We feel your pain – if you’re looking for Peak District holiday cottages and you’re vaguely fussy, then it can be tricky, and you need to be booking ahead. With more then 10 million visitors a year to our second smallest national park, there’s stiff competition to nab the best holiday cottages during peak season!
NB – the law says I have to tell you that cottages.com provided half the cost of the cottage (which we had already booked!) in return for me telling you about it, so this post classes as an Advertisement Feature. Obviously all opinions are my own.
But if you can find a holiday cottage in the Peak District which matches what you’re looking for , the rewards are immense – stacks to do amidst some of the most stunning English countryside.
We were so luck a few weeks ago when a last-minute decision for a week away was planned, and we spotted that Shawside Farm was actually available for the week we wanted.
We had last visited the Peak District back in 2009 – and we had stayed in this exact cottage back then. We’d had one of those perfect holidays which everyone still remembers and talks about; everyone except our now-11yr old who had been far to young to remember any of it!
And so we packed our bags to head off for a final family trip of the year in the Peak District.
If you’re looking for Peak District holiday cottages, Shawside is a classic Victorian Staffordshire farmhouse and barn conversion – it stands entirely alone on the side of the hill, set in four acres of land, and there are unrestricted views along the length of the moorland valley with just a handful of buildings in sight.
Yet it’s not inconveniently remote – you’re a mere 5 minutes from the main A road, just ten minutes from Leek and l5 minutes from the delights of beautiful Buxton.
Shawside Farm sleeps six in three bedrooms, with one family bathroom upstairs and another downstairs.
The kitchen is compact, but more than big enough when used in conjunction with the utility room which holds all the appliances. The only cooker is the Aga – but don’t be frightened of it, there’re clear instructions in the cottage manual. It only took us half a day to understand it, and a tweak of the timer meant that it was always hot when we needed it.
The cottage faces east, which means that on a sunny morning the kitchen is rather a lovely spot to be brewing your morning coffee!
The larger sitting room contains a grand piano (which you’re welcome to use if you’re a pianist, but it is requested that non-players steer clear). this room is lovely – but we actually seemed to spend most of our week in the second sitting room, which we quickly called the Snug.
Although it’s where the TV is, we don’t tend to watch while we’re away. But the room felt cosier, it has the woodburner for colder months, it’s just off the kitchen and it has a plentiful supply of games and books.
Which is how we tend to spend holiday evenings – if we’re not eating out we play a lot of cards and games together.
The upstairs family bathroom is lovely – but once again I failed ot have bath in that tub, looking up through the skylight at the stars. Next time, right?
The two twin bedrooms are bright and roomy (see the video walk-through of the cottage), and the main bedroom is gorgeous with high beams (unlike the main cottage door I didn’t bang my head on these once!). and loads of space.
Peak District holiday cottages
If you’re looking for a holiday cottage in the National Park, the likelihood is you’re planning on getting out and seeing some of it. Shawside is perfectly situated on the Roaches to see some of that right from the door. one evening we got back to the cottage a little early, and there was a glorious se=unset going on – on the other side of the hill (because Shawside is nestled into the hillside, you get glorious morning sunshine, but come the evening you’re in the shadow of the hill).
So C and I left the teens with the WiFi and walked straight out the door – two minutes further along the lane there is a footpath up and over the top of the hill – and this is what we saw on the other side, just a 15 minute stiffish walk up to the top:
But the Peak District isn’t huge, so it’s also really easy to get to the tourist spots like Chatsworth & Bakewell (35mins), Winnats Pass, Mam Tor & all of the caverns (35mins), Lyme Park (40 mins) and all the way over to the stunning Stanage Edge near Sheffield is 50 minutes of a beautiful drive.
Shawside is a lovely cottage for a family stay – it is fitted out beautifully, the bedding and towels are of good quality, and there’s lots of room for a large family to spread out. And essentially (for anyone with teens, anyway) the WiFi is fast enough for 6 of us to be on (and some of us streaming) simultaneously.
Tesco deliver to the cottage (I plan a week’s worth of food in advance and have it arrive a couple of hours after we do), and there are plenty of shops and markets in Buxton and Leek.
We spent a week doing everything we love to do as a family – we introduced Bear into the delights of caverns, we visited the magnificence of Chatsworth, we cycled the Monsal Trail, did a lot of hiking across the wilds of the National Park, including conquering Kinder Scout via Jacob’s Ladder. We ate out (The Lazy Trout. HIGHLY recommend it), we had chips on the moor (if you’re out that way, the Corner Chippy in the village of Tideswell was brilliant), and we got throughly beaten at cards by the children. In short, we had a perfect break.
Property: Shawside Farm – Upper Hulme, Leek, Staffordshire
Price: £484* (£11.52 per person per night) for seven nights’ self-catered accommodation. Sleeps six in three bedrooms. Valid for arrival on 3rd November 2018.
Contact: cottages.com / 0345 498 6900