It’s Friday morning, wet and grey. The sky is thick with cloud and, naively hoping we could take a stroll between showers, we’ve been caught in a downpour of marble-sized raindrops so harsh it feels more like we’re paintballing.
Do we care? Far from it. We arrived an hour ago at Landal Darwin Forest, an award-winning luxury lodge holiday park in the heart of the Peak District. Now, we’re running hand in hand through towering trees, giggling like excited children, soaked yet full of sunshine.
Rain? What rain? We’re so exhilarated we’ve barely even noticed. Our forest sprint has led my partner and I to our accommodation for the weekend, a Chatsworth Elite Vogue 2 - an adorable, spacious two-bedroomed lodge with charming wooden interiors, sociable open plan lounge and kitchen and furnished decking just perfect for embracing the ambiance of the great outdoors.
Now we’ve just got to dry off, unpack and decide if we fancy unwinding for a few hours in the spa before heading for cocktails and à la carte dining at the Foresters bar and restaurant. Yes please, why not?
At Landal Darwin Forest, you see, the possibilities are endless, the accommodation sublime and the facilities first class. Whether it’s a romantic getaway or a full-on family adventure, you can do as much or as little as you like and tailor your break to suit you.
Set in stunning forest surroundings with five-star luxury lodges – some with outdoor hot tubs, all with their own unique character and charm, Darwin Forest is the perfect base from which to embrace the area’s majestic landscapes, unrivalled views and mile after mile of unspoilt rolling countryside. Whether you’re walking or cycling, exploring is an absolute must.
WALK OR WHEELS?
A walker’s paradise, the Peak District is well renowned for endless miles of picturesque trails - and the park sits right at the heart of a network of well-trodden routes. Accomplished hikers will love the challenge of the Dark Peak and reap the reward of spectacular views from Kinder Scout or Stanage Edge, whilst families with children or novice walkers can embrace a more leisurely pace, strolling charming Forestry Commission trails adjacent to the park.
With 65 miles of off-road cycling, from scenic lanes to testing mountain bike trails, whether you’re bringing your own bikes or hiring them on park or from nearby Hassop Station, the area is just brilliant for biking.
Running along the former Midland Railway line for over eight miles between Blackwell Mill and Bakewell, the traffic-free Monsal Trail showcases the Peak District’s most spectacular limestone dales, with railway tunnels to walk through and outstanding views to drink in.
For the ultimately adventurous, Stanage Edge and the Roaches are two of Europe’s most challenging rock climbing routes, whilst an abundance of surrounding rivers and reservoirs are ideal for windsurfing, paddle boarding and kayaking.
Or, if you simply fancy a seaside-style outing inland, traditional fish and chips and a bird’s eye view of the awe-inspiring landscape by cable car at the Heights of Abraham, then head over to beautiful Matlock Bath, just a short drive from the park.
For those truly wanting to unwind, in truth, you never have to leave Landal. Whether it’s sparkling afternoon tea, a swim, gym and spa at on-site Evolution health and fitness, or something more energetic, Darwin Forest offers a wide range of awesome Go Active activities for all.
From fencing and crossbows to waterwalkerz and jet skis, family fun is available in abundance, just look, book and enjoy! Of course, if sinking into a sea of blissful bubbles and soaking away the aches of the day is more your cup of tea, choose your favourite hot tub lodge and revel in the romance of serenity and star-studded skies.