Forest Holidays: Family time in Blackwood Forest

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Dusk: Our Forest Holidays cabin in #BlackwoodForest #familytravel #travel #England #uk #Hampshire @forestholidays

A photo posted by Susanna Scott (@amodernmother) on

 

Visits to my mother-in-law’s home in Burnside in Scotland always include long day excursions, visiting quaint towns in the Scottish countryside. On one particular trip to Calendar, after the obligatory Scottish Woollen Mill visit and tea at the local hotel, we ventured out to explore Loch Lubnaig. As we drove around the small loch, at times the road so close to the edge I thought we may totter in, out of a thick of trees we saw a group of holiday homes.

It was dusk and the glass-sided cabins were glowing like fireflies on the edge of the loch. I was so intrigued I asked hubby to turn around. Equally intrigued, he did so (surprisingly) without complaining. I took note of the name, Forest Holidays.

I’ve since learned more.  The Forest Holidays concept is simple. Quality accommodation that blends in with the environment so you can relax, unwind and enjoy the forest. There’s no outdoor lighting, to cut down on light pollution. It’s just you and the Forest and a hot tub. It’s quite magical.

You are encouraged to bring a flashlight for night walks. You can go on long mountain bike rides. Or just hangout in your cabin surrounded by rusting leaves. One of my friends is such a fan she’s been on 5 Forest Holidays with her family in 3 different locations (there are 8).        

 

Many of the Forest Holidays cabins come with a hot tub in the outdoor patio.

Many of the Forest Holidays cabins come with a hot tub in the outdoor patio. We made good use of it!

 

forest holidays 2My 11-year-old’s perspective The hot tub is so amazing because most hotels and resorts have one between all the guests – here we had one to ourselves! It was really cool because there were two areas to lay down and 3 seats – all with different jets. It was so fun and I wish I had my own!

 

We self catered

The kitchen is fully stocked and has everything you need to self catering in comfort. We brought all of our own food (there is a small shop with essentials) and ate each meal on the outdoor deck. 

 

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This is what the holiday is all about: There are views of the forest everywhere you look. The cabin is designed with floor-to-ceiling windows, and there are glass cutouts throughout, so you see fluttering green leaves from nearly every vantage point.

Forest Holidays Blackwood Forest in Hampshire is just under an hour from where we live in the Thames Valley.  We stayed as guest of Forest Holidays the weekend after my big annual BritMums Live blogger conference, and I really needed a break.

Our retreat for the weekend was a 3-bedroom Golden Oak Cabin. Golden Oak cabins are the most luxuriously appointed, with an outdoor hot tub, fluffy robes in the en suite, a log burning stove and underfloor heating throughout. There’s a flat screen TV (we never used it!) and you can order a wifi package. The furniture is good quality, comfortable and stylish. The decor is modern and forest friendly, our cabin was all purples and new leaf green. With the wood burner in the corner, you can imagine long weekends in the Autumn.

There are loads of little luxuries: heated towel racks, underfloor heating, eco-friendly and gorgeously scented Anyah toiletries, forest-inspired decor, including a lamp made of tree bark, snails, a gorgeous hand carved wooden fruit bowl. We also loved some of the simplicity, for example our waterfall showers only had one setting, eliminating the usual *how does this shower work while standing with no clothes on* moment.

If you’re curious about what the inside is like, here’s a little tour of our Golden Oak cabin …

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The Forest Retreat is the hub of all activity. It has everything you need, including a restaurant, cycle hire and a shop with essentials and gifts.

 

The Forest Retreat The hub of all the activity is the Forest Retreat. It’s a combined shop and restaurant. The shop has limited essentials – milk, cheese, sausages, pasta, apples, wine and beer and some luxury items like Butterkist popcorn and Jude’s ice cream! There’s some cool forest-themed gifts and momentos, and a whole wall of pet supplies and gifts (select cabins allow pets). 

I was glad I did a big Waitrose shop for supplies before we came.  We ordered fresh-baked bread and croissants and a paper for each day.  If you don’t bring your own food, you won’t go hungry. You can eat in the restaurant, or they will deliver dishes such as a rustic steak and mushroom pie with mash or a Butternut squash and spinach cassoulet direct to you cabin door.

