March 2012

Spend a few days hidden away from the stresses and strains of everyday life in a peaceful, quiet rural setting.

We all have some moments when we just want to scream and run away from everything, but then wonder where to go to truly escape. Having recently spent a weekend at Sherwood Hideaway, we think we’ve just found the answer.

It’s only a short hop away from the M1 but it’s hundreds of miles away from the daily grind we all so often want to escape. It’s a smallish site tucked away in the forest and with luxuriously appointed lodges scattered around, not crammed in close to each other.

Once there you could want for very little. Each lodge is fitted out with the very best quality furniture, appliances, bath linens, entertainment, fixtures and fittings. The bathrooms (one main bathroom and one ensuite) were really classy, with beautiful contemporary fittings, all tastefully decorated and finished. For entertainment there’s a flat-screen TV with DVD player and broadband internet available too.
Through the glass patio doors is a big balcony, on which is a table & chairs, a barbeque and a hot-tub. This proved to be one of the highlights of the stay! Despite temperatures being close to freezing, we were sitting out in the hot water late in the evening, staring up at the stars and taking in the silence that is so rare these days. It was really lovely. Everything seemed so well prepared, with the hot-tub having been scrupulously cleaned, filled and heated for our arrival.

For those not brave enough to go it completely alone for a whole weekend, there are plenty of options for eating out nearby, with a choice of good restaurants, takeaways, fast food outlets and pubs all within a few minutes drive of the lodges.

The local area offers some great walks and cycle routes through the adjacent grounds of Thoresby Hall Estate, which offers its top-class ‘Blue Room’ restaurant, a gym, pool and spa, a gallery, museum and café.

The combination of comfy beds, complete silence and total darkness meant that we slept like logs on each night. No traffic noise, no streetlights glaring through the windows, none of those little irritations we seem to just get along with nowadays. It was one of the most memorable and relaxing weekends we’d spent in ages.

The Sherwood Hideaway lodges are available for weekend breaks from as little as £300 per lodge or from £485 for a week.


Nottingham Post

Raising a glass to the perfect place to relax.

SITTING in the hot, steaming bubbles, with a glass of rather colder bubbles in hand, the mood could hardly have been more idyllic. As I sipped champagne in a hot tub and watched cows graze lazily just 20 yards away, with the distant sun setting in a spectacular orange haze, I could not have felt more relaxed.

Only a 30-minute drive from home, it felt half a world away from the stresses and strains of the normal working day. As a couple walked by with their dogs and issued a cheery “good evening”, I silently vowed that, tomorrow, I would buy some swimming trunks, as I slipped further beneath the stream of bubbles that were protecting my modesty.

The fact that this potentially mildly embarrassing moment was the only stressful incident of the stay says a great deal. This was, in fact, virtually the only other moment we even saw anyone else in the grounds of the park in Thoresby, as we relaxed in a lodge that was as luxurious and homely as any hotel I had ever stopped in.

There were a dozen or so lodges spread throughout a pretty woodland clearing but none overlooked each other. So, whether you were sitting in the tub – and I can reassure you that I was properly dressed every time after that near-miss – or just relaxing on the expansive decking that led off the living room, you felt a sense of perfect privacy.

The presumption is that such a break is aimed at outdoorsy kinds of people; those who like to get up at 8am and take the dogs for an epic walk in the miles of surrounding parkland and villages. I am not one of those people. But I still felt perfectly at home. The temptation, on the first night, was actually to do nothing, so tranquil were the surroundings. So we did. I cooked up some steaks in a kitchen equipped
better than the one I have at home, another bottle of wine was opened and we sat, relaxed and looked at the stars, as clear as day outside of the glare of the city.

The only time the peace was broken was when some excited squealing rose from the bathroom, where complimentary Molten Brown toiletries had been discovered. This, I am assured, is a big deal. This was symbolic of the tasteful surroundings, with Egyptian cotton sheets in the lovely bedrooms, beautifully finished bathrooms and a homely living area with TV and DVD.

There were only two of us in a three-bedroom lodge, which would have been perfect for four or a family but perhaps a little cramped for six adults. I was eventually cajoled into Leaving the lodge to go on a bike ride – they are available to hire on site for £10 a day – which was an interesting experience, mainly as I had not ridden a bike in more than a decade. But we were able to explore picturesque Thorseby Park and the surrounding areas – and cause traffic chaos on the road as I panted and wheezed up a never-ending hill. It also proved to be a useful outing, as it inspired us to visit Thorseby Hall for an outstanding dinner that evening.

The Blue Room is one of three restaurants at the hotel and the highlight of our meal was the “taste of the sea” dish, which included a shrimp cocktail, sea trout tartar, caviar, a poached quail egg, a scallop
and cauliflower puree. If you enjoy seafood, you would be happy, as the hake and the sea bass were also delicious.

A short cab ride took us back to the lodge and, in the morning and the only hard part of the stay was trying to motivate ourselves to leave.

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