“ Located less than a mile from Pickering in North Yorkshire „
I recently enjoyed a short Mon-Fri break with my partner at Tantara Woodland in Pickering, North Yorkshire for my birthday. We both enjoy short breaks at lodge parks such as Tantara Woodland and I found this one when browsing the Hoseasons website. Both the lodge park itself and the location looked appealing as we browsed through the photographs on the website and we decided to book a break here. ~~ Tantara Woodland ~~ Tantara Woodland is described as a 'stunning development of luxury two storey round log Scandinavian style lodges and contemporary cottages ideal for couples and families alike.' It looks on the website like a small, picturesque park which would be ideal for a totally relaxing break. The lodges each have their own private outdoor hot tub, making them perfect for a romantic getaway. Indeed a hot tub has came to be a requirement of ours when booking a lodge holiday, after first sampling the delights of one of these a few years ago. The park itself is very quiet and located in a woodland glade overlooking Ryedale. What I particularly enjoyed about its location whilst we were there, was the market town of Pickering was only a two minute drive along the road to your right and the pretty village of Thornton-le-dale, a five minute drive to your left. Apart from the lodges and holiday cottages, there is a small children's playpark and a small indoor games room on the site. It is also nice to stroll around the site and we saw plenty of squirrels, rabbits and pheasants. There also appears to be a couple of resident cats! One of which was sitting on our doorstep when we arrived. It was very friendly and visited us every day! ~~ Booking ~~ Booking was simple via the Hoseasons website: www.hoseasons.co.uk. We also received a discount on our booking and the 4 night break cost us £195, which I think is very reasonable. As I booked the holiday the month before we wished to visit, the whole balance was due at the time of booking. I received a confirmation immediately via email and full details of our holiday were also sent via email a few hours later. Travelling directions were included in the email and also information about our holiday home and arrival and departure times. It stated our lodge would not be ready until 4pm on the day of arrival and we must vacate the lodge by 10am on the departure date, which seems to be the standard times for holiday parks. We were also instructed to ring the phone number provided 3 days before our holiday was due to start, to be given details on where to pick up the key. This isn't something I have ever had to do before when visiting other parks, but I didn't have a problem with having to do this. ~~ Arrival ~~ Three days prior to the start of the holiday, I rang the phone number provided as instructed but there was no answer and eventually it went to an answering service, so I left a message. However, nobody called me back so I tried again later, but still there was no answer. After trying a third time and still getting no answer, I rang Hoseasons who apologised and gave me another number to ring. This was answered immediately by staff at the 'Tantara Hotel' which is also in Pickering but not part of the lodge park. I was told my lodge would be ready at 4pm, given directions on how to find the exact lodge we were to be staying in and told the key would be in the door. We found Tantara Woodland very easily following the directions provided, although the park itself isn't clearly signposted until you reach the entrance which is on a bend on a country lane. Hence we drove past the entrance on arriving and had to turn around further down the road and come back. If it had been dark I feel the entrance would have been quite difficult to find. We arrived just before 4pm, found our lodge, and the key was in the door as promised. A man was walking away from the hot tub as we arrived and came over to our car, informing us that it had been cleaned and filled and to give it 2 or 3 hours to warm up. Now I know from past experience that hot tubs take a few hours to warm up, so I knew at that point that the hot tub would not be ready to use that evening. However, Hoseasons do point out on the website before you book, that the hot tub may not be ready to use on your first evening. I had just hoped it would be, as every other place we have stayed at they always has been, as they have been emptied on the morning of departure and cleaned and refilled right away, which has meant by evening time they have been ready to use. The man was only just finishing ours at 4pm as we arrived and given that there are only six lodges and a couple of cottages on the park, there wasn't many to attend to, but I got the feeling there isn't much in the way of staff at Tantara Woodland. Certainly there is no Reception, nor did anyone welcome us or visit the lodge to explain how things work etc as we have experienced