As some of you will know, after my wedding in early April Ian and I disappeared off up to the Peak District for a few days, as we are unable to go on our official honeymoon until early next year. And to be honest, I don’t think I would have had the energy to plan a big holiday, as well as my wedding and it also gives us something to look forward to and budget accordingly. Although on a side note, I am in desperate need of a proper holiday, like desperate. Anyway, I wrote recently that I have suffered a bit of the wedding blues which fortunately has seemed to have passed now, but I still thought it would be fun to reflect back on our three nights/four days away up in the north, and provide you guys with some ideas of what to do should you find yourselves up in that direction as well.
The Devonshire Arms at Beeley
This was where we stayed for the duration of our trip so it makes sense to start with this. I remember pulling up on Monday afternoon and sitting in the bar having some lunch before we were able to check in, and thinking to myself that this was the exact kind of place I wanted to stay in. When we were planning our trip to the Peak District, I deliberately wanted to seek out a cosy hotel that we could just tuck ourselves away in but was in a good location to access some of the local sites and things nearby. I struggled a bit online so when I put the word out on Twitter for recommendations, someone came straight back with The Devonshire Arms at Beeley and it was exactly what I was looking for.
The Devonshire Arms is your classic countryside pub-hotel; our room was front facing and nicely sized for a double ensuite room and very comfortable. I brought my dressing gown from home with me but gowns were supplied if you wanted them.
We stayed on a bed and breakfast basis but owing to the location, we had dinner in the restaurant for two of the three nights we stayed and the food was amazing! Breakfast was also very good, along with cereals, bread, fruit etc. you also got a hot option included which set us up well for the day. I also cannot fault the friendliness and service provided by all the staff during our stay.
2. The Heights of Abraham
Situated in Matlock Bath, The Heights of Abraham is marketed as ‘Derbyshire’s oldest visitor attraction’. It’s most distinctive feature are the cable cars which take you up to the summit where various attractions await across 60 acres of landscaped grounds and I actually really enjoyed my visit here. Amongst just walking around, enjoying some incredible views of Matlock Bath and the surrounding countryside, learning about the area and its history, the best attraction is definitely the tour of The Great Masson Cavern. I don’t usually like guided tours (in fact I hate them), but this is the only way you can visit the caves and I have to admit, the tour guide was brilliant; very knowledgeable and a great sense of humour. The cavern once upon a time used to be mined and back in the day, the caves couldn’t be rigged up with lighting so the workers, including children, often relied on a single candle for light. Incredible.
Tip: Take change for the car park!
On a side note, Matlock Bath is nothing fancy and in all honesty, I would give it a miss. Visited The Heights of Abraham and then go somewhere else like Bakewell… speaking of which.
One of the things I was most keen to do while up in the Peaks was to explore some nearby towns and villages and as we were so close to Bakewell, it made sense to visit this little town during our stay.
As a place, I wouldn’t say Bakewell was wildly exciting but for a mornings mooch about, it’s perfectly fine. Bakewell is popular because of the much loved Bakewell tart and pudding we’re so familiar with, so it would have been wrong to not seek out somewhere that served these delights and sample a genuine Bakewell made Bakewell Pudding. I actually had never had a Bakewell pudding before so this is what I tried and to be honest, I prefer the tart. But when in Rome ‘n all.
I also particularly loved the bridge you walk across into the town as it is covered in locks, much like the one in Paris. If I’d known this before going, I might have added to the collection.
4. Nottingham Race Course
This won’t be for everyone but Ian and I love going to the races, and while in that part of the country it made sense to travel across to Nottingham to spend the day at a course we haven’t previously been able to visit.
I didn’t do too well picking any winners (Ian got a 50-1!) but the course, while small, was actually really nice and if up that way again, I definitely think we would visit again.
5. Chatsworth House & Estate
We visited Chatsworth House and Estate on the morning before we drove back home, and the first thing I will say about this place is that they charge you £3 just for parking, which I felt was extortionate! I wouldn’t mind if parking came off your ticket into the house and garden, but £3 just to park really bothered me. I appreciate some people park up and hike across the estate without going into the house and/or garden, but still, £3… for a car park in the middle of nowhere… have a word with yourselves Lord & Lady Chatsworth!
Parking aside, we decided to just visit the garden as while I do love stately homes/National Trust properties, I like them from the outside and not so much on the inside as they don’t differ hugely from one another, and it’s all “don’t touch”, look at this bed, look at this room, la la la. Also, I just totally love gardens (and gardening).
The ‘garden’, all 105 acres of it is beautiful and quite possibly up there with my all-time favourite gardens I have walked around. It’s split into several sections so plenty to look at and appreciate; has a fantastic array of plants; a hedged maze (yes, Sweeties, a maze!), tons and tons of daffodils (number one favourite flower –appreciate this comment isn’t relevant unless you’re reading this pre-spring but hey ho); and also just for my own delight, plenty of pheasants to spot and chase for photographs! There’s also several strikingly stunning water features and artistic pieces dotted about.
Overall, we had a lovely stay in the Peak District and I am very keen to go back in the near future to explore more areas and I am particularly keen to do some hikes as I love walking.
Have any of you guys recently visited the Peak District, where would you recommend to check out?
Until next time xFollow