Romantic cottages for two in the Peak District

Self Catering accommodation in Derbyshire map
Call us on
01335 390 519
Toms Barn on Facebook Toms Barn on Twitter

Parwich ‘One of the best place to live in Britain’!

According to the Sunday Times, Parwich is one of the best 50 places to live in Britain!

Come and see for yourselves, and make the most of it with a stay in Tom’s and Douglas’s Barns. Robert and myself are thoroughly enjoying life in Parwich and its surroundings and totally agree with it being one of the best places to live. We look forward to meeting all the lovely people that visit the barns as well as getting to know the people who live in this lovely village.

To top it all there is a welcoming village pub, The Sycamore, that has earned its place in the Good Food Guide 2015.

There are still some short breaks available to book in Douglas’s Barn before the peak season starts early April or why not experience a longer stay in one of our lovely peak district cottages.


‘The best holiday accommodation we have ever stayed in’

Do you believe in TripAdvsaor?

‘The best’, ‘perfection’, ‘luxury…’. What does that mean to you and me?

It is hard to strike a balance, between a discreet modesty and blatant bragging but I am afraid today this will be nearer blatant bragging than we feel comfortable with. However, we were very delighted to read this latest review on TripAdvisor, written by guests who stayed recently in Douglas’s Barn. We were particularly delighted, because they told before they left us that they had stayed in many holiday cottages, were hard to please and had often been disappointed, which makes their comments all the more pleasing!

TripAdvisor is often feared, or decried, and one can only imagine how upsetting it must be to receive malicious reports from competitors or from guests who may well have behaved very badly during their visit to a bargain basement establishment somewhere that tuns out – rather unsurprisingly, to be rather unattractive. And of course there are always tales of employers churning out gushing, ecstatic reviews of their own accommodation.

I don’t know about you, but John and I certainly always consult TripAdvisor before booking somewhere to stay, or to eat. It is easy to spot and immediately discount the one-off angry blast or the very suspicious glowing comments that could only have come from the pen of someone in the know.

Also one decides what is important. Whenever we check out somewhere local  before recommending it to our guests, John always insists on inspecting the Gents. He reckons that if they can’t keep their loos clean, there isn’t much hope for their kitchen hygiene either, never mind anything else. I couldn’t agree more, but am equally concerned that everywhere – including the Gents but I have to take his word for that – looks and smells clean and that the service is sincerely friendly, not forced  ‘friendly’ or even worse, ‘They’ve booked, so we don’t need to bother any more…”. If we’re considering booking a restaurant table, I am very concerned to read about the quality of the food. It’s no good going somewhere  sweet smelling, with spotless Gents’ loos if the food is dull or badly cooked.

However, one can’t always visit in person, and like many, I am more influenced by other users’ reports of what they actually experienced rather than the glowing description of facilities by the biassed owner/manager who has never tried them out for himself and in his enthusiasm risks -inviting disappointment, by over-promising the delights.

So, we are very happy to use TripAdvisor and are very grateful for nice comments written there by our Tom’s and Douglas’s Barn guests. Thank you!

I shall write a post soon, I fear, trying to define more clearly  what we mean by ‘The best’, ‘perfection’, ‘luxury’ ‘top quality’ – all descriptions that we hear about Tom’s and Douglas’s Barns…


Some Guests’ Comments from Dog-Friendly Tom’s Barn

Orchard Farm suntrap

Basking in the sunshine outside Tom's & Douglas's Barns

You don’t have to have a dog to enjoy a wonderful holiday in Tom’s Barn. Many but by no means all of our Tom’s Barn guests do come with a dog, or two, but we do our very best to ensure, especially for non- dog owners that you wouldn’t ever guess that we did accept dogs. That is why we charge a bit extra for dogs because it takes real effort, time and dedication (ask Janet!) to erase all doggy traces however well behaved and well-groomed the dog, however careful the owners…

