MY brother and his girlfriend are looking for a new house.

Why am I telling you that random fact? Well, by way of illustrating just how big the holiday lodges at Cheddar Woods Resort & Spa really are, the three-bedroom Axbridge model we had for the weekend was bigger than some of the houses they’ve been looking at lately – and certainly far more stylish.

“We could definitely live here,” said Laura, looking already at home in the slick, ultra-modern kitchen. “We’d have to keep the hot tub though.”

Yes, not only did our lodge have three large bedrooms, two bathrooms, a flat-screen TV in every room and the poshest fixtures and fittings I’ve ever known in a holiday home, but there was a hot tub on our terrace. Where in Swindon could you buy a house like that?

Although Cheddar Woods is strictly speaking a holiday site, living there is not entirely out of the question – well, spending an awful of your time there isn’t anyway.

If you’ve got upwards of £80,000 to spend, 60 of the 177 impeccable deluxe lodges are available to buy, and the ‘second home’ rules mean you can legally spend 11 months of the year there if you want to.

The £8m site, operated by Darwin Holiday and Leisure Parks, opened its doors last summer, and there’s no sign of wear and tear to be seen as yet. Everything about the place, from the perfectly manicured lawns to the perfectly manicured staff, screams luxury and money.

An inspection by the AA resulted in an extremely high score of 95 per cent, and the inspector said: “Cheddar Woods is absolutely stunning, beautifully landscaped and with a state-of-the-art reception and facility building. The lodges offer top quality holiday accommodation for all. The park is one of the best parks I have seen in the UK and is a credit to all who were involved in its conception and completion.”

Needless to say, the development is now seen as a benchmark in the leisure industry for other sites to live up to.

In short, this is not a place for bingo and glamorous granny competitions. Instead you’ll find fine dining in the restaurant, a top-end health club and spa, a tennis court, rock wall and a posh farm shop for anything you might have forgotten. Not a slot machine or computer game in sight.

That’s not to say children aren’t catered for. The central leisure building has an indoor pool and golf simulator, an outdoor play area which kept our little ones entertained for hours and a Go Active programme of activities such as fencing, archery and laser clay shooting. If they’re old enough, they can also use the hot tub on your terrace – and what child doesn’t want to spend an hour or two dipping in and out of the bubbles?

What’s more, the 25-acre park overlooks an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, right next to Cheddar Gorge in the Mendips. Whether you’re with children or not, you couldn’t possibly visit without heading for the spectacular gorge and all the caves and attractions that entails. Oh, and don’t forget to pick up some authentic Cheddar cheese while you are there.

We also spent a sunny afternoon walking around the impossibly symmetrical Cheddar reservoir, which was built in the 1930s to make better use of the water from the springs in Cheddar Gorge.

But to be honest, the majority of our time was spent just lounging at the lodge, revelling in the luxury and living how the other half lives.

We even found time for a midnight dip in the hot tub, lying back, sipping wine and gazing up at a night sky full of stars.

I think my brother and his girlfriend should probably buy one of these lodges too – and I’ll visit them every weekend.

  • Michelle Tompkins was a guest of Darwin Leisure at Cheddar Woods Holiday Home Park, Axbridge Road, Cheddar, Somerset BS27 3DB.  The park features 117 holiday lodges available to book via Hoseasons ranging from £295 to £1,745 per week, and 60 bespoke holiday lodges for sale, retailing from £79,995. For full details on how to book or buy a lodge, visit or call 01934 742 610.