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Christmas festivities start in Parwich

The Parwich Church, Hall & Legion are holding there Christmas Fayre on Sunday 4th December. The fayre will be opened by the Deputy Mayor, Councillor Denise Brown at 3pm. The church is open 3 – 5pm, the Hall and Legion 4-6pm. The Chameleon Choral Coir will perform in the Hall and the Legion and there will be lots of stalls with gifts decorations, cards, wreaths, homemade food raffles and homemade crafts and much more. A BBq is planned and there will be mulled wine in the church. To support the fayre we have put a decorated Christmas Tree from Orchard Farm and Tom and Douglas’s guests.img_0666

Additional attractions with Privilege Card

There are some new attractions added to the list of treats available with the Premier Cottages special privileges card. Amongst them are Renishaw Hall, Thornbridge Hall Gardens (new discounts), Hassop Station Cafe, Village Green Cafe Eyam, Carsington Water Sports and Leisure, Hartington Cheese Shop.

Bikes for our guests to use

Monsal Trail has been voted the UK’s favourite cycle route. We have 2 bikes and helmets that our guests can use. Monsal is just one of the many safe cycle routes around here.

Two Top Tips for 2014

Yesterday we had six bookings for 2014. The day before we had none, and – so far – today there have been none, but we do expect an increasing  flurry before the end of the year as everyone tries to book their holiday at this year’s prices, and very keen also to ensure they can get the dates they want. The saving is not that dramatic, but it’s enough to make it worth your while, added to the fact that there is nothing more encouraging than knowing one has something lovely to look forward to.

Read our top tips for 2014

Rooting Out Your Past

We are all fascinated about our origins – who and what made us the people we are now.

Genealogy is one of the fastest growing hobbies, apparently, second in America to cooking… The TV programme ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ has helped spark an extra surge of interest in this country.

Do you have a Derbyshire connection, read on…

‘A Truly Wonderful Week of Walking, Reading and Rest!’

John and I are enjoying a very brief little holiday of our own, staying with my brother in Devon. We always have a lovely time staying with him, but this time good weather has not been part of the mix. It is WET! So it it in Derbyshire we’re told, and if it’s any comfort, it’s apparently wet everywhere!

So it seems a good opportunity to warm us all up with an enthusiastic ‘guest blog’ copied word for word from an entry in the Tom’s Barn visitors’ book. We do love it when guests tell us what they have done and enjoyed during their stay; we try to keep up to date ourselves so we can make helpful recommendations to our guests but if we ate continually at pubs and did long walks daily we might not get much else done, ever, fun as it might be in the short term!

So here goes…

Everything is so accessible from this truly delightful base.

“A truly wonderful week of walking, reading and rest! Dove dale to Alstonefield by far the best (walk), breaking off at the excellent George for good food, wine and service.4 hours needed.

Other walks undertaken: Alstonefield to Mildale and back to the George! (2 hours) and Parwich to Tissington (3 hours). Iam Country Park well worth visiting, if for no other reason than to sample their excellent coffee and fresh pastries.

Ashbourne and Bakewell good for a stroll around if you want a break from walking, and a mooch around the shops.

The 8 1/2 mile round Carsington Water is a challenge (not as pretty as the Dovedale walk) but the coffee at the Visitors’ Centre is also excellent. By the way, views from the Ilam Park grounds are superb.

John and Marion excellent hosts.

No rational human being could fail to have a beautiful experience here.

M and N August 2013

More Fine Dining Recommendations from Tom’s and Douglas’s Barns

We’ve been very preoccupied during the last few days working on ideas for the newly rebranded Tom’s Barn website. Do hope it will be worth waiting for. It’s still some way off so meanwhile there is nothing other than my excuses to show for my silence on the blog.

However, we have not been so preoccupied that we could not find the time to accept our friends Gill and David’s suggestion that we have dinner with them a few evenings ago at the Duncombe Arms. The Duncombe Arms describe themselves very accurately as ‘a charming country pub with great food and drink’ and we’d been meaning to check them out for some time so were delighted to have the opportunity.

