IF you love a Center Parcs holiday but don’t want to pay sky high prices, why not take a look at what’s on offer abroad?
My family of 5 did just that over Easter and we were blown away by how much we got for our money in the Netherlands compared to a forest holiday at home.
In addition to the pool with a slide, outdoor rapids, and a toddler area, there was a giant soft play game included in the price, a petting zoo, and even a few free family activities.
We received some activity vouchers as part of our £680 booking which included a week in a premium three bed cottage.
It pays to think carefully about which activities you plan to use these for, as it’s not as easy as it might first seem.
Although we were told the voucher would be worth €30 (£26) in the pre-arrival information, we were given a note upon check in explaining which activities could be booked with the credit.
They were worth anywhere from €19 (£16) to €48 (£42), so you’ll need to weigh the options to get your money’s worth.
My two older boys and my husband ended up enjoying a game of laser tag which would have cost €16 (£14) each so we definitely felt we made the most of the voucher.
However, the extra activities seemed cheaper than you would pay in the UK.
We also opted to do a few free activities, including a beachside litter pick-up, which was a fun way to spend an hour caring for the environment, and roasting marshmallows over a fire pit as the sun sets to enjoy to mark Earth Hour.
Because this Center Parcs is on the edge of the small coastal town of Zandvoort an Zee, there are two supermarkets within walking distance, so you don’t have to pay holiday park prices to fill up your fridge.
Another trick to top up your vacation cash is to keep an eye on the Too Good To Go app, which offers discounted groceries that are approaching their sell-by dates.
Center Parcs supermarket offered a bag of groceries for just €4.99 (£4) most days.
We bought one and were happy with the value we got for our money including a pack of BBQ meat, veggie ground beef, squash, biscuits and snacks.
You had to be quick to grab a bargain as they usually sold out within an hour of the app launching.
There were also plenty of inexpensive beachside food stalls and restaurants.
We enjoyed a delicious meal overlooking the sea from a fish and chip truck parked right in front of the Center Parcs Hotel reception.
If you are planning to travel abroad it is worth booking early to get the best deals as last minute prices do not add to the early booking discounts.
We booked for an Easter break in the summer and our package included being able to choose where our accommodation was located so we opted for a lodge five minutes from the beach and pool and two minutes from soft play.
If we had stayed on the other side of the park we would have walked at least 15 minutes to get to all the activities we enjoy which makes a huge difference with the little ones especially if you have your swim gear with you too lug around.
Our lodge had recently been refurbished to include a £500 convection oven along with beach cottage decor, a huge amount of cutlery and crockery and a large walk in waterfall shower in the master bedroom.
If you’re a larger group, five-bedroom accommodation comes with its own indoor sauna and hot tub that could accommodate a whole family.
We arrived by ferry from Newcastle and left by train, both very easy options if you don’t have a car as the holiday park is a five minute walk from a lovely 1880’s train station which still has some of its original features .
Trains go to Amsterdam every half hour and take about 30 minutes.
At the time of writing, Sun Online Travel has found week-long stays at UK Center Parcs resorts from £1,128 for a family of five.
In the meantime, this way you can get an extra day at Center Parcs for less than £50.
And here are some other Center Parcs hacks that can save you up to £500.