There are not many places in England you can get amazing accommodation, endless activities for both adults and children and a whole load of outdoors.
Center Parcs is a popular place for families, couples and groups for a staycation. Whether it is due to not wanting to fly or just for a nice easy getaway, there are endless things to do.
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There is a shop on site that can provide quite a variety of items but can be quite expensive.
Center Parcs also offer up a package that is an added cost so that when you arrive at your lodge you have the essentials ready and waiting for you.
The pack is a great way to have everything you need waiting for you and means one less thing to pack and worry about.
Pro Tip: If you have dietary requirements or allergies, I would suggest taking your own food so you aren’t left without during your trip.
There are also a number of on-site restaurants and cafes in which you can dine at. They also have a home delivery option for those nights you want to snuggle up by the fire.
A great way to plan what you need to pack in terms of food is by making a list of lunches and evening meals you plan to cook for.
Pro Tip: Creating a meal plan is a great way to save money on your trip as you can take exactly what you need.
Also if you are visiting in the warmer months of the year you might find yourself wanting to BBQ. You can buy supplies in the ParcMarket and there is a brick structure to allow you to cook on.
Here is a breakdown of essentials you might want to think of packing;
- Tea, Coffee Or Hot Chocolate
- Sugar/ Sweeteners
- Dilute Juice
- Fresh Fruit Juice
- Salad Items
- Tinned Tomatoes
- Baked Beans
- Beans /Pulses
- Cereal / Breakfast items
- Cooking Oil
On our first trip, we found that we had nothing to wrap up our leftovers in or ways to store food in the fridge. Look at taking cling film, foil or tupperware to store food, leftovers or for your woodland picnic.
Many times of the year there is a wide variety of wildlife exploring the natural forest areas of Center Parcs. We found that ducks, geese and squirrels quite often come to the lodges.
Look at taking some bird feed to leave out so you can see the wildlife at the safety of your lodge. This will also save you money from buying it at the ParcMarket.
Depending on what time of year you are looking to visit your suitcase may vary. The biggest change will be from summer to winter.
I would advise packing for a variety of weathers as this can change and check the forecast in that area for your stay.
Pro Tip: To make packing easier and more organised look at using packing cubes.
You can separate each persons clothes, fit more in and keep everything organised. If you need any help finding the right ones for you, we have everything you need.
I suggest buying the Amazon Basics Packing Cubes as you can get them in a variety of colours and sizes to suit every packing need.
There is a tonne of activities on-site, you can book in advance or book as you feel like it. If you know what kind of activities you and your family will want to do, you can pack for those specifically.
What To Take To Center Parcs In Summer
Summer is a lovely time to be anywhere in the UK, especially at Centre Parcs. There are so many activities to do for both adults and children.
If you plan to do plenty of activities I would pack sports gear and a good pair of trainers.
Pro Tip: If you want to use the swimming facilities, you will need to pack towels.
Alternatively, you can rent towels at the swimming center for a small fee of £2.00.You cannot use the towels provided in the lodge.
I always like to pack layers, they are always a good thing to have as you are still in the UK and the weather is unpredictable.
- Swimming Gear
- Sports Gear
- Hats/ Caps
If you plan to go swimming I suggest taking a beach bag to store your towels and spare clothes.
Pro Tip: Many Center Parcs have a coin-operated swimming costume dryer, this will pull out the water so you don’t have to carry around soggy bikinis and shorts.
What To Take To Center Parcs In Winter
Depending on what you plan to do while you are at Center Parcs this will depend on what you will need to pack.
If you are planning on doing plenty of outdoor activities such as the high ropes, going out on a boat you may want to dress warmly in comfortable clothing.
If you are planning on doing some walking around the area I would recommend waterproof layers.
Here are some ideas for what to pack for Centre Parcs in winter;
- Waterproof Coat
- Waterproof Trousers
- Leggings/Thermal Layer
- Long Sleeve T-shirts
- Jeans/ Trousers
Even if you are going out on bikes, in winter you will want to dress well to keep warm and dry.
I have known many friends who take extra blankets to Center Parcs with them. There is nothing nicer than snuggling up by the fire with a blanket on a wintery night.
Pro Tip: If you plan to use the log fire in the lodge, take some smokeless fire logs. Alternatively, you can buy them at the onsite supermarket – ParcMarket.
I feel shoes can always be a make or break when going on holiday, there is nothing worse than walking around for the day and struggling from blisters or sore feet.
Pro Tip: Try taking shoes that you have worn a lot or broken in before going away. This will limit the amount of damage to your feet while out exploring.
Center Parcs isn’t an overly dressy place and you will see many families walking around in casual clothes. So footwear can be easily taken from daywear into evening wear.
If you plan to do quite a bit of outdoor activities, biking and walking I would say these are essential shoes to take to Center Parcs;
Toiletries are easy to pack and easy to forget (for me at least). The best way to pack your toiletries is to pack what you use on a daily basis, make a list as you go or pack them as you have used them.
While there is a small bottle of shower gel and shampoo per person it isn’t enough to last more than 2 days or so.
These are just some of the things you would want to remember what to take to Center Parcs.
- Toilet rolls
- Shower Gel
- Suncream – We use the Banana Boat Spray on which gives us great coverage and works well with water-based activities.
