Holiday checklist UK - what to take on holiday


Posted by Clare on 2nd November 2023

Family going for a walk in the woods

One of the many benefits of a self-catering UK holiday is the freedom to pack what you want to bring. You can pile in the board games, stock up with goodies to fill the fridge and bring all the cuddly toys your children want to put in the case.

But with so much freedom to pack what you want, the chances are you’ll forget some of the most important items. In fact, a recent poll of 2,000 holidaymakers found just that, with razors (18%), phone chargers (17%) and sunglasses (14%) topping the list of things most forgotten.

So, if you’re wondering what to pack for a staycation, this helpful holiday checklist for a UK break – complete with handy packing tips – will ensure you’ve got all the necessary items, including those that UK holidaymakers are most likely to forget. 

Cottages in the UK

Top 10 most forgotten items on a UK holiday

  1. Razor – 18 percent (always forget this important item) 
  2. Phone charger – 17 percent
  3. Sunglasses – 14 percent 
  4. Wellies – 10 percent 
  5. Shampoo – 9 percent 
  6. Toothbrush – 9 percent 
  7. Deodorant – 8 percent 
  8. Tweezers – 8 percent
  9. Hairbrush – 8 percent 
  10. PJs – 7 percent 

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multi-generational family entertainment

Entertainment to add to your checklist 

Many of our cottages are equipped with a wide range of games and entertainment options for both children and the young at heart. However, we know that you might have some personal favourites from home that can enhance the fun. It’s worth noting that our surveys have shown that the second most forgotten item is your phone charger, so don't forget to pack that!

To ensure everyone has a great time, consider bringing along toys, games and DVDs. If you have an iPad, it can be a valuable companion to keep everyone in high spirits during the journey. You can also download our beach treasure hunt or countryside treasure hunt, both of which are perfect for keeping the little ones engaged while you explore the area.

Books are also a great way to keep children absorbed for hours, and it’ll give you the chance to bury your nose in that novel you’ve been meaning to read too.



Games (including outdoor games)

DVDs and portable player/iPad

Laptop and charger

Phone and charger

Drawing pad, pens and pencils

Montage of photos - clothes for a trip

Clothes packing list for UK holiday 

On average, we pack six outfits for a long weekend or mini break in the UK, but sunglasses (14%) wellies (10%) and pyjamas (7%) are all in the top 10 most forgotten items. 

The weather can be unpredictable, so don’t hesitate to throw in wellies and raincoats as well as sun hats and sunglasses so that you’re prepared for all possibilities. Bring ample outfits with a few back-ups or check if your accommodation offers washing facilities.  

Whichever season you’re travelling in, layering up is a great idea. Think vests, looser outer layers, jumpers and thin raincoats which can be worn with other garments. Depending on the activities you are planning, you might want to pack shoes as diverse as walking boots and formal shoes – as well as those often forgotten wellies! 






Comfortable trousers



Evening wear (including shoes)




Sandals (in summer)

Sun hats



Footwear for activities

Toiletries in a bathroom and a family going for a walk

Toiletries to include on your packing list

Given that 6 out of the top 10 forgotten items in our survey of 2,000 holidaymakers are toiletries, it's clear that this holiday packing list deserves attention.

Save space and the environment by reusing small empty bottles and filling them with shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Try to opt for eco-friendly options if you can – it’s a good excuse to spoil yourself with some of the wonderful handmade and environmentally-friendly cosmetics and toiletries on offer in your local area.

When it comes to what else to bring to your holiday cottage, your packing list for a UK holiday can vary depending on whether it's summer or winter. In the summer months, it's wise to pack sunscreen, even if you don't anticipate needing it, as the weather can be quite unpredictable. Additionally, it's a good idea to include a compact family first aid kit, stocked with essentials such as pain relievers for both adults and children, adhesive bandages, antiseptic cream, and a thermometer – just in case.


Body wash





Toothbrush and paste


Family first-aid kit

Sun lotion




Montage of family food on holiday

Food to bring to your self-catering cottage

Apart from a supply of snacks and drinks for the journey and a few things to tide you over on arrival, it’s probably best to leave food shopping until you arrive at your destination so make sure you've had a look in advance to see where your nearest shops are. Even better, use a service which will deliver directly to your holiday home. Here in the UK, we’re spoilt for choice when it comes to buying local, so make sure you scout out producers near your holiday home to stock up on the freshest foods to eat while you’re away.

If you’re planning to cook yourself during your stay, it’s a good idea to add ingredients such as herbs, spices and cooking oil to your holiday packing list. The chances are, there may be a selection in the cottage, but you don’t want to be caught out with no cumin when cooking up your favourite curry!


Plan a few meals and add the ingredients to your shopping list. Don’t forget staples such as:



Herbs and spices

Cooking oil

Cooking sauces


Family with babies going for a walk

Holiday checklist for families with babies and toddlers

If you’re travelling with infants, check what equipment your accommodation might supply such as cots, stairgates and highchairs. Don’t forget essentials like a baby monitor, portable blackout blinds, spare dummies, a potty, swim nappies and armbands.

Finally, take anything that you think is vital in order for your children to enjoy their stay away from home, be it a special blanket or pillow, a favourite cup or a treasured teddy.


Sleepsuits and spare clothes

Sleeping bags

Travel cot (if not provided)

Baby monitor

Portable blackout blinds

Night light


Bottles and steriliser



Swim nappies and swimsuits


Favourite toy/comforter

Holiday checklist for your dog

Our dog-friendly holiday cottages welcome the four-pawed member of your family with open arms, so don’t forget to add a few items for them to your holiday packing list. So, you may ask yourself what to pack for a cottage holiday with your pup? Make sure you’ve got a good stock of treats, their favourite dog food, a couple of toys to keep them busy, and most importantly, their bed! For lots more useful tips and ideas, take a look at our guide to travelling with your dog


Dog bed

Dog food



Grooming products

Food and water bowls


Collar and lead


Dog jacket

Don’t get caught out

With all the will in the world, there’s likely to be something that will scupper the best-laid plans, or in this case, the best-thought-out UK holiday packing list! So here are a few things you can pop in your bag to help your holiday run smoothly, even when something unexpected happens. For a more countryside-focused checklist, take a look at our guide on what to pack for a working farm holiday



Spare batteries


First aid kit


Spare credit/debit card


Hand sanitiser



Let's go!

Now that you’ve got a list of things to pack for a holiday, take a look at our family-friendly cottages and find the perfect cottage for you.

Cottages in the UK

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.