Where To Eat In Derbyshire

Dining Out at Viva Restaurant

Matlock is known for its great walks and heritage; it also has good facilities for shopping, leisure and recreation including the lovely Hall Leys Park. The skyline of Matlock is famously dominated by Riber Castle, gracefully overlooking the town. We are privileged to live on the outskirts of this beautiful town and one evening we […]

Dining Out Lumb Farm

I can remember back in 1978, sitting in my car, listening to the radio and the latest captivating episode of the BBC comedy The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams. I never missed one of them. A couple of years later, looking for reading material to keep me occupied through a long flight […]

The Blacksmith’s Loft

A traditional Sunday lunch is still a firm favourite with me. What could be better than roast beef, Yorkshire pudding, fresh vegetables and a boat of gravy all accompanied by a glass of red wine? So when Victoria, a Director from The Blacksmiths Loft, Blacksmiths Yard, Sadler Gate, Derby invited us to try their new […]

Dining at Jeera

It was a cold, dark, Thursday evening in the middle of January. The forecast was for it to get colder with possibly a heavy snowfall. The worst of the winter was yet to come. So, we decided it was time for a spicy evening out to banish the winter blues. We headed to Codnor Market […]

The Horse & Jockey

Back in the mid 1960s the Sunday afternoon picnic was something to look forward to. Family and food packed into the Morris Oxford and my father at the wheel conducting us on his own, very special, mystery tour. It could be to Clumber Park and long walks through the woods or to Dovedale; over the […]

Lunch at Lisa Jean at Bennetts Brasserie

The day hadn’t started very well. One of those tiny warning lights had illuminated on the dashboard of the car and, although I thought I was good at solving cryptic crosswords, this combination of hieroglyphics and abbreviations had me foxed. It required an excursion to Derby for a diagnosis. It wasn’t good news. It could […]

Kedleston Country House Boutique Hotel

Stepping over the threshold at The Kedleston Country House Boutique Hotel I realised that the last time I had been here was with work colleagues, some sadly no longer with us, for happy hour in 1989. In honesty I didn’t recognise the place as so much has been done to make this a truly splendid […]

Derbyshire Lost houses

Lost Houses of Shallcross Hall

The Dark Peak was never a place welcoming enough, through elevation or climate, to encourage the erection of major country houses, although small stone built manor houses were built, especially in the environs of Chapel-en-le-Frith. Shallcross hall, therefore, was something of an exception, being a classical house of moderate size situated on as windy hilltop […]

Lost Houses of Repton Park

Sir Vauncey Harpur-Crewe of Calke, 10th Bt. was a true eccentric; unpredictable, obsessive and solitary. One of his pastimes was the catching of specimens various types of fauna and having them stuffed, mounted and parked in the great saloon at Calke Abbey. Smaller creatures, including butterflies he dried and pinned to boards. One summer morning […]

Darley House

It never ceases to surprise me the number of really very substantial houses that once existed within the boundaries of the present City of Derby. Most of them have already appeared on these pages, but Darley House has so far escaped being chronicled. Although no great shakes aesthetically, it has a triple importance: first that […]

Errwood Hall

When I was young, especially when visiting relatives in Ireland, ruined country houses were virtually commonplace. Tax, bankruptcy, pessimism and misfortune led many owners post World War Two to abandon their homes and live somewhere cheaper to heat, and generally more convenient. Contents were sold and most often the house pulled down, but many were […]

Old Bretby Hall

The name Bretby, although equipped with a Norse suffix meaning ‘place’, suggests that it was, even when the Danelaw was forming in the 10th-11th century, a place known to be (or have been) settled by people of British descent. Yet by 1086 it was attached to Newton (Solney) as an outlier, but by the end […]

The Knoll, Littleover

I have tramped the streets of Littleover many times over the last decade, canvassing or delivering leaflets, and have often wondered, when entering Knoll Close from Swanmore Road, on the south western slopes of the village, whether the inhabitants were aware of the reason for their street’s name. The street itself was built in the […]

Walking In Derbyshire

Walk Around & About Belper

For a town that has seen industries come and go, Belper manages to retain its semi-rural appeal. With countryside coming right up to its oldest part, it is easy to escape the pressures of everyday living. Not only does Belper have this countryside on its doorstep, it has, for a town of its size, probably […]

High Peak Trail

Regular followers of my walks will no doubt have noticed that I always try to design the walk around a convenient pub.  This walk is no exception and can almost be considered a pub crawl. It passes the doors of two and, more to the point, starts and finishes at a walker (and dog) friendly […]

Walk around Osmaston & Shirley Parks

Despite traffic thundering along the A52 Derby/Ashbourne road barely a mile away, the tranquil villages of Osmaston and Shirley with their thatched-roofed cottages and mellow Derbyshire brick, are the archetypal image of typical English villages.  Between them are the wooded sporting estates of Osmaston Manor and Shirley Hall; this walk crosses both. Oddly enough, the […]

