Center Parcs: lists, lists, lists

Our summer holiday may have been booked 12 months in advance but it sure ending up coming around super quick! As we were sharing a lodge with my folks we had a few chats, did a meal plan and made a list…

That list was one of many!

Self catering holidays are a great way of keeping the costs down. We’d been told the on site shop at Center Parcs was well stocked, but we’d been caught out with that before so wanted to go prepared! Two of the boys are vegetarian so getting a few substitutes in for them was important as those options are generally hard to come by in wee shops. We quickly agreed my Mum and Dad would bring fresh stuff and we’d bring as much as we could fit in the car.

Plus 2 suitcases full of clothes

Turned out that the Center Parcs on site shop, which is essentially a Co-Op, is in fact extremely well stocked and not as terrifyingly overpriced as we initially feared! It also turns out my Mum (*sorry Mum!) was not the one to be trusted to bring the fresh stuff (hence we got to know the shop’s stock pretty well) and we’ll definitely find room for a cool box in the car next time!

Next up was a clothes list and then a random stuff list. Basically, I just kept making lists everywhere so I could tick things off to make it feel like I was getting somewhere.

The weather was all over the place, swimming plus activities meant we needed loads of stuff! I won’t lie I checked if there was an on site washing machine. (There wasn’t.) As a family of 5 we produce a lot of stuff and I suddenly remembered we were bringing a dog too!

I love a good list though so I embraced it, here’s a wee insight into what we took;

  • Shoes (including ones that could get wet)
  • Clothes and spares
  • Rain jackets (we’re Scottish!)
  • Jumpers (again, we’re Scottish!)
  • Jammies
  • Swim stuff and towels
  • Dog stuff (inc bowls)
  • Picnic blankets and all the wet bags!
  • Board games, books, note books and pens
  • Yarn (always room for yarn!)
  • Toiletries
  • Chargers (ALL the chargers!)
  • Laptops (both of us had to work while away)
  • Snacks/drinks/food that didn’t need to go in the fridge
  • More snacks
  • First aid kit, calpol/paracetamol
Finally my wet bag obsession is justified!

Things my Mum brought in addition to food;

  • An obscene amount of bonkers cereals
  • More snacks
  • Disposable BBQ (highly recommend!)
  • Cleaning stuff (sprays/cloths)
  • Washing up liquid/dishwasher tabs
  • Tea towels/kitchen towels
  • Soap and sanitisers

All the usual stuff really. Apologies, but hopefully the lists above are helpful in some way. I googled and found some to bounce off so stuff like this helps me.

However, these are the things I wish we’d actually packed;

  • Toilet rolls
  • Spare hand towels
  • A jug/pitcher

Funny what you miss/forget isn’t it?!

Seriously though, toilet rolls, what even?! A lodge for 7, paying over £2,000 for a week and they don’t even give you enough loo roll to see through the weekend! It’s actually outrageous.

Since getting home, I’ve been made aware that the standard for “dog friendly” lodges is somewhat different to the rest of the lodges on site. Apparently toilet rolls and spare towels are provided in other lodges but not in the dog friendly ones. After rummaging about on the website I can’t find any info that supports this – nor can I find any info that suggests bringing your own loo roll might be a good idea. So either way Center Parcs some clarification might be nice. Better yet just give us some bloody toilet paper!

Don’t be alarmed, they clearly don’t need toilet paper!

One hand towel per bathroom and one towel per person. For a whole week. This was shockingly also not enough. The boys are disgusting and spare hand towels would have been a bonus. I like to change ours daily at home, so that was fun, definitely one on the list for next time.

We ended up using our own towels as hand towels and then ceremoniously dumped them on the floor like belligerent teens 🙈

In addition, surprisingly, the kitchen was pretty poorly stocked. Comparing it to our previous self catering holidays there was serious room for improvement and to be honest it was a bit odd! We could have done with the following;

  • Tongs
  • Whisk
  • Sharp knives
  • Spare cutlery
  • Generally just more utensils/serving stuff
  • A jug/pitcher (this was really annoying! We even asked two restaurants on site if we could borrow one – they both said no!)
  • Bowls/serving bowls
A saucepan bowl substitute was one thing but a fork over a whisk was not 😂

We kinda got the vibe that Center Parcs didn’t really want you using the kitchen in your lodge and they’d much prefer you ate out, which was weird, especially when you’ve got larger parties who can’t get bookings catered for in your on site restaurants!

Still managed some convincing Pancakes though!

So to summarise, toilet rolls and hand towels caught us out and a jug! We used a big reusable bottle as a jug to make up diluting juice and keep water cold in the end but a proper jug of pitcher would have been super handy!

What would you have brought with you? If you’ve been, would you change what you brought the next time? Also, more importantly, should toilet roll be provided as standard?!

Keep following my ramblings for more thrilling content and random chats about toilet rolls!

Jo 💚


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