Whether it’s your first time to Centerparcs, or your tenth, hopefully theres something useful in this list of tips!
Before you go:
You can pay around £50 to choose the location of your lodge – handy if you want to be near something in particular, or close to all the action. Also useful if you’re going with others and want to get lodges close to each other.
If you book outside of school holidays you can often book for a very reasonable price. Also, in my opinion Centerparcs is lovely all year round – the lodges are comfortable and cosy in the winter with log fires and the subtropical swimming paradise is heated so you won’t feel the cold at all when swimming. Plus autumn and winter is a beautiful time for walking through the woods.
Pre-book your bike hire to save time when you arrive – you can walk straight in and collect your bikes rather than having to queue and order them.
Take wellies and rain coats – this is England after all.
Take some disposal BBQ’s (or pick one up in the Parcmarket) and you can set them up on your BBQ stand on the outdoor patio.
A cot and highchair are provided, but don’t forget cot bedding.
The kitchen has everything you need such as plates, cups, pans and cutlery. But you might want to take things like foil, cling film, tupperware and also kitchen roll, washing up liquid and dishwasher tablets. You are provided with about 3 dishwasher tablets and a cloth, but it’s handy to take extra if you think you’ll need it.
Pre-book activities to save time and it also means you don’t need to worry about things getting booked up. We turned up on the day to hire a boat (rather than pre-booking) and the next slot was around a 45 minute wait.
Take flip-flops for the pool if you go in the summer, it’s much easier than putting shoes on when you’re getting dry and changed to leave.
Pack a cool bag with the refrigerated food that you’re taking along, especially if you’re planning to arrive before you can access your lodge.
I like to plan exactly what we’re eating for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks whilst we’re there (whether in the lodge or eating out) and then shop for exactly what we need to take with us. It just means you don’t end up with wasted food, and also it’s much easier than having to decide what you’re eating when you’re there.
Check in online before you go, it’ll save time when you arrive.
Download the app – it’s really useful as it has a village map and also you can see your itinerary on there too with your pre-booked activities etc.
Pack a bucket and spade if you have little ones going as there’s a small ‘beach’ at the lake which is always fun if the weather is nice.
Take towels for the pool – the lodge only has a few (smallish) bath towels so you’ll need separate ones for swimming.
When you’re there:
With the bike hire, babies and toddlers can either sit on a seat on the back of the bike, or in a trailer that you pull along. The trailer is handy if you’re carrying bags (with swim stuff etc) but if you go for a seat then you’ll be best off with rucksacks for your stuff.
You can drive your car to your lodge to unload from 3pm onwards on the day of arrival, before parking it back in the car park for the duration of your stay.
If you arrive at 3pm (the time you can access your lodge) then there will be a long queue and you’ll be stuck waiting to get in. If you can, get there earlier, use the facilities (go for a swim), and then just pop back to get the car anytime after 3pm and drop your stuff to your lodge. Alternatively, arrive much later once the queue has gone.
When you take your car back to the car park, use your phone to take a photo of the location you’ve left it and then it doesn’t matter if you can’t remember where it is when it’s time to depart.
Use the family changing cubicles when swimming (if you have babies/children with you) – they are much roomier and have a baby changing table in them.
The TV has Cbeebies so no need to bring an iPad. Super handy when you’ve had a busy day and need some time to chill whilst lighting the BBQ!
If you forget the essentials, head to the ParcMarket – it has most things you’ll need and although it’s more expensive than back home, it’s all reasonably priced and very handy for picking up anything you’ve forgotten.
I hope there are some useful tips in this list, and if you’re heading to Centerparcs soon then have a wonderful time. Also if you have any tips that are not listed here then please do add them in the comments below, the more the better!
Thanks for reading.