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Some of you may be doing dry January – *groan* – but the weather certainly isn’t. And the half-term break feels forever away. It’s weeks like this that I take solace by gorging myself on potential holidays. Hot summer holidays in exotic climes with Rufus Sewell (if he’ll only stop moaning on and on about how he desires me), cool city breaks with Mr Muddy, gorgeous cottages in rugged climes for walking hols with my galpals and for family time in the UK, something luxe but active, rural but not too holiday campish.


The first three holidays are still in gestation but I’ve pretty much decided to do a Forest Holiday. And in case you’re thinking the same thing too they’ve just offered a rather delightful 10% off for Muddy readers, plus free Prosecco and chocolates for those of you who want to book one of their breaks. Whoopo!


I must admit to not knowing about Forest Holidays until mid last year when a couple of friends went on their UK forest holidays and raved about them. It’s a great idea actually, and chimes with the slow-it-down-and-enjoy-the-moment times, (not to mention the Brexiteer panic about the price of foreign hols this year). Basically Forest Holidays are all about beautifully-appointed, luxury cabins (eg underfloor heating, hot tubs, fluffy gowns) set in stunning Forestry Commission woodland in Cornwall, Hampshire, Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, Gloucestershire, Norfolk and Argyll. The big sell on these holidays are the criss-cross trails, walks and rides that you can take across the woodland, so it’s easy to hire bikes, go for exploratory walks with rangers, that kind of thing.


The cafe area

But in case you’re about to compare it with ‘Centerparcs’, I should say that these hols differ quite dramatically from Centerparcs in the sense that you’re not part of an enclosed ‘hub’, where everyone goes to the swimming pool, climbing wall etc and you’re encouraged to stay within the enclosed area. Though you do have the communal activity centre, shop, snack and coffee bar and kids play area on Forest hols there’s also more emphasis on connecting with local communities – by which I don’t mean getting together with the local hippies to knit a communal hairshirt, but exploring the local area, eating at that fab restaurant down the road and generally getting out and about. I like that idea, because as someone who is by nature quite idle on holiday, (and on weekends – actually most days if given the chance), it’s all too easy to just stay in a little pre-created bubble and end up not having really seen anything but the inside of a leisure centre.

Accommodation runs from 2 – 10 in beautifully appointed cabins, and you can also have up to 4 four-pawed friends staying with you in selected cabins. Yeah, people, it’s a pooch party, let’s rip open the Cezar!


Cabin bedroom

Personally I’m feeling foxy about the treehouses – awesome for groups with luxey bits like a woodburner, underfloor heating, flat screen TV, barbeque area and spas, with up to 5 bedrooms. They dangle enticingly in the canopy, with beautiful views across the rivers and woodland.




Forest Holidays are very family-oriented, but they’d also be good for walky couples who are looking for something a bit different, romantics wanting to live out their Maid Marion and Robin Hood fantasies (go on admit it – but will Little John be in on the action too?!)


Tippees in the forest clearing – yes, they also do corporate events!

Anyway, it’s definitely worth adding to your arsenal of possibles, particularly with half-term and Easter in the offing. Dont’ forget to put in MUDDY10 at checkout – it will give you that 10% off and your free bottle of Prosecco (knock it back fast, no need to share) and those chocs.

As ever, let me know if you try it out, and feed back your experience – knowledge is power, let’s share it!

Find more ideas here

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Kent