I was very lucky to have some good advice from Katy from Katykicker.com before my first holiday to Center Parcs. Without a few tips from her, I could have ended up spending loads of money that I really didn’t need to. Now, having been myself I thought I’d share with you some ways to save money during your holiday!
Book meals in advance
For quite a few of the restaurants at Center Parcs you can book your meals in advance online. To do this, you need to pay a £5 deposit per person. However this money is taken off your final bill meaning you have a little bit less to pay on the day. This actually made quite a difference for us and I would definitely do it again in the future. I wish I could have paid a bit more off over time but unfortunately, that’s not possible!
The absolute cheapest way to do a Center Parcs holiday on a budget is to eat in the lodge. If you’re travelling in the car and can pack quite a lot, stock up on food and drink. You’ll be able to cook pretty much anything in the lodge and if you’re going as a group, pitching in on supplies can save you a lot of money. An average meal out will cost you £15-£20 per person for 1 course plus a drink. We ate breakfast in the lodge every day and also ate most lunches here as well. It would have been a very expensive holiday otherwise.
Making a list of everything you need to pack/ take with you before you holiday will be a massive help. As Center Parcs is a self-catering holiday, you actually need to take quite a lot with you, especially if you’re planning on eating in the lodge for some meals. The lodge comes with a few basic tea and coffee items but not much else.
Even though I thought we were prepared, we forgot some things and ended up having to buy some bits from the supermarket. The shop is more expensive than a regular supermarket and some things cost considerably more!
Center Parcs is fantastic for being able to see some wildlife up close and to do this, you need some food to tempt them with. The supermarket at Center Parcs does sell nuts and bird food, as well as feeders but you can get these much cheaper in places like Poundland or even on Amazon. We took a couple of bags with us but we could have done with more.
We found that the squirrels really like peanuts and quite a few ate out of our hands as we were walking about. It’s worth taking a really big bag or a couple of smaller bags and taking some out in small containers with you.
Plan activities well
As this was our first holiday to Center Parcs we had no real idea about what we would like to do or how much time we would have to explore etc. We chose not to book in too many activities as we didn’t want to be super busy all of the time and also, the activities really add up if you want to do a lot.
We chose 2 activities for Erin which were Sensory Play and Owl Babies and these were £7 for the child and then £10 per person for Owl Babies.
Three of us chose to do Target Archery (£24.50 each).
My sister and I had a 3 hour spa session (£35 each and no treatments included).
There is loads to do around Center Parcs, especially if you have small children with you. There are loads of places to go for walks or bike rides (they cost to hire so take your own if you can). There are also loads of play grounds and soft play areas for the children, as well as a beach and the lake to visit! Swimming is also included in the price of your holiday and we went every day.
We also found that it was quite nice to relax in the lodge after lunch for a few hours. Being a holiday, we all wanted to relax a bit and not go back even more tired than when we arrived!
You can really make a Center Parcs holiday as cheap or expensive as you like. We took around £200 with us for food and this was about right. We had 2 lunch time meals and 4 evening meals in the restaurants and bought a few things from the shop as we couldn’t carry everything on the train!