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Darwin Forest Country Park

Child friendly self catering, Derbyshire – Darley Moor, Two Dales, Matlock

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!

Darwin Forest Country Park is an ideal base to explore the Peak District.  Comprising gorgeous luxury pine lodges and set in 44 acres of stunning woodland, in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside, the park offers heaps to keep a family occupied be it for a long weekend or a week's family holiday. The compact indoor swimming pool, with swimming lanes, gym and spa for grownups and mini golf, tennis courts, bike hire, orienteering course and wildlife pond to keep the children fully occupied, moreso happy! Little Monkeys is an indoor play centre on site and is perfect should the weather close in - or they just need a run about and you need a coffee! The outdoor adventure playground, the woodland trails and the games room complete with pool tables and amusements will keep children of all ages occupied. And that's what you need - a little something for everyone - Darwin Forest has it! 

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 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 provides fantastic all year round fun for families. Here you will find the heated indoor swimming pool, a separate toddler pool area for little ones as well as a couple of swimming lanes for those of you who want to get fit rather than splash about. The gym and spa are available for a small additional cost. Should one parent prefer to leave partner and kids to it they can grab a book and and a coffee and watch from the sidelines in the relaxing lounge area that overlooks the pool. Be warned it can get very busy and so plan to get there early or perhaps agree with the kids to visit after your day out.

Further on-site activities for fitness fanatics include tennis, soft play, orienteering, adventure playground, mini-golf or renting out mountain bikes.

The woodland walks are variable - we took the longest which was perfect for my older girls - it is a relatively flat walk across fields (there may be mud!) around the edge of the site and back through the woods. We happended upon a beautifully built wooden drum kit, spotted hundreds of birds flitting about and just enjoyed being together - which may sound ridiculous but with such busy lives (and teenagers) these opportunities are few and far between! 

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 offers the opportunity to do just that. Guests at Darwin Park are charged a reduced rate for 2 hours play. 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 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 which 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. 

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 available throughout the site.

Family Restaurant and On-site Shop

The Foresters Inn is a good option for a relaxing drink or meal throughout the day. It offers a good pub menu, with the added advantage of 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.

Lasting Impressions

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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