Center Parcs Europe Top tip: CenterParcs.fr is nearly always cheaper than CenterParcs.eu for exactly the same holiday. The saving can be more than €100 for a week's summer holiday. Your browser will translate CenterParcs.fr to English if you don't speak French!
**Center Parcs Europe 2024 Offer: 25% off your first stay + free activities**
Center Parcs Europe can cost half the price of a similar break at a Center Parcs in the UK* - but how far will you have to drive? Is it worth the extra effort and travel costs?
Here are the five Center Parcs in Europe which are quickest to reach from the UK by car via the Eurotunnel at Folkestone:
1. Center Parcs Park de Haan, Belgium - 1 hour 24 minutes from Calais (3/5 on TripAdvisor)
You might assume that the closest European Center Parcs to the UK is in France, but it's actually in Belgium. Take your car on the 35 minute Eurotunnel and a couple of hours later you could be arriving at Center Parcs Park de Haan (assuming you don't get stuck behind a Belgian tractor).
In our price comparisons, we found a week's holiday in August 2024 at Center Parcs Park de Haan for £1712. That was based on the cheapest accommodation for a family of four and doesn't include travel costs.
You usually get the best prices by booking through the French version of the Center Parcs Europe website (we concluded this after a lot of price checking!).
There are more than 60 activities listed on the Center Parcs Europe website at Park de Haan, including 27 free activities. That is mid-table compared to other similar sites around Europe. It's got the sort of large swimming pool which you associate with a Center Parcs holiday. Unusually for Center Parcs, Park de Haan is also close to a beach.
The bad news is that Center Parcs Park de Haan isn't the best Center Parcs in Belgium according to customers. It used to be a Sun Parks resort but it was rebranded in 2020. The resort only scores 3/5 on TripAdvisor. Reviews on Google reviews are a little better at 3.8/5.
The main languages in Belgium are Flemish (similar to Dutch) and French. However, you can get a long way speaking English in Belgium.
See our guide to the best Center Parcs resorts in Belgium for the full comparisons.
2. Center Parcs Lac d'Ailette, France - 2 hours 35 minutes drive from Calais (3/5 on TripAdvisor)
Center Parcs Lac d'Ailette is the second closest Center Parcs to the UK, assuming you are arriving in Calais by car. It's in a nice lakeside location and it performs well in price comparisons (see our full guide to Center Parcs in France).
Again though, it isn't the highest-rated French Center Parcs with customers. That honour belongs to Le Bois Aux Daims which is a much more testing drive of about six hours from Calais.
Center Parcs Lac d'Ailette gets scores similar review scores to Center Parcs Park de Haan (see above) - 3/5 on TripAdvisor and 3.8/5 on Google reviews. That is some way behind the 4/5 and 4.1/5 awarded to Le Bois Aux Daims.
In our price comparisons, Center Parcs Lac d'Ailette was the cheapest (or thereabouts) of all the French Center Parcs. We found that a week in August 2024 starts at £1404, which is £300 less than Center Parcs Park de Haan.
The good news is Center Parcs Lac d'Ailette has 92 facilities and activities, which is about 30 more than Center Parcs Park de Haan. It is worth mentioning the caveat here that Center Parcs lists similar activities as separate things on their website. For example, each feature within the swimming pool counts as a different activity.
Another bit of good news is that Center Parcs Lac d'Ailette is relatively new, having opened in 2007. Center Parcs Park de Haan is much older, having originally opened in 1987 before its revamp and rebrand as Center Parcs in 2020.
Personally, I would feel a little more comfortable at a French Center Parcs than a Dutch or Belgian one as I can stumble along with my GCSE French. I got an A but I'm very humble so I don't like to mention it or make a big thing of it (Ed: er, I think you just did).
3. Center Parcs Vossemeren, Belgium - 3 hours 18 minutes from Calais (4/5 on TripAdvisor)
Center Parcs Vossemeren in Belgium is an excellent choice for a European Center Parcs which is near to the UK.
