As the rays of early morning sunlight gleam through the trees I stand and listen to the sounds of nature all around me. It’s so peaceful as I lift my arms up and breathe into warrior pose I feel like I’m inhaling the calm. This is the most magical place for a morning yoga session, if only every morning could start like this, I think to myself. I’m in the forest just opposite our lodge at Darwin Forest where we are staying for the week. It’s the perfect place for slowing down and having a chance to switch off and reconnect with yourself, your family and nature.
We are staying in the Skyline View Spa Lodge. One of three in it’s own area of the park, The Meadow, and it really is rather luxurious. We have a hot tub out on the decking which we all love, especially the kids who want to go in it all hours of the day. During our stay we make the most of it sitting in it together watching the sun go down. Having a quick dip before eating a cooked breakfast, and having a relax after climbing hills at Dovedale. James and I also sneak out to it on valentines night with a bottle of Prosecco. It’s definitely our favourite feature of the lodge!
The lodge itself has an open plan living, dining, kitchen area and is the best equipped out of any self catering I have stayed in. We are even treated to a coffee machine, wine cooler and there are plastic plates and cutlery for the kids.
The whole lodge is lovely and cosy, the kids love sitting in front of the fire with a hot chocolate and the adults with a glass of wine after the kids are in bed.
There are three bedrooms, two twins and a double with a king size bed and ensuite. The main bathroom has a gorgeous free standing bath and separate shower. I could have quite happily stayed in the bathroom alone. Finlay agreed with me, apparently it was ‘the best bathroom ever’! Each bedroom has a flat screen tv, large wardrobe and we also have robes and slippers. Unlike a lot of self catering accommodation the towels are provided, although we brought extra for the hot tub and swimming.
We also arrived to a small pack that included dishwasher tablets and bin liners. Although if you ran out of anything, the onsite shop sold absolutely everything you could need. I was really impressed with the prices in the shop and how they sold in small quantities. You could pick up just one stock cube and I bought two washing machine tablets as we also had a washing machine in our lodge.
Darwin forest has so much onsite for you to do. We spent our first full day making use of some of the things on offer.
Evolution Health Club
We tried out the swimming pool here and James also paid to use the gym for a session. I didn’t make it into the spa area, which I was rather gutted about, as it looked lovely whilst I was getting splashed in the main pool. The pool and club is for local people too, however at one point we were the only family in the pool. You have to leave your shoes out in reception before heading into the changing rooms, but when we came out of the pool the floor could still have done with a clean. I hate swimming pool changing room floors though and this is the only thing I could think of from our whole visit that could be improved.
We walked all of the forest trails, the shorter and the longer one and it really is lovely and peaceful.
There is also a trim trail which the boys in particular enjoyed. And we even found a wooden drum kit and wooden noughts and crosses.
For those rainy days there is a large indoor play area with a small price to pay to use. We spent a couple of hours here and the kids had a great time, so did we as we got to sit with a hot drink for a few uninterrupted minutes. The food and drink I thought was really reasonably priced.
On our final night we eat at Forresters with great service and generous portions I would recommend a visit, just don’t forget to book in advance.
Darwin Forest is also a great base to explore the Peak District from. During our stay we visited;
Dovedale Stepping Stones
Dovedale is a really beautiful place. We spent hours here crossing the stepping stones then the boys climbed up Thorpe Cloud.
A unique day out. There are two tunnel and cave systems to explore and some lovely play areas. The view is also rather special, but the highlight has to be the cable car journey there and back.
Home to the Bakewell Pudding we stopped here for a while on the way back from visiting Dovedale. We tried both the Bakewell Pudding and the Bakewell tart and then had a look around the little shops.
We had a really lovely break at Darwin Forest in the Peak District and left feeling re-charged and relaxed. Every member of staff we came across were happy and helpful and there was actually more we could have done using the fantastic facilities, including crazy golf and some of the activities Darwin put on such as zorbing. We would definitely visit again as there is so much more to explore both at Darwin Forest itself and in the Peak District area.
Darwin Forest is part of Landal GreenParks. You can read more about their Green Promise here. I was impressed with the recycling facilities near to lodges throughout the site. How you could buy only what you needed in the shop so as not to waste unneeded extras and avoiding unnecessary packaing. There was also locally sourced food items in the shop and on the onsite restaurant.
To find and more and to book a break at Darwin Forest please visit www.darwinforest.co.uk
Disclosure: We were invited to stay at Darwin Forest for the purpose of this review. However all thoughts and opinions are my own.