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Review: Exploring Raby's Enchanted Wonderland The Plotters' Forest

Raby's Enchanted Wonderland The Plotters' Forest David Forster
Places to go
December 2023
Reading time 3 Minutes

There's magic in the trees at Raby Estate

At this time of year, The Plotters' Forest becomes an enchanted wonderland.

We were more than merry when Raby Estates invited us to explore their festive forest. After collecting our activity sheet, we were greeted by a giant Nutcracker before starting our search for letters amongst the leaves. The wintry surroundings made for a truly festive feel as we explored the site. 

We (just about) kept up with our niece as she climbed towers, traversed through tree-tops, crawled through tunnels and slid down a fireman’s pole. I lost count of how many times she scaled the Rebels Run obstacle bridge and rocketed down the winding slide. Whispers quickly turned into shouting and silly sounds as we talked nonsense through the distanced talk tubes, giggled at our reflections in the warped mirrors, and played a game of Christmas 'match a pair' in a cosy log den. 

Fairy lights and baubles twinkled in the trees and our favourite Christmas songs floated through the branches as gingerbread men, reindeer, robins and snowmen led the way through the woodland. As a special treat, Santa had parked his sleigh so that the kids (big and small) could take a seat and pose for pictures. This was not far from the café, where plenty of explorers were refuelling for the rest of their adventures. 

Read More: What to Expect from 'The Rising' at the Remarkable Raby Castle

After completing the activity sheet and taking pictures with the various Christmas characters hiding in the trees, we took shelter from the rain in a cosy igloo before heading over to the scenic Deer Park. We were given a map and another activity sheet and the hunt was on again for scattered Christmas symbols and letters. We wandered past the tranquil lakes, kept a look out for wildlife and stopped to gaze in awe at the imposing castle. 

By the time we finished (having followed the shorter 1.8km route), little legs were well and truly deserving of a heartwarming toasted marshmallow hot chocolate in the snug Yurt Café, before it was time to head for home, where a festive film on the sofa rounded off the day perfectly. 

Raby Castle, Staindrop, County Durham DL2 3AH

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