Clumber Park is an oasis of natural beauty just a hop and a skip from Worksop, Nottinghamshire in the very heart of England. Its 3,800 acres of protected woods and parkland were originally the country estate of the Dukes of Newcastle, but is now under the ownership of the National Trust. You can hire bikes to explore the many nature trails and it’s a haven for wildlife of all kinds; Longhorn Cattle, Jacob Sheep and rare birds including Nightjars and Redstarts. During the warmer months camping is available and during the Summer it’s the BBQ and frisbee capital of England.
Amongst the tree lined avenues and vast woodlands is a stunning lake, Gothic-style ‘cathedral in miniature’ chapel and walled Kitchen Garden. Besides the plants shop and restaurant there are numerous play areas for the kids and a superb Discovery Centre that has informal lessons and workshops where they can just turn up and get creative. My daughter loved the ‘mini-beasts’ and wild art sculpturing sessions.
Across the park there are different events happening throughout the year, everything from drive-in movies to cookery demos. Over Christmas ‘Magical Woodland by Lantern Light’ evenings take place every weekend, with the woods filled with elves, lighting effects, sounds and who knows, possibly even Santa?
Tel 01909 544917 or visit www.nationaltrust.org.uk/clumber-parkfor more info.
Perfectly positioned after a long day exploring the park is the Clumber Park Hotel & Spa. Literally just across he road, The Beatles stayed here once on the way to a gig in Leicester in 1963. I know this because there is an autographed menu on the wall in the restaurant. I’m not sure what they had to eat, but I imagine these days Ringo would go for the delicious Marinated Garlic Chicken I had in the Normanton Inn part of the Hotel, sooo moist and juicy. Unfortunately with Paul (McCartney) being Vegetarian he’d miss out on the star of the show, my partners Thai Seafood Red Curry with Noodles and Pak Choi; full of mussels, salmon and whitefish. His loss, not ours and if you visit, try it.
There is a decent choice and prices are pretty reasonable too, with most main courses around the £10-12 mark. There is also a slightly more formal dining option where breakfast is also served called the ‘Courtyard Restaurant’. We didn’t eat in there this time, but I heard good reports from another couple staying at the Hotel.
The Hotel (as you might guess from the name) is a thriving Spa, used as much by locals as it is by Hotel guests it’s a friendly place to hang out, grab a smoothie or go for a swim. Besides the treatment rooms there is a sauna, steam room and cool outdoor jacuzzi that is the ideal place to sooth those aching feet after a day at the Park. My partner had a ‘visible difference’ facial and came out glowing and an ever-changing range of treatments awaits. The beautician also recommended a list of products that would help her with her daily beauty routine, without giving her the hard sell, which was nice.
Rooms are bright and comfortable and there are weekend break room and Spa special offers always available, currently there is a choice of an invigorating “Walk on the Wild Side” Walking Break, costing £79pp, including dinner, bed, breakfast, free entry into Clumber Park (National Trust) and the Walled Gardens, and use of the hotel’s Pathfinder Guides. Also on offer are an Anytime Treat Spa Break, a Family Getaway, and the hotel’s popular “Friday Freebie” or “Lazy Sunday Afternoons”.
Full details can be found on their website www.clumberparkhotel.com or telephone the hotel on 01623 835333.