And on the strength of one delicious meal, with friendly service, we can certainly endorse that and happily recommend it to you all. It is at Ellastone, the other side of Ashbourne, on the road towards Uttoxeter so not exactly on the doorstep but a very relaxed 25 minute drive, and well worth it.

They are open every day for lunch and then dinner, although on Sundays and Bank Holidays you’d have to dine earlyish as they stop serving at 8pm. I should imagine it is always wise to book, but you might be all right for lunch – although it would always be better to give them a ring on 01335 324275 to check.

For all our guests it would be well worth considering, perhaps especially if you’re planning a day in Ashbourne, or going over to Staffordshire to explore the charming market town and antique centre of Leek (speaking as a website expert (!) the website is rather startlingly bright but nonetheless pretty informative at the same time!).

Drinking Award-Winning English Wine in a Derbyshire Vineyard

Sparkling wine from Renishaw IMG_5272Did you ever imagine setting off during your holiday in Tom’s and Douglas’s Barns to visit a Derbyshire vineyard? Or possibly even less likely, that you’d be drinking some very attractive English wines? Or even liking them so much that you bought some to drink at home…?

John and I did all three yesterday and thoroughly enjoyed it too! So that’s another thing to put that on your list of possible fun ‘To Dos’ while you are here.

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Derbyshire Wines at Renishaw

We went thanks to a Visit Peak District & Derbyshire invitation to go on a ‘Familiarisation’ vineyard tour at Renishaw Hall, ancient Derbyshire home of the Sitwell family.

We set off on a dull and definitely autumnal day, which had almost become sunny by the time we reached Renishaw, about an hour’s drive from here. We knew we’d have an interesting time, and were very glad at last to be visiting Renishaw. We weren’t too confident about the wine.

At the Ashbourne Show we had bought some “British Wine” from the Derbyshire Wine Company, and had not been impressed. At the time we had not fully appreciated the significance of the fact that term “British” wine merely indicated that it had been assembled in this country, from concentrates from abroad. English wine has been made in the country, from grapes grown and carefully nurtured in this country; the growers and the winemakers have much more control over everything, including of course the quality.

Tasting the Renishaw wines IMG_4605We learnt this and very much more during the course of a fascinating stroll through the Renishaw vineyards as Kieron Atkinson, winemaker and vineyard manager at Renishaw, explained about the cultivation of the vines, the trials and joys, of wasps and thrips rotting the grapes, good weather and bad playing occasional havoc, and – finally – the tender transforming of the grapes into a beautifully fresh and attractive wine, fit for any table.

We tasted three of their wines afterwards – a still white, and a white and a rose sparkling wine. There were lots of appreciative sighs and nods of approval as Kieron took us through the finer points of each, and a queue at the shop afterwards to buy some to take home.

English Wines from Renishaw IMG_5270

Our 3 English Wines from Renishaw

We came home with three bottles, all “drinking well now’ so there’s no need to hold back.

John and I both agreed that it was a splendid day out, interesting and informative. What a lot Derbyshire has to offer: We are so lucky to live where we do, with so many interesting places to visit and things to do for all our guests.

Finally, some useful information… Renishaw is a large house, but modest and very appealing in its ‘quietness’ when one is used to its more famous neighbours, Chatsworth, Haddon and Hardwick. The gardens are by all accounts beautiful but we didn’t have time to go round them. The house is still lived in by the Sitwell family – now represented by Alexandra, the daughter of Sir Reresby. It is only open for tours booked in advance for 12 noon or 1.30 on a Friday so it could well be an excellent holiday-extending-trip for people on their way to us or returning home, living north of us. It is out of the question for us as we are usually at our busiest on a Friday afternoon, so we will rely on you for reports! Please!

There are several wine tours arranged each summer; these too have to be booked in advance.

A Honeymoon to Remember

“We were looking for peace, quiet and luxury and here we found all three.” Tom’s Barn guests August 2013

Tom's & Douglas's Barns are perfect for honeymooners IMG_2650After all the hustle and bustle of the wedding, what next?

You could drive to an airport, queue interminably, go through all the customs and security checks, lose sleep, gain considerable stress and arrive at your destination frazzled and weary. Or you could decide, as many do, to avoid all that and drive for a few hours at the most, and start relaxing together immediately in the holiday cottage of your choice.

