“Stylish historic hotel perfectly placed in the heart of the Peak District and renowned for its innovative cuisine and fly-fishing”
The 15 charming bedrooms vary in size and shape, as befits a 400-year-old building, but all mix antique furniture inherited from Haddon Hall and Belvoir Castle with vivid splashes of colour - perhaps a feature wall in plum or teal, plush velvet armchairs upholstered in magenta, pistachio or burnt orange, or a headboard covered in Ralph Lauren tweed. The beds are big and comfy (although perhaps a little too soft for some), and details abound: lambswool rugs, fluffy cushions, potted orchids, framed portraits. Some rooms also have fireplaces, and those on the top floor have wonderful beams.
There are discreet modern amenities in the form of flat-screen Apple TVs, DVD players (there’s a long list of films to borrow), iPod docks and free WiFi. You also get tea- and coffee-making kit, hairdryers and a turndown service, when little parcels of Teapigs camomile tea appear on your pillow. Bathrooms are small, but they’re decked out in sleek grey marble, with good lighting, bathrobes, slippers and Aveda toiletries; some have walk-in showers, others a tub with an overhead shower.
Standard Doubles have kingsize beds and just enough space to spread out in comfort. Paying a bit more for a Superior Double will get you a super-kingsize bed or a twin room - on our most recent visit we stayed in one these, Room 7, and loved the view of the flower-filled garden at the back of the hotel. There are also a couple of Special Rooms with carved four-poster beds (ideal for special occasions, particularly as you get a later check-out time of noon!), plus handy single rooms for solo travellers. Top of the range is the Junior Suite, which has a spacious kingsize bedroom, a separate lounge with a sofabed, and an ensuite with a bathtub and walk-in shower.
Anywhere that can make delicious ice cream from breakfast cereal is onto a culinary winner and, after overhauling the restaurant, the team are justly proud of The Peacock’s 3 AA rosettes.
Dinner in the main dining room, from 7-9pm, is a formal affair, with attentive service and sparkling candles; you’ll want to dress up a bit and make an occasion of it. The unpretentious-looking menu belies the complexity of the beautifully constructed dishes, which mix British ingredients with quirky international influences; there’s also a selection of innovative vegetarian options and a comprehensive wine list. We started with fennel and crayfish soup and a delicate crab and cucumber gazpacho, before moving onto gnocchi with wild garlic, ceps and baby onions, and monkfish served with teriyaki pork belly, grilled lettuce and hazelnut butter. For dessert, we indulged in white chocolate and banana mousse with tangy raspberry sorbet and rich chocolate ganache, and that ice cream - smooth and sweet, with a lovely hint of saltiness. If you struggle to make up your mind, the assiette of desserts lets you sample them all.
For lunch or a more relaxed evening meal, try the convivial bar, with its cosy fire, copper counter and a ceramic-tiled Peacock on one wall. It’s often packed with locals, and the reasonably-priced menu includes favourites such as battered haddock, rib-eye steak and lemon tart. Food is available here every day, and it’s a handy option in winter when the restaurant closes for 1 or 2 evenings a week. Note that Sundays see a different bar menu, which pays tribute to the decades-old tradition of Sunday lunch at The Peacock. If you’re heading out and about, packed lunches can be made up on request.
An extensive breakfast buffet (included in the room rate) is served from 7.30-9.30am, with pastries, cold meats, cheeses, fruit, yoghurt, juices, cereals, waffles and maple syrup. You can also order cooked options for an additional charge - perhaps scrambled eggs with salmon, or a traditional Full English. And, if you’re feeling lazy, you can order breakfast in bed until 10.30am.
Children of all ages are welcome from Sunday to Thursday, but on Fridays and Saturdays The Peacock is more of a relaxing, grown-up retreat, and only those over the age of 10 are allowed. Extra beds and baby cots are available in the larger rooms for an additional charge, and the Junior Suite has a sofabed in its lounge.
Cots Available, Extra Beds Available