There are not many places in the UK 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. One of the biggest questions though is what to take to Center Parcs?
What To Take To Center Parcs Self Catering Holiday
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. There are two types one is the starter pack and the other is the family grocery pack.
The pack is a great way to have everything you need waiting for you and means one less thing to pack and worry about. Unfortunately, a downside to this is if you have any special dietary requirements this won’t work out for you. If you prefer to take your own groceries to save money or just because you like a specific type of tea then check out this list below so you don’t forget anything.
A great way to plan what you need to pack in terms of food is making a list of lunches and evening meals you plan to cook for. If you have a rough idea of how many meals you plan to cook for you can plan what to cook. Creating a meal plan is a great way to save money on your trip as you can take exactly what you need.
- Tea, Coffee Or Hot Chocolate
- Sugar/ Sweeteners
- Dilute Juice – Great if you have children or like me I don’t like just drinking water.
- Alcohol – if you like to have a drink at your lodge.
- Fresh Fruit Juice
- Eggs – For a lovely filling breakfast
- Bacon – Bacon sandwiches or full English.
- Meat – If you plan to cook in quite a lot during your stay this is a place you can really save money.
- Salad Items – Though these aren’t specifically expensive it is good to bring especially if you plan to have a couple of BBQ’s in summer.
- Tinned Tomatoes – for a full English breakfast or to make pasta sauces
- Baked Beans
- Beans /Pulses – This is depending on what you plan to cook if anything.
- Cereal / Breakfast items – Things like this are easy to pick up at home and take. As not all cereals will be available in the on-site shop.
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. If you know what activities you are/ might be doing then you can pack accordingly for that.
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 the activities I would pack sports gear and a good pair of trainers. Think about layers, they are always a good thing to have as you are still in the UK and weather is unpredictable.
- Swimming Gear
- Sports Wear – this can be anything you already use/wear. After all, you want to be comfortable on holiday.
- Hats/ Caps
Here are a couple of ideas I put together with clothes I have and have worn multiple times on holidays. These are just to give you an idea of what you might want to take and what to pack. Obviously, don’t pack your brand new trainers… I was too ashamed to use my dirty old ones for photographs!
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 with easy to move clothing. If you are planning on doing some walking around the area I would recommend waterproof layers.
- Waterproof Coat
- Waterproof Trousers
- Leggings/Thermal Layer
- Long Sleeve T-shirts
- Jeans/ Trousers
I actually visited March 2018 and we had really bad weather, it snowed and some people couldn’t get their cars out of the parc. I was lucky to have packed a couple of layers that weekend especially as we were doing the high ropes in the snow. These are just a couple of suggestions and ideas to help you work out what you want to pack in terms of clothes.
- Towels – If you plan to go swimming it is best to take your own towels.
- Armbands – if you are taking little ones don’t forget your armbands
- Swimming Nappies – though the shop supplies these, I have heard that they often run out so be prepared with plenty.
Last year we found some amazing deals on flights to Iceland, it wasn’t a place we had been before and so it required us to invest in some new outdoor gear. We were lucky enough to work with Craghoppers who kitted us out in time for our cold adventure. The only thing we needed was a pair of sturdy waterproof walking shoes. Since then we were so pleased we spent the money on those shoes as we have used them multiple times since.
- Walking Shoes/ Trainers
- Wellies / Waterproof shoes
- Sandals/ flip flops – These will be nice to have in summer when the weather is warmer and there is less mud around.
- A nice pair of shoes for the evening, though Center Parcs isn’t a dressy place because it is outdoor and it is very relaxed. You still might want to change from your muddy boots into something a little cleaner.
Toiletries have to be the one thing I always forget something, whether it is toothpaste or shampoo. 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 – there are some provided but depending on how long you are staying you may want some more.
- Shower Gel
- Suncream/ Aftersun
- Toothpaste – this is an item I seem to always forget when going away.
First Aid Kit
I don’t know how I do it but I always seem to injure myself in one way or another and more so when we don’t have our first aid kit handy. Though there is a level of community and safety on the parc I would still recommend having one with you.
- Blister Plasters – these will come in handy if you have had a full day walking.
- Paracetamol/ Ibuprofen
- Antiseptic Wipes
- Anti Diarrhea – You really don’t want anything to stop you from climbing those high ropes.
- Anti Sickness Tablets – though I never need them often I do somethings feel queasy in the car so I like to know I have these handy.
- Tube Bandage – surprisingly we have had o buy these in an emergency a few times, though I don’t think I will ever need it, it is handy to have. This can help cover a large area of skin that has been hurt or a sprain.
- Phone Charger
- Camera Charger
- Ipad/ Laptop
- Ipad/ Laptop Charger
- Swimming Nappies
- Baby Wipes
- Baby Monitor
- Pushchair cover
Depending on how far you are travelling I would recommend taking a cooler box that plugs into your car cigarette lighter. 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 can be kept in there and you won’t have any unfortunate smells and leaks on the way home.
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. My parents have special boot bags to hold their muddy boots. But if you don’t want to fork out money for a special bag you can use bin liners to hold your boots in. This will save the boot of your car getting covered in mud. 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.
It may seem a little silly but this is such a lovely idea, especially for summer time. If like us you are going for couples romantic get away 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. Go for a little stroll into the woods and find a spot to have a sit-down and eat. Don’t forget a picnic blanket either! Though it might not be top priority on you what to take to Center Parcs list but it is a nice thing to add on.
There are some provided at the lodges but if there are quite a few of you and are planning on cooking and staying a number of days it is handy to have some spare. Also if you get caught in some bad weather these are easy to bag your shoes to stop mud getting in the lodge. Also very handy for getting wet/muddy shoes home in the car.
There is always leftover food so this is handy to have some around to bag any leftovers. Great for putting together snack bags for little ones while out for the day.
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.
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 everytime you go that we should know about? Let us know what you take to your Center Parcs holiday.