total of £210 to use the facilities, or £7.50 per person, per day.
Meanwhile, a family of four staying at Haven Lydstep Beach for a week in September 2022 would only pay £3.21 per person, per day to use the facilities. That price is based on a bronze caravan costing £853 for a Haven holiday or £763 for a Haven Hideaway holiday.
For a more detailed comparison, we looked at the cost of upgrading from Haven Hideaway to a standard Haven holiday at Hafan y Mor in Wales. It's a huge holiday park with excellent facilities, so you’d expect to pay quite a lot extra for the facilities.
Here’s the cost of upgrading for a family of four in the cheapest accommodation available at Hafan y Mor:
The prices are similar to Haven Devon Cliffs, which is another large and popular resort:
So, the amount you’re paying to upgrade is pretty significant in the summer but is much less in the autumn.
Will you get value for money with a Haven holiday?
One thing to consider is that you will likely spend more money off site if you get a Haven Hideaway holiday. For example, you might decide to visit Crealy Theme Park if you’re staying at Devon Cliffs. A family of four will pay about £80 entry. That’s a fairly big chunk of your £90 saving if you’re visiting Devon Cliffs in October but is less of a big deal if you’ve saved yourself £275 by choosing Haven Hideaway in June.
It also depends on what your family enjoys doing on holiday. A Haven Hideaway means that you can’t watch the entertainment provided at Haven Devon Cliffs, but you might prefer a trip to the cinema in Exmouth (about £25 for a family ticket).
If you want a family swim every day then you’d be better using the facilities at Devon Cliffs. If you just want a basic swim on one day, you’d be better paying £15 for a family swim at the council swimming pool in Exmouth.
It’s worth doing a detailed investigation to figure out what your children are looking forward to doing. If they just want to do an aerial adventure or zip wire then you’d be better visiting a nearby Go Ape (£20-£30) rather than paying £100-£300 for a Haven holiday and then another £12 for the Haven Adrena-Line zip wire.
Conclusion - Haven holidays v Haven Hideaway holidays
If you’re visiting off-peak, I would certainly go for the ‘standard’ Haven holiday even if you mostly plan to spend time offsite. You’ll probably pay less than £100 for a family of four for a week, which is good value compared to local days out.
If you’re visiting a larger Haven resort during the school holidays then it’s a bit of a trickier decision as the difference can be around £300. That will pay for a few days out or meals out, so you’ll need to use the onsite facilities quite a lot to get value for your money.
Also remember that paying for the standard ‘Haven’ holiday doesn’t mean you can do every activity onsite for free. Several things cost extra, although the prices aren't as high as Center Parcs in my experience.
Generally, I think it's worth paying for the full Haven holiday experience. Downgrading to a Haven Hideaway holiday means that your kids won't be able to join in with the entertainment or ride down the flumes - which may be a problem if they make friends with the kids in the caravan next door.
Butlins Skegness is one of three Butlins resorts in the UK. Here’s our complete guide to Butlins Skegness, including:
Is a Butlins Skegness holiday right for my family?
Butlins Skegness is the most northerly of the three Butlins resorts. If you live anywhere north of Birmingham it will likely be your closest Butlins.
Butlins certainly isn’t as old-fashioned as you may be imagining. The knobbly knee competitions have gone and you can get now get a good value family holiday with a very good swimming pool, big name entertainers and a free funfair.
You don’t get the leafy surroundings of Center Parcs or Forest Holidays but a) Butlins Skegness is considerably cheaper and b) you get a local beach nearby.
My opinion is that Butlins Skegness is a good choice if you want a holiday where you don’t need to continually get in the car to leave the site. There is enough at Skegness Butlins to entertain you for several days without spending much money.
If you prefer to get out and explore the big attractions in an area then I would go for a Haven or Parkdean Resorts instead. Otherwise, you’re not making the most of the facilities and shows.
How do I choose the right accommodation at Butlins Skegness?
Butlins Skegness currently has eight different types of accommodation, which is a bit overwhelming for first time bookers.
However, it’s quite easy to narrow down your options.
First, decide if you want a ‘room’ or an ‘apartment’.
A ‘room’ is the cheapest option but it doesn’t have a kitchen or a lounge. Standard Rooms are the cheapest accommodation at Butlins Skegness, whilst Silver Rooms are a bit more expensive. There’s not much difference in what facilities you get but the Silver Rooms are slightly nicer and more modern.
