We have now been to 3 of the European centre parcs- usually at easter with our 3 kids ( now 17,14,11) This review is partly to compare the 3 and to exthole the virtues of going to Europe. We have been to Vossemerren, kempervennen and this one. All share the single decent reason to go i.e its a whole lot cheaper than the UK ones ( and I don't just mean a bit cheaper) more later...
Summary: Erperheide is a very compact village small even. The pools are standard CP fare but very clean-nice toddler "beach" There is a huge indoor kids play centre, kids farm, its easy to get around. Its also a bit cheaper as the range of activities is not huge. For this reason it comes second on my list. If my kids were under 12 it would really hit the spot. We had a comfort villa for 5 -which was fine- we were hardly in it. At this level you get a hob, microwave- but no dishwasher or DVD player. It was clean and we had no problems. There is only one "pay as you go" place to eat the rest are all fixed price eat as much as you like. Fine , looks good quality etc but 29 Euros per adult kids seem to pay by age. The market cafe was fine did a nice range, pasta, pizza, local dishes etc. £320 for a Weekend in the easter hols- come on!! Kempervennen- again standard CP fare, pools felt in need of some TLC- but is has a real snow indoor ski centre, which is superb value for lessons. if you dont intend to use it I would go to my personal favourite De Vossemerren. Which is my pick. Its a larger more open visually inspiring site. Much more to do for the complete age range. The zip wire over the lake is a total must Large indoor kids pirate themed play centre- with huge and very high rops in the roof, decent lakes you can boat on.Greater range of places to eat. All three villages are quite close together, you are looking at about 3 and a half hours from Calais.
So thinking about going for the first time?
Booking- dead simple - do it online on the europe site and there are often discounts for having kids! or ealy/late booking( upto 20%- and yes in uk term time) You pay a fee to book online but you have your e ticket, check in while in your car and get your keys and all vouchers booked in a pack, alongside some food freebies and off you go! You also get free "Toppings" they are upto 4-5 freebies you can use as you like which you also book online. We used them to book a numberd villa and then for bike hire ( think about how much that saved!) You can book some activities online- once you have a booking you can ring the excellent phone helpline and book on there as well. Easy very peasy
What is it like? Its not the same as the UK there are some differences but they are round the edges- we think its better. I have to say we stopped using the UK ones a few years ago having been regulars- so I may not be upto date.Its not quite as swanky- so if having designer beds is your think on a centre aprcs holiday-great. The pool complex will feel very familair as they are pretty standard, market dome, villas in the woods, lakes, activities, car free, places to eat etc all will feel the same. the villas are split into comfort, premium and VIP, there are also some appartments and riverboats etc etc. generally they are like the UK a few years ago, by which I mean less swanky( although there does seem to be a major refurb programme going on) We have never had any problems. if you go premium your beds are made when you arrive ( rather than having to take sheets and duvent coverts etc.and you get a disjwasher and DVD etc. if you go VIP you get a sauna and breakfast delivered each morning. We did this once brilliant- the food we got did lunch and breakfast- the kids have never forgotton lollys and sprinkles !!! You can add this as an extra to any villa. Supermarket has most things you need and a bakery.
Each village has "one big thing" Voss has a brill indoor pirate themed play centre, complete with sand,ship, running water, rafts etc. Places to eat- the emphasis is on packages and many will have opted to pay for evening meals in on of the "eat as much as you like " resurants. Not for us- and not cheap at 29E per adult. In each the Market cafe provides enought a la cart at resonable value. 10E for a pizza, kids meals 6E, steaks. burgers, fish,salads, light bites etc.
All the staff speak great English due to the number of nationalities represented. During activities such as high ropes, zip wire and climbing wall the instructors spilt the groups into French,german, dutch and english and then proceed to run it in 4 languages. The staff I have always found to be very helpful.
Did I mention the cost? I can only comment about easter- but often the europe term times do not line up with ours. The first time we went we had a premium villa,breakfast delivered and pre booked a few activities. Even Adding the cost of the ferry PLUS a 2 room over night in Bruge with dinner the night before our stay. It was still cheaper than the price of the UK Centre Parcs.
Even if it wasn't so much cheaper I'd prefer the Europe ones now. if you are thinking about doing this for the first time, my advice- give it a go. It's interresting how much less stressful it is when its not as expensive and there is plenty to do for younger kids for free.
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- Also Known As:
- Center Parcs Erperheide Hotel Peer
- Center Parcs Erperheide Belgium, Europe