As a family of five going abroad is expensive and inconvenient having to pack for the kids and sort everything out so we wanted to look for something closer. I have always wanted to take the kids camping but the thought of taking everything with us and then setting it up whilst trying to entertain the kids has made me feel very anxious and has put me off. We also live in a new build house with limited storage space so camping is not an option for us as we have nowhere to keep camping equipment, tents, etc.
I can honestly say it was completely stress-free, all we needed was a large suitcase for our clothes and extra toilet rolls. Everything was there ready for us to use. When I opened the tent ‘door’ the kids had whizzed passed me faster than a Tasmanian devil and allocated themselves a bed upstairs.
There is a washing up bowl and draining board in the kitchen with a new dishcloth and sponge waiting for you, but no tea towel so remember to pack one as we didn’t. There is also washing up liquid in a soap dispenser near the sink too.
There is an under-counter fridge with a single drawer for the freezer, twin induction hob, microwave, kettle, toaster, a set of three pans with the lids, strainer, cheese grater, frying pan, a jug, mixing bowl, glass dish and lid.
There is also a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket.
A set of dinners plate, side plates and bowls, mugs, teapot, milk jug, and sugar bowl, cafetiere, a glass jug and a set of glass tumblers, wine glasses, knife block with scissors, knives, forks, spoons, teaspoons, tin and bottle opener, wooden spoons, potato masher, peeler, garlic crusher, bbq utensils, cooking utensils and a pizza cutter.
Kids- Upstairs there are three beds which all had pillows, duvets and fresh bed linen already made for your arrival. Each bed has its own bedside table, lamp and a set of fresh fluffy white towels. There is also a gate at the top for safety.
Ours- Our bedroom was downstairs in the lodge which was two beds pushed together, you couldn’t tell to look at it but when you were in bed you could feel the groove. I found it really comfortable, however, David did not. We also had fresh bedding and a set of towels each and we had a little wardrobe which had about eight coat hangers.
We had a normal toilet and shower downstairs in the lodge, which was very nice, you might want to take hand soap with you though as they had washing-up liquid in theirs.
The shower was lush! I always dread washing my hair on holiday as the pressure is never strong enough to wash it thoroughly, but we had no problems here and the showerhead also had a variety of different settings. You will need to pack extra toilet roll with you as they only provide one.
Living space/ Heating
There is a wooden corner sofa with cushions and a blanket in the living room and a television which is located high up on the beam opposite the sofa. There’s a little wooden coffee table and a big dining table with bench seats which I loved.
There is a gas heater and an electric radiator for heating. This is very much needed in the mornings as the temperature drops and the tent gets very cold. If any of you have never been camping before, remember to pack warm nightclothes as even in summer the temperature can get a little chilly – something we forgot, unfortunately!
The hot tub was the high light for the kids and didn’t disappoint. They went in it every night and when they weren’t in it David and I was. A member of staff come round every day to check and maintain it, but they do not disturb you while doing this.
There is an Aldi 11 miles away from the holiday site, which is where we went for our food shop, and just around the corner from there is a Homebase where we picked up some disposable BBQs. Next to this is a Poundland where we brought the kid’s outdoor toys to play with as we purposely left their tablets at home.
We had a bbq every day, which was different for us, and really added to the experience of glamping, as well as being able to make extras like potatoes and vegetables using the cooking equipment provided in the kitchen. Again in hindsight, we should have packed our mini portable bbq but the disposables suited us just fine. They sell packs of two in the Homebase so we bought two lots which gave us plenty of cooking space for each evening. David and I even had steak and lamb steaks on the last night, which was lush! Leo recommended we make smores (if that is how you spell that) which is essentially melted marshmallows between two biscuits… good choice Leo!
The Reception and Shop
The Reception is twinned with the local on-site shop. When you arrive you will need to go there to check-in and receive your welcome pack. This is also where you would book and pay for your swimming slot if this is something you would like to do whilst visiting.
The swimming pool is situated next to reception and can accommodate 25 people at a time. The pool is open every day, but as mentioned above, you will need to book a time slot in reception beforehand and there is a small charge per person.
