Go behind the scenes at Center Parcs with new Channel 5 show

A family group cycling at Center Parcs. Channel 5 will be revealing the secret of Centers Parcs succ

A family group cycling at Center Parcs. Channel 5 will be revealing the secret of Centers Parcs success in a new TV documentary Photo: Center Parcs - Credit: Archant

Channel 5 will tonight delve into the secrets of the company behind one of Suffolk’s best loved holiday parks - Center Parcs at Elveden Forest.

Elveden lake at Center Parcs Photo: Center Parcs

Elveden lake at Center Parcs Photo: Center Parcs - Credit: Archant

The Secrets of Center Parcs documentary, which goes out tonight at 8pm, lifts the lid on Britain’s leading holiday retreat. It explores how Center Parcs became the destination of choice for millions wanting a reliable holiday break in this country. Company insiders reveal how a Dutch idea became a British holiday institution.

Center Parcs have a holiday destination in Elveden Forest, between Bury St Edmunds and Thetford, which was one of the first forest sites in the UK to be opened.

The idea of an indoor/outdoor – forest/beach – active-yet-lazy – something for everyone holiday resort was originally developed in the Netherlands with the first Center Parcs Village opening at De Lommerbergen in Holland in 1968. There are now five self-contained sites in the UK.

Elveden Forest opened its ‘villa in the forest’ facility in 1989, two years after Sherwood Forest opened as the first UK venue, and its been a popular destination ever since, boasting more than 400 acres of forest to explore.

Center Parcs has re-opened after the Covid-19 lockdown Picture: SONYA DUNCAN

Center Parcs has re-opened after the Covid-19 lockdown Picture: SONYA DUNCAN - Credit: Archant


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Elveden is the only village to have Waterside Lodges, located on the banks of the largest lake to be found at any of the UK Center Parcs villages. It’s also home to the longest zip wire in the UK. Other treats in store include outdoor adventure play areas, family-friendly cycle paths, walks and the opportunity to spot beautiful Muntjac deer which roam through the trees.

The Covid-19 pandemic caused the holiday parks to temporarily shut their doors earlier this year but they have since re-opened inline with government regulations. Restaurants are open on a pre-booked basis and will deliver take-out to lodges, most activities are running but with reduced numbers and must be pre-booked, the cycle-centre has also re-opened.

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The Subtropical Swimming Paradise has re-opened but has restrictions limiting the number of people using the facility at any one time which means that visitors can only access the facility for two 2-hour sessions during a three or four-night break or on four occasions for a seven-night break.

Secrets of Center Parcs is on Channel 5 at 8pm on Friday, September 11.

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