An ‘apartment’ is more expensive than a ‘room’ at Butlins Skegness but you get a kitchen and a lounge. It's what I used to call a 'chalet'. If you can afford an apartment, I would go for this option even if you decide to get a dining plan. The extra space is useful and you may end up eating lunches in your accommodation.
The difference in price between a Silver Room and a Standard Apartment is often very small, particularly outside of school holidays.
What's the difference between the apartments at Butlins Skegness?
If you go for an apartment, you’ll need to decide what level of luxury you want. At the time of writing, Skegness Butlins has six different grades of apartment including ‘standard apartments’, ‘silver apartments’ and ‘new style silver apartments’ at the cheap end of the scale.
The more expensive apartments at Skegness Butlins are ‘gold apartments’, ‘fairground apartments’ and ‘seaside apartments’.
So, what do you get for upgrading?
The difference in facilities between the three cheaper types of apartment is minimal. You get a TV, lounge, bedding provided and Wifi regardless of which one you choose. The difference between them is more to do with décor and how modern they are.
The three more expensive types of apartment at Skegness come with towels, daily housekeeping and a hairdryer. However, you are mostly paying for a more interesting décor and design. The fairground and seaside apartments are nicely done and add to the holiday feel.
My personal opinion is that the upgrades are worth going for if you are visiting off peak.
For a week’s holiday in August 2022, a family of four might pay as much as £600 to upgrade from a standard apartment to a gold apartment. During early December 2022, the same upgrade would cost about £150.
Personally, I would save myself £600 and pay for a few extra activities.
What is there to do at Butlins Skegness?
Let’s start with the three big things included with your booking at Butlins Skegness.
Once you’ve filled a good chunk of time with swimming, funfair rides and live shows, you can either fill time with the other free things or pay for extra activities.
Free activities at Butlins include the beach (obviously), soft play and sand art.
Stuff you pay extra for includes minigolf (£4 a game), bowling (about £6 per person), balance bikes (£6), go karts (£6), music making (£5), football academy (£10), archery (£6), pottery painting (£10 + whatever you paint), laser tag (£15) and high ropes/zip wires (about £20 for a bundled package)
If you’ve been to Center Parcs, you’ll see that prices are generally a bit lower at Butlins. However, the prices can certainly stack up for a family of four, so include that in your budget (or just stick to the free stuff).
You can always leave the site and see other stuff in Skegness such as the rides at Fantasy Island, Natureland Seal Sanctuary or Skegness Aquarium.
Should I pay for a dining plan at Butlins Skegness?
If you choose a ‘room’ rather than an ‘apartment’ then you will definitely want a dining plan.
If you have an apartment, then it’s up to you whether you want meals provided.
The cheapest dining plan is ‘food court dining’. It’s a buffet in a big room where you can load up your plate and eat as much as you want. There’s a salad bar, a choice of hot main courses (5 or 6 usually) and sides. Hot drinks and soft drinks are included but alcohol isn’t included. There are also kids' meals, half a dozen puddings and an ice cream factory which is similar to Pizza Hut’s ice cream machine. You won't go hungry.
The Premium Dining plan is more expensive but it’s more like a restaurant and the choice of food is a bit wider. They do theme nights, carveries and the choice at breakfast is better. Again, soft drinks are included but alcohol isn’t.
The Dinearound Dining plan is the final upgrade. It allows you to tour round different venues and it includes a beer or a glass of wine for the grown ups. You can also swap round so that your main meal is at lunchtime.
One option is to self cater but to eat out once or twice at the pay-as-you-go restaurants. However, this can be quite expensive. When we checked, a family of two adults and one child would pay about £35 for breakfast and evening meals each day with a dining plan. Similar meals at the Beachcomber Restaurant at Skegness Butlins was about £60.
If you end up doing self catering half the time and then eating out half the time, it will cost you a lot of money. You might as well have signed up for a dining plan.
If you go for self catering, bring your own food rather than buying everything on site as the shop is more like corner shop prices than supermarket prices. Last time I checked you could get a supermarket delivery (Asda, Tesco, Sainsburys etc) to the entrance at Butlins Skegness but they can’t come on site.
Money saving tips for a Butlins Skegness holiday
We’ve mentioned a few money saving tips already, but here are some of our other favourite ways to save money on a Butlins Skegness holiday
When is the best time to visit Butlins Skegness?
