The best guide to Center Parcs
With six incredible villages in the UK and Ireland, it’s difficult to know which Center Parcs to visit. They all boast beautiful, natural forest settings and first-rate facilities but there are subtle differences, and everyone has their favourite.
- Which Center Parcs is the best?
- Which Center Parcs village has the best location?
- Which Center Parcs has the best setting?
- Which Center Parcs is the newest?
- What is the best time of year to visit Center Parcs?
- Which Center Parcs has the best swimming pool?
- Which Center Parcs has the best Wild Water Rapids?
- Which Center Parcs is the best for toddlers?
- Which Center Parcs is the best for babies?
- Which Center Parcs is the best for adults?
- Which Center Parcs is the best for couples?
- Which Center Parcs is the best for dogs?
- Which Center Parcs is best for activities?
- Which Center Parcs is best for entertainment?
- Which Center Parcs is best for drinking and dining?
- Which Center Parcs is best for cycling?
- Which Center Parcs is best for spa facilities and relaxation?
With six villages across the UK and Ireland, each Center Parcs village is unique for your short break. They all feature hundreds of acres of natural forest landscapes, Aqua Sana Spa, Subtropical Swimming Paradise and Sports Plaza or Jardin Des Sports, but they also have their own unique characteristics – the giant redwoods at Longleat Forest, the Muntjac Deer at Elveden Forest, and the red squirrels at Whinfell Forest, for example. There really is something for all the family at every village, whatever the weather.
No matter where in the country, each Center Parcs village has over 400 acres of natural forest landscape to explore. Each village is uniquely different, with Longleat Forest having breath-taking views courtesy of the hills and valleys. Whinfell Forest is set in the stunning Lake District and offers incredible views of this national park. Guests usually pick their village depending on the ease of access from where they live. All Center Parcs villages are easily accessible by car, with plenty of parking on-site. Alternatively, all villages can be accessed by train and a short taxi journey.
- Whinfell Forest in Cumbria, is closest for people in Scotland and most of the north of England
- Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, is closest for people in most of the West Midlands, East Midlands and Yorkshire
- Longleat Forest in Wiltshire is closest for people in the West Country
- Elveden Forest in Suffolk is closest for people in parts of East Anglia
- Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire is closest for people in London, and some of East Anglia and the home counties
- Longford Forest in Longford is closest for people living in Ireland
No matter where in the country, each Center Parcs village has over 400 acres of beautiful, natural forest landscape to explore. The lie of the land is a little different at each village, with Longleat Forest having more rising ground that offers excellent viewpoints. It also has its own Land Train to get you around the village, so you can explore easily. Whinfell Forest is set in the stunning Lake District and offers incredible views of this national park. Elveden Forest is the only village that has unique Waterfront Apartments which are just a stone’s throw away from the lake. Many guests choose the village within the closest proximity from where they live.
The newest Center Parcs, which opened in July 2019, is Longford Forest in Longford, Ireland.
The fifth and newest Center Parcs in the UK is Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire, which opened in 2014.
Whinfell Forest in Cumbria opened in 1997.
Longleat Forest in Wiltshire opened in 1994.
Elveden Forest in Suffolk opened in 1989.
The original UK Center Parcs, Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, opened in 1987.
With up to 400 acres of natural forest landscapes, a range of accommodation and activities, a beach with watersports lake, Aqua Sana Spa and Subtropical Swimming Paradise, a Center Parcs village makes the perfect UK or Ireland family break destination at any time of year.
- In the summertime, barbecue on your private patio, relax and play on a sandy beach, take part in watersports and enjoy our adventure playgrounds
- An autumn break at Center Parcs is magical – spend hours exploring the forest and its changing colours, take part in nature activities and learn about wildlife preparing for winter, or choose from hundreds of indoor activities
- In wintertime, light your log fire in your lodge or stargaze from your Treehouse hot tub. Visit the Subtropical Swimming Paradise and enjoy spending time as a family in this tropical environment
- A springtime break is a perfect chance to soak up the first bit of sunshine on a woodland walk or dine alfresco. Whether it’s an Easter celebration or a bank holiday getaway, get outdoors with our range of activities to explore, from Aerial Adventure to Mini Trek
- Discover the villages as they transform into a magical winter playground on a Winter Wonderland break. Experience a sprinkle of snow, a spectacular firework, pyrotechnic or light and sound show (village dependant) and seasonal activities and menus
At the heart of every Center Parcs break is the incredible Subtropical Swimming Paradise. It’s heated to a balmy 29.5C all year round and decked with tropical plants and trees. All generations enjoy the wave pool, Wild Water Rapids, and whirlpool features. For your little ones, they can experience their first dip in a pool with Venture Bay equipped with spouts, slides and a splashing pool. For your older children, Venture Harbour is the perfect family play area with slides, giant tipping buckets and spray fountains for hours of fun.
Longford Forest is home to Ireland’s largest indoor water park with Wild Water Rapids and 350m of exhilarating rides and slides. Woburn Forest boasts the UK’s newest Center Parcs pool, with the Typhoon – a two-seater tube ride that will whiz you through a labyrinth of back-to-back turns and drops. Whinfell Forest boasts two spa pools, flumes, slides and a rip-roaring Canyon Ride. Elveden Forest has been recently updated to include the Tropical Cyclone raft ride, which takes you up to 30 miles per hour. Sherwood Forest has also been updated and now includes the infamous Tropical Cyclone raft ride.
