Holiday review: Discovering the Peak District

One of the most popular outings for Oddfellows Travel are short breaks away discovering interesting parts of the UK. Here, Julia Ellis, a member from our Derby Branch, looks back at a wonderful weekend making new friends and exploring the stunning Derbyshire Peak District.

11 Oddfellows members stood next to Derwent Reservoir on a trip. Visiting the Dam Busters film location – Derwent Dam

Day 1 – Friday – Making new friends

At the beginning of September 2021’s Friendship Month, 16 people met up at HF Holiday’s Peveril of the Peak Hotel to enjoy a weekend tour of the Peak District. We met late afternoon over tea and cake, after which we retired to unpack and dress for dinner. The rooms were immaculate and very comfortable!

As we got talking to each other before and during dinner we discovered most of the group were from areas around the South of England, joined by one from Stockport, one from Leek and four from Derby. It was a good mix of people from around the UK and over the weekend we got to know each other, making new friends and having many discussions and lots of laughter.

Dinner the first evening was delicious with plenty of choice over several courses. The service was very quick with pleasant waiters. A nice touch was a menu for the next day from which you chose the items you wanted in your packed lunch and for dinner in the evening. The sandwiches and salad boxes for lunch were full of variety and all very fresh.

In the small bar after dinner we enjoyed drinks whilst listening to musical Oddfellow, John, who had a great repertoire on his guitar.

We were all tired, particularly the ones who had driven a very long way from the South of England, so off we went to bed. The beds were extremely comfortable and we were off to the land of nod before we could count any sheep!

Oddfellows members on a break to the Peak District line up outside Chatsworth House A quick group photo before heading in to Chatsworth House

Day 2 – Saturday – Taking in some beauty spots

We were up reasonably early the next morning. Some people went for a short walk around the hotel as the weather promised to be bright and warm. After a delicious breakfast with a good selection of foods, hot and cold, we met outside to wait for our HF guide Alistair to arrive with the coach.

The first visit of the day was to the town of Bakewell. We were mesmerised by the number of Bakewell Puddings which seemed to be sold in every single shop! After doing the round of the area, we stopped for coffee and were ready for the next visit on the itinerary, Chatsworth House, passing stunning countryside and tiny pretty villages along the way. HF Holidays provided a free tour of the House – a real treat. The stewards in the rooms were very knowledgeable and answered questions which gave more insight into the tour.

Our next stop was the village of Edensor, a village of beauty with absolutely stunning gardens and houses. Enjoying the fine and warm weather, some of us made it up the slope to visit the church and churchyard where members of the Cavendish family were buried including William Cavendish, 6th Duke of Devonshire (1790–1858), founder of modern-day Edensor.

After a pleasant tour through the country lanes back to Peveril, we were ready for dinner, followed by a fascinating video presentation about the Peak District.

HF Holidays guide with two female Oddfellows members in Tideswell 
HF Holidays' guide, Alistair sharing his local knowledge

Day 3 - Sunday – Awe-inspiring views

We were up, breakfasted and ready and waiting for the coach to appear. Our first tour was Tideswell and the Cathedral in the Peak, the church of St John the Baptist. This magnificent church looms over the village. Awe-inspiring. As there was a service on, all we could do was peep in the doorway. It is the largest and most perfect of churches in the area and was recorded in the Domesday Book. As it stands today, so proud and beautiful a building with so much history behind its graceful exterior. It is part of our heritage and something for English people to be proud of.

Next we had a short tour of Castleton, admiring the shops with windows full of Blue John jewellery and lots of decorative items. We had coffee in a tiny back garden of one of the cottages and it was delicious. We sat for a while in this haven of peace until it was time to board the coach again and move on to Eyam, the village of the Plague. A short tour round to see the plague houses and note the water troughs, many now used for flowers, and a quick view of the church. Then back on the coach towards our next destination.

Writer Julia with friend in Castleton

Writer Julia with new friend Annette in Castleton

As it was lunchtime we ate our packed lunches in the shade of the trees before taking the climb up to the Ladybower Dam itself. This is a pure feat of engineering, well-known and documented. Today the water was low and still. But you could appreciate the beauty of the dams and the surrounding countryside as you stood at the top of the hill and looked back. We managed to get to the top where there is a plaque dedicated to the dog Tip who stayed on Howden Moor above the dams, with her master, for 104 days after her master had died.

After another evening of delicious food and John’s musical entertainment, it was good night. The very pleasant weekend was over. Thanks to Oddfellow Travel’s Mike Hall for arranging this and to Alistair our HF guide who was very knowledgeable and presented all the information clearly. The coach drivers were very good and the coach comfortable. The hotel was excellent, very clean and the staff very polite and good at their jobs.

We met as strangers and left as friends, hopefully to meet again on the next tour which will be Shropshire.

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