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Biggin Hall, Hartington, Peak District
Biggin Hall is one of the Peak District's more characterful hotels: an attractive 17th-century manor house, built from chunks of local limestone, pierced with stone-mullioned leaded windows and topped with slate tiles. The owner is a former antiques dealer, and it shows, especially in the main house, where you'll find original oil paintings and metal breastplates on the walls, and potted plants on Victorian jardinieres. There's a real sense of tradition here, with a hugely loyal clientele who return time after time, but as the hotel has been gradually upgrading itself over the past few years (polishing up the York stone floors and adding more up-to-date facilities in the rooms), it's also beginning to attract a new, younger audience as well.
The village of Hartington, two miles away, has a good little cheese shop next door to its pretty duck pond.
The hotel is in the tiny village of Biggin, with a couple of pubs and an ancient church. There are plenty of walks nearby, and Buxton is a 20-minute drive to the north.
By car: Biggin Hall is 1 hour from Sheffield, 1 hour 30 mins from Birmingham and 3 hours 15 mins from London. There is free parking on-site.
By train: London St Pancras to Matlock (via Derby) takes 2 hours 20 mins. The hotel is a 20-minute taxi ride from the station. thetrainline.com
Style & Character
Traditionally, guests have mostly been older couples, but that's gradually changing, with a younger crowd staying at weekends. There's a selection of modern artworks dotted along the path around the garden's edge, which contrast nicely with the historic buildings.
Service & Facilities
The library feels cosy and homely, its shelves filled with a nicely eclectic selection of books and an assortment of board games. Dogs aren't allowed anywhere in the main house or dining room but are welcome in some of the outbuilding rooms.
- Free Wi-Fi
- Free parking
For maximum character, book a main house room - like the Master Suite with its high beamed ceiling and four-poster bed. Finding fresh milk and free drinks (a local beer and mini bottle of Prosecco) in the fridge is a pleasant surprise.
Courtyard Rooms, Lodge Rooms, Main House Rooms, Dog-friendly Rooms
Facilities include: ensuite bathroom, TV, tea and coffee facilities, fridge, phone, antiques
Food & Drink
After puddings, you're invited to help yourself from a board of cheeses and chutneys, and coffee and chocolates are laid on in the lounge. They do a fine version of that local classic, the Bakewell tart, served warm with a scoop of ice cream on top.
The restaurant: AA Rosette, traditional British dishes, local produce, vegan and vegetarian menus. Open every day for lunch and dinner. Three-course dinner £32.50, tasting menu £75 per person with wine pairings.