Holidaymakers staying at a Center Parcs resort in the UK will be forced to leave on the day of the Queen’s funeral as the business will close as a “mark of respect” to the late monarch.
Families who had booked to stay at one of the five sites in the country vented their fury online as the the company was inundated with complaints after it revealed the parks will close for 24 hours from 10am on Monday.
In one exchange on Twitter, a Center Parcs representative suggested those staying either side of funeral on Monday were “welcome” to leave their belongings in their room before returning at 10am on Tuesday.
Guests partway through seven-day holidays – which generally cost more than £1,000 for a family-of-four at this time of year – will be forced to spend the night elsewhere or go home early.
Those due to arrive on Monday for shorter stays are being given the opportunity to begin their breaks a day later.
Center Parcs said in a statement that it made the decision “as a mark of respect and to allow as many of our colleagues as possible to be part of this historic moment”.
It added: “We hope our guests will understand our decision to support our Queen on her final journey.
“All guests impacted by the closure will receive an email today explaining the options available.”
Customers who want to cancel their holidays are being offered a full refund, with partial refunds for those whose breaks will be shorter than booked.
Many affected people expressed their anger on Center Parcs’ Facebook page.
One wrote: “We were five related families getting together for our annual family holiday – with two small children and two dogs, three hours from home!
“Where the hell are we supposed to go for one night?! It’s that or cancel some or all of the much-anticipated holiday!
“Sorry, but this is an awful, awful decision that has left us devastated.
“By all means close the restaurants and activities, but let us stay on the park!!”
Another wrote: “Center Parcs have left us in a right mess.
“Party of six – including one toddler and one adult with special needs. Driving four hours for a Friday to Friday break in (a) four-bedroomed cabin.
“Get kicked out of our accommodation at 10am Monday and can’t return until the same time on Tuesday. What the hell are we supposed to do???!!!”
Mourning guidance from the Cabinet Office states: “Depending on the nature and location of their business and the tone of planned events, some businesses may wish to consider closing or postponing events, especially on the day of the state funeral, however this is at the discretion of individual businesses.”
Center Parcs’ five UK sites are: Elveden Forest, Suffolk; Longleat Forest, Wiltshire; Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire; Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire; and Whinfell Forest, Cumbria.
Holidays at the villages start on Fridays or Mondays and last three, four or seven nights.