Staycation road trip: The Peak District
While a getaway overseas can be a treat you can have great adventures in your own backyards (so to speak) and experience the outdoors and history that is nearby and also support amazing small businesses.
If you are in the UK there are amazing areas all around the UK and we loved learning about and exploring just a small part of the Peak District last year.
We were on a mission to visit a mill near Manchester to source “dead stock” yarn (which is waste yarn from mills) for our hand knitted beanies and decided it was a great excuse to visit somewhere in the UK we hadn’t been before. The Peak District wasn’t too much of a detour and had all our favourite things in it - the outdoors, good food, even some art in a stately home.
Searching for the perfect place to stay was the first step. We wanted to be close to good walks and good food as we had limited time to explore, just a long weekend. We quickly came to the realisation that the Peak District was really quite large and that we’d have to chose just a part to explore.
We found the great little town of Baslow. It had great food available in it, a key requirement for us, and some great short walks not too far. We found a great little cottage, perfect for 2 people, through AirBnB called Ash Cottage (listed under Luxury Boutique Cottage).
The location was better than expected as we hadn’t realised just how close it was to Chatsworth House. We effectively went for a wander around the village and ended up stumbling upon it. Our first glimpse of Chatsworth wasn’t quite as dramatic as Elizabeth’s approach to Pemberley in the movie of Pride and Prejudice, but it was still pretty awe inspiring.
The next key step was working out which walks we could do with such limited time. We did a lot of research online and found Becky The Traveller’s information on Peak District Walks to be really useful, although we didn't end up following her suggested route. As we’re still really just big kids, and had limited time, we decided on a walk that took us to the Dovedale Stepping Stones. We’d been warned about crowds of people at them but as we were going to be there mid-week we hoped we would find it relatively quiet, so we fortunately avoided queuing to cross the stepping stones (although we did see a school group heading in that direction on our return to Milldale so it would have gotten a lot busier).
Being completely honest we had to time our walk to make sure that we made it in time for our lunch booking at the The George Alstonfield. Boy were we glad we did – the meal was absolutely delicious. With the social distancing and other requirements in place at the moment we’d recommend booking as soon as possible if you know you’ll be in the area.
On our return journey to Baslow we stopped and wandered around the pretty village of Tissington and then onto Bakewell to try the famous Bakewell Tart. Unless you have a very sweet tooth we’d recommend you share one – it was too sweet for us to really enjoy.
We decided that on this short adventure we should celebrate the first birthday of Asmuss, which was basically an excuse to eat somewhere with great food. We weren’t able to get into the Michelin starred restaurant at Fischer’s Baslow Hall as they were fully booked so we had our celebratory meal at The Gallery in the Cavendish Hotel a short walk from the cottage we were staying in. It was a fabulous meal and we had a great chat to our waiter throughout.
One of the key reasons a lot of people stay in Baslow, or even visit the Peak District, is to visit Chatsworth. We knew it had featured as Pemberley in Pride and Prejudice, but we knew pretty much nothing else. Not even that Chatsworth and the entire estate (including hotels and pubs) was owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Learning that did at least explain why there were some many pubs called the Devonshire Arms, one of which we visited at Beeley for a cask ale and some lovely chunking triple cooked chips.
We aren’t really stately home people but after much debate we did decide to get tickets to see both Chatsworth and its gardens. We’re really glad we did. There was a great exhibition based on dogs while were there but what we loved was that they didn’t shy away from having contemporary art alongside the more traditional art you’d expect in a stately home.
After a morning exploring the house and gardens we did a quick stop at the Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop to pick up a few local specialities including some Derbyshire Oatcakes (they reminded us of a cross between a pancake and a crumpet – perfect for breakfast). Then it was on the road in the rain to head back to London. We only experienced a small part of the Peak District so we will need to visit again and explore the more northern trails.
What to wear on a Peak District Long Weekend
Visiting the Peak District is a fantastic combination of walking, food and stately homes. For a day that combined hiking and eating fantastic food with a bit of rain thrown in the Asmuss Wide Leg Trousers or Panelled Trousers are perfect. They are comfortable in inbuilt stretch, don’t look like hiking trousers, are water resistant, quick trying and are stylish enough for you to feel good in fantastic gastro pubs like The George. They are also perfect for those days when you are on the road and want to feel comfortable but might also stop by a stately home to break up the journey.
For dinners out the Asmuss Asymmetric Dress in Black or Pine Green look elegant, keep you comfortable and also allow you to eat as much as you want, which is especially important when you are doing a degustation menu!