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Weekend in Notts: A Sherwood Hideaway

Sherwood Hideaway

What does it take to feel rooted somewhere? How long before a place takes root in your psyche and claims you as it’s own, or do you have to claim it?

I was born in Carlton-in-Lindrick, a small village in Nottinghamshire. I lived there for 6 months before my parents began a series of moves, eventually settling in Cheshire. When I was pregnant with L, Mr A and I moved to Nottingham and I often wonder if returning was a ‘circle of life’ that was meant to be. It has still taken time to set down my roots and call this county home, or to feel I am truly ‘from Nottingham’.

Until I found myself North of the city, deep in the forests where Robin Hood was said to roam, walking among trees that outdate anyone I know who can claim to be Nottingham born-and-bred, less than 10 miles from the first house I lived in. I found it really moving.

Since our weekend in the forest, I feel much more rooted. But this isn’t just my story, I think Nottingham forest has the power to make anyone feel more rooted, to our ancestors, to nature and to the need for new adventure. Nottingham has forests bursting with walks, history, nature, sporting opportunities, picnic spots, playgrounds, dens and incredible accommodation that you can call home for a weekend, or a week.

Many people stop here to go to Centre Parcs, been there, and done that, but I think you can miss the true spirit of a place.

 

Newstead Abbey

I left this story at romantic poet Byron’s pad, Newstead Abbey, with two Byronic kids who had exhausted their beastly tendencies exploring the Japanese garden and were now the best of friends. Read all about our day at Newstead Abbey if you missed the start.

Newstead Abbey, Nottinghamshire - 37

 

 

Sherwood Hideaways

It was amazing to arrive at our gorgeous Sherwood Hideaway luxury lodge, we were inside and in the hot tub within minutes of arriving which soon soothed away the day.

 

hotub

I was so pleased to see Mr A who whisked the kids off for an hour and left me with the welcome pack. It was the last day of the 2 week Easter break, I was exhausted.

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The lodges are on a clearing, but have direct access to open forest, many of the more obvious parts of Nottingham forest do get understandably busy with visitors, so having this on your doorstep is magical. You can walk between ancient woodland, oak and silver birches and giant pines that stretch into the sky like rockets. There is a slightly strange feeling when you arrive, especially if, like us, you live on a busy road, its a bit little house on the prairie, there’s really nothing but these uber-luxurious lodges and trees. There is a staffed reception though, so you do get a very warm welcome to this frontier community. The staff were brilliant, especially when my car broke down, when we wanted take away delivery ideas (great way to relax!) and when I wanted to know more about what birds we could watch.

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It was lovely to be able to bring our dog Max along. Sherwood Hideaway - 12

What I truly appreciated about the lodges, was the luxurious touches, bathrobes for kids and grown ups, slippers, Molton Brown toiletries, including conditioner and lip balm – which comes in handy when you are outdoors so much! There is tea and coffee, milk, wine and locally made chocolates waiting too. The beds are so comfy, the pillows and duvets so soft and fluffy.

Our lodge was gorgeous and contemporary in style, but I loved the Scandinavian, Rustic and Woodland themed lodges too. You can see more in the video, but just a couple of interior shots to whet your appetite! Cosy in Winter too, and I loved our bedroom. Two photos here courtesy of Sherwood Hideaway, as we were too busy lounging in the hot tub to clear up our mess!

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Sherwood Hideaways have made luxury in the forest more affordable, I did a little bit of research, and for a week in the Summer May 2015 half-term a lodge would be £650-765 cheaper than other local lodge options. The lodges don’t have the on-site facilities of Centre Parcs for example, they are not in walking distance to Sherwood Pines like Forest Holidays. Sherwood Hideaway isn’t as generously wooded, having been an army base in a previous life, but it has direct access to very tranquil woods. If you are looking for affordable luxury, a weekend retreat, or accommodation for multi-site adventures, then Sherwood Hideaway makes a great base. The old army buildings mildly disrupt the tree line, but once the staff explained that owls descend on the trees around them at night we were fascinated.

