Let’s be honest. By the end of 2020, we thought we were done with the staycation trend.
Surely, after a year of Covid-19, we would finally be able to abroad? Perhaps that could give us something to look forward to, through multiple lockdowns and the drudgery of winter?
That not how things worked out.
Overseas travel is still a no-go, and unless you enjoy the thrill of last-minute cancellations, we wouldn’t recommend booking a trip overseas for now.
But the good news is this: over a year into the pandemic, we’ve officially got UK holidays nailed.
Case in point: The new Forest Holidays cabins in Delamere Forest, Cheshire.
We headed up for the first weekend the cabins were open to guests, and have put together your need-to-know before you book in.
Inside the cabins
We stayed in the very snazzy White Willow Cabins – brand new and exclusive to this location.
Key features of this cabin include underfloor heating (very much appreciated after you’ve been hiking out in the forest all day), a hot tub on the deck, a log-burning stove (we know that doesn’t sound dreamy now, but imagine it on a cold night), and an outdoor kitchen complete with a pizza oven, barbecue, and fridge.
Each cabin has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a large living space, and a kitchen.
The living area is super cosy, with a hanging egg chair, a sofa you can sink into, blankets, and a TV. If you throw on the slippers and fluffy robe included in the cabin, start a fire in the stove, and sync your Spotify to the speaker system, you’ll soon be living your woodland fantasy.
You can enjoy views of the woodland from this spot, but on warmer days you’ll want to fling open the doors and head out to your deck area.
Here, you can cook up burgers or freshly-made pizzas (you can order a kit to the cabin, for ease) al fresco, then pop open your welcome Prosecco, turn on the hot tub, and sink in.
We’d recommend having a soak in the hot tub once the sun goes down, to fully immerse yourself in the peace and quiet of the forest. If you’re usually citydweller, this is oh so needed.
A heads up for dog owners – pet-friendly cabins are indeed available; it’ll just cost you an extra £15 per night.
What to do in the area
The number one thing you need to do in Delamere forest, especially after months in lockdown: switch off and actually enjoy your surroundings.
When you wake up, take a moment to go out on to your cabin’s deck and breathe in the fresh air. Listen and look out for the local woodpeckers and squirrels. Look up at the tops of the trees.
Make that an essential part of your day’s routine, whether you’re visiting for a weekend or all week. Take your coffee outside with you, sit, and sip. You’ll be amazed just how good it feels – especially if, like us, you spent lockdown in a flat with no access to a garden.
After that, here are some options to fill your days…
Go on a big walk
Our trail took us out of the Forest Holidays camp, through the woods, past the Gruffalo statue, and up and around Blakemere Moss – a massive body of water with birds paddling along the surface.
If you have a dog, this would be their dream. If you’re sans pet, not to worry – head along the well-worn trail and you’re bound to meet some pooches along the way.
Take a break on one of the benches dotted around the trail – preferably one with a view of the Moss.
Delamere Forest is basically made for cyclists.
Bring along your bike or rent one while you’re there, then tackle the Hunger Hill trail on one day and Whitemoor on another.
Full disclosure – I was much too scared to go along to the Go Ape course, but those braver than me can enjoy ziplines, nets, rope ladders, and swings among the treetops.
Try a segway on for size
Not keen on walking or cycling? A segway is the way forward.
Go Ape offers up a segway experience, including some training before you hit the road. Make sure to book in advance.
Book a massage
Forest Holidays is partnered up with Glo, who offer in-cabin massages, facials, pedicures – whatever you fancy.
Yes, you could go for a massage to recover after a long day of hiking and biking, but you could also just skip the outdoor activity bit and just relax.
Learn something new
Visit the forest ranger station in the Forest Holidays site and ask what activities are on during your stay.
We went for the ultimate forest survival class – because who doesn’t want to know how to make a fire and craft a shelter – but you can also try more out-there activities such as falconry.
How to get there
So, we’d strongly recommend driving up to Delamere forest, if only so you then have a car and can thus drive out to local pubs for a proper dinner, or to nearby Chester.
Being unable to drive, we did not do this, and instead got a train up. It is possible, but we did wish on multiple occasions that we had a car; particularly when trying to book a taxi to the station while it was raining.
If you do the train option, get a train to Delamere station (from London we had to make two changes, but it was otherwise a painless journey), then book a taxi to Forest Holidays base on Ashton Road.
It’s only a five-minute drive from the station, but that’s versus a 40-minute walk, so definitely worth it. Just make sure to book your car in advance, as there aren’t many taxi services in the area, and check your booking for the gate code – otherwise you’ll need to trek up the winding road for a bit to make it to the cabins.
If you can’t find a train direct to Delamere, head to Chester instead. That’s a 20-minute drive away.
To book a stay in Delamere Forest, head to the Forest Holidays website.
Our weekend stay in the White Willow cabin at Forest Holidays Delamere was gifted for the purpose of review.
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