Peak District stay – cosy pub and great walks with breathtaking views

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The Peak District is one of the UK’s most visited national parks spanning around 555 square miles, and we understood why thousands descend on the beautiful landscape every year as soon as we drove past the ‘Welcome to the Peak District’ sign. Set a couple of miles into the park’s boundary was The Devonshire Arms at Pilsley, a country inn offering “great food, excellent ales and comfy rooms, situated at the heart of the Chatsworth Estate”. 

Having driven several hours, we were keen to charge our electric car and then check in and recharge our own batteries. 

The electric charging points were sadly out of use – not something an EV owner wants to hear when you’re in the middle of nowhere with limited mileage left on the clock! But after a short brainstorm, the staff managed to find a solution. 

As for the room, The Devonshire Arms is made up of several buildings, and our room was in one that looked over the kitchen gardens and the beautiful cascading landscape beyond. 

The room was comfortable and laden with soft furnishings which made it cosy and inviting, and the bathroom was large and modern. 

For dinner that evening, we had been invited to enjoy three courses in the main restaurant, where the food had come “straight from the land”. The Devonshire Arms prides itself on using locally-sourced produce to meat reared on the Chatsworth Estate.

To start, we enjoyed garlic prawns and goat cheese with root vegetables and truffle shavings.  

For the main course, the Chatsworth beef rump with a side cottage pie was the star of the show, but the white fish with samphire was equally as delicious. To finish, we shared the cheese selection with accompanying celery, grapes, chutney and crackers.

Service was fast and the staff were incredibly friendly and accommodating. 

Following a great night’s sleep, we were up early to eat breakfast and get on the road to go walking. 

Unlike the evening menu, the breakfast choices were a little slim. Homemade granola and fresh fruit or cereal to start. 

To follow, and with a selection of toast, was the Inn’s classic Devonshire breakfast – otherwise known as a local fry-up – or the vegetarian version called The Garden. 

The third choice was The Blackwater which consisted of a Derbyshire oatcake, smoked salmon, scrambled egg and creme fraiche. 

Having filled our boots, we were ready for the day ahead and got back in the car and drove 30 miles inland to explore Mam Tor, a popular viewpoint that stretches north over the Edale Valley to Kinder Scout and the Derwent Moors. 

We left our car in a National Trust car park just below and walked the gentle incline up to the top where we were greeted with the most breathtaking views in every direction. 

We had got lucky with the weather that day as the sun emerged and the wind picked up, allowing several paragliders to take to the air. 

Keen to see more of the beautiful landscape, we headed over to Rushup Edge and followed the path for several miles before looping back. 

Just as the rain began to fall, our day of walking came to a close and we headed back to the Inn in search of a warm cup of tea and a hot shower. 

That evening, we had been invited to The Cavendish Hotel at Baslow – another hotel just down the road that’s part of the Chatsworth Estate chain. 

Described as “blissfully luxurious”, the fine dining Gallery restaurant held three AA Rosettes. 

Initially, the atmosphere was a little stiff, but the lack of background music was rectified when a large jovial party entered. 

The restaurant offers a tasting menu, but we chose the A La Carte. To start, we tried the cod ceviche, which featured avocado, wasabi, squid ink and sorrel, as well as the mackerel which came with satay, green chilli, mango and coconut. 

For the main course, the Derbyshire lamb came recommended, and with it came Jersey Royal potatoes, peas and carrots. A Taste of Chatsworth Beef was also chosen to see if it rivalled the previous night’s dish. 

To complete dinner, the dark chocolate pudding with Kirsh, cherry and chilli rounded off a wonderful meal. 

The next day, having checked out, we decided to pop into Chatsworth House, considering we were just a few miles away. 

The stately home is where the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire live and the grounds were magnificent – well worth a trip! 

Prices at The Devonshire Arms, Pilsley start from £142 per room per night, on a B&B basis. DB&B starts from £192 per night. Prices at The Cavendish Hotel, Baslow start from £200 per room per night, on a B&B basis. DB&B starts from £330 per night. 

There is currently an autumn/winter offer across both hotels: ‘Four nights for the price of three’ – available at both hotels. 

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