 

Sherwood Pines

Just ten minutes drive from Sherwood Hideaway is Sherwood Pines. Owned by the Forestry Commission, this has various walking and cycle tracks for all abilities, Sherwood Forest Cycle Hire, Go Ape, a cafe, nature trails, kids activities, adventure playground and den building area. It also hosts events around the year. We love it – we met Vikings there once and did nature craft with the ranger and Mr A and I once were brave and did Go Ape.

Mr G can ride, but was really excited about tagging along with Daddy. Dan and the team are really friendly and used to kitting out everyone from families to serious mountain bikers.

Sherwood Hideaway and Sherwood Pines Cycles - 01

We met my friend J and her family here as they live in Yorkshire. Her eldest F took a bit of coercion but quickly loved his tag a long.

Sherwood Hideaway and Sherwood Pines Cycles - 03

J’s youngest is 17 months old and so went in a buggy behind his Dad’s bike, but they were too fast for me to snap a picture, baby S was poorly so his Dad had to keep him moving, he seemed to really enjoy the buggy ride though.

I was cycling with Max for the first time, he really took to it, but I was taking it really carefully for our first cycle together! Check out the video, Max running alongside me while I have the Go pro on the handlebars = serious multi tasking!

Sherwood Hideaway and Sherwood Pines Cycles - 02

We were all ready for a picnic in the woods, what a spread, Mr A got the teas in from the cafe. J even made us easter egg nest cakes – she makes the best cakes and we really appreciated them after exercise and fresh air.

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S wasn’t feeling at his best, poor bunny, but he made some very important points over lunch.

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It’s magic to get to know the kids of people you’ve been friends with longer than you haven’t, F is such a sweetie. My youngest G took this pic.

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G also got a great snap of Max, who deserved picnic more than all of us, he ran the whole lot!

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There was time for the adventure playground and den building too.

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Then back to our lodge for chilling in the hot tub!

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Snuggling in robes in the sunshine, and a sneaky glass of wine with J before she had to head home.

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Then scrub up for dinner time.

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Mr G declined to be photographed at this point.

Sherwood Hideaway and Sherwood Pines Cycles 2 - 3

 

 The Normanton Inn, Clumber Park Hotel

The Normanton Inn was special, a little smarter than we were dressed, but we didn’t feel out of place. Clumber Park Hotel and Spa, is another amazing place you could consider for a weekend stay, kids were made very welcome.

Clumber Park Hotel

The interior plays on nature and the forest, with another eye firmly on contemporary design. I couldn’t disturb the couple opposite us to photograph it, but some of the wall dividers are real silver birch trunks.

Clumber Park Hotel

I started with parsnip soup which was delicious.

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Mr A went for Devilled White Bait, which was generously portioned for a starter.

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The ‘kids’ chose nachos from the children’s menu, which was designed by a local primary school, a lovely idea.

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My main was a sun blush tomato risotto with mozzarella fritters, beautiful!

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Miss L went for a kids’s burger, presented in a very grown up fashion, while Mister G had mini me fish and chips like his Dad. Mr A also realised at this point he had ordered battered fish twice, but fortunately he had built up an appetite.

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The creme brûlée was incredible…with a lemon shortbread which I had no room for, but pocketed to eat the next day.

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The rest of the family inhaled the gooey sticky toffee pud.

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Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre

Before we had to sadly leave our Sherwood Hideaway and the hot tub, we stopped here to pay homage to the Major Oak, the tree Robin Hood was said to have hidden in, thought to be over 800 years old. I love reading all the stories and legends about the tree from over the years, there are many more than Robin’s.  It really is an amazing sight, as are all the trees in the wood, they are a special kind you don’t get to see in suburbia, councils have to cut them back. Here the trees grow like gnarly wild things, oozing character, then they die and are left to become homes to insects. You can learn about the legend of Robin Hood in an exhibition, buy Robin Hood themed things in the shop, eat in the cafe and explore this site of specific scientific interest.

