This year, the Earthsea group headed off to beautiful Derbyshire for our annual Community Holiday. Staying at a stunning holiday park in Darwin Forest, a most wonderful week was shared by all, jam packed with fun activities and excursions.

Day 1 – Setting off from Norfolk early, we were keen to enjoy the benefits of a reasonably short journey and crack straight on with getting the holiday started. The children were excited to see the cabins and settle in to their home for the week, and were then equally keen to start exploring what the holiday park had to offer. This included getting their first go in onsite swimming pool, playing in the arcades and pool room and following the trim trail through the woods.

Day 2 – The second day saw the first trip out, to the Heights of Abraham in local Matlock. Despite some nerves from the children (and adults!), all enjoyed the steep cable car ride up to the attraction. Here we enjoyed tours through the two large caverns, with children keen to learn about how these used to be part of every day working life centuries ago. The enormous play area proved popular, along with the Punch and Judy show and fossil factory. The evening saw our traditional holiday themed party take place, with one cabin being converted into the Wild West and everyone dressing up in some fantastic cowboy and cow girl outfits. Food, dancing and games were enjoyed – including horseshoe throwing and the hilarious Human Buckaroo!

Day 3 – This day brought one of the children’s most eagerly anticipated trips to Alton Towers Water Park. With the range of pools in Norfolk being quite limited, children were delighted to see the huge selection of water of water fun on offer including slides, outdoor rapids, the lazy river and the crazy Wacky Water World – particularly popular here was the enormous bucket of water which emptied over the whole area every few minutes! A chilled out evening in the cabins having movie nights and snacks was very much enjoyed after such a busy day.

Day 4 – Whilst originally planned as a more relaxed day on site, due to the wet weather forecast later in the week, the planned trip to Dovedale was brought forward. Aside from a couple of sharp showers, the weather was beautiful for an exploration of one of Derbyshire’s most beautiful sites. The children enjoyed crossing the famous Dovedale stepping stones, discovering the tree trunks filled with coins and climbing to the top of the big hills around the area. The evening saw everyone dressing up for the special occasion of a meal out at a local restaurant, with children looking very smart in their best outfits.

Day 5 – With such a busy start to the week, everyone was very glad to have a more chilled out day on the holiday park to enjoy. Children enjoyed hiring bikes, swimming, playing in the arcades, using the soft play area, exploring the woods, with a few also choosing to visit the local town and smaller amenities.

Day 6 – This was the big one – Alton Towers! Setting off early to make the most of the day and with the weather very much in our favour, a most wonderful day was had by all. Children braved the biggest rides the park had to offer, whilst also enjoying the lower key attractions offered with the fay flying by far too quickly. With an exhausted group after hours of fun, a tasty takeaway was collected from Matlock on the way home and enjoyed in front of films in the cabins.

Day 7 – With the week having gone far too quickly, plans had to again change due to the frustrating British weather but children were delighted to be offered the chance to finish the holiday off with cinema trips – after such a busy week, everyone was very grateful for the opportunity to sit down! After that, it was time to head back to Earthsea and gather for a delicious BBQ to mark the end of what was a most fantastic week away together.