Derbyshire Venues & Accommodation For Every Occasion

October Creeps in through the Gainsborough Grapevine

It's been a busy September at Gainsborough Retreats with weekend weddings, spa days and tea parties but we're all set for October now Autumns taken its hold - the retreats have a warming Autumn glow whilst the sun is still shining on the meadows surround the cottages. We really are very spoilt to have Derbyshire on our doorstop, if you don't believe us - come see for yourselves - we'd love to have you & there's always so much going on...

Afternoon Tea At A Boutique Spa?

Here at Gainsborough Retreats we have a gem of luxury right on our doorstop -

The Brackendale Spa. We want to treat your body to the pampering it deserves.

Our skilled therapists are able to focus on any key problem areas and soothe away any aches and pains. All Massages are tailored to your requirements on the day. Truly unique and no two massages will ever be the same.....

If that isn't enough to send you into a heavenly state, we think you deserve to be treated to a tasty afternoon tea served on vintage fine bone china - dining in relaxing luxury


Call us on 01629 540727 or email  to book this heavenly treat. 



Treatments you can choose from include;


Massaging Manicure

Revitalising Pedicure

Holistic Back massage

Hot stone Therapy Massage

Crystal Therapy Massage

Ancient Reflexology Treatment

Crystal Clear Facial

Eastern Head Massage

Brackendale Back Wrap


 All our treatments & spa packages can be found on our Brackendale website - 

Unlock your inner goddess with our special offers page.  


This special offer entitles you to afternoon tea plus one 30 minute spa treatment for just &30


Remember ALL treatments are discounted for Gainsborough Retreat guests


Rescue Robin!

I’ve only been with Gainsborough Retreats a couple of months, employed as their new marketing manager and I wanted to impress with some interesting newsletter stories which would give you, our readers, something to talk about. I asked the staff at Gainsborough for little stories every week about ‘What’s Happened’ on site that week.  
Lovely Fiona Buxton at Knockerdown Cottages wrote to me with this story which conjured up some rather bizarre images in my mind!…
“Tina & I (Fiona) were working away quite happily when we heard a commotion in the games room at Knockerdown Cottages, we rushed in to see Robin had come into the games room, dashing around everywhere and knocked himself clean out into the windows”...
As I’m still trying to get used to all the staff names at Gainsborough Retreats I presumed that Robin was the Caretaker who I'd recently been introduced to and imagined him wildly playing table tennis in the games room and getting so enthusiastic that he stretched out to hit the ball and flew into the window knocking himself clean out on the floor!
Oh dear - poor Robin I thought - and how clumsy! If that image wasn’t silly enough, Fiona then went on to say…
“Tina picked up poor Robin in her arms & carried him out to the gardens where Robin lay dazed and confused. We thought it was best for Robin to rest for awhile & placed him gently up in a tree on a sturdy branch for him to recover & spread his wings again”. 
By this time I was most confused!
Imagining little Tina stumbling & carrying a full grown Caretaker man over her shoulder swamped in her arms and out into the garden with him balancing on a branch in a daze up a tree!
It was only after pondering for a minute, chewing my pen, thinking how bizarre this was & wondering how I could write this very odd story that I realised Robin was in fact a BIRD and NOT the CARETAKER  - who’s name is PETE - not ROBIN. 

Coat hangers disguised!


A large party recently vacated from our Knockerdown Cottages site, and like clockwork Housekeeper Louise went in to clean the cottages from top to bottom. Louise occasionally comes across objects that might be broken or misplaced but she was most surprised when she found 12 white wooden coat hangers had gone missing. After looking high and low the coat hangers were nowhere to be found.

To follow up on the disappearing coat hangers we sent an email to our departed guests asking if they could shed any light. We found the guests' email response back quite amusing!...

Hi Tina, 

I'm sorry, i have very silly friends. 

Apparently the  12 missing coathangers can be found under the duvets in the twin bedroom.

If you're wondering why, they were put there for another gentleman guest to 'find' the coat hangers when settling down into bed - he was meant to be staying in this twin bedroom, but then we found out he relocated to a different room and so the coathangers were never found by anyone! 

