(Gifted Stay) Giveaway with Landal Darwin Forest.

We were incredibly lucky to have recently been invited to Landal Darwin Forest for a gifted press stay, theres 2 sites located in both Matlock & Ashbourne, Derbyshire. Being from Derby and a lover of both of those areas I jumped at the chance to experience Derbyshire as a holiday as opposed to home. We are smack bang in the middle of the country and with a minimum of a 2-2.5 hour drive to anywhere remotely beachy. I think because of this a holiday for me has always looked a certain way, we would head somewhere on the coast or somewhere in Europe but that luxury isn’t always available. The Derbyshire Dales are beautiful, the fact that we only have to drive 20-25 minutes and we are greated with spectacular views is unbelievable and this chance to holiday at home has made me realise we need to revisit certain areas and take more holidays at home.

This Blog post will include lots of information about Landal Forest as we review the location, facilities and accommodation etc but we will also be including information about what we got up too, places we visited and some we didn’t manage to visit on this trip but we love in the area anyway. We are actually putting this Blog post together because we are giving away a Winter break to a lucky family on Instagram, I am so excited about this! I had never been invited on a trip like this before, it was a first for us and although we desperately wanted to accept we wanted to be able to give back also as we appreciate how fortunate we are to receive an invitation like this one. So here we are.

Matlock & Matlock Bath

We stayed in the Matlock site, as check in is usually at 4pm (earlier 2pm check in can be requested but isn’t garunteed) we decided to make the most of the afternoon and head into Matlock Bath. Now Matlock Bath is very different to Matlock, in MB you get a real Sea Side town feel (despite there being no sea) its touristy, theres lots of arcades, a playground, amusements, a theme park and a hell of a lot of fish & chips! Here is what you will find:

  1. Gulliver’s kingdom

  2. The Heights of Abraham

  3. The Illuminations

  4. F’Coffee (Home of the Freakshake)

  5. Matlock Bath Aquarium

This is where we spent a fair amount of time as there is much more for little ones to do, however Matlock does have a splash pad which is good on hot days and it also has some incredible independent stores, especially if you are looking for Vintage items & interiors.

Landal Darwin Forest is a very short drive from both, its a 10-15 minute drive from MB and just a 10 minute drive from Matlock. After a full afternoon of fun we headed to the site around 4.30pm to check in and get settled into our home for the weekend.

Arriving at Darwin Forest.

The second we arrived on the site I knew I was going to love it, I knew that I felt safe and at ease with the children here and I knew that the kids were going to enjoy themselves so much. The whole time we were there we had no itinerary at all, no member of staff would of known who we were in terms of giving special treatment and I can honestly say the staff were incredible. Friendly as we strolled around the area, attentive when we visited the Foresters Bar & Restaurant, so helpful at the convenience store… I think you get the point but they literally couldn’t do enough for us. After we checked in and found our lodge we wasted no time in making ourselves feel at home. Our lodge was cosy, clean and so modern, when booking we opted to stay in the option of lodge that we are giving away as it wouldn’t of made sense to advertise a Luxury lodge that then wouldn’t be what the winner would receive. Some lodges have hot tubs and others don’t, for us if we were booking in the future we would absolutely book with a hot tub as it acted as unlimited entertainment for the children throughout the day but then also as an amazing way for us parents to unwind after a day of exploring. The hot tubs are also checked twice a day by a technician to ensure they are safe for use, this takes less than 1 minute each time but something we were impressed with as it showed that hygiene to them is so important.

The beds were comfortable, there was 2 bathrooms, great appliances in the kitchen, TV available with a great variety of channels, a bluetooth speaker and even a game that had been left for us with a note telling us where we could go to exchange it for other games and boardgames if we wanted to. We received a pack on entry which had so much information about facilities, activities, maps etc as the site had several ‘Forester trails’ to complete by foot or bike. There is also DVD hire for cosy nights in! AND if booking local places you can ask reception for help which may result in discounted entry fees and tickets.

We headed out for dinner on our first night to test out the restaurant and bar, which did NOT disappoint. We had a great meal, the kids enjoyed it and we weren’t at all left in shock when the bill arrived which can often happen when eating out as a family. We all had 1 meal, alcoholic drinks and the children then had pudding which cost less than £50, so win win!! You can also order Takeaway food from the Restaurant to eat back in your cabin which we did on another occasion because their pizzas are by far the best pizza I have tasted in a long time. Next to the Bar there is a lovely wooden adventure park for the little ones, shaded by lots of trees its very private and is next to a decking area where adults can enjoy a drink or 2. I think they did that on purpose, ha!