at other places. You are very much left alone to get on with your holiday. There is a house on the park, so I presume that if you have a problem at all you go there, however, there was nothing to say that this is what you have to do, nor was there any phone numbers to ring. Thankfully we had no problems during our stay, but if we had encountered any I would have gone to the house or failing that, rang Hoseasons. ~~ Our lodge ~~ There are only half a dozen lodges at Tantara and these are Scandanavian two-storey style. They are ideally situated so that they are private and not overlooked by the others. We were very impressed from the outside. The lodge looked larger than we expected and had a large decking area at the front which housed a picnic bench, small wooden table and two wooden chairs and also the hot tub. There was also a small grassed area and tall bushes providing total privacy. The inside of the lodge consisted of a small entrance lobby, lounge, dining room, kitchen and downstairs bathroom. Upstairs was two bedrooms, one double and one twin. The lounge area, whilst not looking as luxurious as other lodges we have stayed in, was clean and perfectly comfortable, though the furniture was a little sparse, consisting of two leather two-seater sofa's, a small table housing a lamp and an old CRT TV with built in DVD player. There was a freeview box provided but we were unable to receive any signal, so we had to make do with just five channels. We were a little disappointed by the TV, but it wasn't really a problem as we tend not to bother with the TV much when away anyway. I felt the lounge area would benefit not only from a new TV, but also some new cushions and maybe a coffee table or other soft furnishings, but the main thing was that it was clean. I could not fault the kitchen and it had everything we needed including a washing machine/dryer, microwave, hob and oven, fridge and toaster as well as plenty of untensils. The dining room was a very small, square room, housing a table and four chairs, but it was very cosy eating in there. The bathroom was downstairs and included a jacuzzi bath with overhead shower, sink, toilet and heated towel rail. The bathroom was spacious, the shower was powerful and there was plenty of hot water. We never used the jacuzzi bath as preferred the hot tub outside, but I would imagine it was very nice. The double bedroom upstairs was spacious with a sloping roof. A double bed, drawers, hanging space, chair, full length mirror and lamp as well as a hairdryer attached to the wall was included. Once again, due to the size of the room, the furnishing seemed sparse, but everything was perfectly clean, even though the quilt cover seemed a little faded. As there was just the two of us, we did not use the twin room. This was smaller than the double but an adequate size. Gas and electricity is included in the cost of your stay and the beds are made up for your arrival. A tea towel and sponge/dishcloth is provided but you must take your own towels. The lodge has wall heaters in every room and we were certainly warm enough during our stay. ~~ Overall ~~ We enjoyed our stay at Tantara Woodland. It was very quiet and the perfect place to relax. It was lovely relaxing in the hot tub on an evening watching the sunset behind the trees as the sky darkened and the stars came out. Even though it was early October, we were blessed with lovely sunny days and it was warm enough to sit outside on the lovely decking area and enjoy the sunshine. Tantara Woodland is an ideal base to stay when visting North Yorkshire. It is not very far from Eden Camp and Flamingo Land. You also have the North York Moors, Scarborough and Whitby within easy reach. We enjoyed visiting Pickering and Thornton-le-dale and whilst there is no shop at Tantara Woodland, the fact that Pickering is literally on the doorstep, means this is not a problem. We were able to stock up on provisions there and also have meals out, drinks and take-aways. It is also possible to do this at Thornton-le-dale, although it is much smaller than Pickering, it is the more attractive of the two and I can appreciate why it is known as one of the prettiest villages in North Yorkshire. The only niggles we have about Tantara Woodland are that it would have been nice to have a Reception area or someone there to welcome you and show you how things work or answer questions, which has been the norm at other places we have visited. I feel there should at least be a leaflet in the lodge explaining what to do should you encounter any problems, but there wasn't. Also if they updated the TV's and spent a little money on some new soft furnishings, it would make this place even better, but these are just minor niggles really and for the price we paid it was a bargain break. We felt totally relaxed and enjoyed our stay, which is the main thing. We we would like to visit again and there is no better recommendation than that.