A Place to Stay and Some Things to Do on a Short Break Near Matlock: I liked it and you might too

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Snappy title, huh? By way of an explanation, we recently enjoyed a two-night break in Derbyshire, and while I’m far too lazy to write the detailed reviews and travelogs with which the Internet is amply blessed, I thought it worthwhile to give a bullet-point version of our itinerary for your consideration and future reference.

  • Disclaimer: If you hate any or indeed all of these places don’t blame me.
  • Tip: Since I’m also too lazy to give relevant links you’ll have to look them up yourself by the wonder of Googleology.

So…

Chatsworth House: Think grand, sweeping gardens with a few surprises, historical house, nice place for a picnic. Teenagers would definitely love it *cough*.

Willersley Castle Hotel: Bargain B & B (via LateRooms.com) with pool, table tennis, woodland walks and decent breakfast if slightly disorganised service. Only two-star as there’s no TV in your room but who cares? Beautiful setting, big, comfortable room.

Matlock Bath: Home, it seems, to its very own illuminations, not to mention the Heights of Abraham. But we ignored that, and stared for a minute or two instead at the fairly well-stocked fishpond, opposite a pub called, aptly enough, the Fishpond. The pub boasts a decked beer garden with its own (admittedly smaller) fishpond fed from the spa spring. And it sells Thatcher’s Gold cider, which led to me having my first ever pre-midday pint.

Cromford Mills: We walked back from Matlock Bath to Willersley Castle by road to Cromford, where you can explore the history of Arkwright’s pioneering cotton mills, if you like that sort of thing – which, in these middle-aged days, we do.

The Greyhound, Cromford: A decent dinner for less than £5 each (before 6:30 p.m.). An old coaching inn with articles about its history on the wall. Gives you something to read while waiting for food 🙂

National Stone Centre: A low-key visitor centre a few minutes outside Cromford built in quarrying country. Walks, a shop selling minerals and, wait for it, The Millennium Wall – samples of over a dozen different styles of dry stone walling from all round the UK. For some reason our children couldn’t quite believe we found it interesting.

So there you have it. A successful expedition, even if marred by hearing reports of street riots. The afternoon rain also didn’t spoil our fun, the time being filled with table tennis, swimming, backgammon and chess. Just don’t ask me if I won any of the games.

Until the next exotic travel report, farewell.

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