- Toothpaste – this is an item I seem to always forget when going away.
- Dishwasher Tablets/ Washing up liquid – depending on the length of your stay, some are provided at the start of your stay but are not restocked.
- Bin Liners
Pro Tip: Center Parcs provide 1-2 rolls of toilet roll but do not restock your lodge so it is always a good idea to take extra. Alternatively, you can buy some while you are there from the Center Parcs supermarket.
I don’t know how I do it but I always seem to injure myself in one way or another.
Although there is a level of community and safety on the parc I would still recommend having a well equipped first aid kit with you.
Buy Here: First Aid Kit
Here are some of the things we like to keep in our first aid kit;
- Blister Plasters
- Paracetamol/ Ibuprofen
- Antiseptic Wipes
- Anti Sickness Tablets
- Tube Bandage
While many people go to Center Parcs to take time off from social media (which I totally get) there are also some handy electronics you may want to pack.
Things like cameras to capture the memories, a phone so you can call each other when you are lost and iPads for the journey there and back.
Here are the items you might want to take to Center Parcs;
- Phone Charger
- Camera Charger
- Ipad Charger
- GoPro/Underwater Camera
We often travel with our macs, cameras and headphones for work purposes but if you are looking to have a couple of nights in your lodge you might want some extra entertainment on hand.
These don’t have to be essential on what to take to Center Parcs list but can be helpful.
Though there are some supplies ready at the lodge such as a high chair, cot and baby gates, still double check what items you will need.
The below things are a rough list of what to take to Center Parcs for a baby/infant;
- Baby Wipes
- Baby Monitor
- Pushchair cover
- Bottle Steriliser
- Swimming Nappies
Pro Tip: Work out an average of how much you use things like wipes and nappies daily and take that times the number of days you are there. You can also go and find supplies in the comprehensive supermarket on site.
Activities & Entertainment
These are things you will want to remember if you are taking or renting bikes, doing any activities or just things you might want to bring from home.
All items I feel can enhance a trip to Center Parcs and keep the family entertained, especially on cold wintery evenings.
Pro Tip: If you plan to visit in the winter months, take a torch. Though the main areas are lit, the woodland can get dark in some places.
One of the biggest things people want to know is if it is worth taking their own bikes. I wanted to include this on my what to take to Center Parcs as it is a great way for families to save money and have a full fun holiday.
If you are heading there for the first time it may not be something you need or want to take straight away but you may want a bike for your next trip.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget knee and elbow pads along with helmets, especially for children.
Also, don’t forget to take a bike lock for each bike just to be safe. If you have bikes at home and like to use them, think about taking them on your trip.
This will save you money on hiring and you have the luxury of being able to keep it for the full time you are there.
We first came across these as a staple for families going to Disney World. But since buying one (well my parents) we have found so many uses for it.
One of the purposes is for getting the kids, bags and shopping around Center Parcs. We found this really useful and many others have also used this. It is a great alternative to going around on bikes for families.
It is also really handy if you plan to take a picnic, extra clothes out or even just a backpack. Little legs can often get tired and so it is super easy to put them in the wagon and pull them along.
Buy Here: Foldable Wagon
The best part is you can fold it away and store it out of the way so when you aren’t using it it’s not an eyesore.
Board Games/ Card Games
Center Parcs is all about making the most of being outdoors, enjoying what is already there and having family time. If you are looking to get rid of phones, tablets and tv, think about taking a board game or card game.
This can work equally well for adults only trips, family trips or just couples. Pack a game or two to play through a wintery day or on an evening.
Depending on how far you are travelling I would recommend taking a cooler box. This will help keep all your fresh food cool until you reach your lodge.
This for me is a key thing on my what to take to Center Parcs list as it is so useful. It will also be handy if you have anything to bring home that can be kept in there and you won’t have any unfortunate smells and leaks on the way home.
Buy Here: Cooler Box
If you are anything like my family then you will plan to do plenty of outdoor activities.
As a child, we would go walking in the Yorkshire Dales and would get extremely muddy. In those times we would change shoes before getting back in the car. This will save the boot of your car from getting covered in mud.
Pro Tip: If you don’t want to buy a boot bag look at storing your muddy shoes in a bin liner.
It may not be an item you thought would be on your what to take to Center Parcs list but it is something practical and useful.
Buy Here: Boot Bag
It may seem a little silly but this is such a lovely idea, especially for summertime. If like us you are going for a couples romantic getaway this can be a lovely touch.
You can get a picnic basket, fill it with sandwiches, port pie and sausage rolls and a little cake.
Pro Tip: Don’t forget a picnic blanket either! Though it might not be a top priority on you what to take to Center Parcs list it is a nice thing to add on.
Go for a little stroll into the woods and find a spot to have a sit-down and eat. This will also stop your nice backpack from getting food crumbs in it.
Buy Here: Picnic Basket Bag
A backpack will be useful if you plan to go out and do any activities, for a walk or to the main complex area to go swimming.
Buy Here: North Face Jester Backpack Black
That is everything for our what to take to Center Parcs – Guide to packing for Centre Parcs if there is anything we have missed off let us know in the comments.
Is there a special item you take with you every time you go that we should know about? Let us know what you take to your Center Parcs holiday.