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What to pack for Centerparcs – to save money

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Today I want to share with you what to pack for Centerparcs – to save money! Knowing what to take to Centre parcs can help you save money and spend less time shopping and more time enjoying your holiday!

We love going to Centerparcs. We go at least twice a year. In the past year we’ve actually been 5 times. Going to Centerparcs gives us the perfect chance to spend time with our family and friends.

We tend to go out of season, when the dates are cheapest, and this means that we get a really reasonable holiday. While saving money isn’t something that we need to do these days it really does make sense to try our best still.

A peacock at Centerparcs Elveden Forest outside Starbucks coffee

What to pack for Centerparcs – to save money!

Centerparcs packing list – grocery shopping

Now there is a shop on site at Centerparcs but it can be on the pricey side. It is REALLY well stocked so if you forget an item for your baby, or fancy a different meal when you arrive, then you’ll be covered. They stock a lot of items from local companies – so the shop is great to pick up a few nice jams or other gifts.

Personally I would recommend collecting your groceries near to the site. Most sites have a large supermarket, such as Tesco or Sainsbury’s, offering click & collect near by.

If this is your first time placing an order then look on TopCashBack to see if you can make yourself some money in the process. If you’re wondering what to pack for Centerparcs in terms of groceries go for snacks, convenience foods, juice, kitchen supplies and then bring some other items from home.

I like to fill up a pot with tea bags and other goodies from home – rather than buying whole packets for one week’s center parcs break.

A slow cooker dinner cooked at Centerparcs

Be wary about taking your slow cooker

I know taking a slow cooker, air fryer or pizza oven seems very tempted but you’ll want to check the terms and conditions of your booking before doing so – as it seems this may not be allowed…!

Slow cooker hunters chicken, slow cooker keema curry, slow cooker bbq ribs and slow cooker chicken and mushroom pie filling

I love making a slow cooker roast chicken, slow cooker roast beef, slow cooker chilli or slow cooker curry for those convenient meals.

Centerparcs packing list – Bird/animal feed

There is lots of beautiful wildlife at Centerparcs. Ducks, deer, owls, all sorts really. Take some duck food, or other animal feed. Please don’t be tempted to feed them bread, cereal or other junk food. It isn’t healthy for them. 

Animals often come right up to your lodge door so you’ll love being able to offer them a healthy snack, without spending £3 a bag in the Parcmarket.

Amazon have tons of different *duck food. You’ll be almost guaranteed to have animals outside the door of your lodge for as long as you have food – so take lots!

The forest at Centerparcs Elveden Forest near the cycle center

Bring a disposable BBQ

If you are going to visiting at a suitable time for a BBQ then bring your own. We have been known to have a BBQ in November and I usually pick a couple of disposable ones up for just £1-2 each.

I find there is normally one drier night in the duration of our break regardless of the time of year that we visit. If you don’t want to stock up on account of this post then you can still buy disposable BBQs year round in the Centerparcs shop. They are just a little more expensive.

When I’ve remembered last minute I’ve bought *disposable BBQs from Amazon with next day delivery.

Bring smokeless fire logs

You have to make sure that these are smokeless. They sell these in the Parcmarket but they are usually 3-4 for £10. I’ve seen them for around half this price in Aldi, B&Q and other stores.

In the past we’ve ordered a *multipack from Amazon. I think these are the exact brand that they sell at Center parcs. They’re not often much cheaper, as often the logs are 4 for the price of 3, at £10, so bear that in mind if ordering from Amazon!

Bring pool towels & swimseats

You can hire towels on site, for around £2. You cannot use the towels from the lodge at the subtropical swimming paradise swimming pool. Well, you could, but don’t get caught! Personally I like these *microfibre towels because they are small to pack and they really do dry us fast.

The poolside lockets have lots of room, and you don’t need to remember a code as you just use your accommodation wristband to lock them and unlock them. There is a small scanner in a few different places pool side that you can scan and see the number for your locker if you’ve forgotten.

If you have a small baby then take an *inflatable swimseat. There is a shop on site but these cost almost £20 each. You can buy one from Amazon for around 1/3 of that price. Don’t forget the *swim nappies if you have little ones! Swim nappies are an essential really for little ones unless you want to get the pool shut down for the day…!

They have vests available to use for free poolside. Also, there is a pump to blow up inflatables once you get past the showers in most of the sites. If you can’t find a pump then ask at the in pool customer service desk as they’ll be able to do it for you.

Take your own bikes

With bike hire now costing around £30 per person, for just a few days, I’d suggest taking your own bikes if you own them. We currently don’t have anywhere to store bikes so we hire them on site. Lots of people take bikes, on a bike rack, fixed to their car.

If you are a large family this could save you £100s. You don’t need bikes BUT they help you explore the beautiful surroundings, which are vast. Don’t forget to pack a bike lock too for each bike – a D lock is recommended because of thefts on site.

Pack appropriately for the weather

If there is a chance of rain ensure you pack carefully. While they do sell everything you need on site if you spend £10 on a pair of gloves it is going to add up pretty quickly! We have been caught out with this in the past! 

A sauna with ice bucket and text overlay that says Aqua Sana at Elveden Forest, Centerparcs

Bring your own supplies

I think some of the cheaper lodges just come with 1-2 toilet rolls when you arrive. We tend to stay in the sauna lodges, as they are cheap off peak, and these get unlimited supplies.

Often there is a small pack in the room with a cleaning cloth, sponge, tea towel, oven gloves and a single sachet of washing up liquid plus a 3 packet of dishwasher tablets.

