Verdant Leisure have several award-winning holiday parks located across Scotland and the north of England. All of their sites have pet friendly accommodation so when they invited Elsa to stay with them we gladly accepted!
Heather View Leisure Park | Stanhope | County Durham
From tents to luxury hotels, we’ve stayed in many different types of accommodation with Elsa but this was our first time in a ‘static caravan’ type lodge. I didn’t quite know what to expect (images of cramped spaces and fold-out beds floated through my mind) but I was delighted to find a very spacious, immaculately clean and fully-furnished modern interior.
The main living space of our Deluxe Lodge was laid out with a full kitchen/ dining area attached to the lounge and along the other end of the hallway we found a master bedroom with an ensuite bathroom that had a full walk-in shower. There was also a spare bedroom and another bathroom with a full-sized bathtub.
We always end up packing far too much (mostly collars, leads, toys, brushes etc. for Elsa) but there was an abundance of storage space with cupboards in all of the rooms.
In the kitchen we found a beautiful flower arrangement and hamper waiting for us which included a pack of treats for Elsa. The fridge was stocked with things like milk, juice, bacon, sausages and there was even a bottle of Prosecco! These items are available as optional extras when you book.
Once Elsa had thoroughly investigated the entire place, we headed out for a walk...
The site does have facilities like a shop, laundrette, bar, restaurant and children’s play area but these are strictly for humans only. Dogs are welcome to enjoy the outdoor communal areas which are kept perfectly manicured by the on-site gardeners. Almost everyone we saw had at least one dog and they were all out making the most of the warm evening. The River Wear is a two minute walk from Heather View Leisure Park so we headed down there and walked along the path that runs alongside it. Elsa was in her element stomping through all of the leaves and hobbling over the rocks on the riverbank.
In the twilight Elsa could see dozens of rabbits and pheasants emerging from their hideaways and she spent most of the evening watching them through the patio doors, behind the curtain. All we could see was her tail which she would wag ever so slightly whenever one of the rabbits would come closer to the lodge. When we took her out for her final toilet break of the evening she went wild with excitement when she spotted a passing hedgehog, but we made sure to keep her at a safe distance.
It’s not the best photograph but I did manage to snap this picture of it running for cover!
The next morning we headed out towards the back of the leisure park onto a public path and followed the River Wear to the west. This led into some fields and then onto playing grounds, eventually bringing us out next to The Weardale Railway Trust station. The signs advise owners to keep dogs on a lead in these areas because livestock graze in the surrounding fields. Although we didn’t come across any sheep there was plenty of evidence that they had been there!
As far as locations go the Heather View Leisure Park site is ideal if you have a dog because there are lots of areas to walk around right on your doorstep and the scenery of the Durham Dales is stunning. Since we were only there for the weekend we spent most of our time in and around the park itself but if you fancy a day out there are plenty of places to go nearby including Hamsterley Forest, High Force Waterfall, and the Cow Green Reservoir. Dogs are also allowed in the outdoor areas of Beamish Museum. Durham also has its own ‘Doggie Diner’ where they serve home baked biscuits and cakes for both canines and humans!
We were incredibly lucky to have quite a mild and dry Autumn weekend when we visited and the colours of the leaves were absolutely gorgeous. Even though it is a big leisure park with a mixture of private and holiday rental caravans/ lodges, it didn’t feel overcrowded. In fact, the location felt more remote than the cottage that we stayed in on the Isle of Skye recently, and we saw more wildlife in the Leisure Park!
The standard of the accommodation at Heather View Leisure Park was outstanding, I can see why people invest in this type of holiday home. There were actually several lodges and caravans for sale on the site and Verdant Leisure offer a range of discounts and offers so it’s worth discussing the options available if you are thinking of buying.
This is one of the most relaxing breaks that we’ve had in a while and as you can see, Elsa wasted no time in making herself feel right at home… She really enjoyed all the sights and scents of the countryside too.
We are very grateful to Verdant Leisure for inviting us to stay and would like to say thank you again for a wonderful weekend!
Heather View Leisure Park, Stanhope, Weardale DL13 2PS | www.heatherview.co.uk