We chose Kielder as the destination for a winter break and the first holiday for RLT at aged five and a half months. Kielder Waterside is a development within Kielder Water and Forest and within the Leaplish Forest Park, which is also where the Winter Wonderland is based.
We opted to go for 4 nights Monday – Friday as my OH is starting a new job on 5th December, so he wanted some downtime before he started. We couldn’t quite fathom out formula, nappies and baggage allowances to travel abroad with a baby, so when my friend Nikki, mentioned that she was looking for a winter break in the UK and we should come along, we jumped at the chance.
We opted for the Otterstone Superior lodge which was lovely and incredibly homely. The added touch of the Christmas tree added to the atmosphere. The lodge was very well equipt and the bed, furniture and fixtures were all extremely high quality, we were extremely impressed.
The swimming pool was small but ample for our requirements, the changing rooms seemed to be brand new. The coffee shop and bar restaurant were all decorated to an extremely high standard too. The food was also very good and I didn’t feel over priced for the quality considering they had a captive audience. The draft ale was Wylam too, which is a very well respected brewery in the North East – little touches like that go a long way.
The lodge had a hot tub, I’d never been in one! A man came every day to check the levels etc, it was extremely well maintained. He advised it had been drained and fresh water added for our visit – as you never know who and what has gone on in those things! I went in once for around 20 minutes, the lodges are pretty close together so if you’re thinking of a break with friends for hot tub parties, I don’t think this is the place for you. It’s more for families to enjoy, in my opinion.
The bath was also a jacuzzi one, basically, everything to do with water was an optimum experience, which is no surprise given that the lodges are owned and operated by Northumbrian Water, who own Kielder Reservoir. EVEN THE TAP WATER TASTED AMAZING.
We didn’t set out to do anything but go on a few walks and relax, so when we saw the Winter Wonderland stuff, we felt obligated to participate for the two-year-old that was with us, thankfully it was only a weekend thing so the park was pretty empty. Things seemed to close on 30th November, half way through our stay such as Kielder Castle etc, but we still managed to do the Stickman Trail and we were fairly laid back about what to see and do anyway, so we didn’t mind.
Even out of season, this place is pretty great. We picked a good place to go on our first holiday with our baby. The lodge was like a home away from home. They even provided a high chair (which was brand new with the tags on) and a travel cot. We got it for a rate cheaper than advertised on the website due to the time of year, but at full cost and compared to what you’d pay at Centre Parcs, I’d 100% recommend this place for families to consider. We had a lovely time.
Things to look out for…. Northumbrian Water seem to use Hoseasons for their bookings… We were looking for a Hoseasons logo on site, so thought we’d taken a wrong turn. So if you see signs for Leaplish, just keep driving!