RECOMMENDATION | A Girly Weekend at Forest Holidays in Sherwood Forest – Nottingham
Strictly No kids. No husbands. No dogs. No work.
What could be nicer than a cabin in the woods with a hot tub, enough wine and food to sustain four old friends for weeks, if required (because let’s face it, some of us might not ever want to return home!) and the occasional wild animal tapping at the window?
Let me introduce Forest Holidays – Sherwood Forest. One of the main reasons I am on the right side of sane for most of the year: My annual girls’ trip away.
The one thing us ladies are not particularly good at is “me” time. Everyone else in the family comes first – the husband, the kids, the dog, the aging parents.
Friendships trundle along and survive on snatched moments and conversations juggled amongst the daily challenges of relentless parenting, stressful jobs, paranoid dogs, demanding husbands and balancing the needs of sick or aging parents.
So, it was for me and three wonderful friends when, a few years ago we decided enough was enough and we booked in a January, post-Christmas weekend away.
The Sherwood Forest cabins have been our choice of destination each year and last weekend was our fifth year.
In previous years we have stayed in a 2-bedroom Golden Oak cabin, which has a wood burning stove and a hot tub. It also has complimentary bathrobes and slippers. This year, we downgraded slightly and tried out the Silver Birch cabin. No wood burning stove and no fluffy white bathrobes or enormous slippers, but we still had a hot tub. And, it is no exaggeration to say that the hot tub is the absolute main reason we re-visit these cabins in the wood year after year. What gets said in the hot tub, stays in the hot tub. It is a sacred place.
The other things to note are the cabins themselves. They are much nicer than anything I have ever stayed in at Center Parcs, though now on our fifth year, they are looking slightly tired and could do with a bit of a spruce up, they are still very comfortable and have a hint of luxury about them: Underfloor heating as standard, comfy beds, towels, thermostat controls for each different area of the cabin, two bathrooms for the four of us, a decent kitchen with decent pans and enough cutlery and cooking equipment. Stuff you don’t think about before you arrive but could potentially ruin a good meal if they weren’t there.
Friday check in is around 3pm and once we’ve unpacked the mountain of food and opened the wine, the first thing to do is bask in the hot tub, music playing, Prosecco flowing.
We always take a Bluetooth speaker and an extension lead so we have music on whilst out in the hot tub. The cabins are well spaced out, so noise isn’t a problem, until around 10pm when you’re asked to keep the noise levels down. To be honest, if we’re starting at around 4pm, we’re lucky to still be awake at 10pm, so that’s never a problem!
Saturday and Sunday involve long walks through the forest. Forest Holidays is situated right next to the Sherwood Pines Forest Park, which has loads of things to do for active-types. There’s a Go-Ape centre, cycles trails to suit all abilities, walking and running routes throughout the forest and even a Gruffalo Trail for those with small children (strictly not us this weekend!). Along certain routes you also randomly come across play areas and learning activities; there was a World War exhibit which you could explore and learn about life in the bunkers as well as soldiers from the area who went off to war and fought for our country. It was very moving.
Forest Holidays – Sherwood Forest is my perfect girly weekend away. If you love the outdoors and want to combine beautiful scenery with a touch of luxury and a hot tub, then it’s the perfect choice. Whether you want to spend the weekend off-road biking across rough and tough trails or spend the weekend eating and drinking and soaking in a hot tub with your mates, you can do as much or as little as you want.
For a weekend at the beginning of March in a Silver Birch cabin the price is £495.00. For the same break in August, the price is currently £790, so a significant jump, but if you can split the cost with friends it makes it more reasonable. And more fun!
My top 5 tips:
- Take a blue tooth speaker if you want to play your music and dance.
- If you’re not in a Golden Oak with the bathrobes and slippers, take flip flops and your own dressing gown. Invaluable for those toilet trips from the hot tub in the winter!
- Reception is also a café and a shop. It has essentials you may have forgotten but it’s expensive, so beware!
- Try and avoid the Park Ranger who made Francesca eat an ant. She almost also lunched at a witchetty grub, but we intervened. This is not I’m a Celeb, you are under no obligation to eat bugs to impress any watching children!
- Take walking boots / running shoes / your bike. The tracks and trails through the woods go on for miles and the scenery is stunning. Though staying in the hot tub the whole weekend is tempting, you would miss out on so many beautiful things to see and experience.
For full details and to find information on other Forest Holidays destinations across the UK, go to www.forestholidays.co.uk
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I’m a primary school teacher and I’m a mum to a beautiful, bright and bubbly six-year-old. I witness the ups and downs of wellbeing in children every day. Every parent faces the same dilemma – how to ensure the wellbeing of our children – particularly from a mental health perspective in a world that is more pressured than ever in more ways than one.
“THIS IS THE BEST DAY OF MY LIFE!” my friend Kat yelled to me over the sound of a gently bubbling still with a massive gin grin on her face. For me, it probably doesn’t quite trump my wedding day or the birth of my babies, but it’s not far off! We became master mixologists, creating our own gin recipes before distilling ‘Madam Geneva’ in our own miniature stills.
It’s a fun filled day out for the whole family. There are stacks of outdoor play areas, which the kids cannot get bored of, but also some really good indoor/sheltered activities that means even on your typical autumnal Yorkshire day you can have a really good day out.
Hidden in the heart of the East Village, part of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and just a stones throw from Stratford station, are a handful of restaurants and bars. And right in the middle is Darkhorse bar and restaurant. It’s described on their website as a ‘modern European restaurant with Italian and Spanish influenced food wrapped in a British attitude’.