Things to do.

So there is a fair amount for you to get up to on site, we tried our best to do as much as we could but there are age limitations on certain activities which meant we missed out on a few (completely understandable.) Things like Snorkelling, Archery & Fencing are fantastic for older children but we opted for Bike hire, Mini golf, The Leisure centre pool and Little Monkeys Indoor Play center. This play centre was great, its huge and has an adjoining cafe so we could all grab some breakfast there one morning when it rained, it is however open to the public which isn’t an issue but means it could potentially get pretty busy. It is an additional cost, however it is discounted to those staying on site. There is also a fab little play area in a building located just after the main carpark which is free and only available to guests, there is a small selection of arcade games, pool tables, toilets, changing facilities and a little Softplay which was so clean and looked brand new.

Bike hire was so simple, we just visited reception and then they sent a member of staff over to the bike shed to assist us and make sure we got what we needed. They provide helmets and had a wide range of bikes to make it easy for different ages and abilities, they were so accommodating to us with Olive as we were limited with her and they let us try a few different options at no extra charge. They even asked us to go and get a refund for her as she was so undecided on what she wanted. Bike hire can be done on a half or full day basis, its pretty cheap but does require a deposit which is refundable on the bikes return so just be aware of that.

The indoor heated pool is located in the Leisure Centre, in there you will also find a spa and gym. There was treatments available too which is always nice IF you manage to get chance to sneak in a cheeky massage (sadly that wasn’t the case with 2 very adventurous and impossible to tire out kids).

The walking routes are beautiful, you may find stick dens, fairy doors, bug hotels, ponds and even a set of drums on route, it made a lovely evening walk each night and we often took a hot tub break and went to wander in the woods. There was something so special about switching off from social media and our phones and just being at one with the kids and the nature, I took my camera with me and just enjoyed snapping photos of the simple beauty of it.

In the area.

The beauty of this location is also whats around you, located so close to Bakewell, just a short drive from Buxton and the beautiful Chatsworth House you are pretty spoilt for choice really. We visited Bakewell as its a firm favourite of ours, obviously famous for the Bakewell Tart but its a quaint little village with great markets, shops and often social events on during the summer. You can visit the famous padlock bridge and even add your own engraved padlock which so many shops will provide you with around the area, its a beautiful walk down by the water, the gardens surrounding are stunning too plus you actually drive past Haddon Hall on the way in which would make an educational pitstop for the little ones as its an old Medievil Manor House.

Chatsworth House is a full day out in itself, a place we have visited many a time before (mostly at Christmas Time) its essentially a stately home but you are spoilt for things to see and learn when there. The gardens are stunning, shop and cafe lovely too. There is often exhibitions mostly in Sculpture but worth reading ahead if planning on paying a visit, only downside to Chatsworth is the cost as you pay for parking then pay separate prices for visiting the house and/or garden. You can purchase a full ticket or family ticket allowing entrance into all areas including the Farm yard and Playground so perhaps thats the best way to stay savvy.

We decided to visit Matlock Farm Park as it was only 5 minutes from Darwin Forest, it was a great afternoon and a good alternative to save some pennies as it worked out around £30 for us all to enter. There was plenty of animals to see, riding, feeding, soft play, cafes etc everything you would expect from a Farm and I would recommend a visit as it was so close to site.


We had an incredible time and we couldn’t feel any luckier to be able to experience Darwin Forest AND to be able to give this chance to another family to enjoy. If you have any questions, as always feel free to send me a direct message and I will do my best to answer them.

To enter the giveaway to win a Winter Break at Darwin Forest you need to read the terms and conditions below and head over to my Instagram to enter.


The prize is a self-catering short break for three nights from Friday to Monday or four nights from Monday to Friday for up to four people (and a children under 2 using a travel cot) staying in a Classic Vogue 2 Spa or Classic Skyline 2 Spa Lodge at Landal Darwin Forest. The prize must be taken between the 1st November and the 20th December 2019 and is subject to availability. All bookings are subject to Pinelodge Holidays' booking terms and conditions. The prize is non-transferable, non-refundable and subject to availability. There is no cash alternative. Entrants must be over 18. The prize does not include travel, meals and beverages, travel insurance, spa treatments, activities, spending money or additional park expenditure.

Ainsley GrayComment