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Welcome to my blog from the Peak District - a few nuggets from my holiday cottages at Riverside House and Valley View.

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Posted by on in Peak District

Ashbourne is a lovely market town in Derbyshire in the south of the Peak District and an ideal place to spend some hours wandering around the lovely shops or for sampling tea and cakes, real ale or an evening meal.

Some of our favourite places to visit are the antique shops on Church Street.  You could literally browse here for hours such is the choice. Or you could visit the Market Place on Thursdays and Saturdays for the local market, whilst the artisanal market is every second Sunday in the month.  

Ashbourne has a wide selection of independent stores and boutiques in the lovely cobbled streets.  The Village Rainbow is our favourite gift shop, it's an ideal place to pick up birthday presents or just to wander round.  The Gin Gaf is worth a visit with a selection of gins that are not easily bought elsewhere.  And for a great selection of beers try Maison Du Bierre. 

If like us you can't resist a good old fashioned DIY shop do pop into David Neil Mica Hardware, it really does have a fabulous selection of all things DIY and a good cookware selection too.  

If food is what you crave, Ashbourne does not disappoint.  Our top cafe picks are either The Flower Cafe or Dillons, but the well known, The Gingerbread Shop, which our kids when younger loved, is great too.  The building itself dates back to 1492.  

For a spot of lunch try Bramhall's Deli and Cafe or some gorgeous breads, rolls and pizzas to take away at The Ashbourne Bakehouse.  

For an evening meal Anaya's Indian restaurant is good, and on the spicy note we also like The Thai Basement.  The Lamplight restaurant is highly recommended for a special evening meal with English/French style dishes.  Finally the Market Place Fish and Chip shop is an institution and not to be missed for proper 'newspaper' fish and chips.

For beer drinkers do not miss Smiths Tavern a High Street pub with fabulous ale.  As it has a small frontage a bit like a shop be careful not to miss it.  Dogs are welcome at all times and children up to 9 pm.  The only food though is pork pies and bar snacks.   

Finally, we couldn't write about Ashbourne without mentioning the traffic free Tissington Trail at the top of the town.  It's a great spot for walkers and cyclists as the setting off point for the Trail.

So plenty to see and do in Ashbourne.  It's only 15 minutes by car to our holiday cottage, Valley View, so next time you are in the area with friends and family why not think about staying? 

For more information contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

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Posted by on in Peak District

We spent a lovely Saturday last week (September 24th) at the Derbyshire Food Fair in Bakewell.  The weather was kind and we enjoyed sampling many delights as well as attending some great presentations in the Cookery Theatre. 

My particular favourite was the Prosecco Van from Lytham Fizz Co, a three wheeler mobile Prosecco van.  I mean what's not to like?

We had excellent coffees indeed Perfect Coffees from Barista Italia.

Our favourite musical group of the day was the fab singers La Di Dah, loved the retro dresses ladies!

Francis Quinn, Great British Bake Off winner made brownie owls and we just couldn't resist some Paella and hog roast rolls too!

Best of all dogs were allowed at the Fair, as long as kept on a lead and our four-legged friend Conor had a fab time.  We couldn't pass by the Dog's Trust stall without sponsoring their oldies.

A final high of the day was when our daughter won Burtree Puddings competition, so two of us got free entry and free brownies that were AMAZING!  Oh and not forgetting the simply stunning sticky toffee pudding with extra sauce that we had that night for dessert!

We also visited Bakewell and the farmer's market that was on at the same time.  A real double whammy of a day!


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Read all about our 10 years of running Riverside House here. It includes details of why we set up our holiday cottage business, the history of Riverside House holiday cottage and the area around Litton Mill in Derbyshire.  

There's a few good, bad and funny moments, including our very welcome dogs that come and stay with their owners.  And we couldn't forget the local sheep of course!

Here's to 10 more years! 

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Our guest blog is by Diane Gilder who is one of the artists running the Art Room, Wilkin Hill, Barlow, S18 7TE.  The Art Room is a unique art space on the edge of Derbyshire set in a traditional hay meadow.  It is approximately 4 miles from the centre of Chesterfield and 8 miles from Chatsworth House.  As well as exhibitions, a varied programme of tutor led creative workshops are run throughout the year.

