Holiday Review | Sandybrook country park with a toddler


Sandybrook country park near Ashbourne offers complete escape from city life. We took our toddler for his birthday in the autumn seeking a week of relaxation and family time.

We found Sandybrook on hoseasons. We booked an Elite lodge for 7 days. It was good value for money considering it was half-term week. We had upgraded to one of the Elite Lodges because of the sauna and spa bath… how can you not? It looked a real treat.

How to get there by public transport.

We got there by public transport with a train from Sheffield to Derby. We changed at Derby for a bus to Ashbourne. Although this is a two part journey, you can break it up easily by having lunch, shopping or seeing a museum in Derby. The bus to Ashbourne stops right in the centre of the town and then it is about a 20 minute walk to the park. Be aware that the walk includes a big hill on a very thin path, we had a large suitcase and a buggy and had to go single file. It’s country lanes to the park but in a straight direction.  The other option is to go via the tissington trail which is much easier (read below) or you could easily catch a taxi from ashbourne town centre for £5.

Our accommodation.

Our Elite lodge was very clean, cosy, warm and modern. We had a 1 bed with a sauna and spa bath, wifi, TV in the bedroom, fire, modern fitted kitchen, comfy sofa and all the extras. It was self catering but all cutlery, loo roll, kitchen towels, bathroom towels, even coasters has been provided. This felt so different to previous holiday parks we had stayed at.

The bed was so comfortable! I would look forward to that every night, relaxing, watching TV and using the sauna once baby was asleep! Definitely something you can easily get used to.. haha.

We were lucky enough to get a lodge right next to the ancient woodlands. 

What a treat to look out of our window and see woods. We love nature. Great for kids, too. Every morning we would go for some fresh air, exploring dens and being adventurous. 

We collected twigs, played hide and seek and, one morning, took a flask of coffee to enjoy whilst Eric played with the leaves. It’s the simple things!

The park.
Sandybrook country park feels very secluded despite just being up the road from Ashbourne. It is a total escape. Very quiet, pleasant and the surroundings of nature are beautiful. 

Check-in was simple and staff were very nice and friendly throughout our stay. Facilities included a games room, mini golf, go! Active, coach bar and restaurant, playground, pool and woodlands.

We loved the pool; it was small but even though it was half-term, it was never busy. We were usually the only ones in there! I recommend going at sunset as the lighting is amazing and its complete relaxation. There is an adult/normal pool, smaller shallow childrens pool, a spa bath and sauna. You access the pool via the reception and there is a viewing area where parents/friends can sit and read or spectate. The facilities were always clean and we had no problems.

The park is not your typical busy, bustling holiday park; it was half-term, but we still felt like the only ones there. This was an advantage to us and really adds to the experience of a luxurious, quiet holiday park. Everything is modern and in top condition from the furniture and decor in the cabins to the restaurant. We visited the bar/restaurant a few times and the service was really friendly, they always made a fuss over our son and on the last day we had lunch and can say the food is delicious! A special mention is the soft play room; a log cabin filled with toys for little ones and free to use whenever you like. 

It was clean, warm, had a TV and a sofa for parents, and it was filled with good, interactive toys. Even a play area felt relaxing. The toys weren’t broken or dirty and my son enjoyed building blocks, playing in tents and using the ride-ons.

Local area.

We took a few trips while we were there, there is lots to see nearby. 

The best factor about the location is the Tissington trail being around the corner; this is perfect for walking opportunities. You can access the tissington trail 10 minutes on foot from Sandybrook.


Once on the trail there’s two directions; left towards Ashbourne or right towards Tissington village and Thorpe. The trail is completely flat, is buggy and cycle friendly. The walk to Ashbourne town centre via the tissington trail is a really relaxing walk and I recommend walking this way rather than via the country roads as mentioned before. 

It takes around half an hour and the trail ends at the Ashbourne cycle hire centre and it’s here where you can access the tissington tunnel.We walked into Ashbourne a few times during our stay, for shopping, cafes and pubs. For eating I particularly recommend the george and dragon in market square.

We went to the Peak Wildlife Park on the day of my sons birthday; we caught a bus from Ashbourne. 

We really loved the peak wildlife park and highly recommend it; it’s a unique animal park in that all the enclosures are open walk throughs which means you can get up close to the animals. We really enjoyed the walk-throughs and you could tell that toddlers were so happy and excited to be able to wonder around rather than see animals through bars. My son was particularly happy about the goats; he was able to walk alongside them, pet them and see how they lived!

Another day, we took a long walk along the tissington trail to Thorpe, Dovedale and Ilam park. 

This was an amazing day; it was a very long walk, we left in the morning and got back to the park around 6 in the evening, but the views were spectacular. Dovedale is a really special place; we were able to get photos on *the* famous stepping stones and stop for a picnic before heading onto Ilam park. 

Ilam park is a national trust property and absolutely beautiful. We took part in the Halloween spooky trail which, even though Eric was a bit too young for, we all really enjoyed hunting for the clues!

I will forever remember that day as it was so lovely.

On the second to last day we hired bikes from Ashbourne cycle hire and cycled to Tissington village.

Tissington village is so picturesque, almost like a living postcard. 

You can just stroll around taking it all in, and you must visit the old sweet shop which was an experience! 

Everything was so quaint… a delight to visit (and the sweets are yummy).

I really recommend Sandybrook country park for a relaxing family break. There are lots of holiday parks to choose from in the U.K. But if you are looking for a Peak District holiday, this is one I recommend. There is so much to do in the area and it is so beautiful.  

I hope you were able to get an idea of what to expect from our photos and if you are going to Sandybrook, have a lovely time.

Thank you for reading!

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  1. This looks like such a wonderful holiday – the scenery is absolutely stunning! I’d love to step across the stepping stones. And I love the sound of the quiet little holiday village – the swimming pool looks amazing and I can just see myself relaxing in the sauna after a long day’s walking. #bloggerclubuk

  2. Oh what a lot of things to do in the area, I feel that I’ve been here before, the Area that is. Can’t quite believe that it was so quiet even in half term but I suppose with a little little it’s good to not have lots of kids around! Love is waterproofs they are really cute! ‪Thank you for linking up to the #familyfunlinky‬

  3. We have just come back from a week at Sandybrook which we found through your blog. Thank you so much for helping us find it, we had an amazing time, and our 11 month old did too! I’d add that the place is really dog friendly for anyone thinking of booking, even the restaurant on site.

    1. oh wow, thanks for letting me know! I’m so glad you enjoyed it; it really was such a treat for us, one of our best holidays ever. I’m wanting to go back!! xx

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