Crave Magazine

The George at Alstonefield; And other reasons to visit the Peak District

The team at The George at Alstonefield have put together 10 GREAT reasons to make the Peak District your perfect staycation destination this year, they have of course, saved the best for last!

And good news: every pick is within close distance to The George at Alstonefield

For a Holistic Experience: The Peak District National Park 

The Peak District National Park, the UK’s first National Park, established in 1951, encompasses 555 square miles. With plenty to see and do, including walking, caving, camping and areas of natural beauty to visit, The Peak District National Park boasts epic views and vast untouched landscapes. Lathkill and DoveDale characterise the park’s southern area, which is known as White Peak, while the Dark Peak area in the north has dramatic gritstone edges and stark moorland plateaus like Kinder Scout, the park’s highest point.

For Taking Your Tastebuds on an Adventure: Bakewell and Hartington 

Aside from the rugged mountainous views and landscapes, the Peak District is renowned for its delicious, local morsels (note: cake and cheese). For those wanting a sweet hit, should head to the quaint market town of Bakewell for Bakewell pudding – which is nothing like a Bakewell tart. Accidentally created by a local cook over 150 years ago, today the recipe remains a secret, but you can try proper Bakewell Pudding at the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop. 

Swing by to the Peak District village of Hartington where you can buy cheese from the ‘smallest’ Stilton producer in the world at the Hartington Cheese Shop.

For a Slice of History: Chatsworth House 

One of Derbyshire’s most popular country houses, Chatsworth House has history running through its very walls. Home to works of art that span 4,000 years; from ancient Roman and Egyptian sculpture, and masterpieces by Rembrandt, Reynolds and Veronese, to work by outstanding modern artists, including Lucian Freud, Edmund de Waal and David Nash, this stately pile has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendish family.

There are 25 glorious rooms to explore, while the 105-acre Chatsworth Garden is a hotbed of historic and modern waterworks and sculptures. 

For a Picturesque Spot: Dovedale 

Put that camera you purchased in lockdown to good use by taking in Dovedale’s stunning landscape. This renowned beauty spot – a popular choice for hikers – is well known for its picturesque stepping stones, impressive limestone ravines, and those Instagram worthy views at the top of Thorpe Cloud (a good pair of walking shoes is advised). The highest point, an elevation of 287 metres, offers a panoramic vista of the Peak District. 

For an Historic House: Haddon Hall 

As a 900-year-old Hall, Haddon has hosted many events in its lifetime and has been a place of local and national focus.  Owned by one family for the duration of its existence, Haddon Hall is believed to be one of the most important historic houses in the Western World. Explore the stately home’s medieval chambers, the 110ft Long Gallery, reputed to be in the most beautiful room in England, and the family’s private chapel. Outside, Haddon’s Elizabethan Walled Gardens are an equally rare survival of the past. Robert Smythson designed these when he planned the Long Gallery, and they sit intimately with the architecture of the hall.

For Natural Limestone Caves: Poole’s Cavern and Castleton’s Cavern

Poole’s Cavern, a two-million-year-old natural limestone cave on the edge of Buxton, boasts unique crystal formations including the longest stalactite formation in the region. The cathedral sized main chamber carved from Limestone by an ancient river is not to be missed. After the 45-minute tour, amble through the country park woodland trails which leads to Solomon’s Temple viewpoint at 439m above sea level and views of the Peak District. Alternatively, the nearby village of Castleton is popular for its show cavens. There are 4 caves at Castleton accessible by guided tour; Treak Cliff cavern and Blue John cavern contain beautiful caves decorated with stalactites formations and blue john stone, while Peak cavern is the resurgence of a huge river system.

For Camping in Style: Smithy Fields Campsite

Handily situated opposite The George in Alstonefield, Smithy Fields Campsite brings a touch of luxury to the regular camping blueprint. The adult-only campsite features two Shepherd huts, decked out with all the mod-cons, making for a cosy and comfortable stay. New for 2021, the campsite is now home to a luxury bell tent with a roaring log fire, double bed and tea and coffee making facilities. 

For a Drinking Education: Forest Distillery 

The Forest Distillery is based across two gorgeous old buildings, 5 minutes’ drive apart within the Peak District National Park. The Forest Distillery is a 17th Century stone barn nestled in Macclesfield Forest and produces the company’s gin. Daily distilling spirits of the purest quality, the distillery using their own water sourced from an ancient spring nearby. Meanwhile, The Cat & Fiddle, sitting at 1689 feet, is Britain’s highest altitude Whisky Distillery. Settle in for an afternoon of tasting or enjoying a cold G&T in their quaint gin garden. 

For a Scenic Meander: High Peak and Tissington Trail 

The High Peak Trail runs for 17 1/2 miles from High Peak Junction, near Cromford to Dowlow 6 miles south of Buxton. The trails, which are suitable for walkers, cyclists and horse riders, meander through the limestone countryside of the White Peak. The Cromford and High Peak Line, was a very early railway built between 1825-30 on canal principles. The Ashbourne – Buxton Line was built at the end of the great age of railway building. Both lines were closed, for the most part by 1967 and re-opened as Trails by 1971.

Saving the best for last: The George at Alstonefield (of course!) 

The George is in the Peak District village of Alstonefield above Dovedale and serves proper British food with a relaxed fine dining twist. Evolving from a rustic pub into an award-winning restaurant (recognised in The Good Food Guide since 2009 as well as Michelin and Sawday), their ethos is centred on tranquility, unhurried and understated elegance. Matt Egan showcases his culinary talent focusing on celebrating the beautiful Peak Districts local produce. Matt rejoined The George in 2018 and was previously Head Chef at The Mere in Knutsfurd. Before this, he was Senior Sous Chef at Rookery Hall Hotel and Spa and at The Abstract in Edinburgh. 

Situated a stone’s throw from Mill Dale within the Peak National Park, and not far from Ashbourne The George is an un-spoilt, award-winning pub turned restaurant that is a must visit during you trip this year.

You need to try these vegetarian recipes – yum

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