It’s Our 10th Anniversary!
Wow, what a decade it has been! I can’t quite believe that ten years have passed since we opened the doors of Riverside House to our first guests. So much has happened over that time, we’ve been privileged to welcome some wonderful families and groups to our cottages, and we’ve never stopped trying to improve and offer a fantastic service to everyone who stays with us.
The History of Riverside House
We can’t talk about the history without first introducing ourselves. I first met my husband at University in the early 80s, and we’ve been travelling to the Peak District ever since. Over the next 20 years we, along with our friends and growing families, got to know this beautiful part of the country extensively.
We stayed in a variety of places and developed a very clear idea of what makes a great holiday cottage. So when the opportunity arose to purchase Riverside House in 2005, we knew just how to make it work.
Interestingly, the house was previously called Sam’s House after the lady who used to live there. It has a rich history, dating back 200 years to the days of the Mill. Back then it had a humble existence as a hay barn.
An extension had been built in 2004, but when we purchased the house, it was lacking in a lot of basic amenities. In fact, there was no kitchen, no log fire, no garden, and the stairs to the bedrooms were back to front! What is now the game room had been taken over by swallows – luckily it wasn’t nesting season at the time. We had to replace the window to stop them coming back.
After six months of renovations to get the house up to our standards, we welcomed our first guests in May 2006.
We loved it so much that we opened our second holiday cottage, Valley View, in 2010 (so there’s still a few years to go before we have another 10th anniversary to celebrate)!
Riverside House is located in Litton Mill, which is somewhat infamous – it was one of the most notorious Mills during the Industrial Revolution to use child labour. The Mill has been restored and is now home to some lovely apartments – a long way from its past!
Another fabulous feature is the River Wye. Riverside House is on the Mill Race, which would have turned the Mill Wheel back when it was operational. The water, with a small island in the middle, is fast flowing and delightful. Even better, you can sit and watch it go by from the house’s garden.
In addition, you have the nearby Monsal Trail, just a stone’s throw from Riverside House. The Trail is now fully opened, including the amazing tunnels from the old railway line, offering gorgeous traffic-free cycling and walking opportunities.
The Future for Riverside House
Ten years is a long time, and we like to keep on top of things at our holiday homes. We’re rather picky, having spent many years staying at homes all over the Peak District and learning what we like.
Currently we’re just wrapping up some refurbishment works at Riverside House, to make things even better:
We’ve remodelled the kitchen, completely taking out the hand-made wooden units to restore and re-varnish them. We’ve also put in a new granite work surface, 2 new fridges, and a new dishwasher.
We’ve added underfloor heating in the kitchen and dining room – perfect for keeping warm during the colder months. There’s nothing quite like a heated kitchen floor on a frosty morning.
We’ve put in new flooring in the kitchen and dining room (to go with the underfloor heating), and new carpets in the upstairs bedrooms, stairs and hallways.
We’ve insulated the exterior walls in the kitchen and dining room – we’re very keen to make the house as cosy as possible, as we have many guests who like to stay in the snow.
We’ve also re-turfed the garden, ready for spring and summer.
The Good, The Bad, and the Funny
We’ve had the same Housekeeper for 10 years, as well as the same building and DIY crew as we did when we bought Riverside House. Because we’ve all worked together for so long, we have gathered some very amusing stories over the years.
Our Housekeeper is often asked to post forgotten items back to guests, which is usually a fairly straightforward endeavour… But the rather large carving knife was a little bit more of a challenge!
We’ve had to deal with our share of emergencies in the last decade – frozen pipes and -22 degree temperatures, a guest having a car accident on his way to Riverside House, pets needing emergency vet care (once in the middle of a snowstorm)… Luckily we’ve been able to tackle all of these issues without problems.
Some of my favourite memories are the unusual requests we’ve received. One family wanted a hot tub delivered to the house for the weekend – we never quite got to the bottom of the logistics for that one! One group wanted to create a campsite in the garden… Strangely enough, that wasn’t the group who left behind a tent frame but no tent.
We get asked a lot of questions about the Peak District in general. Having been visiting for 30 years (has it really been that long?!), we’ve got a pretty good handle on the best places to visit. We do get some amusing questions too – like “are there sheep all over the Peak District”. The answer to that one is a resounding yes!
The Four-Legged Friends
We’re dog lovers ourselves, so we always knew that we’d welcome four-legged friends into our holiday cottages. There’s nothing quite like a walk across the Peaks with a dog by your side, especially with the river to jump into next to the house!
Usually we have a limit of 5 dogs at once (depending on size), but last week 6 tiny little dogs stayed with us. In fact, we’re not exclusive to dogs either, we once had a disabled cat come to stay.
The log fire, with unlimited free logs, is usually a popular spot for dogs to rest after a long day running and jumping.
Of course, there wouldn’t be a 10-year anniversary without the wonderful guests who have stayed at Riverside House and Valley View over the years. We’re always delighted to welcome newcomers, and particularly happy that some of those guests have loved their stays enough to come back time after time.
Thank you to all who have stayed with us, and we look forward to another wonderful ten years!
"We had a wonderful time in your marvellous cottage, absolutely loved it. It is a beautiful property, we had great fun in the games room and we all loved the surround sound in the living room. We hope to return. One of our favourite holidays."
"We had a fantastic time at Riverside House. The facilities were fantastic and the location was brilliant. Thank you!"
"A fantastic location with lovely walks on the doorstep. A spacious property with large living room and dining room where whole family could gather to relax and spend time together."
"We all had a lovely time - thank you! The accommodation is very comfortable and homely with plenty of room for two children and three dogs. Lovely walks too. We all said we'd like to live there!"
"We all absolutely loved the house and the area. The house was well-equipped and beautiful, plenty of room for the 12 of us and 2 dogs. Directions and instructions for the house were extremely helpful. We'll be back!"
"Thank you we had a wonderful stay at Valley View. My mum had the best time celebrating her 70th there as did we. The cottage is beautiful and so well equipped and the view is just spectacular. You really feel that you are nestled away in a special place."
"“The location is great - excellent walks direct from the front door, and (if you have the energy), you can walk to two pubs. The house is very well equipped - two TVs both with Sky Sports and Wi-Fi."
The Thank You
The last ten years have been wonderful, as you can hopefully tell from the memories I’ve shared here. We couldn’t have done it without the support of our Housekeeper, building team, friends, family and, of course, guests.
So I’d like to end with a big thank you to everyone.
And we look forward to another fabulous decade with you all.