Major oak, sherwood forest

There are several pre marked trails around the tree, we were short on time so did the 20 minute one, but there are two longer walks, perfect if you want to get away from the busier parts of the reserve. We had already had the forest to ourselves at Sherwood Hideaway, so didn’t mind sharing it. You have to stick to the path as the woodland is home to so many species of wildlife, over 200 different spiders and 1,500 species of beetle. Wildlife is brilliantly signposted for children, with lots of boards on the 20 minute walk that prompt you to think about the forest’s inhabitants.

Major oak, sherwood forest Major oak, sherwood forest

 

Honour to bold Robin Hood, 
Sleeping in the underwood! 
Honour to maid Marian, 
And to all the Sherwood-clan! 
Though their days have hurried by 
Let us two a burden try.

from Robin Hood by John KeatsCheck out the little video! I sped it up, but the kids reactions to the Sherwood Hideaway were brilliant, so I had to keep the audio in this part, even though they sound like chipmonks. Let me know what you think!

I really found myself this weekend, I emerged from the forest feeling reconnected to my roots and to nature. But the city called, the next two posts take you to the city centre, fish and chips in an actual beach hut in Nottingham at the incredible George’s Fish and Chip Kitchen, and then to the National Video Arcade, yes that’s in Nottingham too!

Sherwood Hideaway and Sherwood Pines Cycles - 15

Need to Know

Normanton Inn – open to non residents, booking advised.

Sherwood Pines Cycles – prices start at £8 for an hour’s adult bike hire, £24 all day hire.

Find out about Sherwood Hideaway luxury lodges.

Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre – admission is free, car park is £3.

More information on Newstead Abbey.

For information on things to do, places to stay in Nottingham, visit Experience Nottinghamshire @experiencenotts #lovenotts

National Video Game Arcade

George’s Fish and Chip Kitchen

Sherwood Forest Nottingham Sherwood Hideaway Family Holiday in a Luxury Lodge with Hottub

Joining in with…

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

 

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33 Comments

  • Reply Em @ snowingindoors

    I remember reading Robin Hood when I was little and wishing I could live near Nottingham Forest so I could explore and have adventures, even though I’m now 35 reading your post has reignited that wish!

    There is something so refreshing about spending time amongst the trees, I adore the look of the Sherwood Hideaway Lodges, will have to check them out.

    I love the massive ‘WOW’ when the kids see the inside of the lodge!

    Thanks so much for linking up with Moving Pictures xx
    Em @ snowingindoors recently posted…Moving Pictures – MarchMy Profile

    02/05/2015 at 9:32 am
    • Reply parentshaped

      First thing i did when we moved here was try and find Sherwood Forest! I think I was a bit disappointed at first, having to follow a path to the major oak, but there is so much more to the forest now than I thought there was then.

      03/05/2015 at 5:19 pm
  • Reply Ann Winters

    What great fun you all had! And what a great idea, having kids designing food for kids… Although it might be dangerous too, you might find yourself limited to chicken nuggets or similar 🙂 I have never been to Sherwood before, but after reading your post, it surely is on my list now. x
    #countrykids
    Ann Winters recently posted…Just a Saturday walk….My Profile

    03/05/2015 at 12:17 am
    • Reply parentshaped

      Yes, I think the kids did a good job of being healthy when they designed the menu 😉 Lots of ice cream for pud of course!

      03/05/2015 at 5:17 pm
  • Reply Cheryl | TimeToCraft

    What a fabulous time you had! I love places that the whole family can stay. Including the dogs. We have two, and its not a holiday without them. I haven’t been to Sherwood forest since I was a child, but I do remember how magical it felt. Your post has made me think that I really should put it on our list of places to go. #CountryKids
    Cheryl | TimeToCraft recently posted…A garden all of their ownMy Profile

    03/05/2015 at 1:41 am
    • Reply parentshaped

      We’ve not had our dog that long, but we’ve really enjoyed having more Uk holidays so he can be part of it too’

      03/05/2015 at 5:16 pm
  • Reply Mummy Barrow

    It’s funny because when people say to me “where are you from” I dont really know what to say. We lived in various towns around Nottingham as I grew up and then I moved to Essex, London, and abroad before coming back to the South East. I still don’t feel settled. Or rooted.

