The Peacock at Rowsley
“Inventive modern take on country-house cooking” - AA Inspector
Our Inspector's view
The Peacock was originally a manor house, built in 1652, and has been a hotel since the 1830s. It’s part of the Haddon Hall Estate (make sure you visit Haddon while you’re in the area, a truly fabulous Tudor building) and is the perfect size – just fifteen bedrooms and a properly cosy, comfortable place. It’s ideally situated between Matlock and Bakewell, handy for Chatsworth and the Peak District National Park. Interiors are comfortable, with plenty of polished wood and stone walls, period features and an intimate dining room. Here you’ll find traditional portraits in oil and walls in dark plum and lime green for a slightly contemporary twist on the country-house look, with chunky, unclothed tables, crisp linen napkins, and quite a formal atmosphere, the setting for head chef Dan Smith’s inventive modern British menus. These change seasonally, and are creative and technically nimble, making excellent use of produce from the kitchen gardens as well as locally reared organic meats from nearby estates. The a la carte might offer starters of Isle of Wight tomatoes with watermelon, elderberry vinegar, and native lobster, or Norfolk quail and ham ballotine, girolles, artichoke and liver parfait on toast. A carrot salad, with walnut, nasturtium pesto, raisins and crème fraiche makes a good vegetarian alternative. Mains could take in local lamb, spiced aubergine, courgette, mint and pistachio dressing, or roast potato terrine with crispy egg, grilled onions, cheddar custard, Bakewell oyster mushrooms, tarragon and mushroom sauce. When it comes to dessert you might choose the warm raspberry financier, apricot, almond, amaretto soft scoop, honey or maybe the cherry and chocolate semifreddo with caramelised white chocolate ice cream, kirsch and vanilla cream. The wine list is short but well chosen, with a good choice by the glass.
Awards, accolades and Welcome Schemes
Facilities – at a glance
- Seats: 56
- Private dining available
- On-site parking available
- Wheelchair accessible
- Steps for wheelchair: 2
- Accessible toilets
- Assist dogs welcome
- Open all year
- Days Closed: Bank holiday Monday
- Lunch served from: 12
- Lunch served until: 2
- Dinner served from: 7
- Dinner served until: 9
- Wines under £30: 4
- Wines over £30:
- Wines by the glass: 16
- Cuisine style: Modern British
- Vegetarian menu
Also in the area
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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