Photographer based in the Chilterns, Bedfordshire

Landal Sandybrook Luxury Lodges

Landal Sandybrook Luxury Lodges

After visiting Landal Darwin Forest earlier in the summer, we were delighted when we were asked to visit the sister park, Landal Sandybrook, which is a little further south, close to the delightfully picturesque market town of Ashbourne in the Peak District. The park is ideally located for visiting Ilam, Dovedale and for the more adventurous, Alton Towers theme park.

Journey time from Bedfordshire on a Friday afternoon was about two and a half hours and we arrived just before 7pm. We were greeted by the friendly receptionist, who gave us all of the details about the amenities available on the park and a free carton of fresh milk, which would be put to good use shortly with a much needed cup of tea. Sandybrook is smaller than Darwin Forest but has a nice quaintness about it. There is a heated indoor swimming pool, sauna and jacuzzi. Archery, fencing and snorkelling activities are also available to book for a small fee.

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As we drove up to the top of the park, we thought we had gone past the lodge that we were staying at because there were just two large stunning lodges left, with a decked area running the entire length. But then we noticed the number 57 on the lodge and realised this was going to be our home for the next three days. We parked the car up (you could fit three cars in the allocated area) and went on to the decking, where neatly tucked into the corner was a large hot tub. We had really enjoyed our first experience of a hot tub at Darwin Forest, so this was going to be nice to unwind in the evening under the stars (and full moon on this occasion).
There was ample outdoor furniture, that consisted of table, chairs and sun loungers.

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You can appreciate why the Landal Sandybrook Lodges are award winning, the quality of the furnishing and fittings are luxurious. When you open the French doors into the lounge, you are greeted by a light airy lounge with a vaulted ceiling. There is a nice open plan layout that blends seamlessly from the decking through the lounge into the kitchen. Subtle lighting adds a lovely ambience when the light fades at the end of the day.

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The kitchen area has LED lights illuminating the lower area and is fully integrated with a dishwasher, washing machine, microwave, fridge/freezer, coffee machine and wine cooler to keep the red or white just at the right temperature when you are ready for the hot tub. There is a central island with bar stools between the kitchen and the lounge.

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Our Vista Spa lodge had two bedrooms, sleeping four people and the master bedroom had a king size bed, SMART TV, lots of storage room and an ensuite bathroom that had a free standing bath with (my favourite) an integrated television built into the wall. I soaked in the bath watching the BBC Proms in the Park, with the sound up loud and the speaker built into the ceiling created a concert type experience! The master bedroom also has a shower if that is your preference and heated towel rails with bath robes to keep you warm when you come out of the hot tub.

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The other twin bedroom was equally beautifully decorated and had a SMART TV, walk in wardrobe/dressing area and ensuite with a large feature shower. Both bathrooms had an LED illuminated mirror.

After we had taken a tour of the lodge, thoughts turned to food and The Coach House Bar & Restaurant is on site next to the reception area. We had also discovered the Playstation 4 console in the lounge area next to the huge SMART TV (there was a total of four televisions) and one of the games was my favourite - Trivial Pursuit - so we decided that we would order a take away and dine in the lodge. A quick phone call to the restaurant and our food was ready to collect in about 20 minutes.

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After a restful night’s sleep, I was up bright and early for a walk amongst the woodland, the park is nice and quiet and the 52 lodges are well situated to give you maximum privacy. There is a bluebell wood here, which would be lovely to photograph in the spring time. Although the Vista Spa lodge where we stayed does not allow pets, there are designated lodges called the Willow Spa, that does allow pets and there are a lot of open spaces to exercise them.

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For the younger members of the family there is a large play area with climbing frames, swings and slides on a soft cushioned surface as well as a football pitch with goals. There is also a mini golf course.

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The Coach House Bar & Restaurant, is a Grade II listed building that has been restored to a very high standard. The chef uses the best local produce and there is even an area where you can dine with your dog.

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Complimentary use of the indoor heated swimming pool is included in your stay here and is open early in the morning up to 7.30 pm in the evening.

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Landal Sandybrook is situated in beautiful countryside and just a short drive in the car brought us to Dovedale. The land here is owned by the National Trust and annually attracts a million visitors and on our first visit here we could see why. Above us soaring in the sky were paragliders catching the thermals from the nearby hillside. The valley was cut into the hills by the River Dove and runs for just over three miles. There is a car park across the main road for a small charge of two pounds.

The most memorable part of our visit was the famous stepping stones and watching people (and dogs) making their way across the river.


Another location that we were keen to discover was the village of Ilam (pronounced eye-lamb) which nestles between the River Manifold on the border between Staffordshire & Derbyshire, which has Alpine style cottages set against tumbling pastures.

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You could honestly just stay in your lodge all day and just chill out and relax, they are that well equipped and so comfortable. Or like we did, you can explore the nearby countryside that is right on your doorstep. the Peak District has so much to offer.

A big ‘Thank You’ to all of the staff at Landal Sandybrook Luxury Lodges for the lovely welcome you gave both of us and having us stay.

Our stay was complimentary. As always, all opinions are my own.

Places to Visit

Dovedale - Stunning countryside & stepping stones across the River Dove

Ilam - Picturesque village with Alpine style cottages

Ashbourne - Picturesque market town & gateway to the Peak District

Hartington - Pretty little village with quaint tea shop

Milldale - Pretty little village and duck pond

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