Center Parcs breaks ‘hundreds of pounds’ cheaper on the continent, Which? finds

Consumer group Which? has analysed Center Parcs prices (Alamy/PA)
Consumer group Which? has analysed Center Parcs prices (Alamy/PA)

Holidaymakers stunned by the price of Center Parcs breaks in the UK could save “hundreds of pounds” by switching to the continent, new analysis shows.

Consumer group Which? compared the cost of a four-night stay at 16 sites across England, France and Belgium during August, October half-term, next year’s February half-term and Easter 2024.

The figures, based on holidays for a family of four, show those in the UK cost £1,274 on average, compared with £701 in Belgium and £833 in France.

Center Parcs UK said there is “huge demand for our short breaks in the UK”.

Which? found the biggest savings can be made over October half-term and Easter 2024, partly due to differences between school calendars in the countries analysed.

While an Easter holiday in the UK costs £1,259 on average, the same break can be booked for £392 in France and £800 in Belgium.

Center Parcs provides woodland-based holidays with accommodation in lodges and activities such as swimming, water sports, crafting and cycling.

Its five sites in England are: Elveden Forest, Suffolk; Longleat Forest, Wiltshire; Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire; Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire; and Whinfell Forest, Cumbria.

Which? said large savings can be made by booking trips on the continent even when travel costs are factored in.

It found return ferry sailings from Dover for a family of four during October half-term can be booked for around £125 to Calais and £170 to Dunkirk.

Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest
There are five Center Parcs sites in England, including in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire (Alamy/PA) (Alamy Stock Photo)

Jo Rhodes, deputy editor of consumer magazine Which? Travel, said: “While a holiday park may feel like a quintessentially British holiday, our research found that it’s well worth casting your eye beyond the Channel to snap up some significant savings.

“A family of four could save hundreds of pounds by choosing a Center Parcs resort in France or Belgium rather than in the UK, with the biggest savings over the October and Easter half-terms.

“Just do your research before you go, to make sure your chosen park has the facilities and activities you’re looking for.”

A Center Parcs UK spokesman said: “Center Parcs UK and Center Parcs Europe are entirely separate companies that share the same brand but operate under very different market conditions.

“This makes comparisons between the two difficult.

“There is huge demand for our short breaks in the UK which means we are almost full all year round.

“Sixty per cent of guests will go on to make another booking with us, which reflects the quality of the experience we offer.”