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Families pay up to £570 more for UK instead of European Center Parcs

Rebecca Goodman
Written By:
Rebecca Goodman

It costs an average of £1,274 to stay at a UK Centre Parcs location but families could save up to £573 if they choose a European location instead, new research shows.

The average cost of a Centre Parcs in France is £833 and in Belgium it’s £701, a saving of 52% and 81% respectively when compared with the cost of a UK park.

These costs were calculated by Which? for a four-night holiday for a family of four over the following peak holiday periods, August, October and February half terms, and the first week of the Easter holidays.

It found the biggest price differences between the UK and Europe sites in the October and Easter holidays, due to the school term times being different.

The research shows that families could save a significant amount of money if they choose to stay in Europe instead of a UK Centre Parcs site.

A four-night stay in Easter 2024, for example, would cost £1,259 on average in the UK compared to £392 in France or £800 in Belgium.

While the average cost for a four-night break in the October half term was £613 in Belgium compared to £868 in France or £1,369 in the UK.

However, this is just the cost for the accommodation and travel, and doesn’t factor in the time it takes to get to a site which is further away.

The cost will depend on when you’re travelling and what route you take but in some cases even after travel was factored in the overall costs were still cheaper in Europe.

The group calculated the average costs for travel, and a return ferry trip from Dover to Dunkirk was approximately £170 in the October half term or £125 for a return ferry from Dover to Calais.

Le Shuttle was £179 over the Easter weekend and Calais, where the Eurotunnel comes into, is a two and a half hour drive from the nearest Centre Parcs.

Prices are cheaper when booking through the French website

British holidaymakers could also save money by booking through the French website, centreparcs.fr, instead of the English-language website, centreparcs.eu. Which? found prices in France and Belgium sites to be on average £68 cheaper when booked through the French website.

On top of the savings on accommodation, the cost for extra activities was also cheaper at the European locations. At the UK’s Whinfell forest park, for example, archery costs between £19 and £26.50 while it is £14 at Belgium’s Park de Haan.

Laser Battle games would also cost between £24.50 to £34.50 at Whinfell Forest and £15 at Park de Haan.

Holidaymakers could also save money by choosing a French holiday camp, such as Eurocamp. These should always be included when comparing the costs of holiday camps to make sure you’re getting the best value possible.

Jo Rhodes, deputy editor of 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.”