Here are some of the April workshops: 

Saturday 11th April   Long Stitch Spine – traditional method of constructing a book.   Tutor: Jo Owen

A wrap round cover, using simple or complex stitches, use as a notebook, sketchbook, journal, etc.  Suitable for all abilities.   £42 for the day.  Contact: Jo Owen on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Tuesday  14th April   A Bluebell Wood in Acrylics    Tutor: Steve McLoughlin

Using photographs supplied, learn how to paint a delightful bluebell wood scene in acrylics with step by step instructions.  Suitable for beginners.  £49  for the day. Contact Sue Field on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Saturday, 18th April  Transfer Printing Workshop  Tutor: Peggy Fearne

You will paint paper with transfer dyes which will then be cut into designs that are heat transferred onto fabric. This is then decorated with stitches – machine or hand – and this fabric will be made into a removable cover for a book.   £42 for the day.  Contact: Peggy Fearne on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it  

Saturday, 25th April  Jumpers and Jumble Workshop  Tutor: Rachael Rastrick

A simple patchwork throw/quilt made with old jumpers and shirts using simple hand sewing and basic machine sewing with zig-zag.  £30 for the day.  Contact Rachael on This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

All workshops run from 10.00 a.m. until 4.00 p.m.  Tea and coffee provided but bring your own lunch.

For further information about The Art Room visit www.dianegilder.co.uk, Twitter: @artroombarlow and Facebook: Diane Gilder Textile Artist for details.

For further information on adult workshops in the Peak District take a look at Visit Peaks, top 10 selection of workshops in the Peak District. 

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What are the most discerning of dogs longing to eat these days?  Well in some cases, I'll admit, the answer is "practically anything" but in all seriousness and in all cases, the sweet teatime cakes and bakes we ourselves devour, are simply not suitable and can be quite dangerous for our four-legged friends.

Take the traditional Bakewell Tart for instance, famed of the Derbyshire Dales and Peak District, with its almond, jam and shortcrust sponge combination it calls to you from the cake counter any time of the day, let along tea time ...... but knowing that nuts and sugar are two of the biggest "No No" ingredients in canine culinary terms, I set about creating a delight for our dogs that could rival this most traditional of treats!

And so, the Barkwell Tart was born (well, baked!) a peanut butter cookie base covered in a layer of liver parfait, and topped with mini tasty cookies!!

It's not a sweet tart but a pooch party favourite, where we can even replace the topped mini bones with a name or message, but in the dog world, it is certainly matching the popularity of it's human "name sake" the Bakewell, so perhaps they are both the perfect selections to have with you as all six legs enjoy a wonderful walk around the Derbyshire countryside!

Find us at www.charactercookies.co.uk or


Character Bakes

........our edibles are incredibles! 

Tel 07769776843 





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Posted by on in Peak District

Are you planning a spring break?  The Derbyshire and Staffordshire Peak District has plenty of things to do and see.  

There are fun family attractions such as alpine style cable cars at the Heights of Abraham.  They reopen daily from 21 March and whilst there you can take a woodland ramble, visit a 'savage' garden or enjoy a meal and views at the restaurant.   For those of you thrill seekers Alton Towers opens on 22 March or why try the tree tops near Buxton and Go Ape?  Whilst there you could also visit Poole's caverns for an underground experience second to none.  

The Peak District is great for walking in the spring to see the vast array of wildlife and wild flowers.  There are traffic free trails, such as The Monsal Trail (ideal for cycling too with electric bike hire) as well as guided walks, hills, crags, moorland and riverside walks to explore.  

Some of the country's best historic houses are found in the Peak District, such as Chatsworth HouseHaddon Hall and many National Trust gems.  Haddon Hall has a spring decoration workshop running.  

The Peak District is well known for its' locally sourced food and liquid refreshments.  Why not pop over to the Staffordshire town of Leek and visit the Fine Food Market?  Spring dates are 18 April and 16 May, from 9 am to 3 pm in the market square.  

If you love English beer a trip to the Wincle Beer Co on the edge of the Peak District National Park is recommended.  The shop is open 7 days a week and if you catch a lovely spring day you can sit outside the stone barn where the beer is brewed and enjoy some liquid refreshments.  

Why not visit one of the many charming Peak District towns?  In the picture is Ashford-in-the-Water a beautiful place to wander, visit the famous sheep dipping bridge, walk along the banks of the river Wye or sample two of the Peak District's lovely pubs as well as a deli.  It is particularly lovely in the spring as our picture shows.  




