Monday, 30 November -0001

Dry Land Cruises

Enjoy all the fun and facilities of a mini cruise on dry land

Written by Wendy Gomersall
If you love cruising, you’ll certainly enjoy a few days away with Warner Leisure Breaks. Stay at Thoresby Hall Hotel & Spa, Thoresby Park, near Ollerton in Nottinghamshire, and you’ll see the resemblance – but of course there won’t be a ship or any seawater in sight.

As on a cruise, a lot of your holiday is included in the price: three-course dinners, bed and breakfast, and evening entertainment – comedians, shows, tribute acts, cabarets and, if you book one of the hotel’s Star Breaks, top names from the worlds of music, theatre and dance (check the website). Daytime activities include Zumba, yoga, fencing, archery, croquet, putting, bowls and woodland walks. And in another similarity with cruising, you can choose to pay a bit more for extras.

At Thoresby Hall, how about Chocoholic Afternoon Tea in the rather splendid Great Hall? Costing £49 for two, it includes chocolate scones, eclairs and cakes, a glass of champagne, finger sandwiches and tea or coffee.

Alternatively, you could go on a ‘walk with hawks’ for £10, or enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail while your nails are filed and polished for £24. Meals are generally taken in the spacious, buffet-style Sherwood Restaurant, but for a change, you could try the recently refurbished Blue Grill instead, for an extra £19.95 per person.

Set in 30 acres of beautiful gardens created by Humphry Repton – described as the last great English landscape designer of the 18th century – and 35 minutes’ drive north of Nottingham, Thoresby Hall is a grand Victorian former stately home on the edge of Sherwood Forest. You’ll find a courtyard in the grounds with craft shops, and there’s a museum dedicated to The Queen’s Royal Lancers and Nottinghamshire Yeomanry. Don’t miss the Victorian rose garden either.

Further afield, Thoresby Park – acres of fields that form the Thoresby Estate – is a lovely spot for a picnic or sightseeing. Nottingham and Lincoln are also within easy reach, or you could visit the Sherwood Forest Art and Craft Centre, which has 15 individual studios where artists and craft workers hand-make or hand-finish a myriad of reasonably priced products.

Don’t miss the 23-ton Major Oak, where, according to legend, Robin Hood and his Merry Men slept, or St Mary’s Church in Edwinstowe, where he is said to have exchanged vows with Maid Marian.

After a busy day out and about, you can retire to Thoresby Hall’s lovely spa, which offers a wide range of facilities, including the Ice Cave, Turkish Steam Room, Relaxation Lounge, Hydro Spa Pool, Scandinavian Sanarium and Aromatherapy Cave, not to mention great massages and facials. Lovely…

A three-night weekend Indulgence Spa Break costs from £358.73 per person during July, and includes a choice of facial, Swedish massage or a back, neck and shoulder massage, plus a relaxing scalp ritual, a manicure or pedicure and access to spa facilities.

Warner Leisure Hotels: 0330-100 9774,  

Contact Wendy at
Prices are correct at the time of going to press.

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