The moment I realised I had forgotten to renew my passport earlier in the year, a paralysing fear washed over me. But with the beautiful Peak District just a stone’s throw away and my ensuing hotel visit on the horizon, it turned out I didn’t miss the freedom to explore abroad for too long.
Tucked away in the genteel village of Baslow, The Cavendish Hotel was to be my next destination. Backed onto an endless stretch of undulating hills, this country house, owned by the Duke of Devonshire, is placed within the famous Chatsworth Estate.
The moment we stepped over the threshold, a real sense of history wafted towards us, and as we were shown to our room, we noticed that the stone walls along the warren-like corridors of this old coaching inn were crammed with ancient maps and paintings that depict its colourful past. Curious knick knacks were scattered throughout, giving the hotel an intriguing ambience.
Fronted by a heavy, green felted door, our room looked out onto views of the hills framed by plush curtains. The room was spacious and had an elegant bathroom with underfloor heating, just what I needed as the weather had begun to turn. There was a tranquil air of nostalgia in the hotel, which eased me into a relaxed state.
We made the most of the facilities before finding our way back along the corridors to the bar. It would have been rude not to have indulged in an aperitif before dining in the Gallery Restaurant.
Elegant furnishings and a calming palette of beige and duck egg blue gave the restaurant a refined feel but without the stuffiness. Staff were prompt without making us feel that someone was lurking behind us, and friendly without being over familiar, it seemed the service was spot on. The food matched the level of the hospitality, it was beautifully presented and infused with flavours that erupted on the tongue.
To begin my culinary journey I opted for the Tandoori monkfish cheek, cooked to perfection and offset by the tangy compressed apple and roast pumpkin puree. The main of roasted lamb with feta braised lamb shoulder, smoked aubergine caviar and marinated courgettes created a stunning fusion of flavours. To complete the meal I quite quickly devoured the British cheese board.
The morning dawned to reveal a slightly rainy yet picturesque view of the estate. As I was still feeling full from the night before, and owing to the abundance of cereals, pastries, meat and cheese, there was little need for a cooked breakfast. What a way to start a relaxing day ahead.