If you go down to the woods today… there are a few things that you should take along with you. We’ve had holidays in three of the five UK Center Parcs (Whinfell, Elveden and Sherwood), and we all love it. The Bookworm is never happier than when she’s building a den, or heading down a waterslide for the fiftieth time. And just a mention of the word ‘squirrel’ has The Chap completely beside himself. But each time we’ve thought, ‘Oh. We really should have packed that.’
So, to save you all the trouble of learning from your own mistakes, we decided to make all the mistakes for you. Here’s what we’ve learned you need to pack. We’ve assumed that you’re already planning to pack clothes (no offence, nudists!) and toiletries.
A big saucepan – Especially if you’re staying with a family or a group. The villas have pans, utensils, and more egg cups than you’ll ever need. But there’s never one pan big enough for cooking up a huge batch of chili or bolognese.
Tea towels – Again, Center Parcs provides a tea towel. But it has the size and absorbency of a Dairylea cheese slice. Pack your own if you want to get any drying done.
Washing-up liquid and sponges – Same deal. You get a little sachet of washing-up liquid. Presumably the plan is that when that’s finished you head down to the little shop and pay three times the normal amount for a bottle of the stuff. But not me! Because I packed my own.
Dishwasher tablets – See above. To me, a dishwasher is the ultimate in exotic luxury. I’ve never owned one, but I marvel at the Center Parcs dishwashers.
Food and drink – Pretty obvious, right? Wrong! Plan your meals out for the week, and take all the stuff you’ll need. All the stuff. Like these things, that you’re bound to forget about:
- Cooking oil
- Salt & pepper
- Herbs & spices
- Sugar (for hot drinks)
- Sandwich stuff
- Tea & coffee
On the tea and coffee note, they do give you a handful of teabags and instant coffee sachets. There isn’t enough to sustain a normal person for their stay, so there’s definitely not enough for a parent. Although you will get a cafetiere, so pack proper coffee if that’s your bag.
Kitchen knife & chopping board – This might just be me. I’m quite attached to my kitchen knives, so I tend to take one anywhere that I’m likely to be chopping anything. There are knives provided by Center Parcs. But mine is better.
Towels – There are towels in your villa. Apparently they frown upon you taking those towels out of the villa and down to the swimming pool (sorry, Subtropical Swimming Paradise). Pack your own swimming towel and use the Center Parcs towels for bathing.
Alcohol – I realise I’m sounding quite cheap now. But, just like food, you’ll save money by taking your own drinks rather than buying them at the on-site shop, though they do have a good selection.
Toilet roll – Don’t want to run out of that.
Swimming costumes – You’re at Center Parcs. You have to go swimming.
So, there you have it. Our packing list for your Center Parcs holiday.
Anything we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below.