The Wild Water Rapids is one of our most popular water rides at Center Parcs. With lots of twists, turns and drops, it’s fun for the whole family to try. Our Wild Water Rapids at each location is unique, but you’ll always find them in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise. So, what’s so great about each of them? Longford and Woburn Forest are the newest in Ireland and the UK. The original ones belong to Sherwood Forest, but at Whinfell, Elveden and Longleat Forest there’s most heart-racing drops, turns and twists – they’re all great, so why not try them all over time?
Center Parcs is the perfect place for a toddler-friendly holiday and each village extensively caters for young children. There’s a diverse environment for little feet to explore, from family water play areas, Venture Bay and Venture Harbour in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, to outdoor playgrounds. Our family-friendly lodges have everything you need for a break with your little ones, such as high chairs, cots, stair gates (in two-storey lodges), bed bumpers (upon request) and a step. Many of our restaurants are child-friendly, including children’s menus and activity sheets.
Top activities to keep little ones engaged include:
- Fun Pots with Tots – paint a fantastically original design on their favourite piece of pottery
- Mucky Pups – a creative session full of squidging, sticking and splashing fun
- Baby Owls – a great chance for you, along with your little ones to enjoy our very own sleepy barn owl, and some of his feathered friends
You can enjoy a stress-free family holiday with a baby at any of the Center Parcs villages, which all cater specifically for young families. There are baby-friendly lodges and restaurants, designed to make your break as relaxing and enjoyable as possible.
Top activities to keep babies entertained include:
Whether as a couple or a group of friends, there’s plenty to enjoy at every Center Parcs village. For an indulgent getaway, the private outdoor hot tubs offer an unforgettable place to relax and stargaze, while the luxury Aqua Sana Spa offers face and body treatments and therapies to rejuvenate.
Each village has over 400 acres of natural forest landscapes to explore on foot or by cycle, and the restaurants are great places to refuel afterwards. If you love dining out, Woburn Forest has exciting new restaurant brands Las Iguanas, Strada and Leon.
Get active together with some adrenaline-fuelled fun, try our Escape the Forest activity at Woburn Forest that will test your team's skills to find the keys and beat the clock. Or for something more sporty head to the courts for a doubles game of Badminton.
The six-bedroom Woodland Lodges available at Whinfell Forest, Sherwood Forest and Woburn Forest sleeping up to 12 people are perfect for big groups whether it be with friends or family.
You can make memories that last a lifetime on a couple's short holiday or romantic break at any one of the Center Parcs villages. Whether you want to relax in a spa, stargaze in a private outdoor hot tub or stroll in stunning woodland, Center Parcs is the ideal place for you.
Longford Forest, Woburn Forest, Longleat Forest and Sherwood Forest offer over 20 spa experiences in the Aqua Sana Spas, while Elveden Forest and Whinfell Forest have over 14 experiences, perfect for couples to relax and unwind or for an indulging dual treatment massage.
The new, contemporary Breckland Apartments at Elveden Forest are perfect for couples, friends, and parent-and-child duos.
Your dog is part of the family and deserves a break too! With over 400 acres of natural forest landscapes, each Center Parcs village offers an incredible space for your furry friend to explore. Dog-friendly lodges host up to two dogs, and there are designated areas where they can roam free.
With indoor, outdoor and water-based activities at each UK and Ireland village, you’re never stuck for something to do. Take your pick from adrenaline-fuelled thrills, calming creative activities and relaxing spa treatments. On every Center Parcs break, you'll find a beautiful sandy beach and glorious lake, perfect for watching wildlife or trying out a watersport. With something suitable for every age and every personality, the whole family will find an activity they love.
Most popular activities available at all locations include:
At each Center Parcs village, there are hundreds of ways to keep children entertained. However, at Sherwood Forest, Elveden Forest and Woburn Forest, children’s entertainers put on fun 45-minute shows too. Depending on the performer, these can include interactive games, lively songs and clever tricks. At Whinfell Forest, The Green Room hosts pantomimes all year round, twice weekly with singing, dancing and slapstick comedy, perfect for all ages.
Hearty meals, romantic tables for two, fully licensed bars or fun feeds for children, you’ll find it all at Center Parcs. Our newest addition to Woburn Forest and Longleat Forest is Las Iguanas, where you can dine on Latin American food and sip delicious cocktails in a tropical setting. At Woburn Forest, Strada serves up contemporary Italian dishes and hand-stretched pizzas, while ‘naturally fast’ favourite Leon is open for breakfast and lunch.
All of our villages have exclusive Center Parcs restaurants. The Pancake House is the perfect place for a delicious sweet or savoury treat, Rajinda Pradesh serves authentic dishes inspired by the Far East, and the Sports Café is where you can enjoy a delicious meal and a craft beer while watching a game on the big screens.
Cycling is the best way to get around at Center Parcs and all our villages have vehicle-light roads to make the experience as safe and fun as possible. At each village, there are hundreds of acres of glorious woodland to explore. Our Cycle Centre is equipped with a range of cycles for all ages, with our staff available to make sure you have the right wheels – be that a tandem or a trailer – and accessories to keep you comfy as you pedal. Longleat Forest has greater inclines than other villages, but if your legs get tired you can always lock up your cycles and hop on the Land Train.
Whether you’re a guest or are simply using the facilities for the day as a visitor, Aqua Sana Spa is the ultimate escape on a relaxing holiday. Each village has its own unique spa experiences in the heart of the forest that help you relax and restore, as well as connect with nature. Elveden Forest and Whinfell Forest have over 14 spa experiences, while Longford Forest, Woburn Forest, Longleat Forest and Sherwood Forest have over 20, including the Ice Cave and Lava Sauna.