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“Wonderful and relaxing”

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Darwin Forest Country Park
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 13 July 2013

Just returned from a week in Sudbury woodsman lodge, one of seven set near to the front of the park but off the main thoroughfare.

First impressions of the park were excellent. Very friendly reception and efficient check in. Having stayed at Sandybrook, their sister park, a few years ago and finding the reception staff quite unfriendly, I was already feeling more positive about Darwin. We had a few issues during our stay (of our making not the park's) and the reception were very helpful in resolving.

The lodge itself was very clean. Two doubles and a twin with lots of wardrobe space. Remainder of lodge was well equipped, although could have done with long handle brush for sweeping the floor. Sofas do not have high backs so if you are used to resting your neck against a sofa back be prepared!.

Lodge got lots of sun and they do get hot inside, but not unbearably so. We took a fan and that helped. Parasols can be hired for veranda tables. Lodges were relatively close but their layout meant you never felt you were intruding on others. Screened from behind by trees. Just through some other trees you get a recreational area which is partly shaded late afternoon so was good for a run around. Managed to get one bar of mobile signal if phone was on centre of kitchen island. Wi fi worked fine.

The maintenance staff we saw whilst there were always friendly, our eldest, almost three, loved to wave at them as they walked or drove past and they always waved back. These touches just made it more relaxing and enjoyable for all. Grounds are very well kept.

Soft play on site is relatively small but does the job. Outdoor play area is not really for toddlers, perhaps one area for improvement. Little monkeys we went to - nice and the kids loved it and food was pretty good. Staff friendly. Note it is air conditioned so place to cool off in very hot weather! Golf was good fun and quite challenging.

We did not use the pool and gave Foresters a miss when the request for a look at a children's menu was met with "it's there" and little else in the way of friendliness. Store on site is well stocked and the staff friendly. Prices are like your local convenience store back at home.

Walks on site are very pleasant, kids loved the pond and ducks.

Close to matlock for supermarkets and park. Chatsworth Farm was great for the kids, particularly our eldest. Matlock meadows nice for ice cream and some farm animals.

We did think the laundry man dropping off bedding etc on the veranda for next occupants one hour ahead of check out time came across as a bit of a "hurry up".

I do wonder how busy it gets in school holidays and with older children. We would definitely return and indeed looked at similar spec lodges as the woodsman seems very popular. We would be happy with many of the lodges as they are well spaced and screened.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank PrestonHoliday
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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745 - 751 of 990 reviews

Reviewed 9 July 2013

We stayed in a Riber skyline for a week in early July as a couple with a 16mth old. the lodge was perfect and great for a toddler who likes exploring! Everything is on one level, including an enclosed decked verandah....so perfect for a little one playing inside and outside. There was plenty of wildlife to view from the lodge.

We were in lodge 16, quite close to the swimming pool, bar etc which was ideal.

Restaurant/bar is excellent and caters well for families, couples etc. food is of a very good standard and they do take away too (although we did not try these). We got a curry delivered from a local restaurant which was good and had a tesco delivery on arrival ( there is a good sainsburys in Matlock, so assume they deliver too)

Soft play area for under 5s indoors as well as outside park. There is also 'little monkeys', however we did not use this as the free facilities were plenty for our needs.

Swimming pool is fab. Very clean and good communal changing. Only downside is there is only 1 baby changing table which is in the disabled changing room. A really nice room, however leaves you a bit stuck if there is more than 1 disabled person or baby needing to use it! There is a toddler seat in another changing room but then no where to put nappies on.

Matlock has a lovely park area to walk around. We visited the tram museum (very expensive for what it is), height of Abraham (excellent), Matlock and trentham gardens (great) along with swimming lots at the holiday park.

Only negative is the mattress' seemed very soft and not great quality, so a week was plenty long enough....this could have been better given the cost of the holiday.

We will probably return as really enjoyed it.

  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank markjennifer
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2013

We stayed for 7 nights and had a great time. Our Riber Elite Spa was immaculate and felt very private even though we had lodges on either side. The hot tub was a treat especially when dark at night. The swimming pool was a nice size and the changing area is clean & well maintained.
We had just two minor issues: kids loved Little Monkeys soft play so we decided to go on Friday night as the leaflet states they have a free disco on a Friday. However when we arrived & asked when the disco started we were advised that depending on how many kids are there 15 mins before closing they " might " turn the music up loud. Don't go expecting a disco with lights etc as it doesn't exist, very misleading. The Foresters bar & restaurant lacks atmosphere, The food is good pub grub..... but more expensive, we only went once but I was shocked to hear the waitress asking people to pay whilst they were eating dessert.

