The rooms of Calke Abbey in Derbyshire are purposefully “unstately”, with cobwebs and cracked china telling a story of country house decline in England. Add acres of ancient woodland and walled gardens blooming with flowers, and you’ve got a grand day out. To explore it in great detail, we’ve chosen the best hotels nearby – all bookable with Culture Trip.
The individually designed rooms and suites at Harpur’s of Melbourne are set around the hotel’s destination restaurant. Standard doubles are soothing spaces of heather-purple or sage-green, and the suites come with freestanding tubs in the bedroom. But the food is the real draw here. Don’t be fooled by the country pub feel and traditional pub menu of the restaurant – rose-pink meat comes with gravy reductions and dots of pea purée. The garden terrace is the perfect spot for one of their craft cocktails, too.
In an 1850s farmhouse, this lodge hotel provides a country escape, 10mi (16km) from Calke Abbey. The ground floor is dedicated to wining and dining, where the Lodge Bar & Dining serves up craft cocktails, tapas-style plates and a selection of stone-baked pizzas. This is also where you can fuel up for the day with a cooked or continental breakfast – though you can also make the five-minute walk into Heatherton Village with its handful of shops, tea rooms and cosy pubs.
Pentahotel Derby is where business meets pleasure. Set in the business district of Derby, just a few minutes from the train station, it’s a contemporary-chic space designed with comfort in mind. Splash out on the Playerpad room and your stay will include a PS4 and retro arcade games. Or, stick to analogue with a few frames of pool in the lounge bar. If you want to escape the city for the day, Calke Abbey is just a half-hour drive away.
In the idyllic village of Repton, 7mi (11km) from Calke Abbey, the Boot Inn is a 17th-century coaching inn turned pub with rooms. Classic, superior and deluxe rooms are decked in classy furniture amid exposed brick walls and timber beams. Upgrade your standard cooked breakfast to a sparkling champagne affair in the restaurant, and stay for a dinner of confit pork belly flavoured with fennel. Don’t leave without trying the ultra-locally brewed Boot Beer.
On the edge of Nottingham, this urban-chic hotel puts you between the city and the countryside. Rooms meld classic and contemporary decor and the bar is a delight to return to after a day in the city, or exploring Calke Abbey – a 40-minute drive away. Breakfast is included, and you can choose between a classic full English or relive your childhood with gooey egg and soldiers.
Stepping into the rooms at adult-only Mamas Inn, it feels as though every cushion, pot plant and gilded mirror has been carefully chosen by hand. Rooms brim with character and everything is on theme – the Tokyo room is an onslaught of kimonos and cherry blossom, Casablanca is rich red velvet and gold trim, and New York is stars-and-stripes bedding and Coca-Cola crates. Just like the rooms, the breakfast spans continents with options ranging from USA-style waffles and bacon, to Israeli shakshuka and Russian potato pancakes – plus the classic full English, of course.
This boutique hotel in the heart of Leicester has been welcoming guests since its days as a bed and breakfast in the 1930s. It’s just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre and train station, and Calke Abbey is under an hour’s drive. Rooms range from comfortable standards to suites with seating areas and sprawling king-size beds. Jamie’s Restaurant on the ground floor serves up fine-dining specialities like perfectly pinked barberry duck breast, and a hake confit with clams and wild sea herbs.
In the centre of beautiful Ticknall village, the Staff of Life is a traditional country inn. Each room is individually decorated, and sloped ceilings and thick stone walls whisper of its 18th-century origins. If you’re bringing a furry friend you can request room six, which is dog-friendly. The cosy pub part of the inn serves up home-made pies, traditional grub and casks of real ale. Make the 10-minute walk to Calke Abbey to work off some of that hearty fare.
Looking for somewhere different? Book into one of the best hotels near the University of Nottingham, or opt instead for a top budget-friendly stay. Inspire your itinerary with the top things to see and do in Nottingham, or take a trip to the nearby Peak District National Park. Don’t miss the best brunch spots in the city.
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