“Close the bedroom door behind you and unwind… for peace, solitude… and THAT view.”
Thus says the website of the Cavendish Hotel at Baslow, that’s on the Chatsworth Estate which we were staying at to explore the Peak District as well as to visit Chatsworth itself. Result − an instant feeling of complete relaxation.
The Cavendish is a lovely old hotel that has long been a favourite for visitors to Chatsworth as it offers quintessential English charm and good food. Originally, I was told, it was the Peacock Inn and owned by the Duke of Rutland, becoming part of the Duke of Devonshire’s Chatsworth Estate in the 1830s. In the early 1970s the Dowager Duchess of Devonshire DCVO, the youngest of the Mitford sisters, took charge reinventing it as the Cavendish, since which time it has undergone several refurbishments. The latest redecoration of the standard rooms was completed just last April under the supervision of the current Duchess of Devonshire. There are antiques and paintings from Chatsworth lending it a well established elegant feel, whilst the furnishings display some of the Duchess’s eye for the contemporary. Throughout comfort reigns supreme.
Food is a serious business here with two restaurants and an award winning chef. We ate in the Gallery restaurant. The alternative choice, the Garden Room, is open all day and popular for easy eating. It was a balmy evening so we enjoyed a glass of ‘house’ Laurent Perrier champagne on the terrace whilst leisurely taking in the scenery.
At a window table in the restaurant, with more of those glorious views, we were served our chosen hand dived seared scallops with black pudding and cauliflower, and heritage tomatoes with tomato essence terrine, olive, tapenade and mozzarella tart and gazpachio, with basil ice cream. The quality of suppliers was evident in the fantastic flavours. We glimpsed a clue with head chef Mark Thompson’s list of local producers alongside the array of AA rosette plates on one of the walls. Mains offered a choice of three meats and two fish but I noted veggies and special diets are also catered for. Oven roasted sea trout served with a brown shrimp and caper berry crust was devoured far too quickly, whilst the Hancock’s fillet of slow cooked beef cheek served with blue cheese, orange segments and beetroot was as melt-in-the mouth and tasty as all its component parts promised. The cheeseboard offers the best of British and we could wax lyrical for ever about the desserts.
The next morning, after a hearty breakfast and 20 minutes’ walk across the fields, we arrived at Chatsworth. That’s a whole other article. Suffice it to say we shall be back, and especially to the Cavendish Hotel – this really IS what English country living is all about.