Darwin Forest Country Park For Families

Darwin Forest Country Park For Families

I have never shied away from my hatred of the weekend. I find them a bit of a struggle, especially in these winter months when getting out is that bit harder. So being the good egg he is Mr Tammy offered up a mini break for the weekend at Darwin Forest County Park. I was there in a heartbeat.

Where it is

It is set in the Derbyshire Peak District all of an hour from our house, yet still enough time for the boy to vom all over himself and his car seat. Literally as we pulled onto the park, couldn’t of waited another 3 minutes. It is a short drive from Matlock, Chatsworth House, Heights of Adrian, Alton Towers, Chessington, and a number of small picturesque villages.

I am going to hazard a guess at it being on high ground given there was snow on our arrival, yet none in the surrounding areas. Snow was pretty much the theme for the weekend.

The accommodation

The park consists of circa 150 luxury lodges that have been awarded 5 stars by Visit England. I do concur that they were ‘luxury lodges’. The decor, the furniture, the layout, everything inside was to a very high standard and beautifully maintained. They really are a little home from home. We tried to book a lodge with hot tub but sadly there were all taken. So instead we got to watch our neighbours drink Gin from theirs. Lucky us.

We couldn’t help but feel we were nestled away in a Swiss cabin in the Alps, we had a beautiful white blanket of snow, surrounded by trees and wooden lodges and a gorgeous faux fire that really well heated the lodge. It was really picturesque.

Darwin Forest Country Park lodge

Darwin forest country park in the snow

The Park – for families

One of the reasons we chose this park, other than location was the onsite facitilites. You  know how I struggle to entertain the two and three year old in the house all day. Given the copious amounts of snow we had all weekend the facilities really were a life saver.

There is two soft plays (argh). One is absolutely mashoussive and jam packed with things for kids of all ages. Our two LOVED it. There is however a surcharge for entry and it is open to the public, which on a cold an grey Saturday meant it was extremely busy. You can also purchase your usual soft play type food and drinks. There is another smaller soft play free of charge for park guests for under 5s. Our two did like this however after calling the 4 story jungle it did feel a bit tame to them. There is also a games room with pool tables, table tennis and arcade games for the older children.

Next to the restuarant/bar there is a great outdoor playground, it was too cold, icy and snowy for us to use but I imagine in the warmer weather it is a pretty well placed activity for parents and children a like.

There is also a swimming pool with a small children’s section. Our two are real water babies so that was a massive hit, not to mention it totally knackered them out.

Toby asleep post swimming

Toby asleep post swimming

You can hire bikes, do archery, fencing, waterzorbing, mini golf, tennis, go on woodland walks and follow trails. We attempted this after 3 hours of soft play but the kids were so knackered and cold outside it quickly ended in ‘I want to go home now’. Even the pull of muddle puddles and Snowmen couldn’t quite cut it.

We would certainly like to return in the warmer weather or at least when it doesn’t snow all weekend to make the most of the outdoor activities and the surrounding local areas.

T is the snow at Darwin Country Forest

The Park – for adults

I mean some of the above does apply to adults the activities and of course happy contented children generally makes for happy parents. There is also however a well equipped gym, again at a surcharge and open to the public. Both Mr T and I used the gym and there was certainly enough there for a good workout. There are adult swimmingly lanes should you not fancy the gym.

There is a spa, I did not get use this much to my dismay but I heard good things about it. I do believe there is a surcharge for this too.  Beauty treatments and massages are also available. Again, I was not privy to these because you know, kids.

In addition you have an onsite bar and restaurant, we ate there several times although we were unable to book a table for two on the Saturday night as it was fully booked! I found this a little odd given that when went there for a drink it wasn’t full but I do believe there may have been staffing issues over that weekend. There is however a wonderful selection of gins so it was all good. Well there was a good selection all spirits really, if that’s your thing.

Overall impressions

A really good, family friendly park. The accommodation really was faultless and the site is really well looked after and set beautifully in the woods. You will have zero signal however but wifi is available free of charge. The onsite activities were great for our little ones. We would definitely like to return in the warmer weather to see more of the local area. On the Sunday a lot of nearby roads had been closed due to the amount of snow. We did venture out to a nearby village for Sunday dinner but luckily we had a car that is designed to cope in said weather conditions. Had we not there is no way I would have got in the car that day. Despite a few skids and some questionable hills it was worth the journey as we found a wonderful pub in nearby Tensely that I would certainly recommend. One thing I will say is we were both surprised at how busy it was and this was during a cold weekend in January so I can only imagine how busy it must be during the summer months.

