A Girls’ Weekend at Center Parcs: What to Pack

Almost every year for the past 5 years (except from the one where I was heavily pregnant) my friends and I have gone away to Center Parcs for a girlie weekend. We usually go in March and have now been to quite a few of the different Center Parcs around the country. This year we are returning to Elveden Forest (in Suffolk) for the the second time.

A Girls' Weekend at Center Parcs: What to Pack

I’m quite nervous as this will be the longest time I’ve spent away from my darling daughter. At the same time, I am desperate for a weekend away with my friends (who all live a 3 hour drive away from me and I don’t get to see very often).

As I feel like somewhat of a Center Parcs veteran, I thought I’d share with you what I’m packing for my weekend away. The essentials, the ‘luxury items’ and the boring (but useful) stuff. I’m only packing for myself obviously (hurrah!) but I figured this may help anyone else planning a girlie break at Center Parcs who perhaps hasn’t been before.

I should warn you at this point that I’m somewhat of an ‘over-packer’ but I’m a firm believer that ‘It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared’. Oh and I also hate paying for over-priced items at the on-site supermarket. ;)

A Girls’ weekend at Center Parcs: What to pack

The essentials:

Clothes (duh!) – underwear, socks, sportswear, PJs and swimwear, a warm jumper and a rain mac. 

Trainers (and depending on the time of year, wellies!)

Money/Cash card

Hair bobbles: This is something I quite often forget to pack but they’re essential if you have long hair and your planning to do any of the activities.

Make up 




Make up/face wipes

Shower gel + shampoo and conditioner 

Towels: Bath towels are supplied (in Comfort Plus lodges) but you’ll need to take your own towels for swimming.

Phone + charger

Camera + charger: you’ll be making great memories with your pals so remember your camera!

Rucksack: If you’re normally a handbag kinda gal, you’ll be better off ditching it in favour of a rucksack. It’s extremely hard to cycle with handbag over your arm. Just ask my friend, Sam! ;)

A torch: Whilst most of the paths are well lit, you are in a forest so once it get dark, it’s useful to have a torch to hand.

A bike seat cover: If you’re hiring a bike from Center Parcs then it’s well worth investing a few pounds on a bike seat cover. The first year that we went, we found the bike seats incredibly uncomfortable. We ended up trying to put together makeshift bike seat covers using tea towels, plastic bags and cellotape. It looked as ridiculous as it sounds.

Squash: As well as a bottle of squash for the lodge, I’m also taking a couple of small bottles of concentrated squash to take out and about with me. I’m not a fan of fizzy drinks and I find water a bit bland!

Re-usable water bottle: talking of drinks, buying them all of the time can get expensive so take a bottle with you – fill it up at your villa and pop it in your rucksack for when you’re out and about.

Hairdryers/straighteners: Hairdryers are provided in most CP accommodation (check online) but I always prefer to use my own.

The luxury items:

DVDs: Our accommodation has a TV/DVD player. For us, it’s been a bit of a tradition that every Center Parcs break, we have one ‘movie night’ in our lodge where we watch a film with pizza, snacks and drinks. Usually, we each take a film and then decide which one to watch together on the night. This year I’m taking ‘If I stay’ – no idea if it’s any good or not but from the synopsis, it sounded sufficiently chick-flicky.

Bubble bath: I very rarely have a bath at home (that isn’t shared with my toddler). I always think there’s something else I should be doing. As much as I enjoy being active at Center Parcs, it’s also a rare mummy break for me so I fully intend to make the most of it. I’ve packed some Radox and I’m looking forward to a nice hot soak in the tub – without a manky bath toy in sight.

Face mask: – See above! ;)

Tea bags/Coffee/Hot chocolate: I’m not a coffee or tea drinker (I know!) but I am partial to a hot chocolate. If the weather remains the same as it has been lately, then I suspect it will be cold and wet during our stay at Center Parcs. It’ll be a nice treat to get back to our lodge and have a post-swimming/cycling hot choccy! The other girls will no doubt be bringing a stash of their favourite tea bags/coffee granules.

Treats: Chocolates are a must and no girls’ weekend away would be complete without them!

Booze: Neither myself nor my friends are particularly big drinkers (we are off to Center Parcs not Ibiza, after all) but we do like the odd cocktail. I’m packing some ‘skinny’ strawberry daiquiri (because I’m a Slimming World bore!)

Book(s): Whether you’re staying at Center Parcs with family or friends – it’s nice to have some downtime in between all of the active stuff.

The boring stuff:

Hand wash: From memory, I don’t think this is supplied. I’m taking a couple of bars of antibacterial soap for the bathroom and kitchen.