If you are staying in one of the cheaper, but still lovely, lodges then pack some nice loo roll. Same for hand soap, bin bags, kitchen towel and foil. You do get little bars of soap in the lodges but I find them a little drying for my hands.

A 4 bedroom lodge at Centerparcs.

Think about your kitchen supplies

While the kitchens are well equipped you may want to bring some more supplies. Condiments, salt & pepper and a few herbs are a great addition to the kitchen at Centerparcs. Also, bring some tea bags, coffee, sugar, cereal and buy a fresh milk once you get on site.

Bring first aid supplies

Calpol, bandages, sterile wipes, Sudocrem, paracetamol and Micropor. Ideal for treating your little woodland explorers!

While on site be sure to take advantage of the free activities. Swimming, visiting the parks and exploring the forest are all free. Also, if you book activities well in advance you’ll get a guaranteed space.

If you wait until you are on site you may find a few bargains – so check back daily!

I hope I’ve helped you know what to pack for Centerparcs – to save money! We love our family holidays together and knowing what to pack for Centerparcs if something that I’m always thinking about.

I keep a list on my computer now and each holiday, as we think of more things, I update it. This saves us so much money.

Outside archery targets at Centerparcs with text overlay that says target archery at Centerparcs

My ultimate center parcs packing list:

Groceries – Buy essentials such as bread, cereal, fruit, vegetables etc

Bird/animal feed

Disposable BBQ

Smokeless fire logs

Beach towels, swimwear, baby swim supports

Waterproof clothing


Toilet rolls

Bin bags

Kitchen roll

Tea bags



Salt & pepper

Cooking oil

Herbs & spices for cooking


First aid supplies: paracetamol, bandages, thermometer, Sudocrem, Calpol, sterile wipes

Baby food and formula milk

Extra items to consider for your Centerparcs packing list:

Taking your own bikes

Meal planning for the week and take your slow cooker

Knowing what to pack for Centerparcs is just one of the ways to enjoy your week. There are some great activities at Centerparcs, including pottery painting, and target archery.

I personally always visit the Aqua Sana spa too while I’m on site. Check out my Centerparcs Aqua Sana Elveden Forest review for an idea of what the spas are like. I tend to go for the 5 hour twilight package as this is usually the best value package per hour – and it comes with food!

We visit every year during Winter Wonderland and we always visit Santa’s Woodland Workshop at Centerparcs.

Wondering what the lodges are like at Centerparcs?

I’ve stayed in a vast array of lodges and I’ve got a whole host of videos on YouTube:

2 bedroom Woodland lodges at Woburn Forest

3 bedroom Executive lodge with sauna and hot tub at Longleat Forest

4 bedroom exclusive lodge with outdoor spa area at Woburn Forest

Centerparcs Waterside Lodge at Elveden Forest

Centerparcs Treehouse lodge at Elveden Forest

Alternatively, why not check out my Centerparcs playlist on YouTube?

If you’re wondering what to take to Centerparcs Longleat, Whinfell, Woburn, Sherwood, Elveden or Longford I think personally this list will apply to all sites. All of the sites have wildlife, the same type of lodges and similar facilities.

There are usually a few differences between restaurants and activities but that is about it. Personally I find Woburn Centerparcs to be the easiest site. It does have some hills but it is pretty small which makes it feel more manageable without bikes or spending lots of money.

Centerparcs has to be one of my favourite package self catering holidays because you don’t have to worry about towels or beddings in your lodge. Standards are pretty high in terms of cleanliness and this is part of why we return back again and again.

We have visited Centerparcs at multiple times of the year in recent years. We’ve visited during September, October, November, January, March, April and June. We’re hoping to visit soon in July and get the best of the glorious weather!

I’m pleased to report that we’ve always loved visiting – regardless of the weather. My family is most content when we’re together and so we don’t mind if it is raining, snowing or lovely sunshine really when we’re on holiday together.

The weather has been very varied but we have pretty much always packed the same items. The only difference is that during the colder months we pack a lot more jumpers, waterproofs and wellies!

Now you know what to pack for Centerparcs I hope that you can have the trip of a lifetime! We absolutely love Centerparcs. It’s so peaceful, calm and relaxing when we are there. The staff are always willing to help and the overall vibe is a relaxing one for our family.

I’m heading back very soon and can hardly wait! One of my top tips would be once you’ve decided what to pack for Centerparcs make a note on your phone that you can use for future trips. This saves us LOTS of time and effort and means I don’t have to panic about what to pack for Centerparcs in the run up to our next holiday!

If you enjoyed this post I’d love it if you could pin it on Pinterest!

Subtropical swimming paradise in Centerparcs woburn forest with a pond and greenery outside.

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Kay Pilkingotn

Tuesday 25th of September 2018

This is so helpful, thank you so much! Have you been to the Woburn one? Any tips for that one in particular? X


Sunday 30th of September 2018

I have! I've been to Woburn 2 or 3 times already this year. Here are a few tips:

Swimming is less busy in the late afternoon onwards (or first thing in the morning). There is a BIG park behind Hucks. This isn't as busy as the other areas. They have story reading mornings, for £1 per person. You won't see quite as much wildlife here, as it's newer, but the spa is AMAZING, and definitely the best one. Look out for the nature reserve (see your map) well worth a look! There is a footpath around the outside of the park that you can walk/cycle (just outside the park - it's a public footpath). You can manage without bikes here as this site is smaller compared to the others.

They're all really similar, but Woburn is just newer, fresher and a bit smaller. There are some BIG inclines though!

Have a wonderful time! If you want to chat more please do catch me here or on Twitter (@katykicker) where I will reply MUCH faster x


Saturday 29th of July 2017

I think someone else gave me the tip before! Great idea isn't it x

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