If you have pre-school children then I would visit Butlins Skegness for one of their Just For Tots breaks. They take place on weekdays during term time and are cheaper than a school holiday break. If you pick your dates carefully you'll get to see a star from CBeebies or Milkshake which will go down well with your children. Well, they might have a tantrum and complain for no reason - who knows...
Here's our full guide to Just For Tots breaks.
If you have children at school then you can either squeeze in a term time weekend such as a 'Showtime Weekend Break' or a break during the school holidays. Holidays at Butlins during school holidays are more expensive than weekends. However, the biggest stars and performers appear during school holidays so you are getting more for your money.
If you visit during term time with children then the main advantage is that the resort is much quieter. That's particularly good news in the swimming pool.
Skegness is warmest during July and August and it gets a similar level of sunshine from May to August. September is warmer than April (Weather-and-Climate.com).
How does Skegness Butlins compare to the other Butlins resorts?
The three Butlins resorts are relatively similar, so I recommend going to the nearest one. However, if you live in Birmingham (for example) then you are a similar distance from all three.
In our 2022 comparison, Butlins Bognor Regis was the best value for money. However, Skegness was the winner in 2021. Honestly, the prices vary depending on dates and availability. Butlins Skegness was most expensive in some of our price comparisons, but was mid-priced in other comparisons.
Butlins Skegness, Minehead and Bognor all get similar review scores. Skegness and Bognor are tied in first, but Minehead isn’t far behind.
The swimming pool at Skegness isn’t as new as the Bognor Regis pool, but it’s newer than Minehead's. Skegness has a couple fewer funfair rides than Bognor, but it has a sandier beach and a cinema.
Images are from Butlins.com
A Butlins family holiday in Skegness, Minehead or Bognor Regis is usually pretty good value. There's plenty of budget accommodation and more activities are included in the upfront price than you get with Center Parcs.
However, at peak times a family of four can easily pay well over £1000 for a week's Butlins holiday.
Here are our favourite ways of keeping the cost of Butlins holiday down - and how to squeeze out the best value from your holiday.
1) Pick your accommodation carefully
Choosing the right accommodation is the most important thing in getting value for money from a Butlins holiday.
The cheapest option is usually a ‘room’ but you don’t get any cooking facilities or a lounge with that. For a few pounds more you get a ‘suite’ which includes a lounge but still doesn’t have a kitchen.
An ‘apartment’ with a kitchen is the next upgrade and that is what we go for. Even if you get a dining package, it is useful to have somewhere to prepare snacks or a late night bowl of cereal. The difference in price compared to a 'room' is often quite small – particularly for an off peak holiday.
For example, a week in September 2022 for a family of four in Minehead is £240 for the cheapest room or £269 for the cheapest apartment. That is £29 well spent in my opinion.
Booking as early as possible is important with Butlins. If you wait too long then you’ll find that the cheapest accommodation has been booked up and you’ll have to pay extra for upgrades which you might not need.
If you upgrade you can expect to get things like towels provided, an extra TV in a bedroom or a bit of outside space. However, the main difference is that the more expensive accommodation tends to be a bit more modern and has more interesting décor. We’ve written a full guide to the different types of accommodation at Butlins and what you get for upgrading.
My advice is to think about how much time you will spend out and about and whether you plan to pay extra for a dining package. If it’s the summer and you are a busy family with plenty of energy then I would just go for a Standard Apartment or a Silver Apartment, particularly if you are getting a dining plan.
If it’s off-peak and the weather isn’t so good then you might spend a bit more time in the accommodation. Also, if you plan to cook for yourself then you’ll get better value out of more expensive accommodation. In those circumstances, I would upgrade to something like a Gold Apartment or a Seaside Apartment. The difference in price will be much smaller outside of the peak season.
2) Make the most of the free activities at Butlins
Butlins includes a lot more activities for free than Center Parcs in my experience. However, you can still save yourself a packet by sticking to the free stuff.
A typical free day at Butlins could include:
Meanwhile, a splash-the-cash day out could end up costing quite a bit for a family of four. For example:
For those five activities, you’ll pay a total of £138. Butlins activity prices are cheaper than Center Parcs in my experience, but it’s still a lot extra to pay when you could be doing a lot for free.
Without wishing to tell grandma how to suck eggs, my advice is to agree in advance what you’ll pay for to avoid an unwanted tug on the arm as you walk past the go-karts.
As an aside, the bundled passes such as the ‘adrenaline pass’ can save you a few pounds if you planned to do all the activities anyway.
3) Self cater or get a dining plan. Don’t do 50/50.
