Our stunning Rivendale Lodge Retreat has been nominated in the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2021!

Here at Darwin Escapes, we love creating beautiful spaces that showcase the personality of our locations from family-friendly destinations to county escapes. When designing and building Rivendale, we partnered with NBDA Architects and Lazzeri Creative Interiors, who created a beautiful, welcoming, and relaxing space.

The designers have created a colourful interior, showcasing the landscape with floor to ceiling windows and really making the countryside the main character with a living green wall behind reception, stunning flowers throughout and even flower wallpaper in the truly stunning loos (a sentence you’d never thought you would read, but wait until you see the pictures below!).

The Restaurant & Bar Design Awards have been recognising talent for over ten years with over 100 countries entering the competition. We are so thrilled to be nominated, take a look at the interiors below to see the award-nominated interior.

discover Rivendale Lodge Retreat

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An exciting new chapter for one of Scotland’s top golfing venues, Dundonald Links, begins today with the launch of a new website and video, which set out the vision for an ambitious £25m investment that will see the club transform into a luxury golf resort from next summer – and lodge bookings are now open.

2021 will mark a new era for the esteemed course, owned by Darwin Escapes and located on Scotland’s west coast in Ayrshire, a year which will herald the planned opening of a new clubhouse and overnight accommodation facilities for individual and group guests.

Bookable for stays from July 2021, 18 luxury lodges – which feature two, four or six bedrooms – have been custom-designed with golfers in mind, with bag storage and drying areas, en-suite bathrooms, large living spaces and fully-equipped kitchen and dining facilities. Dundonald Links course designer Kyle Phillips is also creating a series of private putting greens on their doorstep.

Phillips is also overseeing £1m of investment in the course itself, with a focus on improving the playing environment and experience, and the addition of a new half-way house.

The combination of the course improvements, new clubhouse and overnight offering will play an important role in operator Darwin Escape’s aspirations to create one of the best venues in the UK to stay and play golf. The leisure operator acquired the club last year and promised to invest in new facilities from the outset after seeing its boundless potential and idyllic location.

Already a well-respected test for bucket-list golfers from across the world, Dundonald has hosted many major professional golf events since 2008 – including the Ladies’ Scottish Open in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in 2017.

Ian Ferguson, club manager, said: “We wanted to give the golf course the outstanding facilities that it deserves and give golfers everything they could possibly want from a golf break – and this investment programme will do just that.

“Our new video and website encapsulates our vision as we head into this incredibly exciting chapter of Dundonald’s history.

“We are really excited about the new clubhouse and accommodation and can’t wait to welcome our first overnight guests in summer 2021.  The Ayrshire coast is home to some of Scotland’s finest links courses and Dundonald Links will make the ideal base for golfers to explore all that it has to offer.”

Planned for opening later next year, the new two-storey clubhouse will be a striking contemporary design, with large balconies overlooking the course and panoramic views to the Isle of Arran. Facilities within the clubhouse will include a pro shop, restaurant, bar, whiskey tasting room, outdoor dining terrace, as well as a gym, sauna, steam room and extensive changing facilities.

Set amongst the picturesque Scottish countryside, the new clubhouse will be created from natural materials, finished with local whinstone and a grass roof, to blend seamlessly with the rugged landscape and surroundings and coincide with Dundonald’s long-term commitment to sustainability, conservation and nature.

In addition, Dundonald Links will cut the ribbon on 22 hotel rooms later next year, these situated beside the clubhouse for ease of access to the restaurant and club facilities.

For further information please contact Kevin Paver on [email protected]

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UK holiday resort company Darwin Escapes has opened its first resort in the Peak District.

Rivendale Lodge Retreat in Alsop en le Dale officially opened its doors and welcomed the first guests on Friday 18th September.

Previously known as Alsop Rivendale Caravan and Leisure Park; a touring, tent and glamping site, the site was acquired in January 2017 and has been completely redeveloped by Darwin Escapes.

It’s now home to 74 luxurious holiday rental lodges set in the tranquil surroundings of a disused limestone quarry and the Peak District countryside. The resort has a bar and bistro on-site which provides both a snack and dine in menu and also currently offers a delivery service straight to your lodge door.