We had a really lovely time, hopefully you will allow us to return despite our childishness :) 




As we said - we do love our guests!


Activities for the Autumn


Free Friday Walks at Ilam Park

Ilam Park, White Peak Estate Office, Home Farm, Ilam, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 2AZ

3rd Oct 2014 11:00-13:00
10th Oct 2014 11:00-13:00
Contact: National Trust White Peak Office Tel: 01335 350503 Email: Web: 
Free Friday walks with our volunteers take place each Friday at 11:00am - starting outside the shop and visitor centre at Ilam Park. The routes change each week. No booking required, just turn up!

Live Music with Tick, Tick Boom at The George and Dragon

The George and Dragon, 43 Market Place, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 1EU

3rd Oct 2014 21:00
Contact: The George and Dragon Tel: 01335 343199
Live music from the band 'Tick, Tick Boom' at the pub on the Market Place, Ashbourne


Leawood Pumphouse - Steamings at Cromford

Cromford , Derbyshire, DE4 3QF

4th Oct 2014 - 5th Oct 2014 12:00-17:00
Contact: Middleton Top Visitor Centre Tel: 01629 823204
Leawood Pumphouse is open 12 noon to 5 pm.


Farmers Market at Wirksworth

Wirksworth, Derbyshire, DE4 4EU

4th Oct 2014
Contact: Simon Tel: 07403310163 Email: Web:
Wirksworth Farmers' Market always has free range, organic, tasty and healthy food - all deliciously tempting - plus fascinating craft stalls and a cafe run by volunteers. Different every month.


Fireworks at Matlock Bath Illuminations

Matlock Bath Illuminations , Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, DE4 3NR

4th Oct 2014 21:00
11th Oct 2014 21:00
Contact: Enquiries Tel: 01629 761110 Web:
Tickets prices are &5 adults and &4.50 over 60s/disabled people. Accompanied children aged 16 and under are free.
On firework nights the boats will parade at 7.45 & 9.15pm. Clifftop firework displays will take place at 9pm.


Charity Quiz Nights at Yew Tree Inn

Yew Tree Inn, Church Lane, Cauldon, Stoke-on-Trent, ST10 3EJ

5th Oct 2014 19:00
Contact: Mr Dan Buckland Tel: 01538 309876 Email: Web:
A monthly pub quiz which raises funds for local charities. A fun informal quiz where the smartest teams are not always the winning teams. A lot of fun and a bite to eat included.


Middleton Top Steaming Days at Middleton Top Visitor Centre

Middleton Top Visitor Centre, Rise End, Middleton by Wirksworth, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 4LS

5th Oct 2014 12:00-17:00
Contact: Middleton Top Tel: 01629 823204
Middleton Top Engine House is a Scheduled Ancient Monument containing a superb beam engine built by the Butterley Engineering Company in 1829. Using the power of steam, the engine raised and lowered waggons on the Middleton incline of the Cromford and High Peak Railway. An admission charge may apply

Public open days at Consall Hall Landscape Gardens

Consall Hall Landscape Gardens, Consall, Wetley Rocks, Staffordshire Moorlands, ST9 0AG

5th Oct 2014 10:00-17:00
Contact: Consall Hall Gardens Tel: 01782 551947 Web:
The Gardens and the tearoom are open to the general public on the 1st Sunday of the month, March - November.


National Clown Theatre at Ashbourne

Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 1EU

5th Oct 2014 14:30
Contact: . Tel: 01384 42 34 96
Tickets &5.00 Book Early- Limited Seating
The National Clown Theatre, at The Empire Ballroom bring bucketfuls of laughs, some of Britain's funniest clowns, magic, circus acts, prizes and surprises! A fun filled family laughter show live on stage.


Classic Cars & Music Day at Churnet Valley Railway

Churnet Valley Railway, Kingsley and Froghall Station, Froghall, Staffordshire, ST10 2HA

5th Oct 2014 10:00-16:00
Contact: Information/bookings Tel: 01538 758491 Email: Web:
Adult: &10.00, Senior: &8.00, Child: &4.00 (2-14yrs), Family: &26.00
Our annual end of season event with over 80 classic cars on show combined with live music at each station.