“The best equipped, stocked and presented cottage we have ever stayed in, thank you! So many great walks, both from Parwich and also within easy reach – the walks folder was so helpful. Great food and atmosphere at the George, Alstonefield; Chatsworth lives up to its reputation. So much more to see and do – we hope to return some time.” Aug 2011

“Thank you, both, we had a lovely holiday and what lovely weather we had: sunshine every day! Tom’s Barn is so relaxing, everything is perfect. I loved the flowers and Simon the jam and coconut tart and the marmalade. Great location for visiting all the lovely villages… Ashbourne Park great for the dog – it was Samson’s favourite place.” Aug 2011

“2nd visit and just as lovely as the first! Nice to relax in a wonderful barn after long walks with Benny. So many people return year after year which says volumes for how lovely it really is. We too will come back for another great holiday.” Aug 2011

“ The best equipped, stocked and presented cottage we have ever stayed in, thank you! So many great walks, both from Parwich and also within easy reach – the walks folder was so helpful. Great food and atmosphere at the George, Alstonefield; Chatsworth lives up to its reputation. So much more to see and do – we hope to return some time.” Aug 2011

“Thank you, both, we had a lovely holiday and what lovely weather we had: sunshine every day! Tom’s Barn is so relaxing, everything is perfect. I loved the flowers and Simon the jam and coconut tart and the marmalade. Great location for visiting all the lovely villages… Ashbourne Park great for the dog – it was Samson’s favourite place.” Aug 2011

‘We loved every minute – a week with no rain, too. Not our first visit, nor will it be our last.’ July 2011

Shimmy visited recently

Many thanks, Marion and John, for a lovely stay. The cake was a lovely treat on arrival, and you have thought of everything to make our stay as comfortable as possible! We can recommend a lovely dog-friendly pub – the Packhorse in Crowdecote – great food and ale and a very warm welcome. Thank you again!’ July 2011

“Another lovely stay at Tom’s Barn. We visited in December when everything was covered in snow – lovely to see here in summertime. Chatsworth is a great place to visit – dog friendly, excellent walks. Relaxing and very comfortable and peaceful as ever. Thank you.’ July 2011

‘As usual, we didn’t want to leave.’ June 2011

Rachel and Greg's Poppy

Finally, as far as the dog-friendly business goes, we are so lucky in the village because there is a lovely young woman called Delia Pegg who for a fee which will depend on the dog/s and what you want doing. She will dog sit/walk/groom which can be very convenient if you want a dog-free spell for any reason. Phone her on 01335 390 758 or 07773 487 882 – she is very busy so you’d need to give her lots of warning.

Did You Have a Good Time?

Contemporary comfort in Douglas's BarnHere are some of the latest excerpts from comments left in the Douglas’s Barn Visitor’s Book. Occasionally (but we haven’t here) we might add a comment made in an email. We put the date but not the name but all comments are quite genuine and can be seen here. We do not sit it here making them up!

‘What a super, relaxing week. Lovely walks, stunning countryside – and a smashing place to stay with a warm welcome…The best Premier Cottage we’ve stayed in!! Thank you.’ Aug 2011

‘As ever, a lovely stay, with all the little extras. Weather was glorious so what more could we ask… Thanks again!’ H&G

‘Thank you for all the comforts provided in this lovely cottage and especially thank you…for your welcome and all the little extras provided, and fresh flowers, marmalade, good reading and the photo opportunity! We have thoroughly enjoyed this week in Parwich.’ July 2011

‘We have had an excellent stay. Even though we were well informed about what we would find at Douglas’s Barn, it still manages to exceed all of our expectations. We will be back (hopefully to also enjoy some more sunshine). Thank you very much.’ July 2011

‘Idyllic third visit. 10 walks from the barn, plus one at Ilam. Such a perfect place to relax.’ July 2011

