The Cow Dalbury

Ashbourne, Peak District & Midlands, United Kingdom Book from Book from £90 per night

A refurbished boutique inn in the heart of Derbyshire with stylish rooms, a convivial dining atmosphere and easy access to the Peak District
As you enter the quiet village of Dalbury Lees, your eyes will immediately be drawn to the bright, milky-white façade of The Cow pub, which overlooks the village green. Completely refurbished in 2017, this once sleepy watering hole has been stylishly transformed into a rustic-luxe boutique inn with 12 guest rooms and a big focus on gastro wining and dining. Upon arrival we were met by charming, friendly staff who introduced us to our super-kingsize room, then invited us to sample their "sharing menu” – a variety of small dishes designed to give guests a more casual, sociable dining experience. The hearty food, as well the convivial atmosphere, makes this reinvented pub a genuine discovery.

The rural surroundings are impressive, too. Situated a little over 10km from Derby but within striking distance of the glorious Peak District, The Cow is ideally positioned for weekend breaks in the East Midlands. An award-winning golf course is nearby, the marvellous country house Kedleston Hall is just 9.5km away, and the stunning 16th century Chatsworth House is 45 minutes down the road. However, should you wish to just hole up and relax, each room has a large-screen TV with Netflix, a well-stocked minibar, spacious bathrooms and sumptuous beds — ie, enough creature comforts to keep you happy 'til the cows come home.

Highs

  • All 12 rooms deliver on comfort, with luxurious 300 thread count Egyptian cotton bed linen, plenty of space, great showers, ultra-comfy bathrobes, and even hair straighteners
  • Head to the Peak District to view some of England’s most beautiful scenery, or ask the staff for nearby hiking options
  • Ideal for a romantic getaway — and no minimum stay
  • Fabulous food — highlights include the herb braised lamb shoulder and the pork & black pudding faggot
  • The Cow sits bang in the middle of Derbyshire's Golden Triangle, a region famed for its cheeses, farmlands and village greens

Lows

  • A car is essential for getting here and around
  • The village is quiet and unremarkable, but the pub itself is a genuine draw
  • Not really suited to families. The Cow is best for couples or business travellers tired of soulless hotel chains
  • If you’re not fond of cattle, beware – the bovine theme is all encompassing, from milk-churn bar stools to cow paintings covering the walls (their eyes follow you everywhere)
  • Noise from the kitchen can filter into ground-floor rooms

Best time to go

If you are here to explore the Peak District, come between spring and autumn to appreciate the full majesty of the countryside. However, winter is a great time to snuggle up with a loved one. Most attractions are open all year round, especially Chatsworth House, which only closes a handful of days each year.

Our top tips

While the ales on tap are great, we also recommend sampling their wine list, which has been selected from the UK’s oldest independent wine merchants, Corney and Barrow.

Great for...

Cheap & Chic
Foodie
Great Outdoors
  • Boutique inn
  • 12
  • Restaurant & bar (open daily)
  • Welcome but not ideal
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Each Kingsize or Super-Kingsize room is a variation on a theme. A master carpenter has crafted the wooden features and the overall result is a calming, comfortable collection of rooms with muted shades and hand-picked mirrors, stools and bucolic pictures.

We stayed in the newer part of the building. Like all ground floor rooms, ours opened out onto a small terrace area, which will be a big attraction during the summer months. Note that all ground-floor rooms are dog-friendly.

We particularly liked the huge bathrooms (8 rooms have a large walk-in shower; 4 rooms have a bath and shower) and the super-kingsize beds were ultra-comfy. The free WiFi, Netflix and Nespresso coffee machines are welcome additions.

We are also impressed with the basalt sinks, de-misting mirrors, the Molton Brown toiletries and aroma reed diffusers (in all rooms) and the handy guides to the local area. Room Ten is a delightful upstairs room in the older part of the pub. Room Six is closest to the bar area and charmingly designed in a neutral pallete with contemporary finishings.

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Safe box
  • Straighteners
  • Toiletries
  • TV
  • WiFi

Eating

A hearty breakfast spread is laid out on a fabulous butcher’s block table in the bar area. You can help yourself to a variety of cereals, granola pots, pastries and juices. There’s also a fine array of a la carte cooked options, from omelettes to the full English.

Lunch is served between 12pm-2.30pm and dinner from 6pm-9pm, both featuring a "sharing menu" - an eclectic mixture of small dishes. If you prefer something more substantial you can opt for the “Big Troughs” (larger dishes). On Fridays and Saturdays dinner is served until 9.30pm, and on Sundays from 12 noon until 8pm.

We opted for the sharing menu and enjoyed the ham hock scotch egg, a Stilton and plum rarebit, potato croquettes and the flat breads. Definitely recommended are a fabulous treacle tart and their clever twist on apple crumble. Waiting staff are very accommodating and happy to recommend favourite dishes. Kids options are also available.