    Yet when I think about my childhood I do remember Nottingham with affection. Shopping in the Victoria Centre on a Saturday and my dad’s favourite Hi-Fi shop where he would go for hours to listen to speakers before deciding which ones to buy, whilst I got a new comic from the newsagent down the road. And long walks in Sherwood Forest too. It was only a short drive from where we lived in Oakham and Melton Mowbray and I the more I think about the more I do think of that being where my roots are too.

    Which is odd as I haven’t lived there for 30 years.

    But it does get under your skin that forest, I am sure of it. BIt like Africa really
    Mummy Barrow recently posted…Slow Cooker Teriyaki ChickenMy Profile

    03/05/2015 at 8:50 am
    • Reply parentshaped

      Lovely to hear all those memories Tanya. My parents used to take me to the Victoria centre to watch the clock, got quite emotional doing the same with mine, and when it went. I’m sure we all collect a lot of roots, and feel rooted to different places, but sometimes I just want it to be one place! So true about our African adventures too x

      03/05/2015 at 5:15 pm
  • Reply Katy Hill

    Oh my goodness – LOVE the look of that place. Can’t quite believe the luxury inside the cabins! So glad you had an amazing time. Thanks for the inspiration! x
    Katy Hill recently posted…Polurrian Bay HotelMy Profile

    03/05/2015 at 4:41 pm
    • Reply parentshaped

      They’ve definitely made luxury more affordable!

      03/05/2015 at 5:13 pm
  • Reply Mary Keynko

    We visited the forest when Splosh was quiet small and obsessed by Robin Hood – he was fascinated. I’ve never moved fr from my home really, brought up in Chelmsford and now live 20 miles up the road, a bit of a home bird I guess!
    Mary Keynko recently posted…Royal baby? don’t really care!My Profile

    03/05/2015 at 8:42 pm
    • Reply parentshaped

      Now that makes roots simple!

      04/05/2015 at 7:53 am
  • Reply Cass@frugalfamily

    This looks amazing – you had me at the hot tub photo to be honest but the rest looks amazing too x x
    Cass@frugalfamily recently posted…Fabulously Frugal Linky {3rd May 2015}….My Profile

    03/05/2015 at 9:14 pm
    • Reply parentshaped

      I want one at home now!

      04/05/2015 at 7:53 am
  • Reply Sonya Cisco

    Beautiful she energy and a hot tub – I am sold!! Looks lovely and somewhere I have never visited – def on the list now!
    Sonya Cisco recently posted…Snap HappyMy Profile

    04/05/2015 at 7:33 am
    • Reply parentshaped

      Hot tubs make all the difference I think 😉

      04/05/2015 at 7:54 am
    • Reply lugano finanz kredit ausgezahlt

      as salam..erk..tak jadi..hm..sebab pakcik punya custom made.. takpe la. nanti pakcik godek2 nak edit attribute yang mana>__<terima kasih ;)Jemput ziarah membaca entri pakcik.. ;)syukran..

      11/02/2017 at 3:55 pm
  • Reply Emma

    Oh Penny, this looks just perfect. My husband is not a fan of Center Parcs but we all love the forest. It’s a really reasonable price too!
    Emma recently posted…Grand Bahamas – Bahama Bay, OrlandoMy Profile

    05/05/2015 at 6:48 pm
    • Reply parentshaped

      Affordable luxury! I think as ours have got older Centre Parcs seems too small, although I know they have brilliant stuff for kids of all ages. Our kids are just at the perfect age for limitless adventures though I think?

      05/05/2015 at 7:04 pm
  • Reply Michelle Twin Mum

    What a great time away, you have some cracking photos there. Mich x
    Michelle Twin Mum recently posted…Dear So and So – Bank Holiday Weekend EditionMy Profile

    05/05/2015 at 11:33 pm
    • Reply parentshaped

      Thanks Mich!

