We have been using Forest Holidays (watch my video) for around three years now and have visited three out of the nine locations across the UK. It is a place that offers luxury, peace and nature. All three of which are high on my agenda for a good holiday! We first visited in 2014 when Zach was around 12 weeks old – it was his first holiday and we loved it. So much so that we return at least once every year but mostly around twice a year – either as our family unit or with extended family.
This year we returned to Forest Holiday at Argyll in February with my Parents in Law, the kids and two labradors in tow. Located on the shores of Loch Long, it is by far my favourite of the two locations that are in Scotland. We have been lucky to visit both and they both offer something different.
Here is why;
Ardgartan Argyll is right on the shore of Loch Long and most cabins offer amazing views out across the loch. If your staying with children or dogs – access onto the beach of the loch is easily accessible to all. The loch is a tidal loch and it makes for a wonderful foraging hunt for the kids with oyster shells a plenty and swimming time for the four legged members of the family. It is in close proximity to Loch Lomond and the surrounding areas to visit. Mostly for walks and undisturbed beautiful scenery, however a short drive away is the Sea Life Centre at Balloch, Inverrary and Ardkinglas Woodland Gardens. All good days out.
Strathyre is a slightly smaller site near to Loch Lubnaig – here the cabins are more in the wooded area and only a handful offer views out across the Loch. However I feel that the cabins are spread out more, offering privacy and quiet. The surrounding areas of Strathyre have a lot more to offer to keep families entertained. Whilst we were there last in the Summer of 2016 – we visited Blair Drummond Safari Park, which is a must visit. Good value day out with lots of varying creatures great and small to see and literally a short drive down the road. We also visited The Lodge Forest Visitor Centre, with spectacular views across Loch Ard forest, a waterfall, some wonderful imaginative play areas for the kids and also has a Go Ape on site (Forest Holiday stayers also get a 10% discount here too, BONUS!)
We have also stayed in Crompton in Yorkshire which is a very quiet spot in the woodland and easily accessible to the tourist areas of York and Whitby.
Forest Holiday offer 3 different cabins styles; Copper, Silver and Gold. As well as Treehouses and Hideaways. Each one offer something different, but in a nutshell – Copper doesn’t have a hot tub, Silver is less plush without log burners and the added extra of robes and towels provided, Gold are usually in the best positions with hot tub, gas bbqs, most have log burners and all towels and robes provided. The Treehouses and Hideaways are somewhat a little more special. We had the pleasure of staying in a Hideaway when Zach was still only small in a cot and it was top notch. I have added a few of the pictures circa 2016 below – the double bath and hammock on the patio outside were a big win! The treehouses are for the larger groups of ten people and offer an ensuite master bedroom across a rope bridge! You can check out the different accommodation styles here.
On site – if you can drag yourself out of the hot tub for a short while – the Forest Retreat`s are good spot for a quick cuppa after a walk, a beer while the live sport is on the TV or a bite to eat while the kids can do some pottery painting. Zach loves this activity (slightly on the pricey side if the truth was known) but has certainly entertained him for a hour or so usually when we needed a break from the lovely Scottish weather outside. A well stocked shop is also on site for any essentials you may have forgotten as well as offering a takeaway service. Hint – the pizzas are pretty good!
You can also hire bikes on site which we have never had the pleasure of doing due to having the dog and he comes with us wherever we go. Unfortunately four paws do not make for good peddling, but it seems popular with others each time we have been. I also believe that you can also participate in archery, kayaking and the likes with the Forest Ranger on site. Once again – I cant comment on these as we have always found our own activities to do.
Walking is our main past time and from all the sites is signposted walks of varying lengths and terrains for you to follow. The paths are usually well maintained and offer some lovely views. If you ask in the retreat the staff are all very helpful and knowledgeable about the local areas.
This year we spent a week again, as a mid week break just never feels long enough in Scotland, relaxing together as a family. We completed a few of the walks with the starting points on site and also went out exploring further afield a few days. I had a drive up to Glencoe, (blog post coming soon) and we visited Kilchurn Castle on Loch Awe (watch my video)- which was a lovely find for photography. We also stopped at a eatery in Tyndrum – The Real Food Cafe – following a recommendation from the missus school friend! All I can say is GO GO GO! The cakes were wonderful, great selection and the fish and chips which have won awards looked like a taste bud pleaser too!
Overall another good week away – creating more memories for the Adventure Browns. We are hoping to book up again for next February and return to Strathyre for a change. Discussions have also been held as we are tempted to miss Center Parcs Winter Wonderland this year (shock horror!) and potentially stay at a different Forest Holidays site nearby for some festive activities for a change. Any suggestions for Center Parc Winter Wonderland alternatives welcomed!!
Forest Holidays offer various special offers throughout the year and last minute availability. As a family we have always found them to be reasonably priced and value for money. We have been in the winter, spring and summer before and have enjoyed the sites every time. Our particular favourite is to visit in the February when the weather is usually picking up a little but the nights are still dark fairly early so you can stargaze right from your hot tub.