It achieves the best review scores of the five featured in this guide - currently 4/5 on TripAdvisor or 4.3/5 on Google Reviews. The swimming pool ('Aqua Mundo') is reviewed separately and is given an admirable score of 4.4/5.
Prices are competitive. We found a week in August 2024 for £1306 for a family of four, which puts it roughly on a par with Center Parcs Lac d'Ailette. The cheapest price for a similar holiday at Center Parcs in the UK was £2128, although you would likely save on travel costs.
The range of activities is excellent, with 115 different things listed on the Center Parcs website including 32 free things to do.
Center Parcs Vossemeren is a relatively old resort having opened in the 1980s. However, it has been updated a fair bit since then.
4. Center Parcs De Kempervennen, Netherlands - 3 hours 21 minutes drive from Calais (3.5/5 on TripAdvisor)
The fourth closest European Center Parks resort for UK visitors is actually in the Netherlands. This confuses my understanding of European geography, but I'll get over.
Center Parcs De Kempervennen gets the second best reviews of the five Center Parcs we've featured in this guide - 3.5/5 on TripAdvisor or 4/5 on Google reviews.
It has a good number of activities (88, including 30 free ones) and it has been renovated in recent years. Reviews for its swimming pool can be found separately - it achieves 4.2/5 which is very good.
Week-long holidays in August 2024 for a family of four started at £1208 when we searched. That is cheaper than Park de Haan and Lac d'Ailette.
Here's the thing though.
If you are already driving 3 hours 21 minutes to get to Center Parcs De Kempervennen then I would be tempted to drive an extra 18 minutes to reach Center Parcs Het Meerdal. It gets better reviews, it is usually cheaper and it has a few more activities. Het Meerdal also has better dog-friendly and baby-friendly accommodation.
See our full guide to the best Center Parcs in the Netherlands to see how we reached that conclusion.
5. Center Parcs Villages Nature Paris, France - 3 hours 23 minutes from Calais (3/5 on TripAdvisor)
The fifth closest Center Parcs to Calais is a curiosity.
Center Parcs Villages Nature Paris is a joint venture with Disneyland Paris. The idea is that you spend two or three days at Disneyland Paris, which is 10 minutes down the road. You spend the rest of your time at Center Parcs.
The only snag with this idyllic hybrid holiday is that customer reviews have been disappointing since Centre Parcs Villages Nature Paris opened in 2017. It currently scores 3/5 on TripAdvisor and 3.5/5 on Google reviews. According to the summary of reviews offered by Google reviews, guests said that 'cleanliness & maintenance could be improved'. Lots of guests also mention the lack of air conditioning as a negative in summer.
The good news is that the swimming pool ('Aqua Mundo/Aqualagon') gets very good reviews.
Center Parcs Villages Nature Paris is also one of the more expensive CenterParcs in Europe. In our comparison, it was consistently the most expensive of the seven Center Parcs in France. We found that a week in August for four people starts at £2081, is about £800 more than Center Parcs De Kempervennen.
(Top tip - Book your accommodation through Center Parcs' French website and then book your own Disneyland Paris tickets. We found this was cheaper than getting a bundle of accommodation and tickets from Disneyland Paris).
Read our full guide to Center Parcs Villages Nature Paris which includes advice on saving money.
Please note that the predicted travel time varies a bit depending on when you check on Google maps. Review scores correct at the time of writing.
Our 'less than half price' claim is based on our price comparisons for August 2024. We found the cheapest week's holiday at Center Parcs UK for a family of four was £2128 for the cheapest accommodation available. A similar search at CenterParcs.fr found a week at Center Parcs Les Ardennes in Belgium from £1072. There are a few caveats to this. Firstly, you need to add on travel costs - don't drive across Europe if it will only save you a tenner. Secondly, take a look at our comparison of Center Parcs Europe, as some resorts are better than others. Thirdly, you need to book through CenterParcs.fr for this price - it usually costs more to book through CenterParcs.eu. Fourthly, exchange rates mean that the price of Center Parcs in Europe vary throughout the year. We searched in November 2023.
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