We all really enjoyed our stay in our snowy cabin in the woods and I would certainly recommend to those looking for a luxury lodge staycation holiday or weekend away.

Darwin Forest Country Park. A holiday destination for the whole family. See what the luxury lodge holiday park has to offer to entertain children and adults alike in the Derbyshire Peakdistrict.. #familyholiday #holiday #ukholiday #staycation


  1. January 29, 2018 / 8:18 am

    Ooooh this place sounds great. I’ve been looking at places to visit for a staycation later this year and have yet to come across anything that sounds even remotely appealing. This one though, ticks all the boxes so I’ll be telling the OH about it. Molly randomly told us the other day that we would be going to London.. Not sure where that came from but she was very adament haha. Your pictures are fab and the snow really makes it look so picturesque. 😊 #FamilyFunLinky

  2. January 29, 2018 / 10:24 am

    This looks absolutely magical with all the snow! That photo with the little ones sitting by the fire place is lovely! #familyfunlinky

  3. January 29, 2018 / 10:28 am

    This does sound a really good find – I love that part of the world (going to uni not to far away in Sheffield) and would love to go back and this sounds ideal for the kids too – all we need is a swimming pool and an outdoor play area really! And I need a bit of ‘lux’ in the accommodation. Great recommendation – thanks Sarah. #familyfunlinky

  4. January 29, 2018 / 2:37 pm

    This looks like a lovely place to spend a few days, always on the look out for places with good on-site swimming pools! #familyfunlinky

  5. This looks really good for a family holiday! It’s funny how the snow would have been the main attraction for my gang, especially as I hate soft play centres – they drive me bonkers, never mind the kids.

  6. January 29, 2018 / 4:51 pm

    Ooo, it sounds lovely. I love that they have a gym, there are a few family places that don’t have one.

  7. January 29, 2018 / 5:58 pm

    Looks like you had the best of fun and the snow didn’t deter you from going outside X #familyfunlinky

  8. January 29, 2018 / 6:53 pm

    Lovely mr Tammy. I wish mr two tiny would let us visit places like this!! Always destined for tents and fields! Ff

  9. January 30, 2018 / 12:12 am

    looks so cosy inside with that fireplace roaring away. I love winter holidays and being all warm and rugged up. I don’t get to the snow often, and actually my husband has never seen it as he grew up in Queensland. It can be really expensive in Victoria to stay at the snow which makes it hard to have a holiday or getaway like this. Looks wonderful #familyfun

  10. January 30, 2018 / 9:09 am

    Sounds like a nice alternative to a certain well known brand of family resorts in the UK. Well done hubby for finding it. I am about to go and look it up! #FamilyFunLinky

  11. January 30, 2018 / 9:59 am

    Oh wow! This looks absolutely beautiful, especially with all the snow. It looks and sounds like you all had a great time too. #familyfun

  12. January 30, 2018 / 9:55 pm

    What a lovely place to stay. It looks so pretty in the snow. Sounds like there was plenty to do as well. Having zero signal can be a little frustrating but it is nice in some ways as it makes you switch off a bit more! Sounds like you had a lovely time :-) #familyfunlinky

  13. January 31, 2018 / 6:46 pm

    wow, just beautiful. we went to sandybrook country park, their other one, in Ashbourne and it was just amazing. #familyfunlinky

  14. February 3, 2018 / 3:28 pm

    Oh wow, looks like a lovely weekend break (minus the car sickness 🤢). I would have been very jealous watching the neighbours in the hot tub mind!

  15. February 4, 2018 / 1:34 pm

    This looks such a great place,I do love a cabin ! Not far from us either so worth a look #familyfunlinky

  16. February 4, 2018 / 7:21 pm

    Derbyshire is a glorious county and had not heard of this place but looks like well worth a visit #FamilyFun

  17. February 4, 2018 / 9:13 pm

    Can’t believe you don’t like the weekend! I live for mine! This accommodation looks fab – a proper getaway #familyfunlinky

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *