It’s the third and final part of our Term-Time Holiday Bargains series and we’ve decided to focus on the UK. For this one we’ve decided to compare the cost of term-time and non-term time breaks at some of the country’s most well known ‘outdoor recreation’ holiday parks – the type that are less Hi-de-Hi and more Whoa-di-Whoa. The sort of place that you can indulge in all kinds of activities and adventures and try your hand at new things.
As with the previous 2 posts in the series – if you’re in the lucky position that you can travel during term-time you’ll be able to cash in on some huge savings. Or not – depending on who you’re travelling with, when you might even be able to make savings during the school holiday…
The modern UK holiday park has come along way from its 1950s post-war cabaret entertainment and poolside fun. In the 20-teens you can find parks that offer just about anything. Some of the best give you the sense of getting right back to nature with log cabin accommodation lost amongst woodland glades in tranquil parts of the countryside. That doesn’t mean you’re in for a week of a simple and basic existence though. From your own hot-tub veranda to spa-rooms and smart restaurants – there’s plenty of opportunity to pamper yourself. For those seeking more of an adrenalin fuelled break there’s also a whole host of activities on offer. Whatever whets your appetite – cycling, falconry, archery, tennis, horse-riding, canoeing, sailing, fencing, quad-biking – you name it, you can probably do it. Plus of course there’s the bar and evening entertainment, and yes, the cabaret is alive and well (if you want it to be).
So here are two comparisons – and for these we’ve assumed there’s likely to be a party of adults travelling (perhaps you’re meeting up with friends for the week) and that you are taking a 4 or 5 night break sometime in October. Interestingly, not all tour operators approach the school break in the same way…
1. Center Parcs
Probably the best known brand of back-to-nature holiday park, Center Parcs claims to be the number one short break provider in the UK. It’s not hard to see why – with 5 family orientated Forest locations to choose from – there is plenty to do and impressive facilities.
Center Parcs, Whinfell Forest in Cumbria is East of Penrith just off the M6/A66 to Kirkby Thore. A 3 bedroom Comfort Plus Lodge for 5 nights (Mon – Fri) from 6th October is £359 – or just £15 per person, per night. Compare that with the half-term ‘specials’. Mon-Fri from the 27th October (half-term week) in a Woodland Lodge (comparable to the Comfort Plus) is a staggering £1,259 – or £53 per person, per night. Bear in mind that Center Parcs are accommodation only – activities, food and drink are usually extra.
2. Warner Leisure
Aimed more squarely at the adult end of the UK holiday market, Warner Leisure offer exclusive hotel breaks with activities, Breakfast, 3 course dinner and use of leisure facilities all included included. We’ll leave it to the Mark Warner website to do our choice – Holme Lacy House in Herefordshire – justice..
“Holme Lacy is a Georgian Country House and the perfect setting for romance and relaxation. Be prepared to be swept off your feet by the 18th Century charms such as elegant drawing rooms, imposing staircases and stunning views. Located in glorious countryside, tucked away villages, bustling Cathedral cities and beautiful landscaped gardens – all an easy drive away from Holme Lacy House.”
A five night break from Friday 3rd October is £452.49 per person. At £90.59 per person that might seem a lot compared to Center Parcs – but – look at what’s included. Better than that though – 5 nights during half-term week (from Weds 29th October) actually costs less than early October – at £420.79 per person.
So the moral of the story is – if you think that taking a break during the school holidays means sky-high prices, and you’re not travelling with the family – check twice. Choosing a tour operator that is more aimed at the adult market might surprise you – the basic cost will be higher (although all inclusive), but you’re unlikely to encounter hugely inflated out-of-term-time holiday prices.