Always a cosy refuge, but particularly in bad weather, this family-run, 17th-century coaching inn stands on the edge of the Peak District National Park, just north of the market town of Ashbourne. Besides the beautiful location, its charms include stripped wooden furniture, low beams, log-burning fires and an immediately friendly atmosphere. Real ales, mostly from local breweries, could include Dancing Duck, Derby, Peak, Whim and Wincle, or choose one of the excellent house wines. A typical menu includes chicken breast stuffed with chorizo farce wrapped in bacon with leek and Stilton sauce; mixed vegetable tagine and couscous; or poached fillet of hake with mash and prawn, samphire and white wine sauce. For children, there's spaghetti bolognese; and chicken korma with rice and naan. Among the local attractions is Carsington Water for fun activities.
Hearty home cooking and real ales to remember
- Children welcome
- Free Wifi
- Closed: 2
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About The area
The natural features of this central English county range from the modest heights of the Peak District National Park, where Kinder Scout stands at 2,088 ft (636 m), to the depths of its remarkable underground caverns, floodlit to reveal exquisite Blue John stone. Walkers and cyclists will enjoy the High Peak Trail which extends from the Derwent Valley to the limestone plateau near Buxton, and for many, the spectacular scenery is what draws them to the area.
The county is well endowed with stately homes – most notably Chatsworth, the palatial home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, with its outstanding collections of paintings, statuary and art. Other gems include the well preserved medieval Haddon Hall, the Elizabethan Hardwick Hall, and Kedleston Hall, whose entrance front has been described as the grandest Palladian façade in Britain.
The spa town of Matlock is the county’s administrative centre and other major towns of interest include Derby and the old coal mining town of Chesterfield, with its crooked spire. Around the villages of Derbyshire, look out for the ancient tradition of well dressing, the decorating of springs and wells – the precious sources of life-sustaining water – with pictures formed from flowers.
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