Dining plans work out much cheaper per meal than eating in the pay-as-you-go restaurants at Butlins. I would avoid doing a 50/50 split of self catering and dining out as you won’t get the best value.
For example, we looked at a four night break in early October 2022 and found it was £140 for a family of three people to add on two meals a day. We then looked at the cost of eating out for two days at the Beachcomber Restaurant at Skegness and found that it would cost you about £120. That was based on two main courses, a kids meal, three puddings, three soft drinks and two coffees plus breakfast.
So, you’ve already spent £120 and you still need to self cater for another two days.
4) Get a Kids Pass
If you sign up for a Kids Pass you can get an extra £20 off at Butlins. There are some terms and conditions – for example, you can’t use it on a two night stay or rooms for two.
You’ll pay £1 for a trial of a Kids Pass. If you don’t cancel then the current price is £4.99 a month.
5) Join the Butlin’s Premier Loyalty Club
Butlins run a scheme called the Butlin’s Premier Loyalty Club, which gives a discount for frequent visitors. You can’t really game the system and you are automatically enrolled rather than applying for it.
The idea is that if you visit three times in three years then you get an extra 5% discount. The good news is that the offer can be applied on top of other deals. If you visit more often then you get extras such as vouchers to spend onsite.
Theoretically, you could visit for cheap-as-chips off peak breaks to quality for the discount and then apply it to a longer on-peak break. For example, a midweek holiday in a standard room in October 2022 in Minehead starts at £92. If you did something similar three times then you’d get the 5% after spending £276.
You could then book a week in a top-of-the range Bayside Apartment at Minehead for £2759. The 5% discount would save you £138 – or roughly half the cost of your midweek breaks.
Honestly, it’s more of a nice extra for loyalty rather than something you can 'hack'. However, if you have already visited twice in two years then it might be worth planning another short break.
6) Don’t buy all your food from the on-site shops
This won’t surprise you, but the prices in the onsite shops are not as cheap as an off-site supermarket. The prices are more like a corner shop.
7) Check for deals and discounts
The Butlins website has an offers page which is worth a look. Butlins discounts codes are quite hard to find, but there are sometimes good deals to be had, such as money off dining plans.
8) Book the last week in August
If you want to visit Butlins in August, you'll pay the highest prices of the year. However, there is sometimes a drop in price if you visit during the last week of the school holidays. Most people don't want to go away and the weather is a little bit colder - even in sunny Skegness...
As an example, a week in a Fairground Apartment starting on 12th August 2022 would cost £1556 for a family of four.
The same holiday starting on August 26th 2022 was £1286. That's a saving of £270.
It doesn't always work out cheaper, but it's worth a look.
...I won’t even bother pointing out that it’s cheaper to visit Butlins outside of school holidays. You knew that already and there's nothing you can do about it - unless you fancy a playground telling off from the headteacher.
Images are from Butlins.
A fascinating comparison of Woodland Lodges, Executive Lodges, Exclusive Lodges and Treehouses at Center Parcs UK
There are four main types of lodge at Center Parcs in the UK - Woodland (£), Executive (££), Exclusive (£££) and Treehouses (££££). We'll use £ symbols throughout this guide to help you get your head round the options.
You can also choose whether you want to upgrade to 'newer' versions of each lodge and there are some other options (which we'll discuss later).
A big factor in helping you decide is the size of your group.
If you are a family of three or four then you are really only choosing between Woodland (£) and Executive (££) - unless you've recently had a lottery win. This is because the Exclusive (£££) and Treehouse lodges (££££) have four bedrooms, so you'll be paying a huge amount per head if you only use a couple of the bedrooms.
Let's start with a rather massive table of what you get with each type of Center Parcs lodge and then I'll move on to a summary of the main differences.
*The ideal group size means that you'll get best value for money if you have this number of people. Of course, a family of four could hire a treehouse but they all have four bedrooms so you'll be paying a huge amount per person.
Key differences between the four main types of lodge at Center Parcs
1. Center Parcs Woodland Lodge (£)
Woodland Lodges are the cheapest accommodation at Center Parcs. You get kitchen facilities, a lounge with a TV, bedrooms, a patio area, a log burner and towels provided. You don't get any frills or fancy features but it's still in a nice woodland setting.
The best thing about them is that they are available in loads of different sizes - including Woodland Lodges for two people or for a party of 12.
