Rating: ★★★★½ (4.5)
For more information visit https://www.verdantleisure.co.uk/holidays/lodges/
Heather View Leisure Park offers self-catering holiday accommodation along with a range of holiday homes for sale. It sits on the River Wear, half an hour’s drive west of Durham in the North Pennine Moors, by the village of Stanhope which boasts a couple of country pubs, the Durham Dales visitor centre and café, and a well-stocked supermarket. It is also hosts the Weardale Steam Railway. (During summer months there is also an open-air swimming pool!)
The site is a well maintained, attractive park with a reception, small shop (for basics, bread, milk etc), and launderette. Down by the river is the (Canadian Themed) Crazy Bear bar and restaurant. Our accommodation was a luxury lodge, log cabin in style, set amongst tall trees with a view of the river. A huge, stylish open-plan living area fully furnished with two smart sofas, a dining table set for six, with a welcome bouquet of flowers.
The large open-plan kitchen area boasted a full size fridge and freezer, oven, microwave, dishwasher and washing machine. We found the fridge stocked with a welcome pack of essentials. Through to the three bedrooms, first we found a couple of twin rooms on either side of the corridor, sharing a good sized shower room. The master bedroom at the rear of the lodge had its own tv and walk-in wardrobe, which cleverly leads through to a spacious ensuite shower room.
Our visit was over the Easter weekend, and we started our break with a Good Friday visit to Durham. After visiting the cathedral, a quick riverside walk and taking in the many independent shops, we had a bite to eat, and set off for Heather View. Once at the park, check-in was friendly and efficient.
Saturday morning brought persistent rain, and with teenage daughters to entertain, we decided to head for the city of Newcastle. We began our day on the riverfront, crossing the iconic Gateshead Millennium Bridge to Newcastle's Baltic Centre for Contemporary Arts, a bustling art gallery (admission free), cool gift shop, restaurant and café. From the fifth floor there are superb views along the river to the famous Tyne bridges and the city beyond. Later we found another brimming art gallery, The Biscuit Factory, two floors of contemporary artwork, plus another great café. We returned towards the city centre via the Eldon Square area, to allow our teens the retail therapy time they craved, before returning to our lodge. We called into our “local”, The Crazy Bear, which on the Saturday night of Easter weekend was in full swing, bustling with residents, enjoying a live band.
Easter Sunday brought sunshine, and after meeting the Easter Bunny, delivering eggs to each lodge, we made the most of the weather, to explore the countryside. We drove south for a six mile walk along the banks of the River Tees. First we explored Summerhill Force waterfall and Gibsons cave, before discovering the magnificent High Force waterfall. We called twice at the converted chapel at Bowlees Visitor Centre café, first for soup, and later, a well deserved coffee and hot cross bun.
Heather View in Stanhope is perfectly situated for exploring the North Pennines. Nearby are the historic towns of Barnard Castle and Bowes, home to the majestic Bowes Museum. Slightly further afield you will find Hadrian's Wall and Kielder Forest to the north, with Beamish Living Museum, Durham and Newcastle to the East.
It's ideally situated for walkers, birdwatchers, for fishing, or simply to get away from it all and relax.
The deluxe lodge is available from £395 for three nights from the 4th May, 2018. Guests can stay for three nights, four nights or seven days.
Welcome food packs are available from £18. For a special occasion, flowers, chocolates and champagne or balloons can be pre-booked for arrival.
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