We have come here often in the past and thoroughly enjoyed both the lodge itself and the surrounding walks and scenery. The lodge is now refurbished, and frankly it's not nearly as nice as it used to be. Nothing in the building engaged us - rather empty feeling inside and not enough exhibits that attract you to look at them. Although the 'old' version of the lodge was a bit dated and in need of a clean-up, it had a very cosy and welcoming feel to it that, I'm sorry to say, the newly refurbished version doesn't have. And yes, the cost of the car park is steep if you want to spend more than an hour's visit. We visit the place a lot, but £3 is too much to pay each time, so we'll probably not be back very often.
The lovely old cafe - which had access to a great veranda with fantastic views - and which sold very tasty, home cooked food, is no longer. It's been replaced by an up-dated, larger (good) but rather austere room. Our chocolate cake was unfortunately stale and shouldn't have been on sale - they could have saved a lot of money if they had clad the building in the chocolate cake instead of the slate, and it would have weathered better :). And the bread for the sandwiches had clearly been sitting out of it's wrapper as it too was very dry. Not very good!! A more interesting choice for vegetarians would be nice too? Service was friendly and courteous. If only they would give a little more attention to the details, please!
The environment outside is dominated by the Go Ape zip which is noisy - not really to our taste, but clearly very popular. The walks are still great and really enjoyable, and the new tree hammocks by the waterfall are a nice addition.
Overall, a good place in which to spend time, but somehow it's lost some of it's attraction in the recent make-over. If your new to the lodge and surrounding environment you may find it acceptable.
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