The Darwin Forest Country Park is a seriously well organised five-star country park with super-comfy peak district lodges that have been sensitively built among beautiful mature woodland.
As a family of five with youngish children (aged 6, 8 and 10), the site was perfectly equipped with a restaurant, pool and a shop selling essential groceries, mainly from local producers. There’s also a gym and an enviable list of indoor and outdoor activities from archery to ‘bodyzorbing’!
The site also has a wonderful woodland walk that snakes its way around and through mature oak and beech trees which was perfect for a quick bit of fresh air if you don’t want to go off site. The children spotted squirrels and proper fairy-tale toadstools with the red and white spotty tops.
Our lodge came with a hot-tub, which was used at almost every opportunity, but no more appreciated than after a good few hours of walking in the Peaks. Three weary children slipped into the pool and emerged refreshed but wrinkly-skinned ready for supper.
As great as all the on-site facilities are, Darwin Forest Country Park’s greatest asset is the location. Sitting just on the eastern side of the Peak District, it offers quick and easy access to some of the most spectacular scenery the UK has to offer, and it would be a shame to miss it. The surrounding villages seem otherworldly; beautiful stone cottages beside windy roads lined with dry stone walls. Old and charming looking pubs, village greens and a not a Starbucks in sight. We’d never visited this area before but stumbled upon a magical walk alongside rivers, over mountain tops and down steep valleys. The way home took us back through Bakewell, so of course we had to stop to try the local confection.
The first thing you notice when you’re inside the lodge is the outdoors. With floor to ceiling windows around 3 sides of the big living space, you get an amazing sense of being close to nature with woodland views all around.
Inside, these peak district lodges are clean and modern but at the same time wonderfully comfy. There are two large inviting sofas around a coffee table, large TV with DVD player, a large dining table for mealtimes and a well-stocked kitchen including a pod coffee machine with a few pods included to get you going. If you run out the shop sells more.
The bathrooms are pretty swish with good power showers, thick white bathrobes and an array of bath products. All bed linen and towels are provided and to our children’s utter delight, there’s a TV in each of the bedrooms, so unsurprisingly we got a well-earned lie-in in the morning.
Perfect Peak District lodges with a touch of luxury – Darwin Forest Country Park – The best bits:
The Peaks are often overshadowed by the Lake District but undeservedly so. The area is stunning, with great walks catering for the whole family and despite the comfort of the lodges you absolutely need to get outside and stretch your legs. We found the ‘perfect walk’ – beautiful scenery, exciting for everybody while still catering for little legs. It was the 4-mile Ilam Park to Stepping Stones and back walk – a firm favourite to those in the know, but we added an extra hill climb to the top of the flat-topped Thorpe Cloud hill. The mild grumbling that started about three-quarters of the way up, quickly evaporated at the summit which revealed incredible views that even impressed our 6 year old.
Perfect Peak District lodges with a touch of luxury – Darwin Forest Country Park – Child-friendly:
Absolutely. Darwin Forest Country Park has clearly been developed with children in mind and caters brilliantly for every age.
Ready to book?
You can find out more at the Darwin Forest Country Park website.
Fiona and family were guests of Darwin Forest Country Park for the purposes of this review, but her views are her own.