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Reviewed 31 August 2009

This was our 2nd CP Europe experience (last time De Eemhoff) & it lived up to my expectations.

The journey was great - only 2 hrs 45 mins from Dunkirk (2 hours ferry). We were there by 2.00pm. Check in via E ticket took 30 seconds & we had a look round & bite to eat before going to our villa at 3pm.

We stayed in a VIP villa with our 6 & 4 year old boys. We had stayed in a comfort villa before (which was fine) but felt like treating ourselves this time. It was £100 more but the villa was furnished to a higher quality. We also had a sauna & shower, beds made on arrival, towels & kitchen towels/dishwasher tablets/very nice bathroom smellies provided. Plus fresh buns or croissants & 8 mixed bread rolls delivered every morning & a voucher for E12.50 to spend in the supermarket. This paid for butter/pate/cheese/salad bits which was sufficient to cover our lunches all week, so I feel yu got a lot for the extra money. Plus we were only 10 mins walk/3 mins cycle from the dome.

The Aqua Mundo was great. It never felt overcrowded. There was a larger pool with intermittant waves, 2 water chutes (one dark one with stars & then totally dark), outdoor pool area & whirlpools, There was also the Living Seas section where you can snorkel with tropical fish & small sharks (they are behind glass) and the childrens area which I felt was far better than De Eemhoff - there was a water chute that they loved, 2 small slides & other bits. Finally there was the rapids. Great fun, but shorter than De Eemhoff & 3/4 way down you come to an area where everyone has to go down a short black chute - this could bottleneck the ride with people queuing to go thru.

Huge range of activites. We did the Skiing. We had never skiied before & 68E gave us 3 one hour lessons - by the end of the course we were going down the main slope. Def a good way to test it out before paying for a full ski holiday. Take your own gloves/hats - ski suit 3 euros. We also did the high ropes adventure. 12.50E & takes about 30 mins. It doesn't look that much from the ground but take it from someone who is not scared of heights that it is pretty hairy when you are up there!!

The children did the Wannabee a Painter & Chef sessions - 4E if you book in advance. They are fully kitted out in appropriate gear with hats & thoroughly enjoyed both sessions. They brought home biscuits & canvass paintings done on proper easels!

Every one moans about the cost of food, but I think the prices compare to what we would pay as a family of 4 eating out in a family restaurant in the UK. In fact we spent less when in Pizza Pasta. Kids under 10 eat free at the mo, & you could have unlimited salad bar or soup plus any pizza or pasta for 12.50E. My Salmon lasagne (yummy) was 11.50E so added a salad for only 1E. Meal for 4 with drinks was only 35E. Went there twice. Family grill also good with set menu option for 17.50E.

Overall had a brill midweek break. Would definately go back (here rather that De Eemhoff as skiing option only here & shorter journey). Tempted to try Belgium next though!!

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank JanieH70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 August 2009

Not a huge fan of Centre Parks as I always feel they have got you trapped in the Park and then try to take your money off you. This park still tried to take your money away, but did it by providing a number of quality experiences at reasonable prices. I am almost converted!!!

We thought the best value for money experience was a tie between the Waterskiing and the actual skiing. Waterskiing was on one of the lakes using a pulley system. Euros 25 for 1.5 hours. No need to pay extra for an instructor as the guys working the lines were more than happy to point out the major mistakes you were making. Also, most people had only done waterskiing once or twice, so even the beginners were getting up within three or four goes given the amount of free instruction abounding. Amazingly the water was warm, although wetsuits are hired out and I would suggest necessary on any day but the day we were in the lake!!

The skiing was superb. All three of our kids had an hour lesson each for around Euros 60, including suits and gloves. If you fancy it then advisable to bring your own gear, although hiring was negligible cost (Euros 3 for the suits each). The lesson looked to be value for money and our three shy kids really got involved. We found it a great way to confirm the kids would like to go skiing before we paid more to truly go. For Euros 15 a day you get a free run at the slope all day if you can prove competence (not sure how you do that), this seems the value ticket of the whole park. Note, the slope is closed on Monday.

