Center Parcs Elveden, My Advice for First Timers

31 July 2022

When booking a family trip to Center Parcs Elveden in 2022, I found myself asking SO many questions like what should I take, how big is the fridge/freezer or what type of coffee machine do they have? When it comes to self catering, I need to know these things to plan what to take!

The website is good to an extent but it doesn’t tell you all the little things so I’ll show you exactly what was included, what we needed to take and what I wished we’d have done differently.

If you’re taking a toddler, check this blog out where I focus on going to ‘Center Parcs Elveden with a 2 year old’.

Getting There

Center Parcs Elveden is bang in the middle of Cambridge & Norwich so it’s best to go by car.

Since we were 4 adults and 1 toddler, we took 2 cars, which gave us more than enough room to take all of our things and food.

I drove from Cambridge central and it took about 35-40 mins without much traffic.

Map route to Center Parcs Elveden

Accommodation Types

You have 6 options (based on my search for peak time in 2022).
For a 3 night stay, you’re looking at something like this:

Woodland Lodge

Woodland Lodge

1-8 guests

Executive Lodge

Executive Lodge

1-8 guests

Exclusive Lodge

Exclusive Lodge

1-8 guests

Hotel Apartment


1-4 guests
About £450

Tree House

Tree House

1-8 guests, all have 4 bedrooms.
About £4,000
The dream! There are only 4!

Waterside Lodge

Waterside Lodge

1-6 guests, all have 3 bedrooms
About £2,500
The height of luxury, there are only 3!

For the 5 of us (4 adults 1 toddler), I looked at the Woodland and Executive Lodge. The Executive was about £200 more expensive.

So what’s the main differences between them?:

Woodland Lodge

Executive Lodge

Center Parcs Elveden 3 bed woodland lodge floor plan
Woodland Lodge
Center Parcs Elveden 3 bed Executive lodge floor plan
Executive Lodge
1 bathroom with shower & bathtubAll rooms are en-suite (2 have bathtubs)
2 toilets3 toilets (in the en-suites)

Other than these differences, both lodges have basically the same things – even the square footage of the 2 types are the same.

We went for the Woodland lodge, since we didn’t need a bathroom each and a sauna.

Which Area To Stay In


The whole place is divided into zones. Some zones are closer to all the action like the pool and adventure challenge areas and others are a little further out.

  • Central in Pink
  • Middle in Green
  • Outer Beige
Center Parcs Elveden Area Prices

Pay a Fee to Choose Your Zone/Lodge

Once you select your lodge type, you get the opportunity to choose your preferred zone, and even a specific lodge number (if available), by paying between £31-62 (prices are from 2022). If your specific lodge is not available, I belive they will select one for you in the zone you have chosen.
Or you can select ‘No Preference’ and they will choose for you, free of charge.

Basically, the closer you are to the centre, the more you pay but it’s really worth it if you need that close access.

Where We Stayed in Center Parcs Elveden

We stayed in lodge 624 in the Maple area here:

Where we stayed in Center Parcs Elveden

This area was really good – we were far enough so people weren’t constantly walking by but close enough to walk to everything in the centre.

How Far Is Everything in Center Parcs?

At the time of booking, I had NO IDEA how far everything is from each other, since the map didn’t show a scale, it looked really far from one end to the other but here’s what I found out when I was there:

Before arriving, I asked Center Parks, via chat, how far everything is by foot. I was told that from our lodge (Maple 624) to the golf course would be 10mins for an adult and a little longer with a little one. Maybe we’re slow walkers but it wasn’t that quick!

Here are some of routes I walked:

How far is everything

Yellow star drawing Tip

When making your way around, take a shortcut through the Sports Centre.

Check In & Check Out

Check In

You can enter the village from 10am BUT you don’t have access to your lodge until 4pm. If you pay extra, you can access at 3pm but that’s the earliest, which means if you plan on taking lots of chilled food, you need somewhere to put it for x number of hours.

We bought this portable 20 litre electric cooling/heating box:

Tristar Thermoelectic Cool Box from Amazon
Tristar Cooling/Heating Box from Amazon

You can cold chill the box in preparation, and it stays nice and cold for a good few hours so we put all of our juice, milk, dairy and meat in here and left it in the car until we went to our lodge. Also perfect for picnics!

Check Out

10am – you need to vacate your accommodation but once you take your car back to the car park, you can stay in the village until midnight but activities are limited these on the arrival and leave days. You can still access the pool, beach, playground and restaurants.

What’s Included In The Lodge?

Having looked at every single help page on the Center Parcs site, I still had questions like, ‘is there a hairdryer?’, ‘will there be washing up liquid in the kitchen’? Little things yes but if we’re going to be almost fully self catered, I wanted to know these things.

So here’s what’s ACTUALLY included in a 3 bedroom New Style Woodland Lodge at Center Parcs Elveden:


  • Microwave
  • Gas Oven
  • Gas Hob
  • Toaster
  • Coffee Machine – Tassimo
  • Tea Tray – kettle, metal tea pot, 3 Tea Pigs English Breakfast tea bags, 3 Kenco Tassimo pods
  • Standard under the counter fridge with a freezer compartment at the top.
    In the freezer section, I could fit a bottle of wine and 2 or 3 small bottles of beer.
    In the fridge, I could easily fit a large jug of milk, 1 or 2 bottle of juice, several packets of meat and fish, some cheese, yogurt and 3 packets of fruit.
    I would say for the 4.5 of us, it could fit the essentials for a couple of meals easily.
  • Dishwasher – 3 tablets provided
  • Sponge and 1 sachet of washing up liquid
  • 1 tea towel
  • Plates – small, medium, large
  • Mugs
  • Glass and plastic tumblers
  • Wine glasses
  • Wine/Bottle opener
  • Cutlery – knives, forks, table spoons, tea spoons
  • Utensils – wine & bottle opener, pizza cutter, kitchen knife, bread knife, spatula

I recommend you bring: extra hand towels, soap if you prefer liquid pump, and your own BBQ utensils.

