Just returned from our first visit to Carsington Water. Despite the week being a total wash-out weather-wise, we still managed to have some fun and create lots of memories for the kids.
The site itself is very picturesque and if I return I would love a pitch overlooking the water - as it happened we were right at the top of the site in a small copse, surrounded by pine trees. It was beautiful.
The lady on reception was extremely friendly and great with our children and gave them a little treasure hunt to do whilst on site.
The toilet block was very clean and there were lots of cubicles. The showers didn't seem to stay hot though and after a few minutes, the water was just tepid.
We also felt that the time the gents toilets were cleaned was a little inconvenient - they closed between 10am and 11am, which for us personally, was when we needed them. We aren't particularly early risers on holiday as we sleep so well in our van :-) With no other toilet block and only one service toilet for the entire site, we struggled to make it on time. Other sites we have experienced, always seemed to have later cleaning times or extra facilities - one to bear in mind for us when next choosing a site.
I also felt the road leading from the toilet block back to our van needs better lighting. It was very dark at night time, with only one major light providing light for a longish stretch of roadway. I actually found it quite scary, especially with a small child in tow. Could perhaps introduce some smaller lights to indicate the route back?
Carsington Water is a brilliant place for families and we could quite easily have spent all day there, had it not been for the deteriorating afternoon weather. We walked to the site from the caravan park, which was a mile and a half, along a suitable footpath. We browsed round the few shops, went on the trail to the stone island and stopped for a picnic on one of the many picnic tables, before stopping at the play park and grabbing an ice cream.
We also visited Crich Tramway Museum, which again, had the weather been better we could quite easily have spent all day there. The kids enjoyed this place and loved the rides on the trams. This palce has been spruced up and there's more to do here since we last visited almost 10 years ago!
Matlock Bath was a favourite with our children as we ended up there in the amusements almost every evening, dodging the rain. It's amazing how long £1 on the 2p machines can actually last!
On our last day we made the trip to Sheffield for the Emergency Services Vehicle Museum. Felt this was a long way to go for something that didn't last much longer than a couple of hours - but still worth a visit if you're in that area.
We didn't eat out very much, although can recommend Wirksworth Balti take-away. Avoid The Stepping Stones pub (Marston's) in Ashbourne at all costs - we spent an hour waiting for totally inedible food, along with terrible customer service.