Packing list for self catering holidays : What to pack for Center Parcs:

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Packing list for self catering holidays

We love Center Parcs and self catering holidays, staying in a lodge in the woods is a wonderful experience and they offer lots of advantages for families over a traditional hotel.  We have had some of our best extended family holidays in lodges in the woods but packing for self catering holidays can often be a pain and small essentials can be forgotten.  Here’s my packing list for self catering holidays and what to pack for Center Parcs.


  • Rain gear / water proofs / wellies: We have been in Center Parcs in all weather conditions and its been from Freezing, snow to glorious sunshine.  Always best to be prepared.
  • Gloves: you will probably have these with you in winter, but even visiting in spring and autumn, it can get really cold when you are walking or cycling.
  • Trainers & Sports wear: if you are planning on doing any of the sports / climbing activities I would recommend you pack some.
  • A range of clothes: you will be out all different times of the day and need to make sure you have clothing from tshirts, to thick jumpers to thick socks!



Center Parcs and most holiday villages are home to gorgeous swimming pools and my little adventurers would happily spend hours there.  I would recommend the following:

  • A big bag to carry the clothes: this is also vital from when you empty your lockers and attempt to find a changing room (which can be really far sometimes!), so a big bag is always a must
  • Swimming costumes
  • Swimming nappies (the shop has sometimes run out!)
  • Arm bands, we have our swim fin with us, but whatever your child usually uses.
  • Towels, it is frowned upon to take the lodge towels so bring your own
  • Hairdryer: these are often provided in lodges but sometimes arent the best.  I bring my own with me for the lodge anyway.

For the lodge

  • Toilet roll, if there is a few of you staying, you will run out and the toilet roll provided is sometimes not the best
  • Kitchen roll
  • Bin Bags
  • Logs: Nothing beats a log fire and it is so much cheaper to buy from the pound shop before you go
  • Wipes, they are best thing ever
  • Blankets, we love sitting together and chatting and blankets for the kids (and adults alike always make it feel more cosy!


  • Foil (makes washing much easier if you are lining baking trays!)
  • Sharp knife, the ones you are provided with are not the best so you if you want to cut anything
  • Saucepan, you get a variety of pans, but we never had one of these
  • Washing up liquid / sponges /
  • Tea towels
  • Centre Parcs and most lodges provide these but it is important to check that they do: Dishes / pans  / cutlery


  • Cereal (they do not sell Star Wars cereal in onsite shops, so pack your own!)
  • Bread / Margarine / butter
  • Salt / sugar/
  • Tea / Coffee
  • Milk
  • Fruit / veg
  • Snacks: we finding walking / cycling / swimming makes for very hungry adventurers, so pack lots
  • Drinks / water
  • eggs
  • oil

We precook our meals so it means we aren’t stressing about food and just warm up / defrost as we need to.  If you love cooking fresh I would still recommend you cook the meal for the first night.  regardless of what time you arrive, the children will be really hungry and its great to have food already prepared!

Disposable BBQ: Buying them from Center Parcs can be very expensive so I would recommend buying them from home.  We also like toasting marshmallows especially on wintry stays, so remember to pack special dietary requirement marshmallows from home.



  • Rucksacks: perfect to carry things on walks / activities and you can even cycle etc with them
  • Animal Feed: surprisingly they do not sell feed in Center Parcs but often squirrels and ducks come to your doors and I think little adventurers would love to feed them
  • Torches: We love going for a wonder at night and our little adventurers love to have their torches out.  Center Parcs Whinfell is pretty well lit up but we have been to other holiday parks which are pitch black at night!
  • Bike helmets and locks: You can hire these from the bicycle area, but I would bring your own, its cheaper and you can them reuse them at home!
  • Old towel: I would recommend this to have to hand to wipe any bikes which have been left out overnight or even for the playgrounds if the swings /slides are dirty.
  • Binoculors: it makes you feel like you are on an adventure!
  • Old clothes: if you are booking any of the arts and craft activities, pack clothes you don’t mind getting dirty
  • Games: We love to pack evening games like Twister / Ludo / Monopoly.  They are great to play in big groups and we’ve had lots of happy memories of the kids playing with these.
  • DVDs: We don’t really have time to watch these when we are away but if there is any firm favourites in your home, lots of self catering accommodation have DVD players included.


First Aid Kit

I am a Group Scout Leader and now always have a first aid kit in my rucksack.  Its not a full blown kit but I always have

  • Calpol
  • Vix (wonders for a cough – apply to the feet at night and put socks on!)
  • Plasters
  • antiseptic wipes
  • bandages / tape/ scissors
  • paracetamol
  • Sudocream
  • If you are travelling with babies: nappy cream if different from Sudocream

I hope this helps with your packing for self catering holiday.  If you have any other ideas I would love to know 🙂

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I am a traveller, mother and blogger. We love to go on adventures (big and small, near and far) and strive to show our children how amazing and beautiful the world is! I caught the travel bug many moons ago and despite having three little adventurers, I still suffer from "itchy" feet. We love the great outdoors and one another. Come and join the fun :)

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9 Responses

  1. Star Wars cereal hahaha 😀

    I have bite cream in my first aid kit – I’m allergic to bees, so Piriton is also an essential for us!

  2. Perfect. Thank you. Just what I was looking for. X

  3. Very helpful. Thank you 🙂

  4. C Louis-Taylor says:

    Great! Has really helped! Thanks.

  5. samaralouise says:

    This is great 😉

  6. Gail says:

    Great ideas. Thank you ?

  7. Sian Bowen says:

    Hello, I am going to centre parcs with my Husband and one year old on Monday so this list has been so helpful. THANK YOU! With regards to the logs for the fire, I wanted to know if you got any logs in particular. When I called to ask centre parcs what type of logs I was told they had to be bought on site because they are a special kind but I’d like to know what kind you got ?

  8. Gail Summerfield says:

    Many thanks, very helpful ?

  9. kellylmf78 says:

    Just searching for a list for our CP trip ya longleat next week as we forgot things last year and came across this. Fab thank you. X

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