AD | Press trip
This year we are making the effort to make the most of our local area. We recently stayed at Kelling Heath Holiday Park in North Norfolk for four nights in a woodland lodge. I was desperate for some time away from home to relax and also to spend some quality time with John and Erin. Sometimes it’s so easy to pick a city destination but we all needed some time together that wasn’t as busy and rushed.
Our stay was from Monday to Friday and as soon as we arrived we felt at peace. Kelling Heath is set amongst 300 acres of woodland and rare open heathland in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty so we were very happy to be surrounded by such a beautiful setting.
We arrived at about 2pm but our lodge wasn’t ready until 3pm so we took the chance to sit and have a drink in the pub and also to get our bearings a little bit. When we were able to go to our lodge we all couldn’t wait and we were impressed immediately. It was so spacious and roomy as well as being modern and well-equipped. It was such a great place to start our adventure in the woods.
Activities and facilities
Kelling Heath Holiday Park has some great leisure facilities. As we stayed in a woodland lodge we received complimentary passes to the leisure club but this is usually something that needs to be paid for if staying in other accommodation. It includes access to the pool and spa facilities as well as the gym (including commercial grade spin bikes).
The main attraction for us was the indoor swimming pool, sauna, steam room and spa pool. Erin loves to swim and it’s something she looks most to when we go on holiday. I can’t actually swim and I find it difficult to spent that much time in the pool whereas John and Erin could stay in for hours. I loved that while they were playing I could completely relax by doing something else while still being close to them.
Erin wants to know where the nearest park is wherever we go and Kelling Heath has an adventure playground for younger children and an assault course for older children. The park for younger children was honestly a bit lacking. There is quite a large piece of equipment but Erin couldn’t do any of it herself and was quite sad she didn’t have more to do. Apart from the small train to play on, Erin didn’t really have any other options. This area has a really large green area with picnic tables so something extra could really be done to suit young children better.
Kelling Heath also has what they call an assault course in another area and this was so much better than the ‘adventure playground’. Along with a huge assault course there was various swings and a large piece of climbing equipment with a slide for younger children. Erin was so excited by this area and we stayed there for ages. I wish we’d gone to this park first as we’d have gone back every day I think.
As we went out of the main season there wasn’t any arranged activities. However, there are events and entertainment put on for both adults and children during the busier times. We had one day where it absolutely chucked it down all day so doing anything outside was out of the question. Through the main restaurant was a small indoor play area with pool and arcade games. Erin was quite happy to play on the 2p machines for a while so it was nice there was something to do indoors on a bad weather day.
To make the most of our stay we really tried to explore the natural areas of the holiday park. We were supplied with a map on our arrival and we tried to follow it the best we could using the building numbers to guide us. We still managed to get lost though… more than once. For me and John this was all part of the fun and we just liked wandering around. We always took a bag of nuts and bird seed with us so that we could feed any squirrels or birds we came across on our way.
Kelling Heath is a truly beautiful place to be. You can bring your own or hire bikes during your stay for a quicker way to get around. There are so many paths that are pushchair friendly and I don’t think we actually came across anywhere that we couldn’t go with the pushchair. Erin still gets quite tired if we walk too far so this was a great thing for us.
Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t always on our side during our stay and it rained for a lot of the week but we tried to not let that stop us. We came equipped with Erin’s rain-wear, Wellington boots and umbrellas so at least we could get from our lodge to the village square without getting too wet. We also made the most of the large doors opening in our lodge and while it was raining we sat and looking out while feeding the squirrels!
We visited at the beginning of May which is still classed as the off season. This really affects what you can and can’t do at Kelling Heath, including the options for food.
If you don’t fancy cooking breakfast for yourself you can have ‘Breakfast On The Square’ from 8am until 12pm each day. There are options of cooked breakfasts to simple toast or pastries. We didn’t eat here during our stay but I did go in there to get some work done one morning. The seating area is in a conservatory style building so it was a really lovely, sunny place to sit and would be great for breakfast.
During our visit the only place we was able to eat was the restaurant/ pub which both had the same menu. Food was served from 12pm and if you wanted to eat in the restaurant we were told you needed to book. We chose to dine in the pub at lunch time during our stay to see what the food was like. The lunch menu offers things like sandwiches and toasties along with a soup of the day and nine main meals.
I ordered the hunter’s chicken while John went for ham, egg and chips. We were the only ones eating at the time and our food arrived after about 10 minutes so the timing and service was really good. We both really enjoyed our lunches and would have happily eaten here again for lunch. The food was really delicious and honestly nicer than I was expecting it to be. Even Erin, who I was sure wouldn’t touch the skin on fries, ate quite a few!
We decided not to eat dinner in the restaurant during our visit because we weren’t very impressed with the menu. There are only eight main meals to choose from after 5pm. I think adding one or two of the more classic options from the lunch menu would make dinner more appealing. It was quite strange to see a lamb burger but no normal beef or chicken burger. It was nice to see that there was two vegetarian options though.
The children’s menu was really quite dated and only had four options for main meals; none of them were vegetarian. Erin wouldn’t have eaten anything on the menu apart from maybe the plain spaghetti from the bolognese. I didn’t want to pay £5 for this so this is why I ordered her fries instead.
When the park is in it’s main season there are more options for food, including special evenings and a carvery etc. at the restaurant. There is the ‘Pizza On The Square’ where you can get freshly cooked pizza (deliveries to your accommodation also available). We would have loved to have done this but it wasn’t open during our visit. Kelling Heath also has pop up vendors during the main season and also on some weekends/ holiday weeks.
Luckily, Kelling Heath Holiday Park has a quite well stocked shop on site. The shop had so much choice from ready meals, frozen items like chips or fresh bread products. As we couldn’t eat our as much as we hoped we really made the most of the shop. It was nice to be able to get branded items as well as fresh and local produce. Erin was happy to see a lot of her favourites there as well.
Our break to Kelling Heath Holiday Park was exactly what we all needed. Although we weren’t able to experience all that is on offer during peak times, we had a fantastic holiday. Not only were we able to enjoy being out in the woods, going on adventure and playing in a fantastic park once we found it but we were also able to go swimming and I was able to use the spa facilities! We were able to do all of the things that we love doing as a family while exploring an absolutely stunning area of woodland. I’d be interested to know how different a stay would be in the peak season.
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