I love mornings when we are on holiday. It’s just the best feeling to be less hectic and needing to be somewhere at exactly the right time. Staying at Pinelodge Holidays Darwin Forest allowed us to still feel like that even though we had lots planned to visit.
On the Wednesday, and half way through our holiday in the Peak District, we had plans to visit The Heights Of Abraham. Hubby had spotted in when he was doing research on things to do with kids. I was a bit sceptical. In fact quite a lot. I wasn’t sure the girls would enjoy it but off we went anyway.
Heights of Abraham is a country park and famous show caverns set in 60 acres of woodland and reached by cable car over deep limestone gorge in the Peak District. There is no parking at Heights Of Abraham but there are a few local public car parks. One at the train station which is a five minute walk from the entrance to Heights Of Abraham, it cost £6 for the entire day.
The Heights Of Abraham opens promptly at 10am. For a family of four on the day, it costs £54 and under fives are free. As always, we arrived for opening. I was actually a little nervous about the cable car journey up the hill. It literally passes over the road and is very high up.
Little Elsa held on tight to me. The view was incredible! It’s a very slow and not very wobbly journey up. I suffer from motion/travel sickness and this was absolutely fine. It was actually really enjoyable and you get an amazing view over the Peak District. The cable car journey took about 10 minutes as it stops half way to allow others to get on and off at both ends. The view from the top is phenomenal.
Once you get to the top, that’s where all the action is. There’s the Treetops Visitor Centre, in there is the The Vista Bar & Restaurant and the Terrace Café which give you amazing views of the Derwent Valley from the terrace. There’s also toilets inside and the Treetops Gift Shop.
On the map that’s provided when you arrive, the different areas are numbered. We decided to follow the numbers in order so we didn’t miss anything. Starting with a trip to the toilets inside the Treetops Visitor Centre then heading up to The High Falls.
Inside High Falls is The Long View exhibition with lots of historical information. The Fossil Factory is also on the upper floor of High Falls. The girls loved doing crayon rubbings and being able to learn more about fossils. I was actually really shocked at how interested they were in it all.
We then made our way to the entrance of The Masson Cavern, the first of two show caves at Heights Of Abraham. I don’t want to give away too much for anyone who may want to visit themselves, but I will say that this cave was unlike any cave I’ve experienced. It was hard work! There’s a lot of walking, a lot of steps but absolutely incredible history. It’s so pretty and listening to the tour guide explain different sections was so interesting.
The girls managed to walk the entire cave, we was so proud, and they actually listened to our tour guide too. Taking it all in. We were expelled into daylight at the top of the hill. You can access the Tinker’s Mine Shaft from here but the girls opted to head back down the hill to play in the Explorers Challenge Play Area.
The Explorers Challenge Play Area has lots of wooden obstacles for older children, a younger toddler area and two amazing play vehicles. We didn’t actually spend long here as Elsa declared she needed a wee, then refused to go and ended up in a half an hour tantrum.
It was another cold day in the Peak District. I’m from the South and it clearly showed during this holiday. I just felt permanently frozen. Thankfully the sun had started to come out from behind the colds and warm up my bones a little. We stopped by Victoria Prospect Tower to enjoy the breathtaking view and have a snack.
After a breather and quite a few snacks between us, we made our way down the extremely steep path towards the second show cave – Rutland Cavern. Honestly, it’s a tough walk down there and then you have to walk all the way back up. There’s a sloped pathway or a step option, both equally as tiring. There is a refreshment tavern at the bottom near the entrance to the cave. A great place to catch your breath.
The Rutland Cavern is much more accessible and a shorter experience than the Masson Cavern. You are able to take in a pushchair through most of it. The tour guide we had spoke very quickly so it was a little difficult to keep up but he was totally full of knowledge. We learned about what it was life was like as a 17th Century lead mining family. A totally eye opening experience and the girls enjoyed this cave.
Freya and Elsa decided they wanted to take the steps route back up the hill which was interesting to say the least, very steep! Eventually we survived the trek and reached the Adventure Playground, very out of breath.
It was worth it though. It’s a little surreal being on the edge of a steep hill looking out at miles and miles of tranquil countryside. The Adventure Playground is definitely aimed at older children, there is a smaller child area but it’s still rather tricky. I even had a go. The best part are the two huge slides! The girls spent ages on them.
The girls, mainly the younger two, started to get a little grumpy so we decided to start heading for home. Elsa was a little nervous about the trip back down in the cable car and needed a little bit of persuading to get on. She held on tight the entire time.
As we was nearby a local supermarket, we decided to grab some groceries on the way home. The shop was so quiet and it’s always a little odd trying to find different aisles in a shop that isn’t your local. We picked up enough food to see us through the next few days at Darwin Forest.
We cooked the fresh burgers (and a pizza for fuss pot Elsa) and enjoyed some family time at the lodge. We made more Easter nests and hot tub fun. Darwin Forest is so peaceful and it was even more enjoyable with the sun shining.
We let our food go down before heading for a late evening swim. The pool was empty once again at Darwin Forest which allowed us to enjoy a family bonding session in the water. It was so lovely.
Bedtime went smoothly which was a lovely end to another awesome day in the Peak District. Darwin Forest is such a cosy place to be in the evenings with the fake log fire going. As always, I filmed our day that you can watch for yourself below. I hope you enjoy it.