Center Parcs UK

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Center Parcs UK
IndustryLeisure
FoundedJuly 1987[1]
HeadquartersNew Ollerton, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom
Number of locations
5 villages [2]
Area served
United Kingdom
Key people
Martin Dalby (chief executive)
ProductsShort breaks, family holidays, leisure activities
OwnerBrookfield Asset Management
ParentBrookfield Properties Corporation
WebsiteCenterParcs.co.uk

Center Parcs UK is a company which sells short breaks[3] in five holiday villages in the United Kingdom. Each is about 400 acres (1.6 km2) of woodland. The company's first village[2] opened at Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, in 1987. Its fifth, at Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire, opened in 2014.

Another company runs in the main part of Europe. It is also called Center Parcs, but the two companies are separate. Center Parcs UK became 30 years old in 2017.

History[change | change source]

In 1968, a Dutch businessman called Piet Derksen bought woodland near Reuver so that workers and customers of his 17 sporting goods shops could relax in small tents. The park, De Lommerbergen, worked well and tents were replaced by bungalows. In 1987, Center Parcs opened its first UK resort at Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire. The brewer Scottish and Newcastle liked this idea and they would buy the company.

In 2001 Scottish and Newcastle sold the Center Parcs UK to venture capitalists Mid Ocean. In 2003 they sold the sites in Europe to France-based Pierre & Vacances (P&V), and German investment group DBCP. The companies have the same name but are not the same company.

In December 2003 Mid Ocean sold the UK resorts to Arbor Ltd for £285 million. Arbor put the company on the London Stock Exchange's Alternative Investment Market. In May 2006 Center Parcs UK was sold to Blackstone Group, and change into a private company. Blackstone changed the name of the European sites to Center Parcs.

In June 2015, it was announced that Blackstone had agreed to sell the company to Canadian-based Brookfield Properties Corporation, for £2.4bn.[4]

Operations[change | change source]

The first Center Parcs holiday village in the United Kingdom was opened in July 1987. It was near Ollerton and Boughton in Nottinghamshire and named Sherwood Forest. Two years later a second village was added, at Elveden Forest, near Brandon, Suffolk.

Center Parcs is widely known for its Subtropical Swimming Paradise and used to feature the iconic Tarzan call to signal the start of the waves crashing in the wave pool. This sound effect was replaced by a riff of a Bongo drum.[5]

The third park opened in 1994, on the site of Longleat Safari Park near Warminster, Wiltshire. This village has less lodges than Elveden Forest and Sherwood Forest because it is very hilly.

In 1997, the Rank Organisation had opened a holiday village near Penrith, Cumbria. They called it Oasis Lakeland Holiday Village. When Center Parcs UK bought it they changed the name to Center Parcs Oasis Whinfell Forest.[6] The middle of the village is under a roof, and there is no country club like at Elveden Forest and Sherwood Forest. Center Parcs have changed many Whinfell Forest lodges. They have also added new lodges like the ones at the other parks.

In April 2002, the central plaza and sports centre at Elveden Forest was destroyed by a fire. Nobody was badly injured but one man had to be treated because he inhaled smoke. In the summer of 2003, Elveden Forest reopened. Whilst it was closed, the village was rebuilt in a slightly different design. Some lodges were extended and a spa was built.

The chief executive, Martin Dalby, said that the company might add a fifth village. In December 2004, Center Parcs said that it had found a place for it near a town called Woburn, Bedfordshire. The estimated project cost ten years before construction was about £160 million. New lodges, buildings, a pool, a spa and restaurants were built. It was thought that the project would take between three and four years to complete.[7] In September 2007 the company were allowed to build. In 2012 they got £250 million of investment to build the new resort. It would be called Woburn Forest. It is the smallest Center Parcs UK village and opened in spring 2014.

In 2008, Martin Dalby, the chief executive of Center Parcs UK, said that the new village would be the last village the company built in the UK and that if a sixth village was built it would probably be placed in Ireland.

