Grab three mates, one car, and head to Elveden Forest in Suffolk for a four night relaxing short break in the UK. Have fun and enjoy the English countryside, all for less than £100 each at Center Parcs.
During the winder months, Center Parcs, one of the UKs leading short break companies, offers a host of deals at each of its five locations and ours was £239 for a four night midweek break in a two bedroom comfort villa. Food isn't included as it's all self catering accommodation, so on your drive up, make sure to stop at a supermarket to pick up some groceries if you’re after keep the cost down. There is a supermarket on site in the main Plaza but Asda seems cheaper and we are all about saving money here at mybudgetbreak. If you’re coming up from London on the A14, turn off at junction 37 and head to the Asda in Newmarket (postcode: CB8 7SX for those with a satnav) before heading on to Thetford.
Once you have arrived and dropped you bags off at the villa, take a wander to explore the area, head to the main Plaza building and get your bearings. Whilst many activities are included free of charge, there are a number that are at a supplement and can either be booked online in advance or once you have arrived. Why not try a sport you have never done before, such as archery, abseiling or paintballing? Center Parcs also offers a number of classes including Yoga, Boxercise and Zumba.
Of course, the real draw for people is the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, an indoor pool area at just below 30C to make you really feel on holiday, with its numerous flumes, outdoor pool, rapids and lazy river. You can enjoy a drink at the lagoon bar or while away the time relaxing in one of the spa pools. A new family waterslide will also be opening in late 2012 at the Elveden Forest location, the first ride of its kind in the world according to Center Parcs, as part of a series of upgrades to each of its parks.
Departing on a Friday in June, and booking six months in advance, this city break at the three-star Golden Tulip Farah in Marrakech is the perfect way to enjoy a spare weekend and explore somewhere completely new. Set in beautiful gardens, the hotel offers a large swimming pool, fitness room retaurant and poolside bar.
Take a trip to the Cycle Centre and hire bikes to explore the surrounding woodland. A number of trails are located within the woodlands for you to enjoy. Of course, if you have your own mountain bikes, be sure to bring them along for the week.
Where you will stay
All the villas are based on self-catering, with excellent kitchen facilities but for the times you don't fancy cooking, head to one of the many restaurant outlets located within the grounds such as Strada, Sports Cafe or Rajinda Predesh. There is even a takeaway with Indian, Italia and Chinese dishes for those who want to enjoy an evening in. Starbucks is also located in the main Plaza for those in need of a coffee fix together with a handful of retail shopping outlets including designer clothes, sportswear and a tradition sweet shop, a favourite of mine.
With so many sports and activities on offer, you certainly won't get bored, and if it's simply peace and quiet you're after, you can easily spend you time sitting out on the patio in the middle of nature and sinking into a good book. Most villas even have lake views so make sure to pick you villa wisely. Villas have two to six bedrooms, so for those who want to bring a group, it's easy. A spacious and comfortable living area in each villa with its own fireplace is also a great place to relax.
Want to splash out
Enjoy a spa day for two people from £99 (weekdays) which includes a glass of bubbly, spa lunch, complimentary gift, use of the gym facilities and of course, use of the spa. The spa hosts a range of facilities including water beds, sauna and various types of relaxing bath experiences to enjoy.
Although it's not the easiest of places to get to if you don't have a car, arriving at Center Parcs in Elvedon Forest is possible by other means. Trains run regularly from London Liverpool Street to Thetford (2 hours and 30 minutes). From there, you can take a taxi to the park which takes approximately 10-15 minutes.