There’s nothing like a change of scenery to lift the spirits – and sometimes the perfect pick-me-up can be closer than you think…
The Peak District is right on our doorstep and, as golden autumn days turn into crisp winter nights, it’s a great chance to appreciate it – without the hordes of summer tourists. All you need is a pair of stout boots, a decent map and the promise of a good meal and a comfy bed at the end of the day.
We found just that at The Maynard in Grindleford: a stylish boutique hotel in the heart of the National Park.
The Maynard was built in 1908, with the advent of the railway, and outside its imposing grandeur has changed little since then. But inside, it’s a study of contemporary design, with a touch of luxury, ensuring the hotel retains its historical integrity while also cosseting its guests with 21st century comfort.
One of the best things about The Maynard is its setting. It’s the best view I’ve ever had from my bed – or my bath, come to that!
Our room is huge, a bold statement in fuchsia and mauve with polished oak floorboards. The focal point is a sumptuous bed, on which to sprawl and watch television, read, or simply admire the view. There’s also an elegant chaise longue and a feature bathroom, complete with his-and-hers basins and a roll-top slipper bath overlooking nearby woodland.
There’s something deliciously decadent about lying in the bath and enjoying a clear view of the spectacular Peak District countryside.
The Maynard is perfectly placed for Peak attractions at Chatsworth, Castleton, Bakewell and Buxton.
Even closer is Eyam, the historic ‘plague village’, whose local manor house has just been taken on by the National Trust.
Eleven generations of Wrights have lived in Jacobean Eyam Hall and it still has the intimate feel of a family home, with its portraits, furniture and personal belongings collected over the years. Also worth a visit is the adjoining craft centre, in the old stable block.
Less than a mile from The Maynard is Padley Gorge, which once set the boundary between Derbyshire and Yorkshire.
The hotel hands out directions for a four-mile stroll down the valley, taking in Burbage Bridge and the Longshaw estate with its gritstone outcrops and relics of stone circles.
After a day out in the fresh air, there’s nothing better than a hot bath and a glass of chilled wine… followed by a memorable meal in The Maynard’s two-AA-rosette restaurant.
Head chef Mark Vernon offers a range of contemporary dishes, freshly prepared by his team of chefs, using local produce.
Canapes of olives and popcorn, served in newspaper cones, set the scene for a four-course meal that includes savoury cheesecake; chilled essence of gazpacho; pancetta-wrapped cod loin fillet with chorizo-braised lentils; and raspberry parfait – all looking as good as they taste.
And after a good night’s sleep, there‘s more of the same as we tuck into a full Derbyshire breakfast before heading home.
Address: The Maynard, Main Road, Grindleford, Derbyshire S32 2HE
Contact: 01433 630321 or firstname.lastname@example.org
dogs: The Maynard is dog friendly and pets are admitted at a charge of £5 per night
Adventure breaks: Dinner, bed and breakfast plus activity from £95 per person per night
Activities: Include abseiling, caving, orienteering, canoeing, climbing, or visit Chatsworth (from £67 per night)
Eyam Hall: Main Rd, Eyam, Hope Valley S32 5QW
Contact: 01433 639565 or email@example.com
Open: 10.30am - 4pm until November 3, hall and garden closed Monday & Tuesday
Entry: £6.50 (£3.30)