Set in woodland in rural inland Suffolk, Center Parcs Elveden Forest is as popular as its three siblings around the UK for activity-based, weatherproof family holidays or breaks, whether with young kids or with teens keen to do their own thing in a safe, car-free environment. Most activities cost extra, but self-catering facilities and a fairly priced on-site supermarket help you stay within budget. It’s worth investing in one of the higher categories of accommodation, which are fresher, with more modern décor.
See our feature on a family break at Center Parcs Elveden Forest.
Bumblebees Crèche (ages 3 months–1 year, 1–2 years; 2–3 years; extra charge; pre-booking advised).
Ofsted-registered kids’ club (ages 3–7; extra charge; pre-booking advised).
Babysitting; extra charge.
There are 6 grades of villa, all with kitchens, cots and highchairs. In some categories you need to hire towels (or bring your own). Other extras are a welcome pack of food, fire logs and BBQ packs. Pets are allowed in certain accommodation at extra cost. Note that you choose where you want to stay (by the lake, the shops, the swimming pool and so on) using the online resort map.
Comfort (1–4 bedrooms).
Comfort Plus (1-4 bedrooms; dishwasher).
New Woodland Style Lodge (1-4 bedroom; dishwasher).
Original Style Executive (1-4 bedroom; dishwasher; daily maid service; free WiFi; sauna in some).
New Style Executive Lodge (1-4 bedrooms; dishwasher; daily maid service; free WiFi; sauna in some; games room in 4-bedroom).
Original Style Exclusive (4 bedroom; dishwasher; daily maid service; free WiFi; sauna, steam room and enclosed garden with hot tub).
Most activities subject to extra charge; some can be pre-booked before arrival (advisable where available) and some are age/height dependant.
Childcare (see above).
Subtropical swimming paradise with pools and flumes (all free) plus swimming and scuba-diving lessons. From 12 Nov 2012 features the unique £4m Tropical Cyclone water-ride plus a new family pool, The Lagoon.
Restaurants, cafés and bars, some offering takeaway.
Abseiling, high ropes and tree-trekking.
Walking and cycling trails and nature activities.
Creative activities (ie family photo shoots, photography lessons).
Seasonal activities and events, ie Winter Wonderland, Halloween half-term and Mothers/Fathers Day.
Watersports tuition: sailing, kayaking and windsurfing
Fitness and exercise classes (incluing family fun cheerleading and line-dancing).
Supermarket, sportswear shop and other outlets.
A Great weekend away
We had a great weekend at Centre Parcs.We arrived at Centre Parcs to go to our accommodation. It was nicer than our last years accommodation as had a Jacuzzi bath. We had an executive 2 bed accommodation. It was in a good position and once our bikes were unloaded we then went and sorted a hire out for my daughters bike. It was simple to do and the front light on the bike was so much more powerful than the ones we had brought for our own bikes. She was happy with her bike for the weekend. In the evening we ate at the Sports Bar as we hadn’t made a reservation. The children watched the roller disco whilst we ateYet it has a small children’s indoor play area too so I did find my daughter disappear after she had ate. We only had kids meal deals and one course adult meal which came to about £40. Obviously if we had ate in our accommodation we could have done something cheaper. The excited children decided to use the Jacuzzi that evening so after dinner we just went back and relaxed.The next morning my son and husband went to an Archery lesson whilst we went to the pool. They really enjoyed the lesson and as its was the first lesson in the day they were the only ones booked. They had excellent tuition and really enjoyed it. Meanwhile my daughter and I went to the pool which we were a bit too early for as they were still in a parent and baby class. Although we waded at the edge until the class had finished and then went for our swim and the slides. My son had a fencing lesson later on, which again he loved and was in his element. The sunshine came out so we sat outside outside the sports bar whilst the children played in the well equipped park. That evening we had a table reservation for 24 of us in Hucks. For us it was brilliant as the children all did the buffet together then went off to play together in the play area and on the computers. It was great that us parents could relax as the children were happy. Reservations are recommended in advance of the restaurants at £5 a person.The next morning my daughter did the Pony Walk which she was happy about. My son and husband went off and had a brilliant time doing laser combat. Lots more swimming then that evening we did a game of bowling with our friends which was good. Then it was on to the kids disco. The first half hour was songs like Bob the Builder etc so my children went into the arcade next to it until the songs got a bit older for them. The young toddlers loved it though. After the disco which finishes at 8.30 we went to dinner – Hucks won again! Some of the other restaurants were fully booked. The next morning we checked out of our villa and returned the hire bike and went to do a quick game of short tennis then a swim before lunch and home. We had a great weekend although I dread to think what we spent in the end!Author: Julie
In the Brecklands, 8km from Thetford, in rural Suffolk but easily accessible by road and rail.
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