Hand wipes

Loo roll: If I remember rightly, you are provided with a roll or two to ‘get you going’ but you’ll probably need more if there’s a few of you staying in a lodge together.

Dish towels: Again, you are provided with one or two but it’s useful to take a few extra. :)

Kitchen towels and antibacterial spray: *CLEAN FREAK ALERT*

Paracetamols: The last thing you want is for your weekend away to be spoiled by a headache or period pains. I always keep a packet of painkillers in my rucksack, just in case.

Pocket packs of tissues 

A re-usable shopping bag: particularly useful if you’re planning on using the Parc Market and want to avoid paying 5p per carrier bag.

A pound coin: for your swimming pool locker.

First aid kit: always be prepared!

I hope this is useful for anybody heading to Center Parcs for a girls’ weekend. You will be sure to have a great time – we always do and that’s why we go back, year after year. :)

What would be your ‘essential item(s)’ for a girls’ weekend away?

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  1. Avatar March 13, 2016 / 10:14 pm

    I saw your pics on FB and it looks like you had a fab time. We tend to have a weekend away in October and it’s a bit of a young and old trip as my mum and her friends come too … which means, I rarely have to pack very much as they come laden with drinks, snacks and pretty much everything that I forget :) xx

    • Jenna March 14, 2016 / 2:08 pm

      We had such a brilliant time, Rachel. :) I’m hoping for us to go as a family in October but we’ll see! There really is something for everyone at Center Parcs – perfect for all age groups. That’s so handy that you have people packing the essentials for you! ;) xx

  2. Avatar March 15, 2016 / 11:43 am

    I’d love to visit with friends! DVDs are essential as there isn’t much going on in the evenings there x

    • Jenna March 15, 2016 / 2:43 pm

      It’s such a great place to spend a weekend with friends as you can do as much or as little as you like and still have a great weekend. x

  3. Avatar March 15, 2016 / 2:37 pm

    Just come back from a family week away at CP and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it there. I honestly couldn’t go often enough! H x

    • Jenna March 15, 2016 / 2:44 pm

      It’s fantastic, isn’t it? I’m really hoping I get to go again (with the family this time) later in the year. xx

  4. Avatar March 15, 2016 / 2:37 pm

    Looks like you had an amazing time. I have never been to Centre Parcs and its on my wishlist. Never had a girlie break either, so must change that

    • Jenna March 15, 2016 / 2:45 pm

      We had such a fantastic time – always do! :) Oh yes, you definitely need to arrange a girlie weekend – they are good for the soul! :) xx

  5. Avatar March 15, 2016 / 6:23 pm

    I would love a girly weekend away! Not sure it will ever happen though. Looks like you all had a wonderful time.

    • Jenna March 16, 2016 / 8:38 am

      Ah, that’s a shame. Maybe one day! :) We had a fab time – already looking forward to the next one. xx

  6. Avatar March 15, 2016 / 9:14 pm

    Oh this sounds lovely. Center parcs is one place I have not been but would like to. It’s good to know what you need to take . First aid and medications would be number one on my list! Angela

    • Jenna March 16, 2016 / 8:48 am

      It is such a lovely place to go – we always have such a wonderful time there. :) I always take a first aid kit away with us these days – I think it’s a mum thing! xx

  7. Avatar March 16, 2016 / 6:29 pm

    I hope that you have a wonderful time. I haven’t really spent any time away from my 3 1/2 year old and would feel completely lost.

    • Jenna March 17, 2016 / 11:50 am

      Yes, I imagine you would do. We had a lovely time – thank you. :) x

  8. Avatar March 19, 2016 / 8:40 am

    Sounds like a great break I’ve never been to centre parcs but a girly break there sounds just perfect – great list of essentials you’ve covered everything! x

    • Jenna March 20, 2016 / 10:05 pm

      It’s such a fab place to go as there’s something for everyone.

      I still end up forgetting something most of the time! ;) x

  9. Avatar April 2, 2016 / 12:11 am

    Yes! Torch! Last year we went just before little miss was two.She very helpfully held the torch for us whilst in the pram and lit the way! xXx

    • Jenna April 2, 2016 / 9:05 pm

      Aw, that is adorable! Jasmine’s obsessed with our torch (which we use when taking the dog out at night). Must be a toddler thing. :) x

  10. Avatar February 6, 2018 / 7:08 pm

    I never leave home without blue painter’s tape. It is like the duct tape for travelers! My favorite use for it is to tape curtains shut. There is always that little sliver of light that finds its way into the room to disturb sleep! However in this case you can use it to get those little sticker burrs off your socks!!! I always love taking it!!

  11. Avatar February 6, 2018 / 10:21 pm

    We love centreparcs! I’ve been with my family and also with friends and had an amazing time each time we have been!

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