If you want a fabulous weekend away in the UK with stunning views around every corner, you’d be forgiven for thinking of The Peak District, Cumbria or the Norfolk coast. But in the heart of England is Charnwood Forest, which can give any of those places a run for their money, as we discovered on our recent visit.
Hidden away down a country lane, close to the spectacular and historic Bradgate Park, is a Wigwam® Holidays site run by Steve and Clare Small, who saw the potential to share their beautiful corner of Leicestershire with countryside-loving guests.
Six cabins are arranged in landscaped gardens, around a large pond, and each has been cleverly positioned to give maximum privacy. All of the beautifully appointed cabins are ensuite, with both a shower and toilet facilities (no running to the toilet block in the middle of the night for us!).
Steve works as an aircraft engineer, while Clare focuses on caring for their two boys and looking after guests to ensure everyone experiences the great outdoors and has fond memories of their holiday. The site opened last October and is the ideal destination for couples and families, with lots of space for the children to run around.
The site is just 20 minutes walk through woodland from the village of Newton Linford, which must have more lovely pubs and tea rooms per head of population than any other village in England! But it is situated on the edge of the 800-acre Bradgate deer park where we found the ruins of Bradgate House, ancestral home of Lady Jane Grey who was Queen for nine days, overlooked by St John’s tower. We took the challenge to climb up to it… well worth the effort!
Leicestershire is also famous for its steam railway line, the Great Central Railway. It’s the UK's only double track, main line heritage railway and the only place in the world where full-size steam engines can be seen passing each other – just as it was when steam ruled the rails.
We were lucky to visit during one of the many gala weekends, and rode the full length of the line from Loughborough to North Leicester, stopping off at little stations along the way. The line is beautifully maintained and transported us back to a time when it seemed that every town and village had a railway station. If you love vintage and steam trains, you’ll be in your element. There’s also the excellent Butler Henderson cafe at Quorn and Woodhouse station with tea, cakes and a very modern coffee machine - a must in my book!
To book you own amazing stay with Wigwam® Holidays from £82 for two nights, visit https://www.wigwamholidays.com/charnwood-forest
Prices start at £82 per night low season, £85 per night mid season and £88 per night high season, based on 2 people sharing one cabin.
Dog (max 2 per cabin) £8 per dog
Cabin with hot tub available for an additional £50 per night on top of the tariff above.