We are not long back from the most fabulous holiday with Verdant Leisure. We spent Half Term week in County Durham, at the beautiful Heather View Leisure Park which is only a walk away from the town of Stanhope.
It’s a long old drive from Norfolk to County Durham. Long! L handled it like a trooper though. It’s fair to say when we arrived at Heather View he was eager to get out of the car. Our lodge was quite ready for us when arrived so we took the chance to have a little wander around the site.
Even in the rain it is lovely. Lots of nice landscaped areas with water fountains and flowers. Some of the caravans even have a lovely riverside spot. There are two great play areas, which after 6 hours in the car L made full use of! I liked that they were set a bit away from where people were staying and that they were so well-kept. With a great mix of equipment to cover plenty of age groups.
We also popped into The Crazy Bear for a drink. I have stayed in a lot of caravan parks over the years and never have I come one where I was genuinely happy to spend time in the ‘clubhouse’ area. Normally they are dated and, well honestly, a bit tacky. The Crazy Bear was clean and tidy, with high ceilings and a very American Mountain Lodge feel to it, not a floral carpet in sight. With a stage area for entertainment, a little arcade area in the corner and plenty of indoor and outdoor seating. It’s also where one of the play areas is situated.
We ate at The Crazy Bear on a couple of occasions. Enjoying being waited on and getting to sit out in the sun. L loved that there was a little selection of toys he could play with. The menu choice is small and simple, but it is well done and reasonably priced. Nothing fancy but very enjoyable.
Anyway, I got distracted. We were staying in a two bedroom luxury lodge and it wasn’t long until it was ready for us. Luxury doesn’t quite cover it. I’m pretty certain most of it is nicer than my actual house and to be fair it wasn’t much smaller! With a double bedroom complete with en suite, twin room, family bathroom and an open plan kitchen, dining and living area we had plenty of room. Plus a lovely decking area with a picnic table outside.
We were greeted by a warm, clean, comfortable and welcoming home for the week. I was so touched by the flowers, wine and food hamper that were a welcome sight after such a long journey. The WiFi pass was very welcome too, little old blogger me hates to be without WiFi. L had even been left his own Verdant Leisure cuddly toy in his room, he was delighted. It all turned out to be very useful as well. I had sent husb out to the nearest supermarket whilst I unpacked and got us settled in, but he got caught up in the fog and by some road hogging sheep, so was longer than expected. L was happy though as it meant he got to crack into the cake.
We were soon to find that County Durham is jam-packed full of things to do. It is close to everything. We barely scratched the surface and I swear I am just exhausted. During our stay we went to Diggerland, Prudhoe Castle, Beamish, High Force Waterfall, Bowlees Visitor Centre, we popped north into Northumberland and checked out Chester’s Roman Fort which is on Hadrian’s Wall. Of course we also found time to explore Stanhope and spend some time at Heather View as well.
We were really busy and it was so nice to have somewhere so comfortable to come back to.
With so much storage space we were able to easily pop things like suitcases and bags away, as well as clothes and toys, so everything always felt really relaxed and uncluttered. The kitchen was well equipped with a washing machine and dishwasher, so there was never too much work. The full-sized fridge freezer had allowed us to do a full weekly shop when we arrived and not have to worry for the rest of the break, apart from a few wine top ups.
The living area and both bedrooms had televisions, hooked up to sky boxes, so we could have bought our viewing card from home with us. Not that there was much time for TV but it was nice to veg out in the evenings and as L had taken to waking at 5.30am every single morning, it was handy having a TV in his room so I could bribe him back to bed for a bit of peace and quiet, if only CBeebies would start broadcasting earlier! We also had a DVD player which was handy.
On the site there is free WiFi at The Crazy Bear and if you get a WiFi pass you can hook up one device at a time to a good service. Very good actually. I was able to upload pictures to my blog and publish a few bits and we also streamed movies a couple of evenings.
We found the site was pretty quiet and peaceful on the whole. On one evening there were a lot of children playing right by our lodge until a lot later than I was comfortable with, but it wasn’t anything major. Other than that everything really was very peaceful. There is a nice amount of space around everything, plenty of parking and good facilities. A lot of places for rubbish, so you never have to go far, the reception is open good hours and there is always someone you can call if you need to. There is a launderette and a little shop that is great for ice creams, treats and emergency top ups.
I loved that was plenty that could be done from the site, without the need of a car. We went on a lovely walk along the footpath into Stanhope. You walk through woodland and farms. Alongside the river. Crossing train tracks. Even getting to choose between a bridge or stepping-stones to get over the river. We took an equally pleasant stroll back along the other side of the river.
Stanhope is a delight, so pretty, dominated by a castle. With the Durham Dales Centre to visit, a petrified tree in the church yard, lots of lovely shops and pubs, a heated outdoor pool and a train station that runs heritage steam. Amazing. All within walking distance. We loved it.
You could tell Heather View was very well cared for. We often saw staff working on maintaining little bots and bobs, ensuring all the grass was cut and just checking up on things. It’s quite a hilly little site, but don’t let it put you off, as they run a little mini bus service to run you about if you can’t make the walk. Such a nice touch. Every member of staff we met was so lovely and helpful. I would return to Heather View in a heartbeat. True self catering luxury. I would also be really intrigued to try out some of the other Verdant Leisure sites, as based on what we experienced they would be amazing too.
We really had the best time. I cannot rate it highly enough. I know sometimes people can be sceptical of blog reviews, especially in cases like this, where we were guests of Verdant Leisure. But I haven’t been paid for my opinion, no one has told me what to write. I would honestly return tomorrow if I could and would happily pay to stay with them, it would be worth every penny. This has been our best family holiday to date. It was so perfect in every way and I put a lot of that down to us having such a brilliant base.
Thank you to everyone at Verdant and Heather View for this amazing experience.
Disclosure – we were guests of Verdant Leisure. All opinions are my own.