Forest Holidays – Deerpark Site
This is part two of my review of our Forest Holiday stay at Deerpark, Cornwall. Check out part one here which is all about the Silver Birch Cabin we stayed in.
As you are driving towards Deerpark, it is hard to believe that there could be 45 cabins nestled within the wooded valley. The whole site seems secluded and you get a sense that you have escaped from the rest of the world. The site is beautiful. The cabins are set around the edge of an ancient millpond or slightly higher up in the valley. Regardless of exactly where a cabin is situated, it will have a stunning view.
Each cabin has its own designated parking space close by to the cabin. A road leads past the cabins for access, but with only 45 cabins on the whole of the site, there is obviously very little in the way of traffic. This was great with two small kids as you felt safe enough walking from the cabin towards the centre.
When we headed down to the Forest Retreat – the centre of Deerpark – the girls were delighted to find a small play area. Here they had lots of fun on the swings, see-saw and climbing frame. For such a small playground, it kept them amused for quite some time.
At the Forest Retreat you will find the Reception, where you can sort out booking activities or bike hire. The staff here were always friendly and helpful. Here you could also buy essentials, gifts or even have a go at painting your own piece of pottery. It was also a nice surprise to find another play area inside. It was small, but able to accommodate the two girls, and meant that we could sit down and relax with a drink and take advantage of the WiFi access whilst the girls played.
The Forest Retreat also sold a variety of food, including full English breakfasts, snacks, pizzas, curries and ice cream.
Before the holiday, I had reservations about how good value products from the Forest Retreat would be as being the only shop on the site, they obviously have a captive audience. Now, none of their products were cheap, but I didn’t feel that we were overcharged as all their products were of good quality. For example, we pre-ordered a continental breakfast pack for £20 before we arrived so we had essentials such as milk, tea bags and coffee for when we arrived. The pack also contained orange juice, sugar, jam and Olivio spread, and also a bloomer, four croissants and four pain au chocolate – the latter being delivered, freshly baked, to your cabin door in the morning. All of the products were from quality brands. In fact, my only criticism with this would be the time at which the baked good were delivered – between 9 and 9:30am. For most people this would be a completely reasonable time, but when you have two small children who have been up since 6:30am, it feels more like lunchtime.
There were lots of activities available at Deerpark. You could hire bikes – including children’s bikes and seats as well as tag-alongs and trailers. Forest Holidays also have their own Forest Rangers who run a range of different activities enabling you to explore and learn more about the forest. We were tempted by the Teddy Bear’s picnic which is £10 per child and involves a walk through the forest with the Forest Ranger followed by a story in the forest and then a teddy bears’ picnic. However, with it raining all day, we gave it a miss.
Of course, with the amazing forest on your doorstep, there are plenty of different woodland trails to enjoy. The staff at the Forest Retreat were able to provide us with a map and suggest some suitable walks for us to do.
Another thing that I pre-booked before the holiday was a little activity pack for Freyja. This had an animal colouring book and crayons, an I-Spy Nature spotters book, a pocket microscope/telescope, a pencil topped with a lovely wooden robin (which was used as a magic wand for the duration of the holiday) and a little cuddly hedgehog. Freyja enjoyed going through the I-Spy book after we had been out to “tick off” any animals and plants that we had “spotted”. She also took the microscope/telescope out on our walk, but was a little too young to be able to use it independently.
You could also book a whole range of in-cabin spa treatments. I love the idea of being able to have a massage or beauty treatment in your cabin, rather than going off to a separate spa area. What is really lovely is that they also do mini spa treatments for teenagers are also a kiddie nail paint, meaning that all the family can have a pampering treat. We didn’t try any of the treatments as we were only staying for three nights and wanted to be able to get out and enjoy the area, but it is something I would LOVE to do if we were to stay for a longer break.
It was inevitable that at some point during the holiday we would end up making comparisons with our Forest Holiday and Centre Parcs, and reading this, you will probably be wondering which I would actually prefer. But honestly, I don’t think you can honestly say that one is better than the other as they are totally different from each other. What a Forest Holiday has to its favour is that with only a small number of cabins it has a very quiet and almost exclusive feel to it. Having your car right next to your cabin means that it is easy to go offsite and explore further afield, something that is harder to do at Centre Parcs. And of course, there is the bonus of having your own private hot tub on a Forest Holiday!
Disclaimer: We were given a discount off our Forest Holiday break in exchange for a fair and honest review