Norfolk has some of the UK's most beautiful and unspoilt outdoor scenery, and boasts a huge range of fun activities (for family groups of all ages) that run in harmony with the landscape and ecology of the region. It is also home to Thorpe Forest, a sustainable woodland holiday retreat that offers luxury breaks in a stunning location.
I endure a three-hour per day commute; by car, train and Shanks’s pony to our offices in central London, so it is, perhaps, unsurprising that I was delighted to have the opportunity to get away from it all and immerse myself in the peace and tranquillity of Thorpe Forest.
Opened in 2014 by Forest Holidays, this already award-winning luxury cabin resort is nestled snugly in woodland on the banks of the River Thet. The site has won rave reviews from customers and industry sources alike for the quality of accommodation and facilities and the Zen-like feeling of wellbeing induced by the woodland surroundings.
Luxurious woodland accommodation
To most people, the prospect of staying in a log cabin in the woods, probably conjures some pretty negative imagery: IE isolated, run down and the ideal scene for a B-Movie horror flick. The reality could not be further from the truth. This collaboration between Forest Holidays and the Forestry Commission has nurtured an experience that is ‘back to nature’ but with all the trappings you’d expect of an indulgent modern break.
The accommodation is tiered to suit different budgets, but all the cabins are furnished to a very high spec. I opted for a mid range Silver Birch Cabin (two and three bedrooms available) and found it to be perfectly equipped for a week’s break with my partner and daughter. I know Thorpe Forest is a new park, but the detail and finish on the accommodation really was excellent. The cabin was airy and well lit with natural light without surrendering anything of our privacy.
Forest Holidays pride themselves on the steps they have taken to make their accommodation and facilities as ecologically friendly as they can be. The cabins utilise underfloor heating provided by air source heat pumps and wood pellet boilers, which significantly reduce the carbon footprint.
Pets are welcome
Dogs are also welcome at Thorpe Forest, with custom pet-friendly cabins available and a cost of £10 per dog per night. All cabins are deep cleaned before and after use, so you’ll get to enjoy your holiday fully without the worn-in smell of wet dog. There are conditions for dog owners – but they are common sense more than anything: don’t leave dogs alone in your cabin and always keep dogs on leads when walking around the site.
What I found particularly appealing about this break was its focus on nature and environment and these elements form the basis of Forest Ranger Activity programme. Yes, a lot of the activities are child focused but they are fun nonetheless. Supplements per activity are generally £10 for adults and £8; you can choose from:
- Night Vision excursions,
- Twilight Walks,
- Young Explorers,
- Bush Skills
- Geo caching trail
And if you don’t fancy being part of a group or paid activity, the helpful team at the Forest Retreat will happily share their knowledge of the many woodland trails in this scenic corner of Norfolk, including gentle, pushchair friendly trails and more challenging routes.
The local area offers an array of attractions, from the mystical beauty of the Norfolk Broads to the medieval charms of Bury St. Edmunds. Within a 40 mile drive of the park you will find the Queen’s Sandringham estate, which is open to the public all year round.
If you fancy a tree top adventure there is a GoApe park at High Lodge, near Thetford. Other attractions that are well worth a day out include Pakenham Mill (25 minutes away by car) and Banham Zoo, a friendly and compact animal park run by Zoological Society of East Anglia charitable trust. The park has lots of smaller primates as well as reptiles, exotic birds and some big cats. It’s certainly worth a visit – it may not be a big zoo but it punches way above its weight in its activities and its focus on conservation and educational work.
The Bure Valley narrow-gauge railway, which runs between the pretty market town of Aylsham and Wroxham, is an hour’s drive away
All in all, our break at Thorpe Forest was hugely enjoyable and one I wouldn't hesitate to rebook. Excellent accommodation, superb activities and environment and at the end of the day a hot tub on the patio in which to relax with a glass of wine. Absolute bliss!
Forest Holidays have nine stunning locations across the UK – all set exclusively on Forestry Commission land. There are two breath-taking locations in Scotland; Argyll and Strathyre which are both set on a loch, or head to Yorkshire where you will find Keldy and Cropton Forests which are both set on the edge of the North Yorks Moors and perfect for walkers. Moving further south there is Sherwood Forest in Nottinghamshire, Thorpe Forest in Norfolk, Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, Blackwood Forest in Hampshire and last but not least, Deerpark in Cornwall which is deep in the forest, yet close to the coast.
50connect reader offer:
Save 5% off the cost of a cabin plus early check-in (worth £25) at any of the 9 Forest Holidays locations – enter discount code EARLY5 in the promo code box at www.forestholidays.co.uk when booking*
* This code entitles the user to 5% off the cost of a cabin at any of the Forest Holidays locations and a free early check-in (worth £25 – subject to availability). This code must be applied at the time of booking, it cannot be used retrospectively and cannot be used with any other offers. All bookings must be made by 31/12/2015 and breaks taken by 01/01/2017. Forest Holidays reserve the right to withdraw or amend this code at any time.
Contact: 03330 110 495; Forest HolidaysLast modified: June 9, 2021