April 2018 saw us take a trip over to Derbyshire to stay at Sandybrook Country Park and explore the beautiful surrounds of The Peak District. Sandybrook Country Park is just over a mile to the north of the town of Ashbourne, and around a two-hour drive from our home in East Yorkshire – the perfect distance for a weekend trip.
Where is Sandybrook Country Park?
Sandybrook Country Park is just outside Ashbourne in Derbyshire and yards from the official boundary of the Peak District National Park. It’s in a beautiful part of the world. The site is set back off the A515 and is very easy to find. It is set on a hill and the lodges have views back down over the valley. Good walking muscles are a boon in this part of the world!
The accommodation at Sandybrook Country Park
The park has around 55 park lodges of varying sizes. Some have their own private hot tub. Ours was number 65 and is a Classic Vogue three-bedroomed lodge with hot tub on the veranda. You can have a tour of our accommodation and see more of the park on our video
There was a living-dining-kitchen area with doors out on to the front veranda, where there was also an outdoor dining table for six people.
The kitchen had an oven and hob, a lovely big fridge-freezer, a microwave, a dishwasher with tablets, a kettle with complimentary tea and coffee, and a washing machine (but no tumble dryer). There was also a dishcloth and tea towel provided, and a vacuum cleaner and clothes airer. All pots and pans and cutlery were provided including some plastic beakers, which is always good to see on a family holiday.
The living area had a TV, DVD player, a stereo system for CDs (and you can connect your MP3 to it via an aux cable), and a fireplace. We only put the lights on the fire for effect – the cabin was the ideal temperature without it even on a fairly rainy and foggy April weekend. There are also heaters on timers throughout the cabin.
There were three bedrooms – a master with en-suite with shower, and then two twin bedrooms. The main bathroom had a bath with a shower over. All bedding and towels were provided, but I do recommend you bring extra towels if you plan on using the swimming pool or the hot tub.
The teen and I got to enjoy the peace of the accommodation for a little while before Dad and the others arrived. They’d set off after school; myself and the teen, who was still on Easter holidays, getting a head start so we could go shopping at the ALDI in nearby Ashbourne and get checked in. Check-in time is 4pm.
We found the park very easily, parked up outside the reception, and got checked in with no problems at all. The staff were very helpful and were able to help me with some queries I had about finding our way to the Tissington Trail, and where would be good to visit from there. It was a short drive (uphill!) to our lodge, which had two parking spaces for us.
The view from the lodge was pretty good, even with the fog that was still hanging around that day. Lodge 65 was in a great location. It was almost the one furthest from the main clubhouse and park, and right next to a dog walking area. Lovely and peaceful. If we hadn’t seen other people with our own eyes, we would have been hard-pressed to admit to there being other people there.
It took all of about ten minutes of arriving and doing the lodge tour before the teen was in the hot tub. The hot tub was ready for us on arrival and had screens for privacy.
We spent a lot of time in the hot tub over the weekend!
Facilities at Sandybrook Country Park
The lodge and hot tub were well patronised during our stay – we spent a lot of time just chilling in the living room, watching telly, enjoying the views, and eating. There is also lots of stuff to do on the park.
We paid a quick visit to the children’s play area on the way to our walk to Dovedale on the Saturday. There is a range of play equipment, including the usual monkey bars and swings. It was a little boggy in places but it had been raining for days and days before our visit. It wasn’t too bad considering.
There is an indoor heated swimming pool with jacuzzi that got a thorough testing. It was 1.2m deep all the way around, which was too deep for the seven-year-olds, but just about perfect for the ten-year-old. There is also a much shallower sectioned off area for babies.
You are allowed to bring your own floatation devices but not balls. If you need floats or armbands, then bring them along. The pool is open most of the day and only closes a couple of times a weekend for water zorbs. The changing rooms are unisex and the lockers are free. Very well equipped and very clean!
There is a games room up some stairs above the bar. It’s not very big – there is a couple of pool tables, air hockey, and fusball. Not the most modern equipment in the world, but only 50p a game, so it shouldn’t prove to be the biggest of holiday expenses!
There is a mini-golf course. You can hire the balls and clubs for a small fee. Dad took the twins on this for an hour.
There is an outdoor table tennis table next to the main building. If you haven’t got your own bats and ball, you can buy a set from the reception for £5.
There are also lots of Go Active! activities on site which can be booked and paid for – such as archery, zorbing, and fencing. We didn’t have time to do any of these on our visit. Maybe next time! You can see the range of activities and prices at https://www.sandybrook.co.uk/go-active
If you don’t want to cook every night, there is an onsite restaurant. Booking is advised.
There is also a playroom for younger children, which we didn’t test out. If you want to know more about taking younger children to Sandybrook Country Park, then see this review from Kiddieholidays.
The site has free WiFi throughout – just find the strongest signal to you, and register your details. We found it to be pretty decent during our stay. Not good enough for streaming, but certainly good enough for social network apps, checking emails, and some browsing.
For ideas for days out and things to do in the local area, have a look at https://www.sandybrook.co.uk/local-area
Sandybrook Country Park is a small, friendly site with lovely cabins. It’s fairly peaceful and is good for a family break. While it’s no Haven Holidays in terms of entertainment, and not on the scale of Center Parcs, it’s a great place for a weekend break and a more-than-adequate base to explore the surrounding Peak District countryside. We found the staff to be extremely helpful and friendly, and the whole park was well looked after. Beautiful location, and hot tubs for the win!
What would we improve?
We could not find much to improve at all. However, as we cooked every meal in the cabin, I would take extras myself next time – such as an extra chopping board and knives. Only having one of each meant having to constantly wash while prepping meals. I would also take more microwavable bowls. I found that one wasn’t really enough for making food for a family of six. There was equipment that I don’t tend to find at other places, such as a cheese grater and vegetable peeler, and also things we don’t use like a toast rack. My advice is that if you think you will need something specific for cooking or whatever, then you could take your own. With all bed linen and towels provided, there was certainly room in our cars to have taken extra bits.
Oh, and take boat shoes/flip flops for getting between the cabin and your hot tub. And you’ll also need to take things like shampoo and shower gel. There was some soap provided for your hands, and also loo roll, but nothing on top of this toiletries-wise, which I expected would be the case.
There is no shop on site, though Ashbourne is a short drive and has supermarkets and takeaways. Reception sell hot and cold drinks and snacks at a very reasonable price. You can also arrange to have a supermarket delivery to your cabin! Just ask reception before you go to confirm your cabin number so you can give it to the delivery people.
Would we go again? Yes. It’s perfect for a short break for a family, but we might just come back with just us adults. There are 2-people cabins available with hot tubs. Tempting!
You can find out more information about prices and availability at Sandybrook Country Park.
Disclosure – we were guests of Sandybrook Country Park for the purposes of this review