The sixth village was announced in September 2015. County Longford Forest will be in Ireland and is going to open in the summer of 2019.

Resorts[change | change source]

Opened Resort Location Notes
1987 Sherwood Forest Ollerton and Boughton, Nottinghamshire
1989 Elveden Forest Brandon, Suffolk It was closed from April 2002 to June 2003 so it could be rebuilt after a fire
1994 Longleat Forest Warminster, Wiltshire
1997 Whinfell Forest Penrith, Cumbria Changed to Center Parcs in 2001, used to be owned by Rank Group, used to be called Oasis.
2014 Woburn Forest Warren Wood near Flitwick, Bedfordshire
2019 Longford Forest Ireland In September 2015, Center Parcs UK said it would build a new site in County Longford, Ireland. It is expected to open in 2019.[8]

Facilities[change | change source]

Places to stay[change | change source]

Each village has different lodge types. These can have between one and four bedrooms. Sherwood Forest has just built a lodge with 6 bedrooms. They can hold up to 12 people. Some big lodges have a games room and hot tub. Lodges are usually in small groups and are quite private. Elveden Forest doesn't have any lodges with one bedroom. It has Lakeside Apartments instead, for one to two people.

In 2007, Center Parcs began updating all of its lodges. All the beds were replaced. A new kind of 'Woodland Lodge' replaced the old simple lodges to become the least expensive place to stay. The Executive Lodges were also upgraded.

Things to do[change | change source]

Guests can book and take part in a large amount to do at the villages.

Place How it is used
Arrivals Lodge Each village has an arrivals lodge. At 10am on the arrival day, visitors can arrive and use the facilities then check-in at 3pm.
Security Lodge Each village has a security lodge staffed 24 hours a day. Security workers manage barriers in the village. They also talk to people on an emergency phone number.
Subtropical Swimming Paradise The village swimming pool is called the Subtropical Swimming Paradise and has a wave pool, slides, water rides, outdoor pools, 'Wild Water Rapids', a children's pool and cafes.
Village Square/Plaza The main place with restaurants and shops. It also holds Guest Services and the Medical Centre.
Sports Plaza/Jardin Des Sports This holds the indoor sports places. These are squash courts, badminton courts, pool and snooker tables, gym, table tennis tables, indoor wall-climbing and an aerobics studio. There is also a restaurant, a shop selling sports clothes and a newsagent.
Boathouse Lends out boats and other watercraft for people to use on the lake.
Aqua Sana The spa has lots of experience rooms, treatment rooms and an outdoor pool.
Activity Den The village children's activity centre and creche.
Leisure Bowl and House of Games There is a bowling alley and arcade games.
Country Club This holds another restaurant and play areas.
Shops/Retail The supermarket "ParcMarket", newsagents "Refresh", toy shop "Just Kids", gift shop "The Store Room", sweet shop "Treats", clothing and shoes shop "Spirit", sunglasses shop "Time for Shade", sports and fashion shop "Sportique" and swimwear equipment shop "Aquatique".[9] are here.

References[change | change source]

  1. Elena, Ragone Marriott. "Head of Digital and Media". Center Parcs. Center parcs. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  2. 2.0 2.1 Elena, Ragone Marriott. "Head of Digital and Media". Center Parcs. Center Parcs. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  3. Elena, Ragone Marriott. "Head of Digital and Media". Center Parcs. Center Parcs. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  4. "Center Parcs bought 'for £2.4bn'". 2 June 2015 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
  5. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DySBZmoaRCc YouTube - Tarzan Sound at Centre Parcs - Wavepool
  6. "Center Parcs Whinfell Forest £30 Million Invested And A New Name". Center Parcs Press Office. 2 January 2006. Archived from the original on 9 October 2011. Retrieved 30 December 2010.
  7. "Holiday village is given go ahead". 6 September 2007 – via news.bbc.co.uk.
  8. "Center Parcs is Coming to Ireland".
  9. "Shopping - Center Parcs". Retrieved 19 November 2014.

Other websites[change | change source]