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Joys in the Hood; ALISON JONES goes glamping in Sherwood Forest, home of Nottingham's famous outlaw.

Byline: ALISON JONES

IHEN I was a kid we used to have a caravan. It was called Andy. While it was certainly a step above camping it lacked certain luxuries. The toilet occupied a space no bigger than a broom closet seriously, if you leaned forward your forehead would touch the wall opposite) while the shower was in a block at the bottom of the hill and you would share a cubicle with a spider or two.

I reflected on that while sitting back in a hot tub sipping Champagne in the darkness of Sherwood Forest at about 10.30pm. Apart from the hot tub on the terrace (where there was also space for a barbecue), this cabin was as luxurious as a four-star hotel. There were fluffy bathrobes, Egyptian cotton sheets, iPod II ^ docks and Molton Brown toiletries in the master bedroom's en suite. Huge kitchen/ dining room tables big enough to seat up to eight were a |TT| luxurious change from a narrow table and bench seats that doubled as a bed at night.

The cabins were heated but there was also the more romantic option of a wood burning stove. As tempting as it was to stay in the hot tub, there were other kinds of relaxation just a short drive or a brisk walk away at Thoresby Hall. The Sherwood Hideaway Lodges where we were staying were tucked away on the 100-acre Thoresby Estate. Thoresby was originally owned by Earl Manvers, a descendant of Robert de Pierrepont who joined William I during the conquest of 1066.

The Grade I listed mansion at its heart was home to the Manvers family until the death of the 8th Earl in 1955. It now operates as a Warner Leisure Hotel with a spa, including pool, that can be used by lodge guests at a discounted rate. As we were in Sherwood Forest, we decided to keep our activities outdoors. We headed for Go Ape at nearby Sherwood Pines.

As the name suggests, it encourages all kinds of monkeying around in the tree tops, completing a course that involves climbing up trees and edging across rope bridges before attaching yourself to a zip wire and hurtling towards the ground. The whole experience was surprisingly exhilarating. We reluctantly left our stylish new home the next morning and headed up to Thoresby Hall in search of brunch.

The Courtyard in the grounds is full of charming little shops, cafes, galleries, a glass blower's and even The Queen's Royal Lancers and Nottinghamshire Yeomanry Museum. Shopping and eating done, we finally headed back home, wishing we had a hot tub time machine (it's a film, honestly) to go all the way back to the start of the weekend. BBC's drama Robin Hood has renewed interest in the Nottingham legend thrills of the fores

THE SHERWOOD Hideaway offers a choice of rustic, contemporary or traditional-styled lodges. Long weekend breaks start from PS300 per two-bed lodge (sleeps four) and from PS380 per three-bed lodge (sleeps six). A week-long stay costs from PS485 (two-bed) or PS595 (three-bed). Hot tubs are available on the decks of selected lodges. For further information and to book visit www.sherwoodhideaway.com or call 01623 824 594. THERE are 28 Go Ape Adventures across the UK. It costs PS30 for gorillas (adults) PS20 for baboons (10-17 year olds) for two to three hours. For details look up www.goape.co.uk or call 0845 6439215

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Thoresby Hall Hotel in Sherwood Forest (top) and the spa and pool

These Sherwood hideaway, lodges boast hot tubs and en suite bathrooms
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Date:Apr 6, 2013
Words:598
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