SHERWOOD FOREST

After a busy week at work, and a miserable 5 days of grey and blustery January weather, I was looking forward to a weekend away and getting out into the elements rather than avoiding them!

The destination for my weekend winter break was Nottingham, namely Sherwood Forest and The Sherwood Hideaway – a collection of luxury lodges nestled away in a pocket of woodland surrounded by forestry and abundant wildlife.

Sherwood Hideaway

On a very cold Friday afternoon, I was over the moon with my superb two bedroom lodge complete with open plan kitchen diner and sizeable lounge area, twin bedroom, house bathroom and master bedroom with en suite bathroom. The use of space makes the whole place seem so much more than it looks on first glance. The bi folding doors stretching onto a huge veranda complete with a seating and dining area and the jewel in the crown, a steaming jacuzzi – and all of this completely private and overlooking nothing but woodland.

If you want to escape – I mean really escape for the weekend, this is the place for you. There are woodland paths and bike tracks, perfect for getting out and enjoying the elements, whilst the luxury accommodation offers complete tranquillity and opulence with a built in soundtrack of the wind in the tree tops, bird song and the odd deer foraging in the forest. I couldn’t have wished for a more relaxing location.

If you wish to be completely self contained, you can bring along your own food and drink, the facilities are second to none, plenty of room to cook and serve  a family dinner and all the mod cons, coffee machine, dishwasher, large fridge and huge TV. If you wish to stay in touch with the outside world digitally, you can connect to wifi however if you fancied downloading a movie or two, you might consider upgrading for just a small fee which will allow more connectivity.

Launay’s Restaurant & Bar

We spent Friday evening in Edwinstowe at a beautiful restaurant named Launay’s, a 10 minute drive from Sherwood Hideaway. The restaurant is adorned with twinkling fairy lights and located in a picturesque position overlooking the church that Robin Hood and Maid Marian were married, legend has it. A great start to our Sherwood weekend!

We settled ourselves into our cozy corner table and got stuck in to the menu. Launay’s offer an Anglo-French menu, not pretentious but well on the way to fine dining. We happened on a night that a new menu had just been introduced and it looked to be going down well with our fellow diners – encouraging!

My husband (his nibs) chose the mussels and crab bisque with a fresh crusty roll, I’m not a fan of shellfish whatsoever but he commented that they were delicious, I did try the sauce and it was delicate yet full of flavour – not overpowering which I sometimes find with mussels.

I chose ‘Spuds’, a croquette with Shropshire blue cheese buttermilk pomme puree, pomme souffle, onion jam, pickled onions & gel which was very enjoyable. I could have done with an extra hint of the cheese but the onion jam and pickled onion hit the spot. I loved my main course of Pan seared Turbot with Jerusalem artichoke,  black truffle, onion and potato cannelloni and hot chicken foam with roasted onions. When I see foam on a menu I tend to groan and give a slight roll of the eye,  it’s just a bit chef isn’t it?

I stand by my guns on this one. The fish was sublime, the potato and onion, delicious, the artichoke puree the perfect accompaniment, I could have left it there. There was a little too much sauce and foam on my plate, but all in all the dish was very good. Hi Nibs across the table was tucking into Pheasant and Bacon Ballantine, served with pomme puree and red cabbage in a red wine jus. I did try his dish and it was super hearty, lots of flavour and really well presented. I have never eaten pheasant and on the back of this dish I would try it again.

For dessert he opted for a cheese plate stacked with tasty crunchy biscuits, pickled grapes, homemade chutney and a plethora of cracking cheese. You can’t go wrong here really can you – he also enjoyed a half carafe of Malbec. Carafes seem to be making a comeback and I for one, welcome it,  a glass isn’t quite enough but sometimes (allegedly) a bottle can be a little much…. (I was taking part in Dry January, this should answer any concerns you have about my welfare).

My dessert was top bombing. I ordered the Launay’s Breakfast which features in The Great British Cook Book. On the face of it, it may seem a little gimmicky, however, since the components were so nectareous I will give this a hall pass. I absolutely loved it. My favourite part being the ganache black pudding and the mango sphere. You could serve me this every Sunday morning with a glass of fizz – perfick!

We loved Launay’s, the well paced service was incredibly friendly and the surroundings are plush and congenial. I would certainly recommend a visit here if you are in this neck of the woods and I imagine in Summer it would be just as charming especially given the pretty outdoor terrace and large orangery. 

Adrenaline Jungle

After a blissfully peaceful nights sleep we were up with the larks and heading deep into the forest to enjoy some archery with the friendly folks at The Adrenaline Jungle. This is outdoor activity entertainment at its best – located in 150 acres of Sherwood Forest and within easy reach of Nottingham, Derby, Leicester, Doncaster and Lincoln.

I’m a wet lettuce so I am always a little frightened about, well, absolutely anything really, but this is the perfect place for a scaredy cat like me. The staff are absolutely wonderful, Dave, our archery instructor was great fun, super knowledgeable and very patient. I was rubbish at archery, but I feel like I would absolutely give it another go on the back of how much I enjoyed it. I did get a fluke bullseye – the rest of my arrows evaded the target so my outburst of joyous jubilation, though fleeting, was warranted.

Next we moved onto squad biking – I’m already bricking it for this activity but again a really helpful instructor helped me navigate my way around the quad and how to make it move forward  – yes, I am that bad. Quad biking is probably more fun in winter, I mean what on earth is the point of rolling through the forest on dry ground? You need utterly muddy conditions in order to get your quad stripes. We loved the whole experience, from donning our army overalls to wiping the mud from our brows and boots.

If you are planning a stag or hen celebration, a team building event or just fancy something a little different, call the team and book your belting day out!

Its lunch time and we are famished after all the excitement, so we headed off to town for a spot of lunch at The Cock and Hoop Pub where we enjoyed a hearty lunch of pub classics,  fish and chips and macaroni cheese. The perfect portion of stodge and some fine ale had replenished our salts for the rest of the afternoon activity which involved meeting ‘Robin Hood’ for a tour of his favourite parts of the city.

Robin Hood Tour with Ade Andrews

Ade Andrews is an award winning tour guide who is deeply passionate about the legend of the adorable outlaw, his mantra? ‘I fight the good fight and put outlaw culture on the streets of Nottingham’

He met us at the Robin Hood Statue, a honey pot for selfie stops and as he approached in his full finery, a handful of delighted tourists from all over the world revelled in this unexpected photo opportunity!

Andrews offers a series of visitor tours for all ages in the guise of Robin Hood and he is just brimming with allure and fascination, I can see why people flock to hear him regale tales of Nottinghams turbulent past and see him bring the city’s biggest export to life through his charming storytelling.

His Robin Hood Town Tour is one of the main attractions in Nottingham: centuries condensed into three enthralling hours which culminate in a few well earned pints at the oldest inn in England, Ye Olde Trip Jerusalem.

Ade was certainly the highlight of a wonderful stay for me. His cascading charisma had me captivated from beginning to end. If you do anything in Nottingham, do this tour.

For further information on arranging a weekend break contact Visit Nottingham