Holiday brought history to life

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By Andrew Wakefield

Charge! Newark and its surrounding villages are expected to be over-run with tourists keen to enjoy a range of new and flourishing attractions this summer.

In addition to the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre at Edwinstowe - home to Robin Hood’s famed hideout - and grisly tours of Newark Castle dungeons, the UK’s first museum dedicated to the British Civil War has opened up in town giving a fascinating insight into the realities of everyday life during the tumultuous period.

Our family break began at a log cabin provided by Forest Holidays nestled in the heart of Sherwood Forest from where we could enjoy a luxury outdoor hot tub while gazing out at the ancient woodland.

Inside the spacious cabin, a log burner, huge open plan living area and en-suite bathroom provided a comfortable and well-appointed space to relax in - which was ideal for the kids and our dog, Neville.

Next it was on to Newark Castle where we learned about the macabre history of the 12-century attraction with the help of a castle ranger who took us down into the creepy bottle, barrel vault and middle dungeons. Here the gruesome methods used to punish those who didn’t pay their taxes were spelled out to us in the close confines of the darkened toture chamber.The one-hour tours can be booked at Newark Tourist Information Centre.

Next it was into town for our first experience inside a dedicated American-style pancake house in the shape of Mamma Whites on Stodman Street. Here everything from sweet and savoury crepes to authentic US-influenced pancakes are on offer — alongside treats such as smoothies and ice cream shakes. Gorging ourselves on toffee sauce- laden plump ovals of fluffy delightfulness it provided the perfect pick-me-up for our next destination - the Civil War Centre.

The £5.4m museum opened last weekend - telling the story of the 1642 to 1646 conflict.

Fitted with large touchscreens, a host of period exhibits and a cinema showing exclusive BBC period drama quality features about the war as well as augmented reality displays the attraction really succeeds in bringing historical education right up into the modern day.

The town was chosen for the museum because of its extensive involvement with the war - having been a Royalist stronghold which came under siege three times until Charles I surrendered it in 1646.

Retreating to our cabin to soak and bubble ourselves into an opulent lather we awoke the next day refreshed and finished of our journey with an interesting visit to the Sherwood Forest Visitor Centre.

• Forest Holidays has a range of luxury cabins available at Sherwood Forest, sleeping between two and 10 people.

There are also pet-friendly cabins available and throughout June you can book up to four dogs at no extra cost with the code JUNEDOGS.

Prices start at £395 for a mid-week break in a two-bed Copper Beech cabin in June. For more details or to book your stay visit www.forestholidays.co.uk. The trip was organised by www.experiencenottinghamshire.com