We really didnt want to leave &tried to keep our lodge for a few extra days but itwas fully booked. instead we've booked for two weeks next year as one week wasn't enough to do everything we wanted to do in the surrounding area. Our lodge was fab, woodland walk & trim track were much enjoyed. The kids loved the duck pond. The location is perfect for exploring. Gullivers is approx 10 min drive & for primary age kids it's well worth a trip, we went on a Wednesday and apart from a couple of school trips we almost had the place to ourselves, no queues,stayed on for extra rides.

Great place not to be missed but a more welcoming pub that sells pub priced food rather than a quiet pub/restaurant would definitely be a bonus.

Room Tip: Choose a lodge with a hot tub. Its a treat soaking it the tub with a glass of champers in hand.
See more room tips
  • Stayed: July 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank carmaur1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 July 2013

Just got back from a wonderful week at Darwin Forest, we had 2 lodges Woodman and Woodman Spa (mum, dad 2 kids plus granny and grandad in each). The lodges are very clean and well equipped and the staff couldnt have been more helpful and friendly. Great time had by all would recommend it and would love to stay again.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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1  Thank SharonCoops374
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 4 July 2013

This is my 3rd review of Darwin Forest and our families 4th visit .
We just love this place, it is so quiet and clean and the lodges great even if they are a little more expensive. This year we were lucky enough to stay in a Riber Vogue which is one of the newer lodges, we were on the edge of the park (no76) and in the ideal location. The wildlife around the lodge was amazing, all kinds of birds,including a woodpecker and the squirrels entertained the dog! The forests are great to walk in and it's really worth going over the road for more exploration. The parkland woods have been improved as well since last year and you can easily go chill out by the pond. Everything is so dog friendly too, even the lodge had a laminate floor so the dogs muddy paw prints were easy to clean up. The newer lodge also seemed to have better beds than in the past.
We did not use the swimming pool this year but remember it as a good asset to the park and also Little Monkeys for younger children but our lad decided he was a bit to old for that this year.
The staff are so friendly, from the reception to the groundstaff and do find it surprising some have said the staff are unfriendly
We decided against using the Forresters as we did not like it last year but have to say it did generally look busy in the evenings and more people did seem to be just enjoying a drink this time round. I guess last year we found so many great places to eat within 10 mins drive we were more than happy to do that again.
After 4 years we still have not explored the entire area and that alone warrants another return visit next year. Given a nice lottery win I would happily buy a lodge on site but until we do I guess I'll pay my money and visit again next year!.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank mark G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Pinelogger, Manager at Darwin Forest Country Park, responded to this reviewResponded 8 July 2013

Dear Mark, Many thanks for submitting your third positive review on our park. We are delighted that you keep enjoying your holidays with us and we hope to see you again soon. We clearly helped you find the ideal lodge and position for your needs - which is just what we like to try and do. We hope that you'll be tempted back into Foresters and the pool on your next visit, when you'll also benefit from our regular customer loyalty discount. Thanks again!

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 June 2013

Just spent our first time at Darwin Forest and have already booked for next year. If you want a 'get away from it all' relaxing break then this is definitely the place to be. If your budget allows make sure you go for a lodge with the hot tub - well worth it!!! We stayed in the Elvaston Spa Lodge (No.67), very well positioned and quite private too. Exceptionally well equipped with the bathroom having a spa bath and separate sauna. We had a dog so eating in the restaurant wasn't really an option, however, they do an excellent take away menu with great choice and plenty of food at a reasonable cost. Lovely walks in the forest with the dog which was great. Cant wait to re-visit.

  • Stayed: June 2013, travelled as a couple
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Thank Sue M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 24 June 2013 via mobile

This is our second stay at Darwin and it really is the most peaceful place for a holiday. The lodges are well equipped and laid out and the whole park is clean and well looked after. The location puts you easily in range of the whole of the Peak District which is one of the most beautiful parts of England

  • Stayed: June 2013
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Thank howardtri
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Darwin Forest Country Park

Address: Darley Moor, Matlock DE4 5PL, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Derbyshire > Matlock > Darley Moor
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Kitchenette Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Spa Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Speciality Lodging in Darley Moor
Price Range: £69 - £151 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Darwin Forest Country Park 5*
Number of rooms: 110
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 and a Visit England Award for Excellence. Handy for Chatsworth, Bakewell, Haddon Hall and all the sights of the Peak District. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Darwin Forest Country Park Hotel Two Dales
Darwin Forest Country Park Darley Moor, Matlock, Derbyshire

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