One of the main tourist draws to Derbyshire is the Peak District. The first National Park in the UK, the Peak District is was recently voted the fourth-best national park in Europe in the TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Awards. If you’re prepared to venture outside the national park, there is much else to discover in Derbyshire. And much of it is far less touristy.
There’s stunning scenery, fascinating historical sites, and extensive walking, hiking, and cycling routes. But what I love most is the variety of British food. Derbyshire and the Peak District have a wealth of great independent restaurants. From high-end fine dining to moreish street food, we really do have it all here.
Fine dining in The Peak District
For fine dining, The Peacock at Rowsley and Fischer’s of Baslow Hall both have excellent reputations locally. I’ve not yet tried Fischers but definitely rate The Peacock at Rowsley for perfectly executed exquisite fine dining.
The double AA rosette awarded, Grafene at Losehill House (also a luxurious accommodation option with spa facilities) was listed by The Times newspaper as one of their ‘20 best wild places to eat in Britain’. Famous documentary maker Louis Theroux recently stayed here and was very complimentary about his stay.
The Cavendish Hotel in Baslow is another great fine dining option. It also serves up an exceptionally delicious afternoon tea. Enjoy decadent food with wonderful service overlooking the iconic Chatsworth Estate. My recent visit to the Cavendish rivalled any of the offerings I’ve had at fancy London hotels. It’s certainly the best in Derbyshire and the Peak District.
Sheffield-based Rafters recently opened a second venue in the pretty village of Ashford in the Water, or in nearby Bakewell seek out Lovage.
- The Peacock at Rowsley – Bakewell Rd, Rowsley, Matlock DE4 2EB, United Kingdom
- Fischer’s of Baslow Hall – Calver Rd, Baslow, Bakewell DE45 1RR, United Kingdom
- Grafene at Losehill House – Lose Hill Lane, Edale Rd, Hope Valley S33 6AF, United Kingdom
- The Cavendish Hotel in Baslow – Church Ln, Baslow, Bakewell DE45 1SP, United Kingdom
Peak District pubs and country inns
If pub grub is more your thing, there are a plethora of traditional country inns and pubs throughout the Peak District. The Devonshire at Beeley is a wonderful example of a high-end gastro pub/country inn whilst the Bulls Head in Ashford in the Water is a lovely cosy, traditional pub. For something a little quirkier head to Barley Mow in Bonsall for good, honest home cooking. For full details of cosy pubs in Derbyshire, head here.
- The Devonshire at Beeley – Devonshire Square, Beeley, Matlock DE4 2NZ, United Kingdom
- Bulls Head in Ashford in the Water – Church St, Ashford in the Water, Bakewell DE45 1QB, United Kingdom
- Barley Mow in Bonsall – The Dl, Matlock DE4 2AY, United Kingdom
Foodie hidden gems
Riverside Kitchen Bakewell is a tucked-away little café on an unassuming industrial estate. The location belies its glorious riverside setting. There’s a little balcony to sit and enjoy whatever you’ve ordered. It’s an excellent option for breakfast, lunch, or coffee or you might just be lucky enough to coincide your trip with one of their pop-up supper club events. Keep an eye on their socials.
The same team also operates from David Mellors in Hathersage. However, if you visit the Bakewell venue, just around the corner is the Thornbridge brewery taphouse. This is a great spot for beer lovers. They also serve up some of the best pizzas in the local area.
Somewhere that gets recommended to me time and time again is Stella’s Kitchen in Eyam. Stella cooks Afro-Caribbean food using the freshest, locally sourced ingredients. Delicious lunches and an evening buffet menu are served from her homely farmhouse, beautifully situated in the stunning Peak District scenery just outside Eyam.
You can even BYO alcohol at no extra charge. Stella also offers takeaways. The menu varies each day of the week and you can see the menus online. Stella recently featured on popular food television show, The Hairy Bikers, so booking is essential!
- Riverside Kitchen Bakewell – Riverside Business Park, Bakewell DE45 1GS, United Kingdom
- David Mellors in Hathersage -The Round Building, Leadmill, Hathersage, Hope Valley S32 1BA, United Kingdom
- Thornbridge Brewery Taphouse – Riverside Brewery, Buxton Rd, Bakewell DE45 1GS, United Kingdom
- Stella’s Kitchen in Eyam – Cross Low Farm, Foolow Road, Hope Valley S32 5QS, United Kingdom
Food festivals in the Peak District
A number of food festivals take place in the region throughout the year. My favourite is Haddon Hall’s seasonal artisan markets which are a wonderful option for street food fans. The markets are set in the atmospheric grounds of Haddon Hall and always have a wonderful ambiance. There’s usually a good choice of both savoury and sweet options. The halloumi fries I’ve enjoyed here, from Toastie the Difference, are simply incredible and not to be missed!
- Haddon Hall Seasonal Artisan Market – The Estate Office, Haddon Hall, Bakewell DE45 1LA, United Kingdom
Many Derbyshire towns host popular farmers’ markets where you can buy a whole host of fresh food, direct from the farmers themselves. Bakewell, Belper, and Wirksworth all host regular farmers’ markets.
Similarly, the county hosts some excellent farm shops. Ranging from the majestic Chatsworth Estate farm shop to hidden gems like Tori and Ben’s in Melbourne, South Derbyshire.
- Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop – Pilsley, Bakewell DE45 1UF, United Kingdom
Where To Eat Amazing Food in Derby
Not far from the Peak District is the city of Derby. A highly underrated tourist destination, Derby has a proud industrial heritage and many great eating and drinking spots. Discerning diners head to Darley Abbey to enjoy a range of venues nestled in historic mills, many offering riverside dining.
The Cottonworks is a delightful daytime café and evening bistro and dishes up some of the best Sunday roasts in the region.
Bustler Street Food Market, open most weekends is also a real foodie draw. A regularly rotating mix of the best street food vendors are accompanied by live DJ sets. There’s ample inside and outside seating. Indeed, Bustler holds the title of the city’s biggest beer garden.
- Cottonworks Cafe and Bistro – Darley Abbey Mills, The Cotton Yard, Darley Abbey, Derby DE22 1DZ, United Kingdom
- Bustler Street Food Market – The Chocolate Factory, John St, Derby DE1 2QD, United Kingdom
What to eat In Derby – Local delicacies
Bakewell tarts are known throughout the country, and originate from the Derbyshire market town of Bakewell. They consist of a pastry case, strawberry or raspberry jam (“jelly” to Americans), and rich almond sponge. True locals know it should really be a Bakewell ‘pudding’ – and you can earn brownie points/distinguish yourself from the tourist masses by making sure you order a Bakewell pudding rather than tart.
In addition to Bakewell pudding (definitely not tart!), also check out Hartington stilton and delicious Derbyshire oatcakes. These are a cross between a pancake and a tortilla and can be served with savoury or sweet fillings. Many cafés and tearooms will serve oatcakes as part of their breakfast menus but you can also buy these Derbyshire delicacies from delis and farm shops.
Author Bio: Molly Scott
Molly Scott is a Derbyshire food blogger at Lovely Local Indie which celebrates the best small businesses in the region. Insider guides and hidden gems. Find her on Instagram at @mollyinderbyshire, on Facebook at Derbyshire Lovely Local Indie and on Twitter at @lovelylocalindi.
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