You can choose from one to four bed lodges, or if you’re looking for a romantic and quirky escape then choose the one bedroom Buxton Lodge and wake up surrounded by the countryside.

All accommodation on the resort is self-contained making it the ideal destination for a UK staycation during these challenging times. They have fully fitted self-catering kitchens and living areas and the master bedrooms boast en-suites. All lodges have a decking area and the premier lodges even have their own private hot tub.

Regional General Manager, Pat Campbell said: “We are delighted to open the doors to Rivendale Lodge Retreat. It is exciting to be welcoming our very first guests to the resort. We’re sure each guest that visits will really love their escape to the Peak District.”

Rivendale Lodge Retreat is the 21st resort added to the Darwin Escapes portfolio, alongside two golf courses, but is the first of its kind to be placed in the Derbyshire County.

Managing Director of Darwin Escapes, Lindsey Esse said: “Our Rivendale Lodge Retreat has been three years in the planning and making and we’re thrilled to be able to welcome guests to come and stay at the resort.

“We’re so pleased to finally have a staycation location in such a stunning area of the Peak District. Rivendale Lodge Retreat is a great addition to the Darwin Escapes portfolio, its countryside setting is perfect for those wanting a relaxing UK staycation.”

Off-peak midweek four night breaks at the new resort start at £195 and for a weekend stay from Friday to Monday prices start at £205.

For more information on the Rivendale Lodge Retreat or to book a holiday at the resort visit the website 

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Dundonald Links which has been three times host of Aberdeen Standard Investments Ladies Scottish Open and Scottish Open venue has recently been named a finalist in the 2020 Golf Environment Awards.

The Golf Environment Awards (GEA) are administered by STRI the world leading sport surface research and consultancy organisation. The Golf Environment Awards are now in their 25th year and give recognition to Ecological and Environmental best practice within the UK golfing industry.

Dundonald Links Golf Club Manager Ian Ferguson said: “The awards are seen through the Golfing industry as the pinnacle of environmental excellence and achievement.

“I am extremely proud that Dundonald Links has been named in the Project of the Year category. The team have earned their place on the finalist list with their vision, and enthusiasm for working in collaboration with fellow golf clubs, wildlife groups and neighbouring businesses creating our Nectar Network”.

The Nectar Network, originally set up by Dundonald Links, is now a working partnership steered by the golf club and the Scottish Wildlife Trust.

40 other local golf courses, and businesses stretching the length of the Ayrshire coastline from Irvine to Girvan are also part of The Nectar Network.

The group came together to share ideas, implementation and policies, before turning its focus to conservation. Initially the aim was to re-introduce the small blue butterfly, UK’s smallest butterfly, which was last seen in Ayrshire in 1982. It has since become the flagship species for the project, as habitat fragmentation and loss of its primary food source led to its extinction in the area.

The overall aim of the Nectar Network is to link Ayrshire’s most important local wildlife sites, often by improving the quality of degraded land, in order to help pollinating insects colonise new areas. The project has provided opportunities for all involved to learn new skills that help them take ownership of protecting and enhancing the local environment.

Bob Taylor, Head of Ecology & Environment STRI said: “Golf clubs represent more than the sport, they provide places for nature and people, the management of our golf courses enables clubs to secure a place within our diminishing countryside.”

Notes to Editors
Dundonald Links based in Ayrshire in Scotland has hosted a wide range of prestigious golfing events including the Aberdeen Standard investments Scottish Opens in 2017 was purchased by Darwin Escapes in 2019. For further information about Dundonald follow them on Twitter or Facebook: @DundonaldLinks

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Minister FM heads to Pocklington holiday resort for this year’s Firework spectacular

Popular Yorkshire radio station Minister FM is set to host the 2019 fireworks evening at the Kilnwick Percy Resort & Golf Club.

The evening of entertainment will take place on Sunday 3rd November with gates opening at 5pm and the firework display starting at 7.30pm.