‘Absolutely brilliant! From the moment we walked in, we loved it! So well equipped and tastefully decorated. An absolute delight. Thank you so much. Can’t wait to come back soon!’ July 2011

‘We booked our first stay in Douglas’s Barn a year ago – a long time to wait but it has far exceeded all our expectations. From the moment we were greeted by Marion and John everything has been more than perfect (including the weather!). So many extra touches – we both really loved our Bakewell tart – we will return for that alone! The week has gone far too quickly and it will be sad to leave this gorgeous cottage in the most idyllic surroundings, but we will return.’ June 2011

‘Our second stay at Douglas’s Barn and it’s still as wonderful as ever. It has been a thoroughly relaxing and welcome break.’ June 2011

Douglas’s Barn – Some Recent Comments from our Visitors’ Books

Here are some snippets, all taken word for word from the Visitors’ Book this year – there are more but this will do for the moment!

“A wonderful barn with a wonderful welcome – the cake was delicious! Well worth the walk to Tissington for the most tasty sausages. A peaceful and relaxing break…hope to be back in the summer.” Feb 2011

‘Thank you for a wonderful weekend, it has been very special for us. We didn’t know the true meaning of relaxation until we visited. We hope to return soon to this beautiful barn and peaceful little village.” Feb 2011

“I knew this place would be special but the ‘little extras’ really make this time away an exquisite luxury…We’ll be back!” Feb 2011

“:…the cottage was amazing and we have had an amazing few days – a birthday to remember!” Feb 2011

“We have had a gorgeous, restful stay in the most beautiful little cottage. Couldn’t have asked for anything more. We will definitely be back! Thank you!” Feb 2011

“A fantastic cottage in a lovely location! We had a brilliant three days and will definitely return and recommend! Thanks very much for all the lovely touches – really is a lovely place!” Jan 2011

“Our second visit and just as good as last year but with a little less snow! We had a wonderful relaxing break and thanks to Marion and John for their hospitality. We will no doubt return.” Jan 2011

Tom’s Barn – A Selection of this year’s Visitors’ Book Comments

Here is the latest selection of comments, mostly taken from our Tom’s Barn Visitors’ Book. Occasionally we may slip in a comment from en email received, but wherever from, we absolutely promise that they are all genuine. Douglas’s Barn’s to follow shortly.

“What a fantastic cottage! All the small details – flowers, informative files and beautiful pictures make this the best cottage I have ever stayed in. PS The cake is to die for!” March 2011

“Another wonderful visit (our sixth), this time for a whole week! We highly recommend the George at Alstonefield and we had a lovely walk from the car park at Dovedale around Ilam – the view from the coffee shop at Ilam Hall is stunning. Thank you once again to John, Marion and Janet for making Tom’s Barn so welcoming, and the marmalade was delicious!” Feb 2011

“A superb cottage, very well equipped – the most spacious two-berth we have stayed in and just the place to celebrate a ‘big’ birthday in. Look forward to returning for a summer break.” Feb 2011

“Thanks, John and Marion, for the lovely welcome with added extras… Tom’s Barn was more than we expected and was as near to home as we could get; as the website so rightly says, ‘Just bring clothes, supplies and yourselves’. We had a wonderful relaxing week and we certainly would come again.” Jan 2011

“Lovely relaxing break, thank you. Tom’s Barn is an excellent location and your exceptional welcome, flowers, stove and tray made it even more special.” Jan 2011

“Tom’s Barn is simply perfect – look forward to seeing you for visit no 7! Definitely recommend Topnosh Catering, for dinner delivered to the door. Thanks Marion and John, for the warmest of welcomes.” Jan 2011

“A superbly appointed cottage, set in idyllic surroundings. We enjoyed miles of terrific walks, mostly from the doorstep. Thank you to John and Marion, our generous hosts, who must have put so much thought and effort into this wonderful cottage.” Jan 2011

Reader’s Tip in BBC Countryfile Magazine Dec 2009

We had hoped to be able to give you a link to the BBC Countryfile Magazine feature on the Peak District where this Reader’s Tip appears,  but have discovered that this is not possible. Although there is a website  one cannot access articles (nor readers’ tips!) because otherwise I imagine they’d never sell any magazines.