There’s also a very reasonable priced pizza night pack. The center also offers several Forest activities you can sign up for, all at extra cost, such as a Night Vision walk (with authentic night vision equipment), Bushcraft Skills or Young Explorers and Geocatching. What you must do is cycle! There are several forest tracks to explore. This was a huge highlight for all of us and a way to fit in some exercise (which in a weird way adds to the relaxation). We’re already looking at coming back!

Here’s a video of our 10 kilometre bike ride…  

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We rented bikes and cycled in the Forest. It was good fun and some much needed exercise too.

 

Read my articles on the Forestpedia Blog:

 

We bought everything we need to make British S'Mores - We roasted marshmallows and put them between milk chocolate digestives

We bought everything we need to make British S’Mores – We roasted marshmallows and put them between milk chocolate digestives

 

We stayed in cabin 5 in Forest Hills in Blackwood Forest.

We stayed in cabin 5 in Forest Hills in Blackwood Forest.

 

forest holidays 3My 10-year-old’s perspective  Our cabin was very cool because of the forest. It was really fun join in the forest, whether it being exploring, playing, sketching but most of all – building a fort! Since the forest is in your backward, you can spend as long as you want making the ultimate BEST FORT EVER! It was soooooo fun building a fort. There are loads of big branches perfect for building a fort. Our had two rooms and a roof and lots go log chairs and a table. It was really cosy.

 

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The three monkeys having fun in the forest!

 

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The girls spent loads of time building a den from twigs and logs they found in the forest behind our cabin. We could sit on the deck sipping coffee and watch them have fun.

 

Here's the finished den. It had three rooms and table and chairs inside!

Here’s the finished den. It had three rooms and table and chairs inside!

 

IF YOU GO:

Forest Holidays Blackwood Forest Larkwhistle Farm Rd, Winchester, Hampshire SO21 3BG +44 0333 011 0495 forestholidays.co.uk      

 

forest holiday blackwood forest bug hotel

The girls had fun discovering who had checked in to the Bug Hotel!

 

 

  I’ve woken up in forest heaven! @forestholidays #forestholidays #BlackwoodForest #familytravel #ttot #travel #uk #England   A photo posted by Susanna Scott (@amodernmother) on

 

Our accommodation was provided by Forest Holidays for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own and my family’s.

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10 Comments

  1. 23/07/2015 / 08:11

    It looks amazing there and so pretty. I really like the idea of not having lights to cut out the light pollution and having to take your own torches. Although I’m not sure I’d want to watch a scary film there if I’m then surrounded by darkness. ha!
    Your children look like they really enjoy getting stuck in and getting involved with activities, which is so lovely to see (and really inspiring).
    Loved the tour video too…I did giggle at “ignore him” when you stepped out onto the patio area. xx
    Lauren recently posted…Race for Life Preparation at Pizza ExpressMy Profile

  2. 14/07/2015 / 19:20

    Forest Holidays have been on my radar for a while now – and, much to everyone’s excitement, the in-laws have booked accomodation for the whole extended family in Sherwood next year, to celebrate their Golden wedding anniversary. This post is a sumptuous taster – I could even feel myself relax while listening to the birdsong in the video!
    Nell@PigeonPairandMe.com recently posted…Travel talesMy Profile

  3. 13/07/2015 / 18:52

    I feel relaxed just reading this. Love the space, the huge windows and the hot tub. Forest Holidays – I will make a note for the future.
    Trish recently posted…Six of one and half a dozen of the otherMy Profile

  4. 13/07/2015 / 09:05

    Gosh, this looks amazing. When I read “Forest Holiday” I thought of old cabins in the middle of nowhere, but this is really something else. I love the idea of having luxury accommodation while still being close to nature. Really clever concept.
    Carolin recently posted…My week – 12 July 2015My Profile

  5. 12/07/2015 / 19:32

    Oh oh oh. This looks STUNNING!!! I love the idea of being in the forest and waking up amongst the trees. Definitely adding this to the list of must visit places.
    Mummy Barrow recently posted…My Week — 12th JulyMy Profile

  6. 12/07/2015 / 14:53

    The more I see and hear about Forest Holidays the more I want to run off into a cabin in the forest. I love that you are right in the forest, up close and personal to nature and everything it has to offer.
    Polka Dot Family recently posted…My Sunday Photo #SilentSundayMy Profile