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Posted by on in Peak District

You may be planning your trip, or wishing you were still here in the Peak District ..... Well why not read a book set in the beautiful landscape?


  • The Toll Gate, by Georgette Heyer. Set in 1817 in the Peak District, this book follows the adventures of a male main character, an ex-captain in the British Army who has returned from the Peninsular War and finds life as a civilian rather dull
  • A Place of Execution by Val McDermind.  The book, set in a village in Derbyshire, follows two parallel storylines - a missing person case in 1963, and the story of a journalist in the present day. 
  • The landscape of the Peak District does seem to lend itself to crime fiction, with Stephen Booth writing an entire series of books set in the area, focusing on a detective duo and the crimes they solve.  Some of Stephen Booth's books can be found in our holiday cottages.
  • You will also find a signed copy of Relatively Strange by Marilyn Messik (a friend of ours) at both holiday cottages as well as a wide selection of books for all ages, including cookery books and guide books on the Peak District.


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Posted by on in Self Catering

We love hearing from people who have stayed at our holiday cottages Riverside House and Valley View, and here are some of the comments we've received over the last few months:

  •  Great location and plenty of room and seating (particularly in the lounge). The wood burning stove with plenty of firewood available and a well equipped kitchen, plenty of fridge space was especially useful.
  • Everything was there with plenty of pans, crockery, bedding, games, instructions.  Liked the layout as families could have their own space but the lounge was big enough for everyone to gather together.
  • It was so nice to stay in such a well equipped house .... it was great to have such a massive choice.  The house is stunning and the setting lovely.
  • We had a fantastic time.  The kids (and the adults) loved the games room and the proximity to the Monsal Trail was great.
  • We had a lovely time in your beautiful cottage which had everything we needed.  It was so lovely and peaceful and easy to access walks and cycle trails for the children.  

If you would like more information about staying at our holiday cottages please contact us

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Posted by on in Peak District

Did you know that the name 'Peak' does not relate to mountains (there actually aren't any!) - it is believed to come from the Pecsaetan, an Anglo-Sazon tribe who settled the area.  Here are some more facts about the Peaks .........

  • The Peak District overs 5 counties, Derbyshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Greater Manchester, 555sq miles and was the first of Britain's National Parks
  • More than 10 million people per year visit
  • Around 520 sq km (202 sq miles) is open access land - open to walkers without having to stick to paths
  • The highest point is Kinder Scout at 636 metres (2086 ft)
  • The tallest cave is Titan Shaft, Castleton at 141.5 metres (464 ft).  Taller than the London Eye, it is the largest known shaft of any cave in the British Isles
  • It has 70 active and disused quarry sites, 2900 listed buildings, 109 conservation areas and more than 450 scheduled historic monuments.
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Riverside House : BOOK NOW

Riverside House
   Sleeps up to 12

Valley View : BOOK NOW

Valley View
   Sleeps up to 15

Last Minute discounts

Valley View holiday cottage

  • Sleeps 13+2+cot
  • 6 bedrooms
  • dog friendly
  • stunning Peak District location
Contact wendyboast@visitpeaks.co.uk or call 07980 390 520
  • Sleeps 9+2+cot
  • 4 bedrooms
  • Games room
  • Dog friendly
  • Minutes from traffic free Monsal Trail

Call Wendy Boast on 07980 390 520 or send an email:




  • spacious accommodation
  • 4-star standard
  • dog and pet-friendly
  • flexible booking
  • short breaks available
  • deal direct with the owner Wendy Boast
Visit Peaks

Valley View

Valley View

Valley View is a self catering holiday cottage for up to 15 people in Milldale (right in Dovedale - within 100 yards of the River Dove) in the Peak District.

Click HERE for the Valley View web site.

Visit Peaks

Riverside House

Riverside House

Riverside House is a self catering holiday cottage for up to 12 people in Litton Mill (close to Millers Dale and Tideswell) in the Peak District.

Click HERE for the Riverside House web site (complete with its own video).

My Personal Sanctuary

While you are here why not pamper yourself with the services of our business partner 'My Personal Sanctuary'.
Click on the logo below for more information.

My Personal Sanctuary