If you are staying 2+ nights and feel like a change, we've heard good things about their sister restaurant The Horseshoes at Long Lane, 3 mins' drive away.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Chatsworth House, one of England’s most renowned stately homes, is 45 minutes away by car. The mansion is set in expansive woodlands and houses a collection of Old Master paintings
  • Head to the Peak District for a life-affirming walk among some of England’s most beautiful scenery. (For more accessible hikes, ask the staff for nearby options.)
  • Staff can help you book reduced green fees at the award-winning Kedleston Golf Club on certain days
  • Closer to The Cow, the impressive country house Kedleston Hall, a National Trust property, is just 6km by car and well worth a visit. Other houses in the county worth visiting include Calke Abbey, Haddon Hall and Hardwick Hall
  • Fans of confectionery should head to Bakewell market town to sample their eponymous tarts - it’s just a short drive from the pub

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Birdwatching
  • Cycling
  • Golf
  • Hiking
  • Historical sites
  • Shopping / markets

Kids

Although The Cow doesn't feel like an obvious choice for a family, children are welcome and extra beds can be supplied for ages 2-16. The pub has a kids menu.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Super-kingsize rooms (3,4,5 and 12) can fit an extra bed or be set up as twin rooms. A couple have bathtubs, too.

Kid Friendly:

Location

The Cow is set in the small village of Dalbury Lees in rural Derbyshire, in the East Midlands of England.

By Air:
East Midlands (37km) and Birmingham International (69km) airports are closest. Click on the links below for a list of airlines serving these airports.

From the Airport
Hire a car or take a taxi.

By Train:
The nearest station is Tutbury & Hatton, which can be reached from Manchester Piccadilly station on the Crewe-Derby line, with 1 change at Stoke-On-Trent. The journey takes around 2 hrs and there are taxis at Tutbury & Hatton to whisk you to The Cow. Both Derby and Burton On Trent train stations also enable easy access to the wider region.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to the UK and getting around



Airports:

  • Birmingham Airport 69.0 km BHX
  • East Midlands Airport 37.0 km EMA

Other:

  • Beach 161.0 km
  • Shops 10.0 km
  • Restaurant 1.6 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 16 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
9/10
Food
9/10
Service
9/10
Value
9/10
Overall

A lovely little inn situated in a beautiful part of the Derbyshire countryside. The service was great and the food was delicious and very reasonably priced. The Sunday Roast was exceptional.

10/10,

We stayed in Room 11. Our room was at the back, upstairs and really quiet. The accommodation was spotless. We had an issue with the water being too hot in the shower, we mentioned it to the cleaning team in the morning and it was sorted by the time we came back. Perfect. We had the most comfortable bed we've ever slept in. Loved the bedlinen, the space, the complimentary Molton Brown and the biscuits! Breakfast was delicious and the service, and interaction with all the staff, was attentive, friendly and much appreciated. We would love to return.

10/10,

Our room was lovely albeit on the small side. Mirrors not positioned in best of places however the bed was extremely comfortable and ultimately we slept well. Food was also very tasty and at a reasonable price.
The car park had very tight spaces - however there is a little parking on road.

9/10,

Wonderful place to stay, the rooms are gorgeous, the bar area relaxed and the
staff attentive. We stayed on a Sunday; the menu for that day was various roast options plus a fish and a vegetarian dish. We both had a starter plus a roast; beautifully present and cooked using locally sourced food.
Breakfast the following morning (and you have to find enough room to try it!) was delicious, with multiple choices to pick from. Cannot wait to visit again!

10/10,

The Cow at Dalbury Lees was excellent!

10/10,

Nicely appointed room and bathroom. However our room was too warm to sleep in - a fan would have been a thoughtful addition to the room. Food menu was quite a mix and fairly limited. Breakfast was mediocre - more attention to detail needed. Staff were very friendly and welcoming however!

8/10,

Excellent location, beautifully presented with friendly efficient staff , great breakfasts and interesting tapas style share plate menu for lunch and dinner. Especially helpful were duty managers Simon and Jo.
Need more drawers in room 1 to avoid living out of a suitcase and supply tissues.
Highly recommended and missing the place already!

10/10,

What can I say, what a find! Friendly staff, gorgeous rooms that are tastefully decorated and spotlessly clean, with lovely complimentary touches such as Molten Brown toiletries and wine on arrival. The chef deserves a ‘pat on the back', some of the best food we have tasted at very reasonable prices and an impressive selection of gins to choose from. Will definitely be staying here again.

10/10,

Room was lovely and very comfortable and quiet and the staff very friendly. A good base to explore the Peak District.

9/10,

My daughter booked us two nights at The Cow. This is a lovely place set in beautifully quiet countryside. Our room was spacious and clean and had everything we needed. Nespresso machine a nice touch. The bed was comfy and the restaurant food was delicious (especially the Sunday roast). Only problem overall was the plumbing in our bathroom (room 12). Lots of banging from the pipes. Such a shame as everything else was fine.

10/10,

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