Centre Parcs takes the whole village in the woods feeling and being close to nature very seriously. One of the biggest contributors to this is having as few cars as possible and making everyone walk, take the land train or ride bikes. If you’ve your own bike that’s great – there are stands outside all the accommodation and the attractions and the only thing you really need to remember is to bring a decent lock.

If you don’t have your own or can’t easily bring it with you there’s a decent alternative – hiring there. The cycling centre is the first big building you come to once you’ve gotten past the car park and we’ve hired bicycles on a couple of our visits – once by booking ahead and once on impulse.

The number of bikes is quite impressive and they’re available both in traditional and mountain bike styles in a big range of sizes. We were unsure what size we needed but the staff were knowledgeable enough to pick what we should have immediately. Lily and I were happy with our selections and had no mechanical problems but Cass had a problem with one of her brakes rubbing so we ended up popping back on the second day and they replaced the bike instantly. Cass is luckily big enough for her own bike now but they also have tag-alongs and trailers for the littlest ones. They’ve also got tandems if you’re wanting to try something different!

We’d not brought any gloves for Cass that she could cycle with so ended up buying one from the range that they also had at the centre. They’ve got a range of protective equipment including helmets, gloves, warmers, water bottles and the important bike lock. Helmets and locks can be hired or bought and the rest were buyable.

Cost is variable but seems to be between £60 and £120 for four bikes for a single stay. You can also hire bikes by the day for £15 but that’s probably not something you want to do unless you have a day visitor coming in. All told if you’re going to be staying more than a few minutes from the central attractions bikes can really improve your stay at Centre Parcs. Taking your own is more economical but they’re reasonably priced and decent quality to hire on site.

Ergohacks Essential

Book a break with Center Parcs

Price: ± £25 – 120 for a short break
Extras: Bring a bike lock, cycling gloves and safety gear (or buy them at the cycling centre)

Specification

Season: Open year-round
Location: Next to the main car park
Reservations: Bookable on-line or after arrival
Opening: Bicycles are available from 10 am on day of arrival
Closing: Return your bike by 10am on day of arrival

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About

Center Parcs UK has an established reputation for providing top quality family-friendly short breaks. The first UK-based village was established in Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire over 25 years ago. There are 5 villages in the UK, each set in about 400 acres of woodland with a Subtropical Swimming Paradise, Spa, Restaurants and Activities that accompany self-catering accommodation. Read more here. Center Parcs was acquired by Brookfield Property Partners, “a global commercial property company that owns, operates and invests in best-in-class office, retail, multifamily, industrial, hotel and triple net lease assets.” Brookfield Property Partners is environmentally conscious and their sustainability policy and 2015 Corporate Responsibility Report is available here.

We based our Ergohacks Verdict on renting bicycles in 2016 and 2017 during our visit. This article was first published on 13 February 2018.