Pedalo on the lake was fun, but was simply a pedalo on the lake, not much to see. Very European stance on safety in so far as the kids could climb around the boat and no life jackets required, I like that. ‘Elf and safety is getting too much in some place nowadays..

The crazy golf is rubbish. At Euros 23 it was a complete rip off. The course is awful, if you don’t trust me go take a look before you play.

We didn’t do anything else, but the high rope walk looked tame and not worth it, as did the climbing wall. Others may differ, perhaps one needs to experience it, but didn’t seem to be value for money.

We brought our own bikes. This worked for us as or two eldest went off to ride the BMX track straight away, not sure you could do that on the Park bikes. The BMX track is little more than a 50m dirt track worn into an area in the corner of the park. Fun, but not really a full track. Still there are plenty of off-road opportunities to keep a 11 and 9 year old happy. Wouldn’t really suit teenagers, or older mountain bike enthusiasts.

We are considering going again, however would probably opt for a week next time so we could fully avail ourselves of all the experiences, and especially the ski slope.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with family
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1  Thank grifjl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 19 August 2009

If you don't like hearing Brit voices in the food queue head for this very relaxed Centreparcs in Holland. Very beautiful with chickens all over the place - kids loved it. Poolside is better with the staff having more pride in their job, the family buffet was busy but pleasant with more interesting Dutch / German food on offer. They have a great Waterski addition on the lake - like a drag lift and the parc itself is flat and makes for interesting, safe family cycling. The cottages are more dated in parts, some are refurbed some not... but they are more spacious than UK and the views of the forest / lake etc. are uninterrupted. We got a cheap tunnel crossing and it took 3 hours from Calais (you could do it quicker with fewer stops). We have done Penrith and Sherwood and this parc was by far the best . Try and get a cottage in the forest away from the pool if you can, they have streams and mini lakes. Kids very happy!

Stayed: April 2008, travelled with family
2  Thank 309nicolaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 August 2009

We have just returned from our 4th visit to De Kempervennen (3 summer trips, 1 New Year weekend). We usually go for 2 weeks but opted for one weeks luxury in VIP villa with sauna (sleeps 6). Villa was tired looking outside but don't be put off as inside they are clean and tidy, (well the site is 45 yrs old now) and the sauna was fantastic - unfortunately villa had a leak which could not be fixed immediately and we were moved to top of range Eden Villa (sleeps 8). Beautiful new modern villa with loads of space, spa bath, showerheads bigger than a dinner plate but no sauna. Glad we had pre-booked our bicylces as we were quite a way from the amenities. I recommend booking-in on-line before you leave as the queues in the reception were huge and we collected all our keys and documents in the car park - so easy. De Kempervennen is popular with families with children of all ages and also we noticed alot of grandparents too. The pool is always a hit with the wave machine, the slides and the rapids are one of our favourites (at New Year we were outside at night whilst it was snowing - fantastic experience). The supermarket is expensive (usually 25-50% more than town) but convenient, however in the local town Valkenswaard which is about 20 mins cycle ride left at main road outside the Parc, there is a Lidl, Jan Linden and a nice shopping centre - Market day is Thursday. Also at Borkel (turn right at main road) is a windmill and a lovely cafe before cycling through parkland which is all accessible with designated cycle paths and very safe. One of the kids favs was the farm shop selling homemade ice cream (schepijs -left outside the Parc), which had a go-cart track & sunken trampolines. We only ate at Pizza/pasta on site as restaurants are quite expensive but for our last night it was ideal (Drinks approx Euro 2-2.50 each - Small Wine Eu3.50, cheaper to drink the beer!). We prefer to bbq, self cater or go out to town. Pancake houses are great too. Not everyone hires bicycles either - there is a free shuttle bus which travels around the parc (not on fri and mon which are changeover days).

