We first visited North Star Club last year during it’s opening month, and we knew we’d return. If you like the tranquillity of camping, but the luxury of London hotels, then this is the place for you. After breaking our vow to set off ‘first thing’, we endured a particularly testing car journey with Penny refusing to nap, territorial fights over the almighty iPad, wrong turns and a toilet accident in the car seat a mere 20 minutes into the journey (wee, heat and a two hour journey is not pleasant). Dom and I asked ourselves why we didn’t just leave the kids at home, and why we had children at all but then… we arrived. You’ll soon realise just as we did, that no matter how horrible the car journey is (and I know with kids in tow it can get pretty gruesome) it’s all forgotten the moment you’re on site and you close the car door. (If not just run for the bushes, it’ll give you at least a five minute breather while the kids try to find you).
Our lodge – the Amy Johnson suite – was light, airy and filled with perfectly picked interiors. If it hadn’t been for the lack of internet signal we’d have been tempted to google van hire so we could loot the lot. The super king sized bed is draped in faux fur, four silver birch trees act as a four poster bed and the log fire is prepped, waiting to be lit (even if it is 20c outside, the novelty of a blazing log fire will overrule common sense). Following on from the bedroom is the bathroom – get ready to be impressed, as this bathroom is bigger than my bedroom at home. You may think that this much space for a bathroom is excessive, but after a few days with children, water fights, mud, dirt and umpteen changes of clothes, that excess space becomes a necessity. Here you’ll enjoy a walk in shower, a stone sink and a bath you could sleep in.
The lodge itself also has a second bedroom with a set of bunk beds, and the chesterfield sofa in the living room/communal room doubles up as a sofa bed. This means the lodges can hold large families, hen parties, group bookings, etc. The only problem I can see is deciding who gets the master bedroom – I suggest a game of rock, paper, scissors to avoid any major fallouts. As you walk outside the lodge, you have your own private veranda where you’ll find your kitchen, in other words, your BBQ and dining table. I always enjoy eating outside, but theres something really special about eating a pain au chocolat on a morning with a view of never-ending trees and birdsong as your soundtrack.
If you’re not much of a people person and like to be left alone, you don’t have to move far from your lodge – there’s enough woodland and space between each lodge to allow you to hide away.
If you’re more of a social butterfly, then you can visit The Woodshed, a renovated old barn and an updated and more stylish version of a clubhouse. Alongside Honesty Teas – a tea and coffee bar where you can choose from coffee or any flavoured tea you can imagine – there’s a selection of chesterfield sofas dressed in fur throws to lounge on, a log burner, low lighting and an array of magazines and books to tuck into. Amelia found a yellow and black striped beetle – obviously a tropical killer, because everyone knows yellow and black means danger (right?), so it was good to have an insect encyclopedia on hand to identify the (completely harmless) Longhorn Beetle. Outside The Woodshed, you’ll also find the campfire – our favourite place. Every night we’d make our way down, marshmallows in hand, ready to get toasting. Then once the kids had reached their sugar limit (about 10 marshmallows each), they’d run around the grass playing water fights while Dom and I relaxed and enjoyed the smell, sound and heat of the fire.
If you want to (dare I say it) venture out into the real world during your stay, then there’s plenty to enjoy. The weather was glorious and so un-British last time we visited that we took advantage and headed to the beachy coves of Flamborough (about an hour away); we paddled in the water, ate fish and chips (legally the only food permitted on a English beach, I think) and skimmed stones across the sea. Tofinish the day off with a bang, Penny fell face first onto some rocks, then jumped up and ran on, while Dom and I recovered from the shock. If you crave a few hours of hustle and bustle, then the stunning city of York is just a 45 minute drive away; filled with shops, restaurants, kid friendly activities (the Castle Museum is definitely worth a visit) and 4G phone signal, you can set yourself up for a jam-packed day and return to your woodland haven when you’re done. If your intentions are to really switch off and escape the outside world, then grab a pack of cards, a good book, and more importantly some good nibbles and you’re good to go. And if your legs start to cramp, or the children become restless, you can venture out for a family friendly walk through the forest. The ideal way to stretch your legs and let the children run free, and you can look forward to them returning with handfuls of small and, most likely squished, creatures of all shapes and sizes.
*Thanks you to the people at North Star Club for our magical stay.