Just before Matilda’s first birthday late last year, I was so pleased to get a call to say I had won a stay at Sherwood Pines Forest Park, Nottinghamshire. The perfect way to have our first family breakaway. Sherwood Pines is made up of 82 cabins, surrounded by a pine forest. With a shop, cafe and other bookable activities.
Myself and Jamie had twice been to Centre Parcs at Longleat, Forest Holidays has no pool and the site is much smaller, unlike Centre Parcs,however this does mean it is much easier to explore…with a little one!
We arrived on a Friday just before 4pm, our cabin was not quite ready so we got a few extra things from the shop and explored the area around the retreat. Dotted around the site are dens, fairy doors, a play area, bird houses, and a bug hotel. We then walked a short distance through the trees to our cabin.
We were given a Golden Cabin and opted for a 1 bedroom so that we could have Matilda with us in the travel cot. The cabin had an little hall (for your muddy boots), an open plan dining / kitchen area (fully equipped), large patio doors overlooking the forest, log fire and an outside decked area for BBQ’s complete with Hot tub. Upstairs was the bath and shower room and the bedroom, that had a skylight with a magnificent view of the trees.
We were lucky enough to have some extras included in our prize, two continental breakfast packs and a meat pack. Which can be pre ordered and left in your cabin. Pretty useful for us as we do not drive therefore could not do a “big shop” on the way. The onsite shop although small,stocked quite a lot of items at convenience shop prices.
On the Saturday myself and Jamie had an in-cabin Spa treatment experience. Three hours of treatments (we split between the two of us so one could look after muchkin) where the therapist comes to you. Jamie opted for a deep tissue massage and me back, face and foot treatments. The lady from My Personal Sanctuary was really relaxed and chatty, perfect for us as we are not used to such indulgence!
The day after, Matilda became a “Young Explorer”. Guided by a Forest Ranger, we went for a short walk into the forest, we started by collecting “bug food” (bits of bark, pine cones, moss) then it came to collecting the bugs from under logs into our bug pots. All the time the Forest ranger was pointing out other wildlife, plants and their homes. Finally we all made our bug hotels and released the insects / creatures we collected back into the forest where they belong. We then retreated from the rain into the cafe to paint bugs and pine cones. Although Matilda was quite young for this she really enjoyed it….she got quite messy!
A short walk from the site is the Forestry Commission activity centre with bike hire, walks and Go Ape centre. Unfortunately we did not have any more time to spare, so missed out.
Alas Monday came too soon and with our muddy boots packed we headed home. We all had an amazing first holiday, Matilda had so much fun. I would highly recommend Forest Holidays for families who want something quieter, more relaxed than some other holiday resorts in UK.