Monday, 11 January 2016
Luxury log cabins for the perfect winter escape
Luxury log cabins, hot tubs and top tots' activities make the perfect winter escape. Cathy Winston shows the way.
By the time midwinter has arrived, it can feel hard not to resist the urge to hibernate. You might not have the same biological urge as a bear who just has to sleep for months (shame), but a cosy spot to curl up in for a short while, plenty of snow to play with and endless hot chocolate is the quickest way to get you grinning as much as your kids are. Roaring log fires are optional, especially if you’ve got inquisitive toddlers.
We’ve tracked down six of the best fully equipped cabins for you to hide away in over the winter. So, whether you choose something as ambitious as a trip to Lapland, or opt to stay closer to home (because a long journey with a fractious baby isn’t for everyone, is it?), they tick all the boxes for a get-away-from-it-all home from home.
WHY GO? There are snowy getaways – and then there’s a trip to Lapland. Whether you combine it with a visit to Santa’s resort or not, this slice of Finland is a proper winter wonderland. Set in the Urho Kekkonen National Park, Kakslauttanen Arctic Resort has its own secluded log cabins and the chance to try a ride in a sleigh pulled by reindeer or be whisked along on a sled behind a team of huskies. Guaranteed snow means snowballs, snowmen and sledging, too, including a 1.2km toboggan run. Built from huge Kelo pine trees, the cabins are a proper old-fashioned escape: think watching for the Northern Lights in the evening, rather than gazing at screens, as there are no TVs or WiFi in the cabins. Or just cosy up on the wood-framed sofas.
BEST FOR A once-in-a-lifetime trip for slightly older children. It’s a family-friendly destination for any age, but December’s freezing temperatures and activities aren’t recommended for under-sixes.
BABY BONUS The restaurant has a kids’ menu along with regional produce – which includes reindeer as well as salmon and local berries.
BOOK IT Three nights with Tots Too costs around £3,416 for a family of four, half-board.
Down on the farm
WHY GO? If you want a proper, hassle-free rural retreat, the four log cabins at Hoe Grange in Matlock have acres of countryside stretching off into the distance. But despite being set on a Derbyshire hill farm, the market towns of Ashbourne and Bakewell are just a short distance away if you get (log) cabin fever. There’s home-baked bread in the welcome pack, and you can order luxury hampers of Peak District produce for tasty meals without endless cooking. Toys and games are provided, there’s a playground with a wooden tractor, and if you’re feeling more energetic you can walk part of the High Peak Trail.
BEST FOR Animal lovers and big groups – the cabins sleep up to 18 (plus space for cots) if you book them all together.
SNUGGLE FACTOR Superking beds, outdoor hot tubs and log-effect fires – plus a firepit to toast marshmallows as you drink mulled wine.
BOOK IT Three nights from around £435 based on a family of four at Farmstay UK.
WHY GO? The Lake District is not just for summer walking. On the 35-acre Langdale Estate, log cabins are tucked under the trees in mature woodland and by the river bank, so you’ll feel as if you’re hidden away from the rest of the world. All privately owned, the light and airy cabins have seriously stylish interiors, with their Scandinavian chic set against the beautiful Beatrix Potter countryside that you can admire from the balcony. Meanwhile the World of Beatrix Potter attraction itself is less than half an hour’s drive away, for small Peter Rabbit fans.
BEST FOR A bit of luxury – there’s a fine dining restaurant on site as well as a cosy pub, and you get the use of all the hotel and resort facilities, including the spa and heated indoor swimming pool.
BABY BONUS There’s an indoor soft play area if it’s just too chilly to venture out, as well as a playground. The restaurant menus include child options and there’s high tea for early eaters.
BOOK IT From around £800 for four nights at Langdale.
WHY GO? Don’t want to venture too far from civilisation? Ribby Hall Village’s five-star self-catering is ideal if you’re taking a first trip with a baby or toddlers but still fancy a walk, with trails through the landscaped grounds. Ten minutes from the beaches of Blackpool and Lytham St Annes, these splendid lodges have everything you could need.
BEST FOR The facilities and activities. There’s a family swimming pool with toddler area, an adventure playground, soft play and family-friendly bar, along with tearoom and tapas bar. Christmas events include a Frozen tea party and Christmas pudding hunt. Santa takes
up residence in December, too.
SNUGGLE FACTOR A hot tub on your balcony – although the sheer baby-friendliness is the ultimate relaxtion.
BOOK IT Ribby Hall accommondation starts from around £329 for a four-night midweek break, based on a family of four.
WHY GO? It’s the ultimate fairy-tale scene: a cabin under the trees, snow dusting the branches. But Forest Holidays’ woodland idylls have a practical side too, with a café bar and shop on site. Drag yourself away from the log-burning stove and fluffy robes and you’ll find toddler-friendly walks with rangers to discover birds and animals and create woodland works of art. Whether you want to leave a trail of breadcrumbs, Hansel and Gretel style, as you explore the woodland is up to you.
BEST FOR An outdoorsy Christmas – you’ll find Santa in the Forest Retreat, a Christmas present trail and the chance to paint your own tree ornament.
BABY BONUS Some sites have indoor play areas, and you can book baby equipment. There are also laundry facilities on site.
BOOK IT Forest Holidays has nine locations from Cornwall to Argyll, with cabins sleeping up to eight. A four-day break at Keldy in Yorkshire costs from around £240, based on four sharing.
WHY GO? Set in one of Perthshire’s loveliest glens, this group of just four Norwegian log cabins share a view of some of the UK’s most spectacular scenery. Bring your binoculars and you can watch deer on the hillsides, walk around tranquil lochs, or defrost in a sauna if you’re in one of the two larger cabins. If you’ve got older children (or a babysitter on hand), the Glenshee ski centre is perfect to practise your ski and snowboarding techniques.
BEST FOR Escape – apart from a hotel down the road, there’s nothing but the hills and heather as far as the eye can see. But while you’re well off the beaten track, you’re still only around 90 minutes from Edinburgh Airport.
SNUGGLE FACTOR Each cabin has its own private hot tub and wooden deck – perfect if you fancy some stargazing with your hot chocolate.
BOOK IT Glenbeag Mountain Lodges cost from £53.57 per night at One Off Places.