When I asked the boys what their favorite experience of the summer was, without pause their answer was our weekend at Kielder Forest in Northumberland. Kielder has the biggest man-made lake in Northern Europe and, at over 250 square miles, the largest working forest in England. For us, our weekend at Leaplish Waterside Park, Kielder was amazing.
We had a fun filled action packed weekend, but there was time to unwind and relax too. It was filled with good food, good company (we even took Alvin #MadPup) and new experiences for us all.
We arrived on Friday night at 8pm after a two and a half hour drive (on which we had to stop a couple of times for a car sick puppy)! to a wonderful lodge for the weekend. The Lodge was superb and had a fantastic twin room for the boys and ensuite for us. I had packed a meal for us for Friday night and there was a breakfast pack waiting for us full of essentials for the next day. Whilst I was cooking dinner the men of the family set off with Alvin for a quick explore of the park and a play on one of the three adventure playgrounds.
They returned for food and then we played board games until the sun set and then had a fab nights sleep.
We were up bright and early for breakfast cooked by MadDad and then headed down for an hours exclusive swimming in the pool (The lodges have the sole use of the pool from 9am to 10am). We then dried off and went for a brief walk before returning to the pool for the boys first activity of the day, where they learned to scuba dive and use sea scooters. They had an hour and half in the water and were grinning from ear to ear at the end of it. They announced it amazing and something that they must do again.
We then headed off for lunch and a brief explore of Kielder Castle. Lunch was a true home cooked affair and MadDad and Maxi had corned beef pie, which was second to none and both left clean plates. Mini loved the sausages and beans childrens meal he had and I had a toastie.
We decided that when we come again we need to bring our bikes with us, but if we were staying for longer you can hire bikes from just next to the Castle (which isn’t really a castle, but a hunting lodge!)
Next on the agenda was a family archery lesson and I am afraid to admit that my competitive side came out and I was proud to get the best score of the day! The instructor was very patient with Mini and really encouraged him to do his best. He made it look and sound easy and it was brilliant family fun and we were glad that we did it together.
We then went back to the cabin to freshen up before dinner at The Boat Inn and Mini had a cat nap!
Dinner was amazing, the service we received was fantastic, the food even better and there was a live singer on the night we were in. The view from the restaurant is breathtaking and we all thoroughly enjoyed our evening meal before having a short walk and settling down for the evening.
Sunday morning was a little more leisurely. We had breakfast and then made our way down to the pool where the boys were booked in to have a go at water walking. Both of the boys thought it was great fun, but were pretty tired out after their allotted 15 minute session.
We could have stayed at Kielder for a whole week and still had more to see and experience. We were amazed at the dark skies and the amount of stars that could be seen from the balcony of the lodge. The lodge really was a home from home with everything you could need including a washer, dryer, cooker, fridge freezer and a dishwasher. It really was an epic experience.
Disclosure: 7 nights accommodation in a Lodge at Leaplish Waterside park ranges from £349 a week. Special offers and discounts are available at certain times of year, see the Kielder Website for details. We received 2 nights free accommodation, free meals and activities for the purpose of this review. You can see more photos of our trip on Facebook.