Minster FM’s David Green will be hosting with live music from Harrogate’s Leon Marshall, Harry Collins Swing Vocalist, Atlantic 45, KAYA Band and Emma Roberts.

There will also be balloon magic, Yorkshire Gin Company, Hooting Owl Distillery and The Hobby Horse will be providing cakes and various beverages.

General Manager of the Kilnwick Percy Resort & Golf Club, Daniel Littlewood said: “We are excited to have Minster FM and their Roadshow host at our biggest and best ever annual firework spectacular this year!

“You can expect singers, dancers and bands to entertain you throughout the evening along with fairground rides, stalls, games and much more!

“All ticket holders receive a free burger or hot dog before the evening ends with a huge firework display choreographed to music with this year’s secret theme sure to please all generations!

“This really is a night not to be missed!”

A charity raffle will also be held on the evening at just £5 a ticket for a chance to win a night in the resort’s Huxtable Suite. All proceeds will be split between the Kilnwick Percy captain’s charities, the Alzheimer’s Society and The British Heart Foundation.

Sponsorship, Promotions & Events Manager, Laura Harland said: “Minster FM are very proud to be hosting a special roadshow at the The Kilnwick Percy Fireworks, for the very first time we will be bringing on stage fun and live music hosted by Minster FM’s David Green. There will be chances to win prizes and enjoy live music from local artists too.”

General Admision tickets are £10 for adults and £5 for children including one hot dog or burger per ticket. Family admission tickets are also available for £25 for 2 adults and 2 children.

A full VIP experience costs £25 and includes prime viewing, a two course meal with tea and coffee, help yourself sweetie cart and preferential parking.

Limited tickets for the event are available and can be booked by phoning the Kilnwick Percy Resort & Golf Club on 01759 303090.

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The Kilnwick Percy Resort has welcomed a visit from chart-topping Irish singers Westlife’s Brian McFadden and Boyzone’s Keith Duffy.

The duo stayed at the Pocklington holiday resort owned by Darwin Escapes last weekend whilst playing gigs in Hull, Manchester and Derby as part of their new Boyzlife 2019 tour.

Whilst staying at the resort the pair took full use of the facilities, including the gym, spa and restaurant. They also took to the golf course which was recently used for the Yorkshire leg of the amateur golf tournament, the William Hunt Trilby Tour.

Ashley Pheasant, Head of Golf for Darwin Escapes said: “I met Brian and Keith a few months back at The Scottish Open golf pro-am with one of our brand ambassadors Max

“I knew they were playing in Hull at The Welly Club so thought it would be perfect to welcome them to The Kilnwick Percy Resort, knowing they loved their golf and have a
chance for a few relaxing nights away whilst on tour!”

Last month the resort was also visited by television presenter George Clarke and the production team of Channel 4’s Old House, New Home as they were filming a property in

They used the countryside backdrop of The Kilnwick Percy Resort for one of their filming shots which will be shown in the fifth series of the programme.

Boyzlife will be on tour until the end of September. For more details on the Kilnwick Percy Resort holiday offering visit the Darwin Escapes website

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A charity golf day is being held at The Springs Golf Club in Wallingford this October to raise money for Dogs for Good.

The fundraising event which is being organised by Sky Sports golf reporter and Darwin Escapes Ambassador, Sarah Stirk, will take place on Thursday 31st October.

The day will include coffee and bacon rolls followed by a full round of golf with shotgun start and then a two course lunch, all taking place at the Darwin Escapes owned, The Springs Golf Club, and featuring some special guests.

Sarah, who has been an ambassador for Dogs for Good for over two years said: “I can’t wait to host this golf event for such a great cause. The day will be packed full of fun, prizes and a special Q&A.

“The course at The Springs Golf Club is running fantastically well and it’s certainly more challenging off the tee, so this day promises to be perfect for any golfing fan. It is incredibly inspiring to hear how Dogs for Good changes lives and helps those facing enormous challenges to become more independent and develop that special bond with a dog.

“I’m hoping this charity golf event will raise money for Dogs for Good to help them continue the brilliant work they are currently doing.”