      08/05/2015 at 4:06 pm
  • Reply PSEating out in Nottingham - George's Fish and Chip Kitchen - PS

    […] wrenched ourselves from our Sherwood Hideaway, and the hot tub for a day out exploring Nottingham City […]

    07/05/2015 at 11:38 am
  • Reply Sarah Ebner

    What a wonderful stay and such a lovely blog post. We can’t wait to come to Nottingham this summer as there seems to be so much to do. We spend a lot of time exploring our home city of London, so it should be great to have some time exploring yours!
    Sarah Ebner recently posted…Keeping Bees At St Ermin’s Hotel, LondonMy Profile

    08/05/2015 at 3:51 pm
    • Reply parentshaped

      You will have a lovely time, it is fun exploring where you live isn’t it. I am sure we are sue another London trip!

      08/05/2015 at 4:07 pm
  • Reply PSByronic! Day One in Notts: Newstead Abbey - PS

    […] and two byronic kids, I think it’s pretty amazing. You can read all about the next stop on our journey through Notts, Sherwood […]

    09/05/2015 at 9:50 am
  • Reply You Baby Me Mummy

    Wow that lodge is so beautiful. This is right up our street. Such a lovely post and video, thanks so much for linking up to #OurMovingPictures x
    You Baby Me Mummy recently posted…38 lessons for 38 yearsMy Profile

    13/05/2015 at 9:55 pm
  • Reply Stephanie

    That looks like a lot of fun! Great video, the chipmunks did make me laugh!! We are going to the centre parcs in Sherwood forest this summer so it is lovely to get a taste of it. The lodge is fantastic!
    Stephanie recently posted…Lynton and Lynmouth – Cliff RailwayMy Profile

    01/06/2015 at 9:13 pm
  • Reply PS10 Life Affirming Moments in the Lake District - PS

    […] with some local tourist boards to find the best of what is on offer for families in Cardiff, Nottingham, Norfolk and now the Lake […]

    10/06/2015 at 6:36 pm
  • Reply PSVideo: Come to our Favourite Wild Wood? - PS

    […] no secret I love trees, we like to walk in trees, appreciate the history of ancient trees,  hug trees, picnic under trees and nature is a huge part of the legacy I try to pass on to my […]

    06/08/2015 at 11:58 am
  • Reply P.S. - Forest Live Gigs: Who would you like to see in the forest this Summer? - P.S.

    […] I can’t wait. J and I have met up at Sherwood Pines with the kids, to hire bikes, play and share the best picnics, it is going to be so exciting to be child free, at […]

    14/04/2016 at 8:06 am
  • Reply P.S. - My wild running experience in Sherwood Pines Forest - P.S.

    […] no secret I love Sherwood Forest, we go bike riding and Robin Hood hunting there as a family, I went to see Jake Bugg there recently, we’ve nature crafted with the ranger there and […]

    28/07/2016 at 7:48 am
  • Reply Margaret Clover

    Hello Penny

    Family hiking is one of the simplest ways to offer family bonding activities to your children. The joy of being in the beautiful outdoors, pursing family recreation together, is something which never grows old. I started hiking when I was a little girl – and today, my parents continue to hike with my children. This bond lasts for life!

    Taking your family on a hike doesn’t need to be a daunting task – with the correct preparations, even young children can enjoy all nature has to offer. Hiking provides a wonderful opportunity to spend time getting to know your children. I’ve learned so much about both of mine as we wander various paths throughout our part of the world. I know that my daughter loves to take a stuffed animal with her – in fact, we seldom get a picture of her hiking without one of her animals.

    For my son, family hiking is a chance to tell us about his life – not the emotions, necessarily, but what he’s learning and what he hopes to learn.

    A great way to get kids involved in your family hiking experience is to hand them a camera. I always take tons of pictures when we’re exploring nature together, and it didn’t take long for both kiddos to notice — and to want to join me.

    Best of luck to you and your kids.
    Margaret Clover recently posted…Health and beauty benefits of tomatoesMy Profile

    21/11/2016 at 8:51 am
    • Reply parentshaped

      Oh me too, we love nothing better than a family walk and it does all those things you say, it really is a magical space in family life isn’t it.

      22/11/2016 at 3:07 pm

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