There are plenty of extra cost activities to take part in (Ski-ing, water ski-ing, PADI course, etc) but equally there is plenty to do which is free (beach, playgrounds, snorkelling, BMX etc). This is one of the best family holidays we have had outside of Orlando. We did so much together as a family and thankfully the weather was fantastic. The staff are helpful and most speak excellent english. There is a laundry which cost Eu 5.00 for a 5 kilo load (washed, dried and folded in a morning) - worth it with three boys on the BMX track!

We have been to an english centre parcs but would rather go back to De Kempervennen. Loved the easy going way of life, no hassle, no problem, chilled out atmosphere - or maybe that was just us enjoying ourselves!

Also managed a day trip to Amsterdam from Eindhoven by (double-decker) train. Great day out on the canal boats and window shopping like we'd never seen before!! Quite an eye-opener but beautiful city none-the-less.

  • Stayed: August 2009, travelled with family
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3  Thank Wannanotherholiday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 May 2009

We are a family of 2 adults and 3 teenagers and this holiday was perfect for us. We are not a particularly sporty family at home and don't do many things together nowadays so this was a great holiday for being together and getting some exercise! We booked via centerparcs website. We booked 4 night midweek break at Easter at an offer price and then added extras. The premium villa(inc towels and sheets), skiing lessons for the children (1 hour each day for 3 days), cycle hire for all of us for the 4 days, 2 x 1hour badminton court, 2 x 1hr bowling lane - total cost £750. A bargain I think. I made a mess of booking of the activity passes and bought 5 because the booking area wasn't clear about what they included. I emailed centerparcs, who were very helpful and offered alternatives, including a full refunded of the passes I'd added. All sorted out efficently.
Main good points :
Use of facilities from morning of arrival til evening of departure.
Aqua mundo - children went in everyday and the 'rapids' were a big hit, in more ways than one! They loved them but came away with several bumps and bruises.
Skiing - my children were in a beginners group of 5 people (other beginner groups we saw were between 5 and 8 people) and they said the instructor was very good. By the end of day 2 they were skiing down the small slope!
Villa - a bit shabby outside but inside was modern and clean. There was a dead duck (we were close to the lake) next to the patio when we arrived. 2 men came to remove it just half an hour after we reported it to reception.
Plenty to do - We were out of the villa most of the time during the day and the activities we'd booked, along with cycling and swimming filled in much of our time. Our teenagers spent a couple of evenings playing pool and got chatting to other teenagers in the games area. We cycled to the nearby town (turn left onto main road about half an hour, slowish speed), which had shops, cafes/bars and a market. Cycle path all the way there so we felt comfortable with our children going on their own the next day. We also visited a wonderful pancake house close to the site and a village with a windmill (turn right onto main road). If we'd been there a week we would have spent more time cycling around the local area as the cycle paths were great.
Several american/english tv channels and films on villa tvs. We watched films a couple of times in the evenings rather than go 'out' onsite.

Not so good points :
We thought food was expensive, eating out and in on-site supermarket. eg. 2 course meals £20. The fast food/burger bar not too bad price wise. Cheap supermarkets in town nearby.
Evening entertainment not great.

Things you might want to know :
Gloves must be worn for skiing. We took our own, ordinary winter gloves. Our children wore their own 'winter day' clothes. Ski suits and gloves can be hired on the day -£5 I think.
The map of the site they gave you on arrival wasn't as detailed as the one you can download on the website. I wish I'd printed one off to take with us.
When you book an activity pass its for a court and a bowling lane. So one pass covered our family.
There was no oven in our villa, just a hob and microwave. Only a problem if you buy oven chips before checking out the villa!
You can check in and get your keys when you arrive (we got there at 10am) and use the facilities but don't have access to your chalet til 3pm, or was it 2pm? We cycled round to our villa at about 1pm and it had all been cleaned so we got in early.

We like to try different places but the whole family want to go back to De Kempervennen as soon as we can. I see there is a tick box to say if you'd be happy to answer questions others have. Don't know how this works yet but I would be happy to answer questions.

  • Stayed: April 2009, travelled with family
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7  Thank wanttogetawaymore
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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