Center Parcs History

The Center Parcs journey so far, from opening in the UK in 1987 to the brand new developments happening today:


Aqua Sana launches its brand new Forest Spa concept at Sherwood Forest, opens new Tropical Cyclone and Typhoon water rides at Longleat Forest and reveals designs for new Waterside Lodge designs at Elveden Forest. Sherwood Forest celebrates its 30 year anniversairy, having opened in the summer of 1987. 57 new lodges are added to Woburn Forest to keep up with increasing demand for Center Parcs breaks.

More than £200,000 was raised for the charity partner, Together for Short Lives in the first 12 months and the partnership is extended to a three year partnership.

Official ‘breaking ground’ event takes place at Longford Forest with the Irish Prime Minister (An Taoiseach) in attendance.


A new charity partnership is launched with Together for Short Lives and five member hospices are linked to their closest Center Parcs villages including Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice, East Anglian Children's Hospice, Children's Hospice South West, Jigsaw Children's Hospice and Keech Hospice Care. Villages begin fundraising and helping to raise awareness about the cause. Center Parcs match-funds donations from quests when making a short break booking.

As part of an £80m investment across all villages, Treehouses are built and The Drop activity is launched at Elveden Forest. The new Breckland Apartments are opened near the Aqua Sana spa at Elveden Forest and the hotel near the lake is removed to make way for new style accommodation to be revealed in 2017.

Planning permission is granted for Center Parcs Longford Forest, the first ever Center Parcs village in Ireland.


Brookfield Property Partners agree to acquire Center Parcs UK from Blackstone.


Center Parcs' fifth UK Village, Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire, opens to guests on 6 June. Longleat Forest celebrates its 20th birthday in July and Elveden Forest celebrates its 25th birthday in August.


Center Parcs begins a two year charity partnership with ChildLine, supporting the ChildLine Schools Service, and The Wildlife Trusts, supporting the 'Real Life' appeal. Center Parcs announces the continuation of the Center Parcs National Schools Championships for a further two years. New family water playground, Venture Cove, opens at Elveden Forest as part of the ongoing investment into Center Parcs' Subtropical Swimming Paradise facilities. The cafés at all Aqua Sana Spas are re-branded from Zilli Café and The Conservatory to Vitalé Café Bar, with a new, healthy Mediterranean menu.

Center Parcs marks the end of its three year charity partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital Children's Charity, raising over £500,000 for the Beds for Bedz appeal.


Center Parcs celebrates 25 years in the UK having opened the first Village, Sherwood Forest, in 1987. Center Parcs launches the industry first Home Energy Savers scheme, encouraging employees to save energy in their own homes. As part of the ongoing investment into its Subtropical Swimming Paradise facilities, Center Parcs begins a complete redesign and refurbishment of the changing rooms at Whinfell Forest. Center Parcs launches its new £4 million family water ride, Tropical Cyclone, at Elveden Forest, joining two award-winning water rides together for a world-first. New restaurants and cafés, Dexters Kitchen and Canopy Café Bar, open at all Center Parcs Villages. New Style Exclusive Apartments and Penthouse accommodation opens at Whinfell Forest.

Construction begins at the site of the fifth UK Village, Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire.


Three new luxury Treehouses are completed at Longleat Forest and New Style Exclusive Lodges are built at Elveden Forest. Center Parcs' first ever Spa Suites open at Elveden Forest, offering a luxurious overnight spa break with direct access to Aqua Sana Spa.


The first Treehouses are completed at Sherwood Forest, bringing a unique accommodation to Center Parcs. New Style Exclusive Lodges open at Longleat Forest. Planning permission is granted for the fifth UK Village, Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire.


Phase three of the refurbishment of accommodation begins and, by Easter, almost 40% of accommodation has been refurbished.


As part of the continued investment into accommodation and facilities, every bed within each Village is replaced and the entire bike fleet is restored. Center Parcs signs its first franchise agreement and Starbucks Coffee Shops are introduced across all Villages. Center Parcs signs a five year partnership deal with BADMINTON England. Celebrity chef Aldo Zilli opens the first Zilli Café at Aqua Sana Longleat Forest.


An unprecendented investment programme begins, resulting in over £100 million spent on accommodation, restaurants and retail outlets. Agreements are signed with Tragus, SSP and The Nuance Group to manage a small number of restaurants and retail outlets on Center Parcs' Villages. Center Parcs teams up with interor designer Tara Bernerd of Target Living for the design of new accommodation, including newly built four bedroom Executive Lodges.

Outline planning permission is gained for a fifth UK Village, Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire.


Private equity firm, The Blackstone Group, acquires Center Parcs.


Center Parcs moves to the main stock market listing.


The business is floated on AIM (Alternative Investment Market).


Center Parcs takes over Oasis Holiday Village near Penrith and renames it Center Parcs Whinfell Forest. Center Parcs is sold to venture capitalists Deutsche Bank Capital Partners.


Longleat Forest opens in Wiltshire.


Elveden Forest opens in Suffolk. British brewers and retailers, Scottish & Newcastle, become the new owners of Center Parcs.


The concept of the 'villa in the forest' finds its way to the UK and Sherwood Forest is built in Nottinghamshire.


The first Center Parcs Village opens at De Lommerbergen in Holland.