Great British Boltholes: The Devonshire Arms is somewhere you can take it VERY easy… in the Capital of Cosiness
- The 18th century pub and inn boasts a real fire and selection of local craft beer
- When it comes to food, the menu is based around local produce
- It is close to a number of mansions open to the public, including Haddon Hall
Is Derbyshire Britain’s cosiest county? It’s right in the middle, the furthest point from chilly seas, safely tucked up amid rolling green hills and snugglesome valleys.
So if cosy is what you’re looking for, you could do worse than spend a weekend in this wonderful spot, The Devonshire Arms, in Beeley, a mile from Chatsworth House.
The Duke of Devonshire’s splendid baroque crib isn’t the only mansion round here worth visiting, however. Nearby Haddon, Hardwick and Kedleston Halls offer a crash course in the history of British architecture.
Relaxed: The exterior of The Devonshire Arms pub and inn, which is in Beeley, Derbyshire, and a mile from Chatsworth House
From here it’s not far to Derby, where atmospheric streets contain not only a lovely cathedral, but an array of smart shops in the Irongate area.
Don’t miss Bennett’s, the world’s first department store, and the Museum and Art Gallery with the world’s best collection of paintings by Joseph Wright.
The USP: Set on the lovely Chatsworth estate, the 18th Century pub is everyone’s idea of the perfect rural inn. A real fire roars in the stone fireplace of its flag-floored bar. Food is served here or in the modern brasserie with its floor-to-ceiling windows and chandeliers. It has a great selection of local craft beer – Chatsworth Gold is a particularly good one.
Upstairs in the pub and in adjoining village cottages are stunning en suite bedrooms designed by the Duchess of Devonshire
The food: The Devonshire Arms menu is based around local produce. You’d be right to expect wonderful steaks, delicious lamb and tasty game, but the chef has some seriously good seafood connections too. The thickness and succulence of my lemon sole served with capers will linger long in the memory.
Starters range from chicken liver parfait to the structurally ambitious – ballotine of partridge and wild mushrooms. Puddings include Bakewell tart (mais certainement, as we say in Derbyshire) and sticky toffee. Work it off in Chatsworth’s huge gardens and green parkland split by the river Derwent.
The rooms: Upstairs in the pub and in adjoining village cottages are stunning en suite bedrooms designed by the Duchess of Devonshire in her bold-but-cosy style. All are carpeted and cushioned to within an inch of their lives and feature big, comfy beds with huge pillows and button-backed, tartan-tweed armchairs.
The Devonshire Arms, Beeley, Derbyshire. Weekend dinner, B&B rates from £204 per room. devonshirebeeley.co.uk