Living Room

  • L shaped sofa
  • Arm chair
  • Coffee Table
  • Flat Screen TV with x1 accessible HDMI port for your device and a Blu-Ray Player


  • Huge mirror with lights around the edge
  • Towel Radiator
  • Bathtub & Shower with curtain
  • Step stool
  • Toilet with 1 toilet roll
  • Additional Toilet in the lodge hallway with 1 toilet roll (wasn’t mentioned in the lodge description online)


  • Double or Twin Beds
  • Medium thickness duvet, pillows and cushions – linen provided and beds ready made
  • Wardrobe (some rooms have more storage than others)
  • Mirror
  • Hairdryer in each room
  • Bath Towel and Hand Towel per person


  • Table & Chairs to seat however many people the lodge accommodates
  • Brick BBQ area where you can set up your disposable BBQ

Store Room

  • Vacuum Cleaner
  • Mop & Bucket
  • 2 Brooms (I think one is for outdoors)
  • High Chair
  • Cot
  • Full Size Ironing Board
  • Extra Sheets for the bedrooms
Center Parcs store room

What We Took With Us

Food & Drink

Since we didn’t know what the restaurants were like, how big the fridge/freezer was, or what the shop was like, we planned ahead for a couple of BBQs and breakfast.

  • Eggs, Bread, fruit, yogurt
  • BBQ stuff like burgers, sausages, burger buns, salad
  • Condiments like ketchup, Mayo and BBQ sauce
  • Snacks and cereal bars for when we’re out
  • Wine, beer, juice, water
  • x2 disposable BBQs

For the Lodge

  • Slippers
  • Extra towels
  • Big blanket for the sofa
  • A couple of bin bags
  • Our own BBQ utensils
  • Bluetooth Speaker for music!
  • Nintendo Switch for game nights

Yellow star drawing Tip

Take a table cloth or paper towels – that patio furniture was pretty grubby when we got there!

Garden shoes/sandals just make it that much more comfortable to go in & out from the patio

The Parc Supermarket

They seriously don’t advertise their on-site supermarket enough. Its basically a massive Co-op!
Had I known more about this place, I wouldn’t have brought so much in the car with me.

Bakery – large selection, good for breakfast and BBQ

Fruit, Veg, Meat & Fish – ok but not a huge choice

Drinks – lots of choice of soft drinks, water, juice

Alcohol – a big alcohol section with beer, wine and spirits but it’s VERY expensive!

Snacks & Sweets – the usual line up you would see in a typical large supermarket

Toiletries & Kitchen Stuff – Again, quite expensive but they sell all the basics like toilet roll, kitchen roll, toothbrush, sunscreen etc.

Frozen ‘Cook’ Meals – I was so surprised to see they sold ‘Cook’ frozen meals! This company basically makes individually hand made, home cooked food and freezes it. They’re absolutely delicious and come in individual or family sharing portions.


But beware, a lot of the items are marked up, seeing as its the only shop around!

I found that the most expensive items were the bakery, fruit and alcohol.

Opening Hours

Monday – Saturday 8:00 – 21:00
Sunday 10:00- 16:00

Yellow star drawing Tip

After 6pm, the Parc Market bakery products goes on sale!

What Activities are Included in the Booking?

Again, it wasn’t clear on exactly what activities are included when booking the accommodation and what we need to reserve and pay extra for.

Here’s what’s included when you pay for your accommodation:

Sub Tropical Swimming Pool

Sub Tropical Pool

This is the main event, there’s something for everyone! Pool, slides for little ones and big kids/adults, lagoon, jacuzzis and a bar! The whole place is heated to 29°C so you can wonder around in your swimwear without getting cold. There’s lots of seating where you can leave your towel & slippers and use it as a base.

Each slot is 3 hours long and you can turn up any time during that 3 hours. Book in advance to ensure you get the slot you want.

Changing Rooms: Spacious family changing rooms and unisex cubicles

Showers: The only showers there are right before the entrance of the pool – looks like those showers where you rinse before entering the pool but there’s a hair & body wash dispenser and this is where people shower with their swimwear on. Alternatively, you could rise off and shower back at your lodge.

Lockers: Plenty of lockers which lock with your Center Parcs wrist band. But be warned, many of the lockers are broken! Lots of us thought we were doing something wrong but they’re simply broken….Just go round touching your wrist band against them until you find one that locks straight away.

Towels: Take your own or rent one for £2.

Yellow star drawing Tip

Take a beach towel – you’ll want thin ones and not the thick fluffy ones from the lodge because once wet, they’re heavy and you maybe carrying your stuff around depending on what you’re doing after swimming

Take Pool slippers for safety & hygiene

The Beach

Center Parcs beach

A little artificial beach with lovely big deck chairs, perfect for when you’re in between activities and want to chill out and get some sun.

Restaurants At Center Parcs Elveden

There are a collection of restaurants in the centre and one a little further out.

Cafe Rouge

Hucks Bar & Grill

The Pancake House

Foresters Inn

This is the one that’s a little further out, by the Country Club but it’s so worth it!

Yellow star drawing Highlights

Dinner & pool at Foresters Inn

What I Wish I Had Done Differently

  • Not take so much food. Now I know how good the Parc Market is, I’ll take our favourite things and condiments but will buy breakfast, essentials some meals there.
  • Take more comfort things like own towels, blanket etc.
  • Take bucket and spade set for the beach!

Give Center Parcs Elveden a Go and Enjoy!

If you want any more info or have any specific questions, let me know in the comments below! Happy face emoji

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