The Peak District is a pretty area and, if you are staying in a pretty area, you really need to have a pretty hotel. Nancy searched out a place for us and came up with the Peacock Hotel. This is obviously an old hotel but it is certainly not showing its age (unless you count trying to find power outlets where you want them – there are some things that older places do have a problem with!).
The hotel had a variety of areas that could be used. Aside from the rooms, there was a nice hall area in which you could sit and relax if you wished to. There was also a nice little bar area which you could use ahead of going to the restaurant or in which you could eat from a pretty impressive menu. There was a little nook in the bar which we adopted while we were there.
The outside had a nice garden area that would have been nice to sit out in if the weather had been a bit warmer. The garden actually extended quite a way along the river and a little exploring took you down to some farm fields that were just beyond an old rail bridge that is now disused. I had a nice time exploring some of the gardens prior to heading out for some hiking.
As country estates go, Chatsworth House is probably up there as one of the more grand ones. Seat of the Duke of Devonshire, the estate is substantial and the house and grounds are quite something. We have visited on a number of occasions including touring the interior. While I don’t normally bother with the insides of these places, Chatsworth is certainly one that should be experienced. Some parts of the interior are quite stunning. This is not a collection of musty furniture that some long deceased monarch once slept on. This is a grandiose place.
This trip did not include an interior tour though. This was part of a hike that took us in to the grounds. It is fair to say that the distance we walked inside the grounds was actually longer than the rest of the hike but that is an example of how extensive they are. I will post separately about some aspects of the grounds as there are many different places that might fill up a single post. We had never explored the grounds so extensively before so some of these parts were new to us.
The house itself is a very grand structure. Located along the river with an attractive bridge leading you there, the setting is very impressive. Much of the surrounding countryside is elevated relative to the house so wherever you are, you get a view down to it. The effect is to remind you regularly of just how grand it is!
Imagine a stereotypical village in the Derbyshire Peak District – the sort of thing that might be snow covered on a Christmas card. The type of place that you think doesn’t really exist anymore other than in the minds of artists striving for some sort of tranquil setting for their work. Guess what – it does exist. Situated on the Chatsworth estate and right in the path of our hike is the village of Edensor. This is England so, of course, it isn’t pronounced the way it is spelt. It sounds more like Enzor.
As you walk down off the hills, you see the church spire in the distance so it isn’t hard to know where you are going. The village is small – a group of buildings off the main road through the estate. It appears to be a combination of converted large estate buildings and houses for the estate workers. Everything is built from stone and the lawns and roadsides are all beautifully maintained. I don’t know whether there are rules about how well you have to keep your garden or if it is just social pressure that does the trick but the place is immaculate.
We came in alongside the churchyard and walked down past some lovely houses. On one side appeared to be a converted stable block which was not accessible to the general public and on the other was a tea room but we did not check that out. This was just somewhere we were walking through en route to the main house at Chatsworth. I imagine on a sunny summer day Edensor is packed with people visiting. A slightly cloudy September makes for a far more peaceful visit.