The Cow Dalbury

Ashbourne, Peak District & Midlands, United Kingdom Book from Book from £135 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 10 is a delightful upstairs room in the older part of the pub. Room 6 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 can fit an extra bed or be set up as twin rooms. A couple have bathtubs, too.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

10/10
Room
8/10
Food
10/10
Service
10/10
Value
10/10
Overall

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Rates for The Cow Dalbury