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58% of children would prefer a treehouse than a new game console

Press release   •   Jul 21, 2016 15:05 BST

One of the Treehouses at Center Parcs Elveden Forest
  • Center Parcs launches nationwide search to find the UK’s Top Treehouse, judged by wildlife presenter and adventurer Steve Backshall
  • Building a treehouse tops the list of ‘most epic’ things parents can do for their children
  • Number of children with a treehouse has dropped by 15% in just one generation


Center Parcs has today announced that it is launching a nationwide search for The UK’s Top Treehouse, led by wildlife presenter and adventurer Steve Backshall.

The hunt for the best family treehouse begins as new research reveals that over half (58%) of today’s children would rather have a treehouse than the latest game console. Furthermore, two in five (42%) think that their parent building them a treehouse would top the list of the most ‘epic’ things they could do for them.

The list goes on to reveal that children are otherwise most impressed when their parent plays a game with them outside (35%), reads them a story (33%) or watches their favourite film or television programme with them (33%).

However, according to the research, just one in ten (10%) children today have a house in the treetops, compared to a quarter (25%) of their parents who grew up with one – showing a 15% drop in just one generation.

As a result, and to mark the arrival of four brand new Treehouses at Center Parcs Elveden Forest in Suffolk, families from around the UK are encouraged to get out in the garden and enter pictures of their own treehouse. The family with the best entry will win a short break in a luxury Center Parcs Treehouse.

Children are most drawn to the idea of having adventures in a treehouse, with over half (55%) citing it as the main reason for wanting one. Over a quarter (27%) think it would be the best place to imagine games while two in five (43%) like the idea of having a space which is their own. A sturdy 38% like the idea of a treehouse so they can spend longer outdoors – even if it’s raining!

The enthusiasm children show for the idea means that over half of (54%) parents are most persuaded to build a treehouse by the fact their children want one, and nearly one in five (18%) would consider it to encourage their children to go outside more.

Nostalgia is also a big prompt with 8% of parents wanting a treehouse for their children in their adult years because they had one as a child. So much so, on average parents try to recreate five of their own childhood memories with their children.

However, the biggest reasons which are holding parents back from building one are; not enough space (45%), lack of DIY skills (26%), lack of time (11%) and worrying that it would decrease the value of the property (4%).

Steve Backshall famed for his CBBC adventure and wildlife programmes, joins a panel of judges including Center Parcs’ ‘Chief Treehouse Builder’ Tom Courtney (from Cocksedge Building Contractors Limited) and CEO of Center Parcs, Martin Dalby.

Steve Backshall commented:

“I’m so excited to see all the entries from families who have spent time together in the great outdoors to build a treehouse. If this competition encourages more people to do the same, I’ll be overjoyed. We’re not necessarily looking for the biggest or flashiest treehouse, but something which shows the personality of the family. This is the sort of thing I would definitely want to do if I have children in the future.”

Center Parcs Chief Treehouse builder Tom Courtney added:

“One most important things to consider when building a treehouse is exploring the different types of access. This should be your starting point. This is a great opportunity to experiment with ladders, ramps, ropes or bridges. Even before entering your treehouse you have already had an exciting journey getting to the front door! The house itself can be any shape or size, why stick to a conventional box shape? Try introducing different levels and angles to your house. Overall the treehouse should be individual to you and be a fun space that you can enjoy spending time with family and friends”

CEO of Center Parcs Martin Dalby said:

“It’s great to see that children are still excited about being outdoors and would love to build a treehouse with their parents. What better way to mark the arrival of our new Treehouses in Elveden Forest, than by finding a family who has built the UK’s Top Treehouse. Our Treehouses deliver another level of luxury for families wanting to live that childhood dream of being high in the trees and having great adventures in the forest.”

Families can enter by posting a picture of themselves and their treehouse on Facebook or twitter, with the hashtag #UKTopTreehouse, before midnight on Wednesday 3rd August.

The Elveden Forest Treehouses are available to book now at:

Full Ts&Cs for the competition can be found at:

Notes to Editors

Research conducted in July 2016 by Mortar, polling 1000 adults and 1000 children, aged between 5 and 12.

Center Parcs Elveden Forest Treehouses prices start from £2,699 for up to eight people, for a midweek break.

Top 10 ‘most epic’ things parent can do for their child

  • 1.Build a treehouse with them – 42%
  • 2.Build a den with them – 35%
  • 3.Play a game with them outside – 35%
  • 4.Read them a story – 33%
  • 5.Watch favourite film or tv programme together – 33%
  • 6.Go swimming together – 33%
  • 7.Play computer game together – 28%
  • 8.Bake them a cake – 22%
  • 9.Teach them to climb a tree – 19%
  • 10.Know all the words to their favourite song so they can sing along – 14%

Further information on Elveden Treehouses

The search for the UK’s Top Treehouse has been launched to mark the arrival of four new Treehouses at Center Parcs Elveden Forest. Suitable for up to eight guests, there is plenty of space for families to spend time together amongst the canopy, with four luxurious bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms looking out over views of the surrounding treetops. All four bedrooms have their own private balconies, accessible through full height, sliding glass doors.

For the ultimate indulgence, Treehouse guests have a large hot tub and sauna on the outside terrace. A dedicated games den which can be reached by a bridge from the main terrace has both traditional games and games console so there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

About Center Parcs

Center Parcs has five Villages across the UK; Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, Elveden Forest in Suffolk, Longleat Forest in Wiltshire, Whinfell Forest in Cumbria and Woburn Forest in Bedfordshire

As the leader in the UK short break holiday market, Center Parcs regularly achieves average annual occupancy in excess of 97%.

Center Parcs offers weekend, (Friday to Monday) or midweek (Monday to Friday) breaks and welcomes over 2 million guests each year, with 96% of guests expressing an intention to return

The Center Parcs concept is to provide a range of high quality accommodation, shops, restaurants and exceptional leisure facilities, carefully nestled amongst 400 acres of protected forest environment.

This concept originated in Holland in 1967, with the first UK Center Parcs opening in 1987. Center Parcs is now a separate entity in the UK.

Center Parcs has been awarded the following accolades since 2008: the Green Business Award for Biodiversity Protection, Visit Britain 5 Star Rating, Hospitality Assured, Biodiversity Benchmark - Land Management, Carbon Trust Standard, Good Spa Guide Award, ISO14001, Investors in People

Center Parcs has recently been announced ‘Best Family Holiday Provider’ in the Tommy’s Awards for the eleventh year in a row.