Never one to pass by a Facebook competition that might encourage us to explore new areas, we were so happy to win a couple of night in the village of Stoney Middleton in the Peak District Airbnb with our host Emily.
We decided to extend our stay to give us time to have a decent half term break. During Covid my children have transformed into giants who eat and sleep for Britain and generally take up too much space, even in the car. No more cheap options of children’s meals on eating out for us but steak filled boys and extra chips all round. And after a recent traumatic hotel stay it is clear that we need the space only an Airbnb can provide.
The cottage, built into the cliff face of the village is perfectly placed to explore local villages and get some great walks in just a short drive away. Easily sleeping six with a cosy living room to chill out and catch up on some reading.
On arrival after unpacking our bags of wine and wellies we tucked into fish and chips from the Toll bar next door. Don’t tell Norfolk but we agreed this was some of the best fish we have ever tasted! We were devastated to discover that this wee gem is closed Sunday-Tuesday so we will clearly have to return to visit another time to make a final decision if this makes our top ten!
As the teens were settled with the supreme fibre WIFI and piles of GCSE revision books we agreed on alternate day walks. We managed a bribe of a cooked breakfast at the local Moon Inn to ensure no fainting or complaining. Craig found a convenient little route from the village taking in a track favoured by Black Harry and the highwayman via Coombs Dale. Not one complaint.
We refuelled up again at the Bridge Inn with wonderful home made pizza. We could have walked from the cottage but the weather was a little dodgy. Lovely Spar shop with wicked selection of home made brownies and cakes in Calver bridge. Enough to last the rest of the day glued to books, screens and movies.
I persuaded Craig it would be a great idea to get up at 6 am for a sunrise walk to white edge. Unfortunately I didn’t check timings so we did the first part of our sunrise walk in pitch black narrowly avoiding broken ankles tripping over rocks. We were however rewarded with beautiful skies and a herd of deer with a fabulous stag.
We stocked up on breakfast for the kids at the Cafe Insomnia which EVEN had oat milk for the iced latte Lara needed, as well as some refuelling for us with cheese and ham toasties. Clearly a 8km dawn walk means much feeding is needed so after a few more hours we headed out to The Coolstone bar for wholesome pub food and heart warming chowder and some obligatory haggis balls .
Another walk with the kids up Higger Tor with a lot of squelching and scrambling and we met the most friendly red grouse who wanted to follow us up the hill.
We ate at the Wheatsheaf which had great mains and puddings, but I had my eye on the sharing platters for our next visit.
On our final day the weather was predicted as poor so we headed to Chatsworth House. Home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and some of the beautiful Christmas decorations were already up, and the weather brightened for a wander around the fabulous grounds and gardens.
We stocked up for tea at the farm shop with the most amazing liver pâté, scotch eggs and pasties and obviously a bottle of their gin! And so a half time break ended with few arguments and happy kids. Perhaps Covid has made us appreciate the little things a little more.