Darwin Forest Country Park
Child friendly self catering, Derbyshire – Darley Moor, Two Dales, Matlock
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About Darwin Forest Country Park
We are always keen to discover new places however we wouldn’t think twice at having another holiday here - it was that good!
5* luxury pine lodges set in 44 acres of stunning woodland in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside, the perfect base from which to explore the Peak District. The park boasts a superb indoor swimming pool, with gym and spa, mini golf and tennis courts, bike hire, orienteering course and wildlife pond. The children can escape to the Little Monkeys indoor play centre or the outdoor adventure playground, and for the older children, the games room complete with pool tables and amusements. For a fantastic family day out Chatsworth House is just a 10 minute drive.
The Away with the Kids review
Darwin forest is a fairly large holiday park with over 100 lodges on the 44 acre site, set in mature woodland. The great thing about this place is that the lodges feel extremely private even though you may not be that far away from your neighbour you are not conscious of it because of the well planned layout, abundant mature plants and woodland. When we stayed at Darwin Forest it was awash with colour from the flowering rhododendrons and azaleas.
The Holiday Lodges
On entering our three bedroom lodge we were pleasantly surprised at the space and how luxurious and homely it was. Outside on the decked area was our own private hot tub just ready and waiting for us to use whenever we felt the need. Together with outdoor garden furniture this space was perfect for alfresco dining and was not overlooked by any other lodge. Our lodge was very comfortable and toasty & warm with the heating on - we literally sank into the bed and the pillows were so soft, we slept like logs. The master bedroom had its own en-suite and there was a separate family bathroom. The kitchen was well kitted out with everything we needed - washing machine, microwave oven and the dishwasher was a nice luxury to have on holiday. Flat screen TVs with Freeview channels, CD player and DVD player are also provided. Cots and high chairs are available to hire and there are even stair gates that are fitted outside to keep little ones safe on the outside decking area.
Activities for the Family
The Evolution Health and Fitness centre is the showpiece at Darwin Forest. It houses a large indoor swimming pool with a separate toddler pool area and provides fantastic all year round fun for families. Should mum or dad wish to opt out and just watch from the sidelines there is a relaxing lounge area that overlooks the pool where you can grab a coffee. Further on-site activities for fitness fanatics include tennis, soft play, orienteering, adventure playground, mini-golf, a stroll around the woodland walks or renting out mountain bikes.
Child Friendly Facilities
After a couple of days of soaking up the many sights of the Peak District there was nothing more we, as parents, wanted to do but have a couple of hours with our noses stuck in the daily papers. The handy on-site Little Monkey indoor play centre gave us the opportunity to do just that. Guests at Darwin Park are charged the rate of £3.50 per child for 2 hours play and it was bliss for us, as it was for the kids. Little Monkeys provides a huge multi-level indoor play arena for children, as well as an all day café - where the whole family can get something delicious to eat. The age of our children varies between a young 3 year old and a very grown up 9 and after the full 120 minutes was up there was no signs of the novelty wearing off.
The Darwin Explorers Club provides children with a wealth of information to help them make the most of their woodland surroundings whilst on holiday at Darwin Forest. A pack can be purchased from the Woodland store for £4.95. It includes a number of project sheets on exploring, trees, bugs and birds, together with magnifying glass, word search, colouring sheets, treasure hunt, notepad and pencil as well as a member's badge.
Extras for Mum and Dad
Evolution Health and Fitness centre has a large swimming pool which is free to use for holiday guests. The well equipped gymnasium, spa, sauna and steam room are available for a small additional charge. Beauty therapy and massage treatments are also on offer too.
The service that you receive from the staff at Darwin Forest is absolutely brilliant. The friendly reception staff were very thorough at explaining about all the amenities and the maintenance guy came round daily to check the temperature of the outdoor hot tub. We had an unfortunate incident involving a baby bird just outside our lodge and it was very quickly dealt with before the kids noticed.
You may have difficulty using your mobile phone in the lodges because of the forest location however you can surf the internet with free Wi-Fi access at two hot spots.
Family Restaurant and On-site Shop
The Foresters Inn is ideal for a relaxing drink or meal. It has an extensive menu with the added option for a takeaway. A handy on-site shop is well stocked with reasonably priced food, wine and goods. We can highly recommend the butchers sausages - very tasty. An all day café is available inside Little Monkeys
Location and Days Out
Just minutes down the road you have the stunning Chatsworth House. There is so much to do that really you need two full days to visit it. We spent a whole day just at the huge adventure playground and farm where kids can enjoy handling the guinea pigs and learn about the resident animals. The Heights of Abraham is another day worthy of a visit and obviously for the thrill seekers Alton Towers is just a short drive away. Darwin Forest is surrounded by Derbyshire and the Peak District, famous for its breathtaking scenery and there are numerous places to visit nearby which the reception staff can advise you.
Darwin Forest is an absolute gem for family holidays and once visited will be a firm family favourite. The self catering holiday accommodation is of a high standard, the child friendly facilities are amazing and the location is just idyllic.
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