The golf day will also include an auction and raffle with some prizes up for grabs and there will also be an exclusive Q&A session with English professional golfer Eddie Pepperell, who won the Qatar Masters in 2018.

Stephanie Lawless, Fundraising Manager for Dogs for Good said: “By attending our Golf Day you will help us to train more life-changing dogs. There are just a couple of team places left at this year’s event so please get in touch ASAP if you’re interested. If you’re a dog lover as well as a golfer, then this is the perfect event for you!”

The Banbury-based charity has been running since 1988 by supporting people with a range of needs including physical disabilities, autism, dementia and learning disabilities enabling them to lead more independent lives through the help of trained dogs.

To book your team of four a place at the Dogs for Good event please email [email protected] or call 01295 759 838. General individual entry is also available subject to availability.

This is an exclusive event and places are limited. More details can be found on the Dog’s for Good website.

Sarah Stirk holding a Labrador puppy

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One keen golfer had the unique opportunity to play a round of golf with Sky Sports golf reporter Sarah Stirk.

Scott Peggie from Lambert near Falkirk in Scotland won a competition run by the UK holiday resort company to go head to head on the tees at Darwin Escapes’ The Springs Golf Club in Wallingford, Oxford with the television presenter who is also a Darwin Escapes ambassador.

Mr Peggie explained how he was ‘excited’ and ‘surprised’ that he’d been the lucky winner of the social media competition.

The 52-year-old said: “I’m a big fan of Sarah’s work on Sky Sports and thought (entering the competition) would be great chance to play golf with her.

“I was really surprised to hear that I’d won! I was excited at the thought of meeting Sarah and was immediately checking accommodation for my trip down to Oxfordshire.”

Mr Peggie regularly plays golf, whether it be with friends or to compete at his local golf clubs, Falkirk Golf Club and The St Andrews Golf Club.

He said: “It was a fantastic experience and everyone made me feel very welcome. I was a little nervous prior to meeting with Sarah but she was so easy going and down to earth that it felt like I was playing with a lifelong friend!”

This was the first time Mr Peggie had played on the Oxfordshire golf course and only Sarah Stirk’s second time competing on the course. They were joined on the course by The Springs Golf Manager, Matthew Kimber.

He added: “There were a number of good holes but my favourite was the 8th hole, which is a short par 3 with a lake to the left of green. I didn’t play the hole as well as Sarah but it’s one I would like to play again!”

Sarah Stirk won the spoils on the day, having a really strong back 9 holes. The pair were tied after 9 holes with 18pts and Sarah eventually won the day with 39 points and Scott and Matt on 35 points.

Ambassador for Darwin Escapes and Sky Sports television presenter, Sarah Stirk said: “Scott played really well. He’s a lovely guy and an unbelievable putter. He couldn’t miss!

“I didn’t manage to lose any balls in the water but did lose a lot to bunkers! My favourite hole is 18 because visually it’s stunning with the trees splitting the fairway and it’s a real tough driving test.”

Keep an eye on the Darwin Escapes social media page for your chance to win a round of golf with Sarah Stirk at The Kilnwick Percy Resort & Golf Club in Pocklington, Yorkshire.

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Find out what Alison Hammond thought of her stay at our luxury Norfolk Woods Resort & Spa…

Alison Hammond first visited our Darwin Escapes resorts when she was filming for the holiday home giveaway for This Morning Live. She is now the voice of Darwin Escapes and if you phone to speak to a member of our reception, spa or restaurant team on most of our resorts* you will firstly be greeted by This Morning television personality Alison on our phone lines.

In August, she returned to Norfolk Woods Resort & Spa (after filming there with the This Morning team earlier this year) with her family and we thought we’d take the opportunity to ask her a couple of questions about her stay and her thoughts on our facilities. From spa treatments, to food, trips to the local area and much more.

To find out what Alison Hammond thought of our very own Norfolk Woods Resort & Spa just keep reading…

What made you choose a holiday escape at our Norfolk Woods Resort & Spa over our other Darwin Escapes resorts?

