Whitemead Forest Park, located in the exquisitely beautiful Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire, is the perfect base for an active holiday.
It’s surrounded by dense, tranquil woodland that, rain or shine, beckons you to come out and play. Whether you’re exploring on foot or by bike, the Forest’s 204 square miles and 20 million trees feel never-ending.
That said, you don’t need to actually leave the park to work up a sweat while enjoying the idyllic surroundings.
We visited last weekend, staying in one of the Park’s rustic, homely log cabins (where, immersed in silence, we had one of the best night’s sleep we’ve had in ages, FYI).
We barely saw the inside of it – which, incidentally, was as charming as the outside, and featured every mod con.
As a member of the Hoseasons Go Active Breaks Collection, Whitemead offers a plethora of activities for kids and adults alike – the fully-equipped gym, heated indoor swimming pool aside and gorgeous spa aside.
Indeed, it’s the more unusual and often exhilarating options that really catch the eye. Here, we look at five of them…
A cool, distinctive sport you’ve always fancied trying, but never actually got round to arranging? Here, setting up a lesson is as easy as ticking a box.
As with all of the activities on offer, you’re in the hands of Whitemead’s experienced coaches. The two activity leaders we worked with gave coherent, informed instructions while also possessing a great energy and enthusiasm.
The Hunger Games, eat your heart out. What we love about archery is how easy it is to pick up; how your aim and technique improves with each shot. After an hour-and-a-half session, you truly feel you’ve picked up a new skill.
After learning the basics, we were split into two teams for a series of aim-based games; it was us and a pair of nonchalant teenage girls verses a group of boisterous young boys and their equally boisterous dads. Things got pretty competitive.
We’re not talking aqua aerobics here – although, it was quite the work out. Water Walking involves entering a giant, inflated bubble, made of high strength thermoplastic polyurethane, and clambering onto water. The challenge is to stand and take forward steps, like a hamster in a hamster wheel.
It’s a lot harder than it sounds, not to mention riotous fun. We managed 10 steps before falling backwards in the most graceless fashion. The record of the day was 42.
If the thought of WaterWalking leaving you feeling claustrophobic, this is a similar option, but one that allows you to breathe freely, with your body cushioned inside a giant bubble, with your legs free. Thus, you can bounce and tumble in complete safety to your heart’s content.
This can be enjoyed inside and outside, and individually or as part of a group – as you can imagine, games of football and tag can get pretty interesting…
5 Sea Scootering
Another water-based activity, but you definitely get wet with this one. Sea Scooters are propulsive devices that allow you to move through the water like an agile marine animal, with the help of a British Sub-Aqua Club instructor. Seal impressions at the ready…
If the above five activities don’t float your boats, there’s also tree climbing, fitness classes, snorkeling, table tennis, and even outdoor chess available.
For more information, visit hoseasons.co.uk.