The CCTV that is streaming in the reception covers all angles of the pool and you can only access the swimming pool through a member of staff letting you inside. There are no lifeguards or staff in the pool area, so all children must be accompanied by an adult that is inside the pool with them. The rules include no diving, running, jumping, etc. The pool is shallow (deepest is 1.4m) and therefore not suitable for jumping in.
There are two changing rooms, male and female. Inside the female changing rooms there was a shower, a toilet, two benches and a changing table for babies. David said the men’s were the same although he wasn’t sure whether there was a baby-changing facility. Hopefully, there was, as I think in this day and age there should be, as dads take babies swimming on their own too.
There are lockers and seating around the pool area and the water is lovely and warm. We were very lucky enough to get the pool to ourselves for the hour, which was great for my son who hates busy pools, and perfect for my daughters to practice what they had learnt in their swimming lessons with no one about bump into.
The play park
The park was clean and spacious and there was plenty of play equipment there to suit everyone from smaller to larger climbing frames, swings with baby seats and swings for older children, a zip wire, uncovered sandpit, little and big slides and more. As soon as we arrived the kids wanted to play in it, so while I sorted out the check-in, David took them to the park. We went back again later in the weekend and the kids had a great time. Lydia’s favourite equipment was the zip line, which Leo enjoyed too. Emily loved all of it and was running around, climbing and being her usual monkey self. She even made a friend who shared the large basket swing.
Laundry and washing up area
This is located next door to the reception in case you need to use it. We didn’t but if you are staying longer or just in case, taking a portable clothes airer is a good idea, even if just to dry your towels on as there is limited space to do this. Some coat pegs are installed on the stairwell that can be used to dry towels, but using the hot tub and swimming, we wish we had taken the airer as it would have made our lives that little bit easier.
Toilets and Rally room
The toilets and Rally room are next to each other and can be found to the left of the swimming pool if needed.
The rally room is a place where you can come to relax with plenty of seating, you can bring your own food and drink, watch a film or just pick up some handy and helpful information leaflets on local tours and attractions. We didn’t spend any time here but was handy to know it was here and may be helpful for you.
We did attempt to walk the famous Ashbourne heights but after a long day at the farm Leo’s legs just couldn’t do it and we had to turn around.
While we were only there for three days, the first day was arrive and settle, plus it rained on the Saturday, we had limited time to do too much. On the Saturday, due to the rain, we ended up spending the morning inside the tent. This drove the kids crazy, especially Miss Ants in her Pants (Emily) who started getting really agitated. Eventually, we decided to go out and get lunch. David chose a McDonalds as it had a play area in it, and we were given vouchers from Leo’s grandad (Farthy). The McDonalds was near Derby, about a30-minute drive away, and when we arrived the play area was out of action due to a private party.
In the end, David looked around and found a play area called Tubby Bears Play Zone. £4.50 per child entry, so not bad, and the venue was inside an industrial unit. Although quite small, the kids absolutely loved it! David and I sat for 2 hours, with a brew that was also reasonably priced, and let the kids burn off their boredom. After we got back we had dinner and all the kids (David included) played ball games on the field outside the tent. It was really lovely watching them all run around having fun without the need or desire for technology.
Matlock Farm Park – We had originally planned to go to Matlock Farm Park on the Saturday but due to rain, and bad planning on our part without wellies or raincoats, we left it and went on the Sunday. Thankfully, the day turned out perfectly. Next, to the hot tub, this was the other highlight of the kids weekend. They had a great time petting small animals, riding on a pony, meeting a wallaby, some sheet, horses donkeys, racing sheep and ferrets – which came with prizes – as well as several playgrounds they can play in. There is a bouncy castle and cafe to grab a bite to eat. The staff were lovely and the kids had a fantastic time. Definitely, something to consider during your stay here.
We had a fantastic glamping weekend at Ashbourne heights and enjoyed every minute of our stay. The scenes driving around are amazing and the location was really something. The neighbours were all friendly and Emily and Lydia even got to see inside a caravan for the first time thanks to a lovely couple parked not far from us. It was amazing watching the kids play outside without even a thought of technology.
The entire weekend was stress-free and relaxing and we have made lovely memories together. I would recommend glamping at Ashbourne Heights to anyone who wants the experience of camping without all added stress of packing, beautiful countryside with still plenty to do outdoors for the kids.
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