Once described as a holiday camp for the middle classes, Center Parcs’ roaring success shows no sign of slowing down. One of the original parks is De Eemhof in the Dutch province of Flevoland. Opened in 1980, De Eemhof was the first park to introduce Aqua Mundo, the glass-domed subterranean swimming complex the recreational brand is now renowned for.
Still carrying an ethos of fun, family holidays, in a forest location, De Eemhof has expanded its core values to include a new waterside development, Marina De Eemhof on Lake Eemmeer. The sleek water quarter describes itself as ‘a little piece of the French Riviera’.
Who is it good for? Center Parcs is great for all ages but 6-13 year-olds will get the most out of the activities.
The lakes of the resort are dotted with small yachts and Dutch barges, making it a great place to learn to sail, wakeboard or waterski. Sports such as windsurfing are accessible to younger children, with smaller boards, mini-sails and the knee-deep waters of the lagoon. Even six year olds can have a go.
With the entire site covering more than 70 hectares of Dutch forest, bikes are a delightful way to get around most Center Parcs resorts and are easily hired on-site. There are also numerous activities on offer from zip wiring to wild water rafting.
Price: A week in May starts at £1,050 (€1,239) for a family of four in a VIP waterfront apartment.
How to get there: British Airways flies from London Gatwick to Amsterdam; from £77 return. easyJet flies from London Gatwick to Amsterdam; from £54.98. Driving from London will take roughly 6 hours, via Calais.
Travel time: Flights take an hour from London to Amsterdam, it is then a 45 minute transfer to the park.
Accommodation: Swanky apartments with high ceilings and a minimalist décor also have the air of a modern St Tropez. They’re also fully-equipped and ideal for families who need – and want – the space. The apartments have large double bedrooms, two bathrooms and a huge jacuzzi bath and sauna.