2. Center Parcs Executive Lodges (££)
Executive Lodges are only a modest upgrade from Woodland Lodges but you don't tend to pay a huge amount more. You get the same facilities as a Woodland Lodge but you also get ensuite bathrooms including a whirlpool bath/jacuzzi/hydrobath. That's certainly not quite as fancy as a hot tub, but it's still a nice addition. You also get TVs in the bedrooms, a coffee machine and a wine cooler.
Some of the the bigger Executive Lodges have games rooms and hot tubs, but you don't get that with the standard sized ones with two bedrooms.
So, the differences are not mind blowing but when we checked for a week at Whinfell Forest in August 2022, it was only £50 to upgrade from a New Style Woodland Lodge to New Style Executive Lodge. I'd say that is good value and is probably worth it.
3. Center Parcs Exclusive Lodges (£££)
There's a big jump up in price to a Center Parcs Exclusive Lodge. You can expect to pay about 50% extra per person per night, or perhaps even twice the price (based on the price comparisons we did below).
Exclusive Lodges have four bedrooms, so they are prohibitively expensive per person unless there are seven or eight of you to spread the price out.
The most significant upgrades are that you get a games room, a sauna, a steam room and a hot tub. That makes a big difference if you plan to spend a lot of time socialising with your own party rather than doing non-stop activities.
My opinion is that if it's a family reunion then it may be worth paying the extra. If you plan to swim every day, go for a bike ride, slide down a zip wire and then eat out for most meals then it's probably not worth the money.
You also get allocated parking in the car park, which is a small bonus in my opinion. The outside space you get is slightly better as well.
4. Center Parcs Treehouses (££££)
Finally, there's the option of upgrading to a Center Parcs Treehouse.
You mostly get the same things as you get with an Exclusive Lodge, but you also get a host, a balcony, more space and a somewhat cooler building. You get a hot tub and sauna, but you don't get a steam room. You also get a maid service, which will appeal to some people.
Honestly, I think it's hard to justify a Treehouse for the facilities alone. However, the design is pretty cool so it's no surprise that they often sell out first. If you are flushed and want a more memorable holiday then I would be tempted.
Take a look at our guide to the 6 Best Holiday Parks With Treehouses or some cheaper alternatives.
Is it worth upgrading accommodation at Center Parcs?
The short answer is that:
a) upgrading at Center Parcs is cheaper off peak than on peak
b) upgrading from a Woodland Lodge (£) to an Executive Lodge (££) is quite cheap and is probably worth it. However, upgrading to an Exclusive Lodge or Treehouse is very expensive so is only really worth considering if you plan to spend a lot of time in the lodge.
How much will upgrading accommodation at Center Parcs cost me?
For a rough price comparison, we looked at the scenario of two families of four people wanting to visit Center Parcs Sherwood Forest together for a week in August 2022. Let's call them the Smiths and the Jones.
Now let's see what the Smiths and Jones would pay for a similar holiday at Center Parcs Sherwood Forest in mid September 2022, during term time.
So, upgrading from a Woodland Lodge to a Treehouse during peak times costs about £1000 more than it does off peak. However, upgrading from a Woodland Lodge to a New Style Executive Lodge is only £5 per person, per night off peak - I'd say that's money well spent.
What other types of accommodation are at Center Parcs?
The two other types of Center Parcs accommodation to choose from are:
1. Center Parcs Hotels and Apartments
These are one bedroom 'Executive Apartments' which are aimed at couples or a parent with one child. You can stay in an apartment at any of the UK Center Parcs, but the hotel is only at Center Parcs Woburn Forest.
With an Executive Apartment you get a small kitchen, en-suite facilities and a balcony or terrace.
The main upgrade available is a 'Penthouse Apartment', which has a larger kitchen and more spacious living area. You also get an infrared sauna.
To give you a rough idea, we looked at the price of an Executive Apartment at Woburn Forest for a couple in mid September 2022 and found it cost £688 or £49 per person, per night. The upgrade to an Executive Penthouse was about twice the price at £1208 or £86 per person, per night.
The Center Parcs Hotel Rooms are currently only available at Woburn Forest. You don't get food provided, but you are near to the Plaza where they are places to eat. Bear in mind that eating out at Center Parcs isn't especially cheap!
2. Center Parcs Waterside Lodges
Finally, a brief mention for the Waterside Lodges. There are only three of them, which are at Elveden Forest so we've not included them in our comparisons. They sleep six people.
Holiday Park Guru Blog
Occasional thoughts on holidays in England, Wales, Scotland and further afield, including the latest deals, discounts and last minute offers.
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