In May, Jack, a couple of friends and I set off to Blackwood Forest – a gorgeous forest just past the South Downs near us in Brighton. We decided to stay here for a mini home vacay – although it’s actually a comparable price to a lot of European holidays, sometimes there’s something so relaxing and special about just hopping in a car, loading up on good food and drinks and travelling somewhere close to home. I love going abroad and will never stop doing that, but we really enjoyed our little home escape. We also managed to save a huge amount of money on food, drinks and restaurants – as we usually spend a decent amount on this on holidays abroad. We stayed in a cabin with a holiday company called Forest Holidays. They have locations all around the country, including right down in Cornwall and all the way up in Scotland, so wherever you are there should be a version near you. We opted to stay in a ‘Golden Oak’ cabin – fitted with a hot tub, featuring stunning high angled ceilings, the most beautiful interior and surrounded by forest. Now that sounds like my kind of break! We stayed on a Friday to Monday trip, and in the midst of the 2020 self distancing dramas we have since stayed again as a holiday substitute. We are big fans! Now let’s get into why, what we got up to and what you can do there.
We originally booked this beautiful escape as a birthday present for our friend. In addition to the cabin, we decided to go to Go Ape on the way there. Go Ape is essentially treetop climbing, where you zip line, slide along and jump through the trees, high up on different obstacles whilst attached to a harness! The Go Ape Alice Holt branch is the closest to the Blackwood Forest Forest Holidays, but again there are lots around the country so if this is your jam check it out. We had so much fun here and can’t wait to do it again in their different locations! After a knackering couple of hours we headed to a pub for food and then checked in. We just went to a local pub to the treetop climbing and I had a mushroom and halloumi burger with cheesey chips. Absolutely a bit. of. me!
Check in was very simple, we grabbed the keys and then drove up to our cabin. We absolutely instantly fell in love with the cute details of the cabin – it felt so homely with a lovely open plan kitchen and living area, massive windows looking out to the forest you back on to, a log burner and loads of cosy nooks to sit in. The bedrooms were slightly more basic but overall we couldn’t fault it. There were also two bathrooms which is great when you’re in a group of four! We spent the first evening having a few drinks, climbing in the hot tub, having a couple of snacks and crashing out for the night.
With Forest Holidays we chose to add on the entertainment package – it’s an extra £50 or so per stay but allows you watch hundreds of sky movies on the TV and unlimited WiFi. As a group of millennials this was needed! We spent one night curled up watching a couple of horror films which was actually so enjoyable in the cabin the woods setting! You can also choose to add on activities to your stay here – including hiring bikes, painting pottery, archery and loads more.
On our first full day, we kicked everything off with a hefty breakfast and headed down to the reception to try and book some of these activities. We all really wanted to try archery but sadly for us it wasn’t on that weekend, so instead we started the day properly by painting pottery. Meet Snape the snail (left,) and Luna! I feel like this makes us look a bit special because we are clearly not artists (looool!) but this was really fun to do whilst chatting outside surrounded by forest.
We explored, had a barbecue, climbed back in the hot tub (enough to shrivel quite a bit!!) and played monopoly like the pros we are. Later this night, fuelled with a confident wine belly, we went out into the woods and trekked through nettles and brambles exploring – it was so funny just trawling through at night not really being able to see much but having such a good time!
We spent the rest of our days here exploring all the grounds, walking through fields, climbing trees, getting into an abandoned house and creeping ourselves out, and heading to the on-site restaurant for food (which was actually so tasty!) We actually got so lost in the forest on one of these days and were out for hourss – but it was so fun and definitely worth it. There are loads of off-site activities to do too, like a Bombay Sapphire gin factory tour. As this was our first time in the area we made the most of all the things close by, but in the future we will be adding these extra things to the list for sure!
This is not a sponsored post, it’s starting to feel that way as I’m typing my next words haha, but Forest Holidays have a big range of cabins, including treehouse versions for 10 people! They also have honeymoon couple cabins so there’s something for all group sizes. I know we will be coming back here time and time again, I see how this would also be the perfect spot for families as you skip the drama of the airport, but you can still have both a relaxing and adventurous time!