So the best we can do, with the blessing of Fergus Collins the Countryfile Magazine editor, is to reproduce the  tip below, and give you the link to the online magazine for a general browse.

“Tom’s Barn, Parwich
I would recommend Tom’s Barn, two gorgeous barns on the edge of a beautiful Peak District village with walks from the door. We went there for our honeymoon.”
Sam Temple-Scotton
BBC Countryfile Magazine, December 2009

To read the article on the Peak District you have to buy the current (December) edition, which we urge you to do and keep for reference if you are interested in our lovely part of the world – and who could not be?

And meanwhile, once again, thank you to Sam, although we gather there was  initial concern from some quarters  that she had revealed what should have remained a well-kept secret!

Visitrac: What could we have improved?

Is there anything that we could have done to make your stay more enjoyable? (Again, completely unedited)

  • was just about as perfect as you can get for holidays of this nature unless the proprietors can exert some control over the weather …:)))
  • 1. An indoor recycling bin, to keep recycling separate before taking it out
  • 2. A foldaway suitcase stand to put the suitcase on
  • a few minor problems
  • a) a degree in Mech eng is need to understand the washing machine no matter how hard we tried it just washed on and on for nearly 3 hrs and then went on drying for even more.
  • b) definatley a dripping tap in the cuboard next to bathroom, can hear it really loud in the early hours drove us a bit potty.
  • c)we always find it a bit disappointing to be told not to arrive before 4pm and then leave before 10am. We thing in any B & B or SC leave by 11am arrive after 2 pm is more appropriate. These times eem to have become more and more unreasonable over the years in many eatabishments, we really do think that it is a major problem.
  • A tiny thing and probably not actionable – I love a strong hot shower in the morning but the barn just cannotprovide that due to head room. Tha bath was amazing though – and I can live without a power shower for a week!
  • All needs and wants were anticipated and expectations were exceeded!
  • better weather!!
  • Flat screen tv in bedroom
  • No
  • No – everything was perfect!
  • no – thank you.
  • No it was perfect
  • No it was super.
  • No!
  • No, it was perfect!
  • No.
  • -it would be nice to have the ?glass topped table back by the settee (Douglas)-nowhere for cups otherwise.
  • -I’d like one sharp knife-maybe the carver-could mark box as ‘caution, sharp knife'(That’s the sort of silly thing
  • that’s done today, in case people don’t realise that knives cut!) This is very much a pesonal foible- I’m derided at home for obsessional sharpening, following which we all cut ourselves. This is not, however, a complaint, nor even a criticism!
  • Not a thing overall. Improve the weather and we could have made use of barbeque and sat outside in the garden a little more.
  • nothing
  • Nothing at all
  • Nothing, it was great!
  • o
  • Only real problem was the bath. Shower screen blocked from opening outwards, making it extremely difficult to reach the tap at the far end. Felt it was a health and safety issue – overstretching (I’m 5’6″ with reasonably long arms)to turn tap on/off and especially when reaching over a bath full of hot water. Alternative was to run it full of warm water then get it and add more hot, not ideal but this also posed a problem as the water comes into the bath from the side which means that if it’s hot you have to stand/kneel away from the flow to avoid hot water running directly onto your thigh/hip area. Would have been far better to be able to access the tap more easily and have the water coming in from the far end instead of the side.
  • Only slight niggle was that the sitting area had a slight smell of dog when we arrived but this passed after the first day or so (I’d recommend non-pet owners to book Douglas’ barn, which we would do if we returned).
  • Organise better weather!
  • Our little garden could have benefited from a little more maintenance, but that is only a very small niggle. The barbecue was very welcome.
  • Our stay was perfect
  • Our stay was so enjoyable there was everything you could wish for in Tom’s Barn, even things for a rainy day
  • Provided a thermos flask to take on walks.
  • Bathroom sink plug not raising enough to allow for sink to drain.
  • Slightly more comfortable bed
  • The central heating was quite noisy starting up early in the morning. Not a huge problem but if we were there for more than 3 nights probably would have asked for it to be reset to come on later.
  • The only complaint I could make is about the dirt coming out of the bath.
  • The only thing we would have changed was the mattress on the bed – it was a pretty uncomfortable. We run our own B&B and have Pocket Spring and Vi-Spring mattresses and these are much better and have a life-time guarantee
  • The shower pressure was very low
  • There was some problem with wasps. Some better form of control might have been desirable.
  • We genuinely cannot think of anything!
  • We had a problem with the water running too slowly out of the bath when we had showers.
  • We think you have the balance just right.
  • We were lucky to have good weather when we stayed at Douglas’s Barn and found the duvet too warm and rather heavy. Maybe a lower tog quilt or a top sheet for visitors to use in the summer months if they so wished.

