14 of us (8 adults + 6 kids) spent the early May Bank Holiday weekend at Darwin Forest in a Sudbury Lodge (no 26) and a Hassop lodge (no 23). We were looking for a park which wasn’t too big, but still had some decent on-site facilities and that wasn’t too difficult to get to. We also wanted good quality 3 and 4 bedroom accommodation. Darwin Forest seemed to fit the bill perfectly – so we were all keen to see if the reality lived up to the brochure etc. I’m pleased to report that it definitely did.
We arrived on a wet and windy afternoon and were glad to be able to check in quickly and head straight to our lodges. Both lodges were just a short walk from the main area with space for 2 cars outside. The Sudbury (2 doubles, 1 twin) seemed newer than the Hassop (2 doubles, 2 twins) – but both were well appointed and cosy. We’d be happy to book either again. The weather was mixed all weekend which meant we weren’t able to make use of the decking, but we did at least get to use the Trim Tail, Woodland Walk, Forest Trail and outdoor play area. When the weather was bad, we made good use of Little Monkeys and the pool. The non-parents also spent quite a lot of time in the spa area, which was lovely and relaxing. We had a nice dinner in the Forester’s Inn and lunch in the Explorers Café (worth getting there early if you have kids who get ratty if they eat late). We also managed trips out the nearby Farm Park and into Matlock Bath (go there as early as you can and park at the Heights of Abraham) – both were enjoyed by everyone, as was lunch at the Grouse and Claret at Rowsley. There really is a lot to do in the area so you are unlikely to get bored!
The only small negative comment I would make is that we felt the charge for using the hot tubs is very expensive (£100 for a week/£80 for a short break). We were contacted 3 times to ask if we wanted to use it but couldn’t justify the extra expense, especially when it only cost £3.75 each to use the spa. I’m sure more people would pay to use them if the cost was lower. This is a minor point though, overall we really liked Darwin Forest and are very likely to go back there in future.
- Also Known As:
- Darwin Forest Country Park Hotel Two Dales
- Darwin Forest Country Park Hotel
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In the heart of the Peak District, Darwin Forest is a 5-star holiday park in a delightful woodland setting. Accommodation is in modern self-catering lodges with everything provided for a great family holiday. Lodges sleep form 2 to 8 people. Facilities include indoor swimming pool, indoor play area, bar/restaurant, tennis, beauty therapy, soft play and woodland walks. Darwin holds the David Bellamy Award for Conservation at Gold standard. Handy for Chatsworth, Bakewell, Haddon Hall and all the sights of the Peak District. ... more less