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How to Make Your Holiday in Tom’s & Douglas’s Barns Last Longer

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Parwich, with Orchard Farm at the top straight ahead

Just because you can’t clock into your barn of choice until 3pm on the day of your arrival doesn’t mean your holiday in the Peak District can’t start well before then… Similarly, just because we have to ask you to leave by 10am on the morning of your departure, it doesn’t mean you can’t linger longer in the area. (And yes, it really does take every bit of the five hours between 10am and 3pm to get the holiday cottages thoroughly thoroughly ‘bottomed’ as it is rather inelegantly called when a place is reallycleaned, from top to toe.)

We’ll concentrate on your first day, assuming that by the time you leave you will have got a good idea of what you’d prefer to spend your last day doing and you won’t need any ideas from us.

Let’s also establish that you won’t spend your precious time shopping for essentials. We provide all the basics and ‘little extras’ and a very good idea is to have preordered what you think you’ll need from Riverford or Waitrose, to be delivered, checked and put away for you before your arrive. We will have sent you the links and how to do this before you come.

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The Famous Dovedale Stepping Stones

So, no shopping unless your idea of bliss is scouring Ashbourne for antiques or visit the numerous excellent bookshops in the area. For a full choice of what there is available to do in the area have a look at our ‘Out and About’ page on our website. We have had some great reports from guests who have spent the best part of the day at Chatsworth, or Haddon Hall (do check, neither is open in the beginning of the year until March/Easter time. Others have planned a long walk and when they arrive the first thing they do is tumble into a hot bath before they sit by the fire and eat their welcome tray cake. Depending on where they’re coming from guests have stopped off at Sudbury where the National Trust Museum of Childhood is very fascinating for all ages, Lyme Park in Cheshire, Hardwick Hallcoming from the north.

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A Heron, patiently waiting for that fish

However, coming as you are to such beautiful walking countryside, with great pubs, this is what we would choose to do ideally… We’d aim to arrive in Ashbourne as early as possible we’d check in to Bramhalls’ Deli and Cafe on the market place for a sustaining – and delicious – breakfast (8am – 11 am) and maybe grab the chance to buy a gourmet delicacy or two to keep cool in the car until you arrive here. There is a convenient car park opposite.

Then we’d drive to the Dovedale Car Park and walk up along the Dove to Milldale where you could buy a coffee or cool drink but possibly you’ll save yourself for the delicious lunch at the George, at Alstonefield that you have planned.

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Homemade cake to welcome you

By the time you have enjoyed this at leisure, and strolled down the route you came back to your car (look out for the heron, and lots of wild flowers usually) it will probably be way past 3pm, so with no more time to lose, come to us (left onto the A515 briefly, then right to Parwich via Alsop-en-le-Dale, a rather charming hamlet with an elegant hall on the left as you drive towards Parwich). This is a typical country lane, quite narrow and not always room for two cars to pass, so don’t rush: you may well meet sheep or a tractor or cars coming the other way.

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It’s quite an adventure getting into the bath!

Once in Parwich and following the map we’ll have already sent you, you quickly reach Tom’s and Douglas’s Barn at Orchard Farm where we’ll be waiting to welcome you. Depending on the season your fire will be lit/on and lights on, and always homemade cake on the tea tray and music playing. You’ll already feel at home, having made excellent use of your first day here, the first of many even happier ones, we hope!

By the way, this might be our first choice but it is by no means the only suggestion. You may well have even more tempting suggestions. What would yours be?

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