Visitrac: What was particularly good about your cottage?

IMG_9013Is there anything you felt was particularly good about this property? (Completely unedited!)

everything in property you could wish for.Extra touches like bread, milk, eggs,butter, homemade shortbread on arrival, toiletries in bathroom made us feel we were special.

The standard of cleanliness..the customer service…the provision of facilities

.the kitchen equipment was excellent, as was the library.

A home from home feeling.

Attention to detail – flowers, warm welcome & homemade cakes, also provision of basics such as bread, milk, eggs, butter, tea & coffee, etc. Very much appreciated on a short break. Overall a wonderful cottage in a lovely location.

Beautiful cottage, with some very nice touches with flowers & herbs. Also robes in the bedroom and lovely towels.

Cosy and warm , but not tiny and crowded!

Douglas’s Barn is extremely well equipped – it feels like a bit of luxury way from home. It is so peaceful there – it is my favourite place to stay in the UK and I never want to come home. Marion & John are so welcoming and charming and are always so helpful.

Every detail had been thought of, making Douglas’ Barn not only a home from home but also a genuinely luxurious holiday home.

every thing was as i expected


Everything about the cottage itself was lovely. In addition, as a dog owner, it was perfectly situated with suitable walks literally from the doorstep.

Everything about Tom’s Barn was excellent, we have already booked for two weeks next May

Everything was excellent. The advance information sent to us was first class and most helpful.

Everything was good! Tom’s Barn is beautiful, it’s furnished to a high standard and kept extremely clean. It’s in a stunning location and is very peaceful. The owners are discrete yet on hand for valued information of the area.

Everything was simply idyllic

Excellent fixtures and fittings. Food and cooking materials provided. Very pleasant welcome and help from the owners. Good arrangements for the delivery of milk and newspapers. Excellent arrangements for recycling

Friendliness of the owner and cleaniness

Great attention to detail

Many thoughtful touches. eg Excellent books and information available.Also, the very high quality of most things, from TV to cutlery.

It felt SO homely- all the comforts of home but with amazing walks literally from the doorstep.

The attention to detail and focus on excellence in every area.

Everything you could need was provided.

The little extras to start you off were great, eg tea, biscuits, bread, butter, eggs, milk etc.

The fire place was great – it made the trip for winter.

The details sent ahead of time enabled us to reserve restaurants and plan our trip.

The General facilities in the cottage were very good and easy to use (especially the boot driers which came in very handy.

The kitchen (including utensils and basic food provided), the general atmosphere/ambience was very welcoming/cosy/comfortable

The kitchen was very well eqipped; nice music system; great hairdryer; pretty dishes; very homey feel;comfy bed; wonderful bathroom;

The little extras provided (basic foods, dressing gowns, toiletires, provision of washing and cleaning materials etc) made a real difference. It was like staying in a good qulaity hotel, but with self-catering facilities!

