Family Traveller’s Katie Amps takes the kids on a no-tech break with Pinelodge Holidays and discovers that the forest in The Derbyshire Peak District is just the place to unwind
Darwin Forest is an award-winning lodge holiday park located in the stunning Derbyshire Peak District. The park has around 120 lodges, sleeping from two to eight people, set in the middle of a 47 acre forest. The excellent onsite facilities include a swimming pool, play centre, restaurant and an abundance of activities, woodland walks and cycling trails. Although the park is ideally located for a trip to Alton Towers and Gullivers Kingdom, when I visited with my partner and our daughters Ella (10) and Molly (12) I decided that this was going to be a back-to-nature weekend that wasn’t going to include theme parks!
Instead, we pulled on our hiking boots and explored the stunning scenery of the rolling hills of the Peak District. We also visited the Heights of Abraham and took the girls horse riding at the nearby farm. There were lots of excellent on-site activities too, so for a bit of healthy competition we took part in the archery. The park itself felt extremely safe, so our girls were able to take some time to explore alone on their hover carts while my partner and I took full advantage of the hot tubs.
We stayed in the beautiful Glade Lodge which is surrounded by forest. Our lodge was set quiet far back so we felt very much alone, with only the sounds of the birds for company. With a large living area and two double bedrooms with luxury ensuite bathrooms, the lodge was really spacious and beautifully designed. All of the Glade lodges have large private verandas with Jacuzzi hot tub, sun loungers and outdoor dining furniture. We definitely made the most of the hot tub, which again kept the girls away from the dreaded phones and tablets.
Our girls loved the swimming pool at the Evolution Health and Fitness centre. It was just big enough for them to have a play without annoying any serious swimmers. They also had a go at the Snorkelling & SeaScooters, which was a really well run activity and gave them the chance to meet some of the other children. There is also an all weather tennis court, mini golf and an abundance of woodland walks and cycling trails.
The Little Monkeys indoor soft play centre was too young for our girls but they loved the Activity Den with pool tables, table tennis, air hockey and arcade games. This gave us the opportunity to have a little adult time in the bar next door.
We could easily have catered for ourselves in the spacious, well-equipped kitchen, but apart from breakfast we ate all our meals in the Foresters bar and restaurant. The food and service were great, so I used this as a handy excuse to avoid turning the oven on!
Self catering lodge accommodation in the Derbyshire Peak District for holidays and short breaks
There are two Pinelodge parks:
Darwin Forest Country Park, Two Dales, Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 5PL
Sandybrook Country Park, Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 2AQ
Short breaks in a 2 bedroom (sleeps 4) Classic Vogue Lodge start at £325 per short break (low season) and £669 per short break (high season).
Short breaks in a 2 bedroom Glade Lodge (sleeps 4) start at £559 per short break (low season) and £1159 per short break (high season).