Matlock Bath, Derbyshire

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On our way home from Derbyshire, we popped into one last place for a quick wander.

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A small town between Derby and Buxton instantly reminded me of a seaside town. The seaside was nowhere to be seen, but yet something in this town reminded me of a typical English coastal place… maybe it was the local chippies, or the architecture, or the hairy bikers, but most likely the Amusements on the main street! Later I had a little read about the used to be spa town and found out that in the Victorian era Matlock Bath developed its inland ‘seaside’ resort image that it still carries today. I dare say, my observations were rather insightful!

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Incredibly green and hilly Maltock Bath is a designated conservation area and has been mentioned in Mary Shelley’s novel ‘Frankenstein': “We proceeded to Matlock (Bath), which was our next place of rest. The country in the neighbourhood of this village resembles Switzerland; but everything is on a lower scale“.

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Across the Jubilee bridge, in the woods, we found a row of steps leading us to the view point. Lovely greenery opened in front of our eyes, for the last time reminding us that we are in the Peak District.

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We wanted to visit the Heights of Abraham, but we missed the last ride on the cable car.

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Instead, we had some of those vinegary fish&chips by the river before making our way back to London.

SPA town Buxton, Derbyshire

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Welcome to Buxton, the town founded by Romans, called Aquae Arnametiae or SPA of the Goddess of the Grove.  

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Famous for its natural spring water and Georgian architecture, Buxton is an eye-pleaser. The awe-inspiring centrepiece, the Georgian Crescent and soon to be a 5* Spa Hotel is going to add an extra dimension to the towns architectural heritage and no doubt a splash of glamour.

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My favourite bit of the visit was walking through the Cavendish Arcade. Originally designed as a thermal bath in 1854, it now houses little shops and cafes.

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The grade II listed Neo-Classical thermal bath features the original plunge bath and Minton tiling.

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I couldn’t stop admiring the stained glass barrel-vaulted ceiling composed by Brian Clark. The colours and feature were mesmerizing. I didn’t want to leave the place.

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We slowly struggled up the beautiful green Slopes, enjoying the warm autumn sunshine.

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At the top of the Slopes, we found the Town Hall and The Market Place – officially the highest in England.

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A walk down High Street brought us to St Anne’s Church. Unintentionally, we merged with a group of senior tourist and I was eavesdropping about the church that was built in 1625.  It was closed for service and we couldn’t see the interior, but exterior was enough to spark my imagination.

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Before driving to another place that we planned to see, we had a lovely stroll and fed some ducks in the ornamental Pavilion Gardens.

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The garden looked very autumnal, with colourful leaves falling to the ground and golden trees standing tall and proud.

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There is so much to do and see and I am not surprised at all that Buxton is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Peak District.

Eyam Plaque Village, Derbyshire

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Driving through the Peak District National Park is so much fun.

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I wanted to stop at every turn, peak and corner and take hundreds of pictures of every single sheep, tree or a scenic road winding through the green farms and little villages.

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One glance at the map and here we are, in Eyam, a historic village in Derbyshire. ‘I think I know this village’, said Charlie, ‘it’s the Plague village.’

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As we walked along what seemed like the main road, we were greeted by a row of cute cottages with quite a devastating past.

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It was an outbreak of plaque in London in 1665. As the disease spread,  the Eyam villagers decided to isolate themselves from aurrounding communitites to stay safe.

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However, a contaminated cloth arrived from London for a local tailor and within a week people started dying, entire families were destroyed and the close ones taken away by the Black Death.

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Today the plaques that mark the affected households across the town, remind us, visitors, of the dreadful time in the pretty little village.

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A  little rest and a warm brew at the local coffee shop was greatly appreciated after the stroll.

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It’s sad what happened back in the day, but Eyam is a very much enjoyable and scenic little place, definitely worth a stop if you are nearby.

Bakewell, Derbyshire

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While staying at Anroach Farm, we were in a good position to visit Bakewell, a small market town famous for its Bakewell Puddings. In my 10 years in England I never tried a real one and I always associated Bakewell puddings with Mr Kipling’s confectionary (which I was never a fan of), but now I know, they are tarts and not puddings. It’s important not to mistake a Bakewell Pudding for a Bakewell Tart!

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It’s a charming little place and indeed very touristy. The Bakewell puddings seemed to attract a lot of visitors. I loved the fact that most of the visitors were equipped with hiking boots and nordic walking sticks. I was slightly jealous of those visitors browsing the stunning valleys of the Peak District National Park.

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There are lots of little coffee houses where you can enjoy the famous pastry puddings, but only 3 shops claim to be baking the original Bakewell Pudding.

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We popped into the Bloomers of Bakewell, tiny shop for a treat and enjoyed our pudding by the river.

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All Saints Church, located on the hill, can be seen from the street level. It’s a Grade I listed church, built in 920, during Saxon era.

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Following Charlie’s navigation, we had a lovely and peaceful stroll along the river Wye, away from all the tourists.

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After the sunny stroll we drove to The Knights Table at the Travellers Rest located just outside Buxton for Sunday lunch where we enjoyed our meal in the medieval setting.

Our retreat in Derbyshire – Curlew Croft, Anroach Farm

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Peak District is an amazing place, famous by its breathtaking panoramic views, green valleys, rocky fields, beautiful rolling hills, little historic villages and so much more. It’s a place where I definitely want to return with hiking boots and see more of it.

One of the best things when going away, apart from the beautiful sites and scenery, is the accommodation. We don’t like hotels and prefer staying in small and cosy B&B’s or even better, staying with local people. We found this amazing Anroach Farm accommodation on airbandb and spent 2 nights surrounded by nothing but the green fields and fresh air.

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 Curlew Croft was a perfect choice. Away from all the hustle and bustle, the farm is located in a tranquil valley between Leek and Buxton.

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Sally, our host, said ‘when it’s windy here, it’s really windy.’ Luckily the house is cleverly built on the sheltered side of a peak, the top of which provides 360 degree views across stunning surroundings.

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Trotting in the North is, obviously, much colder than in London, but on our arrival, our part of the cottage was cosy and pleasant. I loved the wooden features and the original thick stone walls promised to keep us nice and warm during our visit.

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I planned to see the sunrise from the top of the hill behind the house and so I got up early in the morning, made some coffee, wrapped up and made my way up in the faint dawn light.

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The farm was so still and quiet and I was filled with excitement to see the sun rising above the Peak District.

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The sun took its time to show up. The moment it started rising I could hear the birds and animals waking up and something scurrying through the grass… nature was waking up. I saw the bright yellow disk peeking out in the distance while warming my hands with my cup of coffee.

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The best cup of coffee so far!

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As soon as the sun was up, it got much warmer and I enjoyed a stroll around the land for a little bit longer.

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The horses came over and we wished good morning to each other while standing in the dewy grass. But this was not the end to my already awesome morning.

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Our breakfast was packed in a beautiful basket and by time we got ready, it was warm enough outside to enjoy it overlooking the green fields.

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We appreciated our stay immensely. It’s such a treat to stay somewhere as lovely as this and it’s so great that people are willing to share their beautiful home with strangers.

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I am big on pink sky and needless to say that I found myself on the top of the peak behind the house again to catch a soulful sunset.

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The view was bewitching.

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As much as we would have liked to stay longer, we also wanted to explore the district a little bit more. One last cup of coffee was a must while admiring the view on the crisp and hazy morning.

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Little paws run across the field to say goodbye to us.

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It was a great base from which to have more adventures in the Peak District.