The overall of the property well deserves five star. Very clean and the feel was warm and cozy.

the overall quality and feel of the property – everything you needed in teh kitchen. Such a cosy feel – felt like a haven.

The information provided about the area

the owners are delightful, the location breathtaking . the building itself really restored with care & thought .with friendliest local pub (the gate}near by

The owners have thought of eveything! Such lovely touches such as the home made cake, tea, milk ,eggs, bread and butter on arrival. Even down to the dressing gowns in the bedroom – it was all so very well thought out.

The log burner just made the stay perfect! What a wonderful find. I would highly recommend this property.

The owners were very helpful both before and during our visit. It was lovely to have basic groceries, e.g. stock cubes, rice, kitchen foil etc. in the cupboards plus all necessary washing supplies as in most places we have stayed we have either had to bring them from home or go out and buy them when only using a small quantity if any at all.

The position is good for a dog owner, the welcome was good and the barn is very well equiped.

The property was very well equipped.

The standard of fictures and fittings and attention to detail.

The two seater whirlpool bath!

The warmth and genuiness of the owners.

The welcoming touches, flowers, biscuits, milk etc, were much appreciated after our long journey. The friendliness of everyone, a typical village atmosphere.

The whole package was excellent, right from booking. The information received about the property (how to get there, what was there etc.), the greeting, including fresh flowers and cake (the cake was quite fantastic!!), and the overall stay was wonderful. The surroundings were idylic. You are very lucky to live there!

The small guide book to Parwich, including a walk around the village, was a very welcome addition, and kept us occupied around the village for a whole afternoon (the village itself is, and I hope remains, a hidden gem!).

Overall, very, very pleased.

Tom’s Barn is a very relaxing place, littel touches like home made cakes, music playing and a fire lit on arrival.

Total peace and relaxtion

very enjoyable experiance- lots of special touches including tea and homemade cake when we arrived.

Very friendly welcome. A very relaxing place to stay.

Very well equipped. It had been well thought out so there was everything you might need.

we found Marion &john delightful hoasts ,nothing was too much trouble

We had a fantastic time and were impressed by the quality of every aspect of the accommodation. The kitchen was really well stocked too!

We love Toms Barn. The cottage is perfect with everything you could need. John and Marion are perfect hosts with the perfect balance between being welcoming and leaving you to enjoy the peace of your holiday.

We thought everything about Tom’s Barn was excellent.

Visitrac: Would you return?

How likely are you to re-book a stay at this property?

Don’t know 1 1%

Not very likely 3 4%

Quite likely 22 29%

Very likely 49 65%

At least one of the ‘Not very likely’ responses was because they were in the process of moving to the area… This is another example where one hopes there could possibly be a reason for an apparently luke-warm response.


  • Time for a short pre Christmas break

    Time to get a bit of relaxation before the Christmas mayhem. There are still short breaks available in Douglas’s Barn. Plenty going on in the Peak District. Lots of Christmas markets selling lovely gifts that you don’t see elsewhere. Chatsworth House is also a must at this time of year. There are plenty of stories […]

  • A busy Sunday in the Peak District

    Lots of events to go to in and around Parwich today but managed to get to the Horticultural Show in Parwich and the Hartington Show. Missed out on the Antiques in Ashbourne though which is always worth going to. Izzy did better than me by getting 1st prize as the Prettiest Bitch at Hartington Show […]

  • Time to book a last minute Autumn break.

    So the sun may not be shining at the moment but we are going into one of my favorite times of year – AUTUMN. If the weather follows previous years we are in for a lovely September and October and even November can still be delightful. This time of year attracts reduced rate for some […]

Get in touch

Call us on

01335 390 519

our contact methods

use our contact form

Toms Barn on Facebook Toms Barn on Twitter

Premier Cottages