Top 10 holiday villages
Stress free getaways
No one does family holidays quite like Center Parcs, and this site, located in the heart of Robin Hood country, is one of its best. It has a range of accommodation sleeping between two to eight, including villas, lodges, even super-luxurious two-storey treehouses where each bedroom has its own balcony overlooking the forest. As well as children's clubs for the kids and a spa for the adults, there is also ten pin bowling, abseiling and horse riding. Hungry? The choice of on-site restaurants is mind-boggling, from a pancake house to an American-themed diner.
Whether you're after a one-night stay in a single room, a week's break in a three-bedroom bungalow or a weekend in a penthouse suite for two, this 65 acre resort ticks all the boxes. Located on the coastline border of Norfolk and Suffolk, it offers more activities than you can poke a golf-club at, from netball and air rifle shooting to golf, volleyball and archery. Or just kick back in the pools, saunas and steam rooms in the health and fitness club. It also offers themed weekends (line dancing, anyone?) and “star breaks” with appearances from celebs like X-Factor's Stacey Solomon and comedian Brian Conley.
If it's a beach break you're after, this holiday village is just 10 minutes drive from the sands of Blackpool and Lytham St. Annes. It offers self-catering cottages (sleeping between two and six), a thatched coach house (sleeping 12), beautiful pine lodges, each with their own outdoor hot tub (sleeping between four and six) and a Georgian style house (sleeping 14). It also has a new multi-million pound hotel and spa opening in spring 2011. The options for dining are just as impressive, with a restaurant, bar & grill and – for the kids – a top notch pizzeria.
The views of the sea and surrounding countryside are so fantastic at Gwel an Mor that its Scandinavian style wooden holiday lodges (sleeping up to four or six) are arranged “upside down” – the living areas are upstairs, opening out onto wooden balconies, perfect for sundowner. They're stylish too, with striking modern furniture, a well-equipped kitchen, flat screen TV and power showers in the bathrooms. After a day at the beach, unwind in the spa before supper in the Terrace Restaurant with its spectacular ocean views.
Located on one of the most beautiful stretches of the Yorkshire coast, The Bay is made up of apartments (sleeping two or four) and coastal cottages (sleeping between four and eight) spread amongst mews style cul-de-sacs and boulevards, all self-catering and super-stylish. For those looking for some R&R there's an impressive spa, while for active types there is tennis, fishing and mountain bike hire. Re-fuel on hearty nosh in the family friendly pub (complete with log fires), or at the brasserie and coffee bar.
Calling all wildlife enthusiasts – this Center Parcs site, set in 400 acres of beautiful forest on the edge of the Lake District, is home to one of the UK's few remaining colonies of red squirrels. It has a range of accommodation sleeping between two and eight, from homely villas to luxurious lodges, the latter of which come with their own enclosed garden, outdoor hot tub and games room. When you're not on the lookout for your bushy-tailed neighbours, go abseiling, paintballing, horse riding and tree trekking. Sound too strenuous? No worries, there is also a pamper-tastic spa. Bliss.
Set in almost 30 acres of parkland, with the rugged north Cornish Heritage Coast and miles of rolling countryside on its doorstep, the location of this holiday village takes some beating. It has a choice of self-catering chalets, bungalows, villas, cottages, lodges and apartments situated in the grounds of a 19th century Cotswold-style manor house, sleeping between two and eight. The on-site activities range from badminton to five-a-side football, and there's also an outdoor children's play area and good restaurant. A programme of live entertainment, dancing and discos runs throughout the season.
This cliff top holiday village, tailored only to adults, is made up of cosy chalets for two, some with private patios and wonderful views out to sea. It is ideal for couples who don't fancy self-catering, with a full English brekkie served each morning and three course dinner each night. When you’re not exploring the Norfolk Broads, go for a few laps in the indoor swimming pool or test your knowledge at the pub games and quizzes. There is live music by big bands and top artists, too.
Butlins is the granddaddy of holiday villages, and Minehead was one of its three original sites. Choose from a dinner, bed and breakfast break or self-catering stay in one of its deluxe suites or apartments, all contemporary in design. Whichever one you go for you're unlikely to spend much time in it, what with all the on-site activities; there is everything from a climbing wall and go-karting to a waterpark and cinema. Stock up on provisions at the Spar supermarket, or head to the Yacht Club restaurant where a freshly-carved roast is served daily.
This park is made up of log cabins scattered around the magnificent grounds of Crowhurst Park, a 17th century country estate. Each one is fully equipped for a self-catering break, right down to the picnic table/ garden furniture on the veranda – perfect for al fresco dining – and all have far reaching views over the surrounding countryside. On site you'll find a heated indoor pool complex, gym and clubhouse with two bars and a restaurant, as well as a tennis court, giant chess, woodland trail, fishing pond and adventure playground. The kids will never want to leave.