A LONG WEEKEND WITH CHEDDAR WOODS RESORT & SPA

1st April 2017

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One of my favourite ever blog posts I’ve written (and actually one of my most popular) is my review of the Beach Cove Coastal Retreat. So when I was invited to stay at one one of Beach Cove’s sister resorts, Cheddar Woods Resort and Spa, based in Cheddar in Somerset, I immediately knew I was in for a treat. So on the weekend of the 24th, we packed up the car and Luna before embarking on the three and a half hour drive to Somerset. Rather luckily, our visit just so happened to take place on one of the nicest weekends weather-wise that we had enjoyed all year with a cloudless sky and beaming sun.

The Lodge

We’d been allocated the pet-friendly Axbridge Lodge Premier which was huge with an open plan living/dining area and three bedrooms. One double with an en-suite and two twin rooms as well as a family bathroom. The kitchen was stocked with all the utensils you could need to prepare tasty meals and even a washing machine and dishwasher for convenience. Cheddar Woods had even kindly left us a bread, eggs, milk and butter to get us started. In general, they were really great with providing all those little things that really make the difference. There were towels aplenty, complimentary toiletries, board games and big fluffy robes for us to snuggle into after a hot tub session. Ah yes, let’s talk about the delightful hot tub!

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It’s safe to say the part I’d been most looking forward to was the heavenly sunken hot tub. Take it from me, as soon as you’ve stayed self-catering with a hot tub, you will not want to go back. We occupied the hot tub at least twice a day: after we’d been out for the day where we bathed in the sun and then in the evening after dinner where we’d lay back and admire the clear night sky and spattering of stars.

As the mother of a fur-baby, I was really pleased to see that the decking which contained our hot tub was safely surrounded by wooden railings and a gate which meant Luna could safely run around freely without us having to keep an eye on her 24/7 or worrying she’d end up in danger. The decking also contained a large table and chairs set where we enjoyed breakfast in the sun and I was often found curled up with my kindle.

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The Facilities

There were about 177 lodges as part of the Cheddar Woods complex but they were all spaced out so it never felt overcrowded and you had plenty of privacy. It felt like a little village which was really lovely. The main building held the reception as well as all the facilities and there were certainly plenty of those! This, I think, is where Cheddar Woods and the Beach Cove differed as there was none of this at Beach Cove. There were activities you could arrange from fencing to archery plus tennis courts which could be hired out cheaply. There was a large swimming pool, spa and gym which had it not been so nice outside, we certainly would have ventured into and was free of charge to guests. With a bowling alley, pool tables and even a golf simulator, there’s no way you could ever be bored, whatever your age. The site also had its own restaurant, Kellermans, which was conveniently located a short walk from our lodge. Wanting to explore a bit more of Cheddar, we didn’t end up eating here but having seen the menu, there was plenty to choose from.

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The Village

Only five minutes from Cheddar Woods, the village was the perfect place to amble during the gorgeous weather. It consisted of little more than tea shops, pub gardens, ice cream parlours and naturally, cheese shops! I fell head over heels in love with the place which albeit so small you could pass through in just 15 minutes, we ended up spending a lot of time.

Reading great reviews about The Lion Rock Tea Rooms, I booked a table for our first lunch in Cheddar and was certainly not disappointed! It was bloggers paradise, with Matt actually offering to read me the menu as I spent so much time running around the room and taking that many photos. It was truly a taste of war time glamour with various props including a black and white TV and vintage music warbling from an antique radio, completing the atmosphere perfectly. The menu was really impressive, with our poor waitress having to go away and come back a couple of times as we struggled to make a choice out of the vast options. Matt went for the generously sized chilli chips while I opted for the more conventional choice of a sandwich and scone. The sandwich was the very definition of a door stop loaf which soft, thick bread stuffed with chicken salad. As a lover of scones, I then happily loaded mine up with a hefty layer of delicious clotted cream and sipped my tea from a pretty, delicate tea cup. The Lion Rock Tea Rooms is a definite must-visit should you ever be in the area, it’s a real experience.

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On another day, we also found ourselves at Ice Dreams which offered a huge array of West Country ice cream flavours that we simply couldn’t turn down. Matt chose Chocolate Fudge Cake and White Chocolate with Honeycomb while I predictably went for Salted Caramel and Chocoholic Heaven in a wafer cone which I would actually go as far as to compare to the gelato in Rome, it was THAT good! There was also the Cheddar Gorge Cheese Company where you can actually watch cheese being made, matured and packed. They are the only remaining producers of cheddar within the the birth place of cheddar cheese itself and they are more than happy for you to taste all the different varieties of cheese for yourself and trust me, there are plenty! Cheddar Woods kindly gifted us a selection of cheeses and cheese straws which I can confirm are like no other cheeses you’ve tasted before. So good.

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The Cheddar Gorge

Our second day was spent back in Cheddar Village but for a very different reason. The Cheddar Gorge is a world famous beauty spot with dramatic cliffs and at 400ft is England’s largest gorge so we decided to have a go at the Cliff-top Gorge Walk. Now, my type of exercise begins and ends with the gym and even then, I’m no gym bunny. But even I couldn’t resist the chance to enjoy such a beautiful view. It began with 274 steps and that was only the beginning! Then began our four-mile walk which Luna loved exploring as there was plenty of rough terrain and steep climbs. I’m not going to deny that it was a challenge but I did a lot better than I thought I would and as we’d predicted, the views were well worth it. You buy a ticket for the Cheddar Gorge but this includes much more than just the walk. You can take an open top bus tour and visit Gough’s Cave which is considered a natural underground wonder and is home to the Cheddar Man, Britain’s oldest skeleton. Quite honestly, we were so knackered after the walk that we instead headed straight for a pub garden before a particularly long hot tub session.

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Cheddar Woods Resort and Spa is the perfect place for a week or weekend away, whether you’re planning a romantic break for two, a big get together with friends or even a getaway with your whole family. The self-catering facilities mean you don’t have to eat out ever night and are well equipped to whip up a family meal or even hold a BBQ. But if you do fancy getting out, there is of course the on-site restaurant which also had it’s own pizza oven as well as numerous nearby restaurants which we enjoyed dining out at during our stay. You could easily spend all your time on-site with the vast amount of activities on offer or if you fancy exploring Somerset, you’re in a great position with Glastonbury and Weston-Super-mare nearby too. I’d thoroughly recommend having a look at Cheddar Woods for your next UK staycation, you can find booking details here.

*We received our stay at Cheddar Woods free of charge in exchange for this review. All opinions are 100% my own.

Emily>