Our weekly columnist trial runs Christmas day with a long weekend spent in a Forest Retreat cabin - bring on the mince pies!
"With my family living at the opposite end of the country it can be hard to see each other as often as we’d like. So we decided recently to spend a weekend together somewhere halfway in between. And after a quick spot of internet research we’d found our ideal location.
Forest Holidays have locations across the UK, so we opted for their Cropton site on the edge of the North York Moors. We were staying in a luxurious 3-bedroom Golden Oak cabin, complete with fluffy robes, log fires and an outdoor hot tub!
Over the years it’s become a family tradition to celebrate Christmas early, as we can’t always all be together on the actual day. Plus my eldest son Ethan is born on Christmas Day so we spend half the day marking his birthday!"
A Golden Oak cabin
The living room in the Golden Oak cabin
Festive fun in the hot tub
"And so it became, that our weekend in Cropton would be our early Christmas this year. I’d mentioned that when filling in our pre-registration details online, but was still pleasantly surprised to receive a welcome card on our arrival hoping that we enjoyed our early Christmas celebrations. It’s the little touches that you remember and all the staff were very pleasant and more than happy to help us out.
We were slightly frazzled upon arrival thanks to numerous roadworks and accidents causing massive delays pretty much all the way there. But it didn’t take long for us to settle into our new abode for the next few nights. The boys checked out the cabin, picked their beds, got the TV onto CBeebies and generally made themselves at home.
They were thrilled to discover the ‘mini swimming pool’ and yes, despite the remnants of an ex-hurricane in November, we were soon all splashing away in the hot tub. Complete with Santa hats! There’s no need to worry about being overlooked as the cabins are well spaced apart and you’re more likely to be watched by the wildlife in the forest."
Cosy bedrooms in our cabin
"Even in winter you won’t feel the cold at Cropton, as the cabins have underfloor heating. Something I’m very much missing now I’m back home! We didn’t stay outside too long at night as it was pretty chilly but I’m glad I brought torches as once the sun sets it’s very dark indeed, but fabulous for stargazers.
You really feel far from the stresses of modern life, especially if you try to make a phone call. With no mobile signal to be had, we connected to the WiFi in order to make contact with the rest of my family, including the dog, who were staying a few cabins away."
Santa's little helper
"Saturday was designated Christmas Day so we nipped to nearby Pickering to get some last-minute festive drinks and nibbles from Lidl and then the festive season began. Once we’d put on our Christmas jumpers of course, with the boys in this brilliant festive dinosaur top from JoJoMamanBebe.
The great thing about the Forest Holiday kitchens is that they are fully equipped; truly a home from home. They even have a dishwasher. And an extensive amount of glassware and plastic options for children or using outside.
The day passed in a blur of Clementine, Cranberry and Pomegranate Bucks Fizz (from M&S), turkey dinner, mince pies and cheese and biscuits. Then it was onto the comfy sofas and time to open the presents in front of Strictly Come Dancing."
The next day (Boxing Day?!) was spent walking off the excesses with my youngest, Logan, leading us on a forest walk conveniently ending up at the playpark. He refused to wear his wellies, until the lure of the muddy puddles won him over. I also bundled him into a great waterproof suit from HippyChick which kept him cosy. As he’s big for his age I went a size up but it was a little bit big for him. Still at least we’ll get lots of wear out of it. I remain optimistic about a White Christmas...
The journey home took about half the time, spoiled only by the children demanding we turn around now as they wanted to stay in the cabin forever and ever.
Visit the Forest Holidays website to find out more and to book your country retreat
Kirsty McCabe writes her weekly column here on www.juniormagazine.co.uk. Follow us on Twitter: @juniormagazine to keep up with the latest news
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