Hints and tips for first time guests

Family on a bike ride

03 September 2021

Hints and tips for first time guests

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Whether you are new to Center Parcs, haven’t visited for a while or are frequent guests, our hints and tips will provide you with all the latest information so you can plan and prepare before your break then relax and enjoy every family moment whilst you are there.



Make your first day of your break stress-free and make note of these top tips before you arrive.

  • Read the latest information on arrival times, the current time you can arrive is 10am. Unfortunately, you won’t be able to access the village before the time stated and it’s not much fun having to wait in the car
  • Make sure you have checked in, with all guest names, online prior to arrival. This will make check-in a lot quicker meaning you can start your adventures sooner!
  • It’s often very busy with guests driving to their lodges at 4pm. Why not spend more time enjoying the village and then collect your car later in the evening once the queues have gone down?
  • Don’t forget to drive your car back to the car park once you have unpacked, helping us operate a car-free village. But remember where you parked your car, even after three nights you can easily forget where you parked it!
  • Keep the map you are given in a safe place, or alternatively, download the village map from our website if you have a smartphone



The last day of your family break is always a sad one but there are lots of ways you can make the most out of it.

  • We ask that you leave your accommodation by 10am, the day of departure. Therefore, make sure you go and collect the car to pack up in enough time to vacate
  • Once you have packed up, you can stay and enjoy the village all day! Pop to the shops for last-minute treats or gifts, have one last round of Badminton or visit your favourite restaurant before heading home.
  • Look out for our Come Back Soon offer which gives you a £50 (€50 for Ireland) discount when you book your next Center Parcs break within 31 days of your departure date


Packing essentials

Whether you are visiting for three, four or seven nights it’s important to know what you should pack and what you could leave behind.

  • All-weather clothing – a waterproof is a must. Being in the UK we all know that we could be hit with a surprising rain shower. By packing a lightweight waterproof, you can still enjoy all the activities whatever the weather
  • A plastic bag is a great idea to cover your bike seat when leaving outside, to keep it dry from any showers and prevent any wet bottoms!
  • Most guests’ dress code is casual and with lots of forest to explore, either by foot or cycle, trainers or comfy footwear are essential
  • The forest can get dark at night, bring a torch to help you find your way back to the lodge after your evening fun
  • The Cycle Centre offers various wheels including children and adult cycles, pushchairs and wheelchairs. Save room in your car and visit the Cycle Centre
  • Looking to stay in your lodge in the evenings? Why not pack some good old fashioned board games for the whole family to play? Or read our ‘The perfect evening at Center Parcs‘ blog post for some inspiration
  • Visit our what’s included page for more hints and tips



  • With up to 200 indoor and outdoor activities, there’s plenty to do. Don’t miss out, make sure you pre-book before you arrive. Visit the website and read all pre-arrival information for the latest information
  • When booking your activities, leave plenty of time in between as your next activity may be on the other side of the village and we wouldn’t want you to miss your session. Why not visit our shops and restaurants and fuel up before your next activity?
  • Spend time together exploring the forest finding new woodland trails, trying a new activity or connecting with nature by visiting our Bird Hide and Nature Discovery Area where there are lots of activities for all ages
  • Are you visiting as a young family? Make the most out of our three-hour children’s activities at the Activity Den and Creche facilities, so you can have some ‘you’ time in our Aqua Sana Spa


Subtropical Swimming Paradise

  • Our Subtropical Swimming Paradise is currently open 10am-9pm daily. Perfect for those evening swims but some rides and slides might close earlier. Check out our blog post, Fun for all in the Subtropical Swimming Paradise, for all the insider tips on our rides and slides at each village
  • Tight for space in your suitcase? Leave the towels behind and hire them from the Subtropical Swimming Paradise
  • Swimming in the evening is magical, float away in the outdoor pools and watch the starry night sky
  • Book one of our Cabanas to add a touch of luxury. With more privacy, comfy chairs, TV and a safe, it’s great for those families where everyone wants to do something different, from enjoying every minute of the slides and pools to having some time out
  • Forgot to pack your pool essentials? Visit our shop, Aquatique, selling pool accessories from floats, swim nappies, goggles to swimming costumes



  • Similar to activities, it’s important to pre-book the restaurants to avoid disappointment. The deposit fee taken at booking will be taken off your bill at the end of your meal
  • There’s plenty of restaurants available offering a variety of cuisine, for all ages, those with dietary requirements and whether you are visiting for breakfast, light snack or an evening meal. Visit our list of restaurants to help you choose
  • If you fancy a night in, you can order your restaurant favourites to be delivered straight to your lodge
  • Check out our blog posts where we answer your FAQ's eating out at Center Pracs and our guide of where to eat at Center Parcs.



  • We have a range of shops on village including toys, sweet treats, gifts, clothing and food. If you have forgotten to pack something, the ParcMarket stocks most things and if you spend over £40 we will deliver your shopping to your lodge for free
  • Most of our shops open till later in the evening, enjoy a browse through the shops during the quieter times



From cosy Woodland Lodges to stunning Treehouses, all of our accommodation is nestled within the forest offering home from home luxury living.

  • If you are worried about walking too far you can pay an extra fee at the time of booking to select a lodge in the central area or a specific lodge of your choice
  • Make sure to use smokeless logs on the log burners, these can be purchased from the ParcMarket. A roaring fire creates a cosy atmosphere any time of year
  • All lodges are equipped with cooking utensils, glassware, plates and bowls. As well as a fridge/freezer, oven and microwave, if you do decide to do your own cooking
  • Our lodges are baby-friendly, providing high chairs, cots, stair gates and bed guards. Check out our top tips when visiting with a baby blog post
  • If you are thinking of bringing your four-legged friend make sure you book in advance, we only have a limited number of dog lodges and they sell out pretty quick
  • Most lodges include a brick-built barbecue stand that caters for disposable barbecues only. Cook up an epic feast for some al fresco dining. Bring some marshmallows and skewers and finish the night with some marshmallow toasting


Guests with limited mobility

  • We have a range of adapted accommodation with lowered worktops, walk-in/wheel-in showers, ramps up to the lodges, electric bed and handrails throughout the lodge
  • Contact Guest Services to make use of our Mobility Bus service where one of our friendly colleagues will pick you up and take you to your next place of adventure
  • Lifts and ramps are in place around the village and in our restaurants, making it stress-free for you to get around
  • Adapted lodges feature a specific car parking space that allows you to keep your car parked outside your lodge for the duration of your stay
  • Our pools in our Subtropical Swimming Paradise, Aqua Sana Spa as well as the hot tubs in the adapted lodges all feature a hoist aid so you can sit back and relax
  • Check out our blog post on Accessibility at Center Parcs


If you still have a burning question or would like to find out more about a Center Parcs break, visit our social pages, TwitterFacebook and Instagram, where we share lots of information about our villages. Our friendly colleagues are also available to answer any queries. Alternatively, you can check our FAQ’s page to see if your question has already been answered.

Family barbeque
Child inside a soap bubble hoola hoop experiment
Inside a pool cabana
Family shopping in Parcmarket
A pool hoist
Child on a lilo in the pool

Center Parcs

This blog post was written by a former colleague of Center Parcs; the content in the post is still relevant for you to keep up to date with all things Center Parcs.

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