Now there are thousands of holiday cottages to choose from, and rather than us blow our trumpet let’s allow the guests (non-honeymooning, to be fair) that left Douglas’s Barn on Friday to do it for us. ‘We have stayed in many self-catering cottages in Derbyshire and Devon/Cornwall, but this is by far the best we have experienced to date”.

We have lots of happy honeymooners staying here, and we love having them.They have a blissful week, relaxing together after all the preparation and planning for the wedding. What better start to married life!

We have nothing to do with weddings themselves, although we will do all we can to make sure your honeymoon is the best. That might well mean nothing more than leaving you alone but we do that anyway: if you want to be sociable that’s fine but if you don’t, we understand – we’ll make ourselves scarce.

There’re lots of positive ways we can help you. Just let us know beforehand and we can recommend suppliers, give you contact numbers, or arrange whatever it is you want. If you want to arrange a special flower delivery we can help you with that; if you don’t want to have to bother with any shopping, you can order groceries through Waitrose and/or Riverford Organics and we’ll put it all away for you before you arrive.

Tissington Hall, IMG_2123

Tissington Hall and gardens

We can’t marry you, though. Fortunately, lots of people round here do have a licence. The nearest to us is Tissington Hall, which hosts many weddings; sometimes it is the whole caboodle, sometimes they just organise the reception. They have a specially built wedding marquee, set in a delightful trey space behind the hall.The first couple that got married there actually came here afterwards for their honeymoon, which all proved an excellent arrangement!

We bumped into Sir Richard Fitzherbert a couple of weeks ago, when the Hall was busy gearing up for a wedding and reception that afternoon. He very kindly showed us round, and most impressed we were too. The attraction of letting someone else look after the catering etc must be very tempting, as long as one can afford it!

Then of course, you can always come back here afterwards for the most perfect, peaceful and relaxing honeymoon anyone could wish for.

Top Tips from Tom’s Barn Guests: How to have a Truly Wonderful Week of Walking, Reading, (Eating) and Rest

A dozen subjects for blog posts is queuing up in my inactive brain, but – right to the top of the queue – I must stand aside for Mark and Nikki, who left Tom’s Barn today having written a wonderfully helpful resume of their week in the Visitors’ Book.

Mark and Nikki, like all our guests, were amazed by the wealth of things they found there was to do while they were here, and mostly right on the doorstep; they echoed Sue and Nick who left Douglas’s Barn last week after a packed fortnight without using their car at all. In fact Sue and Nick were so impressed by how much more they still wanted to do that – apparently most uncharacteristically – they plan to return. They usually prefer to try pastures new each time they go away, feeling they have exhausted local possibilities.

Mark and Nikki’s report will be so helpful to other guests wondering what to do, so I am repeating it more or less word for word, other than censoring one or two personal comments which modesty does not permit…

“A truly wonderful week of walking, reading and rest! (The walk from) Dovedale to Alstonefield by far the best, breaking off at the excellent George for good food, wine and service – four hours needed. Other walks undertaken: Alstonefield to Milldale and back to the George! (2 hours) and Parwich to Tissington and back (3 hours).

Ilam Country Park well worth visiting, if for no other reason than to sample their excellent coffee and fresh pastries. Ashbourne and Bakewell good for a stroll around if you want a break from walking and to have a mooch round the shops.

Everything is accessible from this truly delightful base! The 8 1/2 mile walk round Carsington Water is a challenge (not as pretty as the Dovedale walk) but the coffee at the Visitor Centre is also excellent unlike the horrible stuff they served us at Tissington, strangely enough. (Editor’s note: I hasten to say that everything at the Tissington Tearoom is usually delicious, in our experience…!

By the way, the views from Ilam grounds were superb. John and Marion excellent hosts.

No rational human being could fail to have a beautiful experience here. PS In case we forgot to mention it, do go to the George!


LATEST NEWS

  • What a great place to spend Christmas!

    There is still time to book a last minute Christmas get away in Douglas’s Barn. The weather may be cold but the barn is very warm and cosy. Why not treat yourselves to a get away from it all break. You can order all your supplies from one of the supermarkets, get it delivered and […]

  • 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 […]

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