Tittesworth Reservoir

It is a long time since I was last in the area around the Roaches near Leek.  The highest gritstone edge in the Peak, the escarpment dominates the northern skyline in this walk.  Tittesworth Reservoir has a long history.  It was built in two stages with the original dam created in 1858 to collect water […]

The Top of the Amber valley

Like many walkers, I got sick and tired of walking on muddy tracks this winter. As a result I began to look around for places where I could walk without dragging myself through a good impression of a Great War Somme battlefield.  We did manage a few short strolls along the old railway trails, one […]

A Winter Warmer Around Attenborough Nature Reserve

Wrap up well for this walk because the wind off the River Trent at this time is often called ‘a lazy wind’, rather than go round, it tries to cut straight through your jacket.  Nevertheless it is an ideal winter walk for it is along wide, level, well surfaced tracks more than often sheltered by […]

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Featured Articles

The Pentrich Rising

Two hundred years ago this month, a group of poor men desperate to feed their families took decisive if impulsive action aimed at overthrowing the government and ending poverty. At the time England’s economy was in a dire state: bad harvests had led to famine and fewer workers were needed because of the Industrial Revolution. […]

Pollyanna’s Wonderful World

From sitting shoulder to shoulder with a mountain gorilla on the slopes of a dormant volcano in Rwanda, to being charged by a wild tiger in the foothills of the Himalayas, Pollyanna Pickering is one of the few artists to have truly travelled the world to get close to her wild subjects. And Pollyanna recently […]

Derbyshire Antiques & Collectibles – Royal Doulton

A perennial favourite at the fortnightly general sales we have at Bamfords are the figurines made by the Royal Doulton factory. Of high glazed porcelain, very well painted and finely modelled these are favourites with collectors and have the advantage of being well catalogued. Readers will probably not need reminding that Doulton’s was founded in […]

OSLO On A Shoestring

Even the locals complain about the cost of living in Norway, but as we discovered, it is possible to enjoy the delights of Oslo, Norway’s capital without breaking the bank. Many of its attractions are either free or inexpensive, and if you are over sixty, then by asking for an ‘honor rebatt’, (age reduction), prices […]

Marehay Coal Miner who captained England

COMPARISONS with the modern game can help illustrate Alf Strange’s achievements in football. A skilful right-half, he was a member of the Sheffield Wednesday team which won the First Division championship – equivalent to the Premier League – in two consecutive seasons, 1928-29 and 1929-30, were never out of the top three for five years […]

Mr Straw’s House

A side turning into the quiet tree-lined suburban road a mere half mile from Worksop town centre gives no hint that Number 7 Blythe Grove is a time capsule where nothing has changed for almost seventy years. No. 7 Blythe Road, Worksop was the home of a well-to-do tradesman, William Straw, a Worksop provisions and […]

Female Products - Tried & Tested

Tried & Tested – Clarins

Product Test Review – Clarins Moisture Rich Body Lotion 200ml £31 A rich, creamy lotion with a seductively appealing fragrance, which effectively rescues dry skin. To the touch, skin becomes softer, smoother and more supple. To the eye, skin becomes firmer, brighter and more youthful. Extensive testing Test 1: Skin Hydration. Test panel volunteers applied […]

Tried & Tested – Pixi Beauty

Glam It Up with Pixi Beauty Strobe & Sculpt £24  This palette contains 3 highlight and 3 contour shades for refined lighting and defined shading created by Maryam. The contour shades create realistic shadows to recede features, while highlight shades gives a strobe-like luminosity to amplify and reflect light. Sheer yet buildable mineral powders blend […]

Tried & Tested – This Works

Deep Sleep Body Therapy 100ml £20 A spray-on moisturiser to soothe your body and calm your mind before bed Launched in 2011 with our iconic deep sleep pillow spray, the deep sleep range is now a collection of fast acting natural remedies proven to help overcome temporary periods of sleeplessness and re-instate a healthy sleep […]

Tried & Tested – Estee Lauder

Sumptuous Infinite Daring Length + Volume Mascara  RRP £21 Stretch lashes to limitless lengths This season, Estée Lauder introduces a new addition to its mascara portfolio – New Sumptuous Infinite Daring Length + Volume Mascara. Featuring a multitude of gravity-defying fibres that take lashes far beyond tips, this luxurious and high-performing mascara works to deliver […]

Tried & Tested – Elemis

British Botanical Body Cream £25 200ml Take the burgeoning rays of sunshine on an early summer morning, as life in an English garden begins to stir. A formula that echoes the layered aromatics of a garden coming to life; the British Botanical Body Cream by ELEMIS. Moisturising is only part of the story. The skin […]

All About the Eyes, with Charlotte Tilbury

Rock ‘N’ Kohl £19 Bedroom Black Darlings, this is inspired by one of my all-time favourite looks, the ultimate rock-chick ‘bedroom eyes’. My revolutionary, no-nonsense liquid-eye pencil, enriched with crushed pearl powder, features the silky smooth glide of a liquid liner with the soft, sooty, pigment-rich result of a kohl. Channel your inner rock ‘n’ […]