Back in March, before the whole world shut down, we had a very lovely little walking weekend in the Peak District, where we stayed in the most gorgeous Kip Hideaways barn* in the pretty little village of Alstonefield. It feels a bit like another lifetime ago now (little did we know the whole world was about to crumble) but a hearty dose of fresh air and spring days spent in nature was a total tonic — one I’d recommend to anyone. I’d also recommend jazzing up your ride and hiring an electric-hybrid Range Rover from THE OUT* for tackling those hills and country lanes — oof, we’ve never travelled so swish.
If you aren’t already familiar, the Peak District is just gorgeous and somewhere I’d highly recommend if you like your staycations to be green and fresh, with great views and plenty of pub stops. I grew up only 45 minutes or so from the Peak District though we always tended to go further north to the Lake District, and now I do wonder why. The Peak District is a bit like the Lake District’s little sister — less popular with day-trippers and Beatrix Potter tourists, but with all the same charm. It always impresses me how different the landscape across the UK is but walks in the Peak District are what I’d class as quintessentially British. Think lots of stiles, dry stone walls, constantly traversing fields full of sheep, and well worn-in pubs that always seem to pop up just when you think you could really do a break. Add to that sweeping views, impressive viaducts, limestone valleys and picturesque rivers and it really is someplace special.
Our Kip Hideaways barn really was the perfect base — and easily the most luxe self-catering place we’ve ever stayed. I wish they were all this good! The picturesque stone barn used to be the dance hall of a pub, but has since been converted into slick, Scandi-ish self-catering accommodation, which sleeps four comfortably though is just as cosy for two. It’s a topsy-turvy layout so the bedrooms are downstairs (one with en-suite and the other with a roll-top bathtub at the end of the bed — bliss!) and the kitchen and lounge area are upstairs in what would have been the disco floor previously — not that you’d ever know now. Furnished so beautifully to feel minimalist but definitely not lacking in personality (always the crux for me), it’s all white-wooden floor-boards, exposed wooden beams and natural materials and colours to match the scenery outside — talking of which, the views from the windows are blissfully calming, overlooking the postcard-pretty village of Alstonefield. We were there in spring when blankets of daffodils dressed every roadside. The open-plan layout is just what you want from self-catering accommodation, so that whoever’s cooking doesn’t feel isolated in the kitchen and everyone can chat and drink wine together in the evenings. The log-burner and extra squidgy sofas help make evenings extra cosy — because quiet nights in are definitely the vibe in sleepy Alstonefield!
What’s really great about it though is that there are numerous brilliant walks that go right from your doorstep. You only have to Google ‘Alstonefield walks’ to find plenty of great rambles of varying lengths — and most of them have pub stops, bonus! We did a lovely 13km walk to Hartington and back along the River Dove, and a shorter more leisurely loop walk the following day. We could have easily spent a few more days in our Alstonefield barn, exploring more of the Peak District, and getting over to Bakewell and Chatsworth House, but at least that means we’ve got reasons to go back soon! If you are planning a trip to the Peak District, I’d suggest going for at least a long weekend — especially if you’re a keen walker — so you’ve got plenty of time to get lost in the hills and make the most of this gorgeous barn. Midday bath anyone?
KIP HIDEAWAYS PEAK DISTRICT BARN, from £107/night