With all this talk of Royalty as we celebrate the birth of the future King I thought today was a day to celebrate one of my favourite parts of my beautiful home country.

A home to be proud of… The Peak District.

I have been lucky enough to grow up in one of the most beautiful parts of Britain. It wasn’t made a national park for nothing. Growing up in the centre of the Peak District in a small village called Birchover, I have spent many a weekend walking through the beautiful Derbyshire countryside, stopping by little delis and cafes, talking to the sheep and cows and visiting some incredible landmarks.

I get THIS excited when at home
I get THIS excited when at home

So it is about time I share some of my top tips and secret local knowledge of what to do in the breath taking Peak District.

Local carnivals and open gardens

There is nothing like a good nosy around other people’s homes and the many Open Garden Days at villages across Derbyshire allow you to do just that. Snooping around their gardens and sometimes even their house. To top it off people have stalls filled with homemade cakes and bricabrac (that’s a garage sale to any American’s reading this) for you to nibble on and fill your bags with other people’s useless rubbish. Stuff you probably don’t need but just seems too much of a bargain to leave behind.

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Grand houses and 5* restaurants

Chatsworth House…Β The home of Mr Darcy.

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I will say no more…

Except…

The Chatsworth Estate includes some lovely shops and traditional top rated restaurants including The Cavendish in Baslow. Well worth a visit if you want an extra special treat. Oh and I used to work there.

Wandering the Dales

You can walk for miles over hills, over dales and through gorgeous villages filled with quaint cottages and magnificent mansions. Recently I walked from my home in Birchover to Bakewell with a brief stop off for fish and chips in Youlgrave. The walk took around four hours and culminated with a well deserved pint at my old local jaunt in Bakewell, before taking the lazy route home and getting mum to come and pick us up πŸ™‚

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Tasty treats

Bakewell and the surrounding towns and villages are FULL of cafes. Sometimes I wonder if it is the cafes and famous Bakewell Tarts and Bakewell Puddings that bring people to the Dales, rather than the natural wonders. You won’t struggle to find somewhere to eat but here are a couple of my favourite spots

– The Bakewell Deli – just around the corner from the roundabout you can easily miss it and instead be pulled in by the touristy spots but hunt a little further and you will find this tiny deli filled with delicious fresh meats and cheeses. You can easily fill a picnic basket to sit by the river.

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Basilia Deli – Just on the outskirts of the Peak District but worth the drive. This cafe/deli is a rose amongst thorns. Head inside and through to the gorgeous walled garden for afternoon tea piled high with sandwiches, cakes, quiche and a scone with jam and cream. Mmm.

Top places to stay

There are tonnes of hotels and bed and breakfasts around the Peak District but for the best way to enjoy the dales I suggest renting a cottage with family or friends, the perfect way to relax and cook up some delicious foods from local butchers and you don’t have to worry so much about bringing those muddy boots into a hotel. Sykes Cottages have loads of reasonably priced places to stay across the Peak District.

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I stayed in a great cottage near Ashbourne with friends from London. With a hot tub and a lounge big enough to swing a cat we were set for a perfect weekend away from the big city.

So next time you are looking for a little weekend getaway or perhaps you are visiting England for the first time … GET OUT OF LONDON and experience British country living at it’s best.

10 Comments

  1. basilia langley mill deli Reply

    Enjoyed reading your blog yes Langley mill is the gate way to the Peak District when heading north on the M.1

    You must make yourself known. Breakfast…..brunch……lunch is on the house πŸ™‚

    • jlowthrop Reply

      I might take you up on that offer. Eggs Florentine with some crispy bacon for brunch please. oo and one of those scrumptious hot chocolates. YUM!

  2. Good blog Jenny and well worth doing – folk forget about the beauty on one’s doorstep. I did the walk that you mention here and in Youlgreave Church I discovered a stained-glass window designed by the Pre-Raphaelite painter, Edward Burne-Jones and made in the workshops of William Morris and William Morris designed the four angels above it. I never knew that before! It’s also a very intersting church architecturally. I liked discovering the small Saxon sculptures in the walls.
    Personally I can’t understand why foreigners all head for London – at least for more than a couple of days – especially if they want to experience the real Britain. I love taking a picnic and then just walking for the whole day in the Peaks and we have had such good weather for over a month now enabling us to do just that. Of course, if you don’t want the hassle of carrying lunch there are, as you say, some excellent little cafes along the way. If you are heading out towards Nottingham the best Deli/Cafe being Basilia in Langley Mill – of course. There’s a nice walk along the canal there too that takes you all the way to Eastwood and the birthplace museum of DH Lawrence. Sri and I walked it with the twins and Mia one day last year. My love to everyone. Geraldine x

    • jlowthrop Reply

      Thanks Geraldine. You’re right tourists really do need to escape London and see some of the amazing places and countryside the UK has to offer. Will have a look around Youlgreave Church next time I am there. So much history around. Despite living so close I am yet to visit the DH Lawrence museum, but perhaps will write a blog about it when I do. πŸ™‚ x

  3. Oops Jen….. Mr Darcey lived at Pemberley, NEVER at Chatsworth House!

    • jlowthrop Reply

      You’re right. I meant it was used as Pemberley House in the 2004 adaption of Pride and Prejudice. Thanks for pointing out Wendy. πŸ™‚

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