I have been to the Norfolk Woods Resort & Spa with This Morning, as we gave away a holiday lodge, and as soon I stepped foot on the park I just loved it and all I kept saying to myself was my son would love it here, I’m going to come back.

Did you visit the local area whilst staying with us? If so where would you recommend?

We went to the local go-karting track, as my son just loves karting. We also went to Norfolk and rented a boat to go around but apart from that we really enjoyed the facilities at the park.

How did you find your spa experience and which treatment did you choose?

I had a luxury pedicure and my friend went for an age defying facial treatment which she just couldn’t stop talking about from the moment she left the spa. She said it was so good, she almost cried. My therapist cried at the amount of hard skin that was on my feet, lol. I did find it very relaxing, so much so, I came back the next day for some reflexology. I love my feet being played with. I actually fell asleep for the whole treatment.

Which facility did you use the most whilst staying on the resort?

Our jacuzzi was well used in our lodge, we used it morning and night and I loved the fact that someone was always checking the Ph of the tub

How did you find the Go Active facilities on-resort?

We just loved the archery, it was so much fun. The kids loved it as well as the adults, I think one of the games we actually won too.

What’s your top tip/bit of advice for anyone wanting to stay at a Darwin Escapes resort but has not yet taken the plunge?

Just go for it! It’s so much fun, the staff are lovely and everything is new. The lodges are beautiful and so spacious.

Would you stay with us again and is there any particular reason you’d like to return?

I would definitely return as I loved the fact that we could stay on site, make new friends and have so much to do. The restaurant food was fabulous too!!

Are there any other Darwin Escapes resorts you’re eager to visit?

I want to go to all of them! But would I love to visit somewhere in Devon maybe.

If you could only describe your Darwin Escapes experience in just three words what three words would you use?

Fun, Clean, Value for money

How does it feel to be the voice of Darwin Escapes?

I love it! The fact that I actually love this place is a bonus. I am so proud to represent Darwin Escapes, I just love making memories with my family and totally think Darwin Escapes know exactly what’s needed to do that.


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The prestigious amateur golf tournament is returning to The Springs Golf Club next week as part of the Oxfordshire leg of the tour.

The event will be teeing off at the Darwin Escapes owned Wallingford golf club for the second year on Tuesday 30th July.

The Trilby Tour, which has been running since 2007, has once again been hosting a series of regional championships across the UK with an aim to find the top 10 amateur players for the International Grand Final, where one winner will be crowned the official Trilby Tour World Champion.

Last year saw Rob Perry of Bletchingley Golf Club take the title of 2018 Champion of Oxfordshire with a score of 37pts.

Head of Golf, Ashley Pheasant said: “The William Hunt Trilby Tour Championship of Oxfordshire returns to The Springs for the second consecutive year and the competitors are going to see a course which has developed leaps and bounds since the event was played last year.

“With more continued investment, new tees and the new second hole in play, this year’s Oxfordshire event promises to be one that all Trilby Tourians will remember for a long time!”

As part of the tour, the tournament has already visited Norfolk, Lancashire, Cumbria, Northamptonshire, Nottinghamshire, Worcestershire and Darwin Escapes’ holiday resort and golf club The Kilnwick Percy in Yorkshire.
The Trilby Tour will also be visiting Sussex before the International Grand Final taking place at Hull Golf Club on Tuesday 29th August.

Trilby Tour Director, Toby Morgan said: “After fantastic events last year we are thoroughly looking forward to returning to The Springs to find our 8th Regional Champion in 2019.

“We started the tournament with the intention of putting the ordinary amateur golfer at the heart of the action – as far as we’re concerned everyone who enters isn’t ordinary, but extra-ordinary.

“It’s about keeping the game modern, without losing the heart of what makes golf the fantastic game that it is. It’s going to be an experience to remember. Good luck to all those taking part.”

The golf tournament at The Springs Golf Club will be open to spectators and the first tee-off is at 6.51am.

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Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Our resorts in England and Wales are open. Please note, the opening times for all facilities and bistros/restaurants are subject to change throughout the 2021 season. All visitors and guests are asked to follow all government advice relating to Covid-19 whilst at our resorts.

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