Autumn Open Day at Ashbourne Animal Welfare

Ashbourne Animal Welfare, Wyaston Rd, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 1NB

5th Oct 2014 11:00-16:00
Contact: . Tel: 01335 300494. Web:
The cats and dogs at The Ark invite you to come along and visit the Cattery and Kennels. Home made lunches and teas, gifts, books, bric a brac and toys. Ashbourne Animal Welfare Christmas cards on sale and The Ark 2015 Calendar


Nature Tots - Tree-mendous Tots at Carsington Water Visitor Centre

Carsington Water Visitor Centre, Carsington Water, Carsington, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 1ST

6th Oct 2014 10:00-11:30
Contact: DWT Tel: 01773 881188 Web:
Pre school children ages 3 and up are invited to bring along their adults to this fun playgroup session. Search the trees as they start to lose their leaves to see who is living in them.


Line Dancing at Ashbourne Town Hall

Ashbourne Town Hall, Market Place, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 1ES

7th Oct 2014 19:15-20:15
Contact: Ashbourne Visitor Centre Tel: 01335 343666
Beginners Line Dancing at the Town Hall All welcome



Michael Portillo - SOLD OUT at St John's Church

St John's Church, Buxton Road, Ashbourne, Derbyshire,

7th Oct 2014 19:30
Contact: Box Office Tel: 01335 343666 Web:
Postponed from the Ashbourne Arts Festival in June a talk hosted by Michael Portillo - 'Life a Game of Two Halves' listen to his
extraordinary story and then feel free to question him about it.


A River in Time - by Christine Gregory at All Saints Community Hall

All Saints Community Hall, 23 Belle Vue Road, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 1AT

8th Oct 2014 20:00
Contact: Ashbourne & District Camera Club Email:
&3.00 including refreshments. 
Ashbourne and District Camera Club invite you to an Illustrated talk about the river Bradford by Christine Gregory.The talk explores the river, its wildlife, geology, ecology, history and ongoing plans to protect it and the life it supports

Quiz Night at Ashbourne

Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 1EU

9th Oct 2014 20:00
Contact: The Horns Tel: 01335 347387
Quiz night at The Horns pub on Victoria Square every Thursday


Reel Rock 9 Tour at the Pavilion Matlock Bath at Matlock Bath

Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, DE4 3NR

10th Oct 2014 19:30
Contact: Web:
Tickets: &10.50/&9.50 concession
Valley Uprising is a feature-length film, documenting the riveting tale of epic rivalry, adventure and rebellion played out in the Yosemite Valley.


Beer Festival at Ashbourne Town Hall

Ashbourne Town Hall, Market Place, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 1ES

10th Oct 2014 12:00-23:00
11th Oct 2014 12:00-23:00
12th Oct 2014 12:00-14:00
Contact: Ashbourne CAMRA
&2.00 - Friday and Saturday Sunday Free Free to all CAMRA members
Real ales ciders and perries available plus live music on Friday and Saturday and locally sourced food too!


Valley Uprising Climbing film from ReelRock at The Grand Pavilion

The Grand Pavilion, South Parade, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, DE4 3NR

10th Oct 2014 19:30
Contact: Reel Rock 9 website Web:
Valley Uprising tells the story of 60 years of climbing history and the people who broke with convention and redifined the limits of human possibility in Yosemite National Park.


Round the Twist & Down the Hoo - Ranger Guided at Butterton

Butterton, Staffordshire Moorlands, ST13 7RZ

11th Oct 2014 10:00-16:00
Contact: Ranger Service Tel: 01629 816211
Booking essential; you may donate when booking, or give cash/cheque to the walk leader on the day
6 mile walk visiting Butterton & Grindon, to hear about the history of the villages & churches + visit the 47 Squadron Halifax memorial cairn. Meet at Black Lion public house car park, Butterton. GR: SK075 566 PC: ST13 7SP Times 10am-4pm


Peak District Artisans Autumn Extravaganza at The Whitworth Centre

The Whitworth Centre, Station Road, Darley Dale, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 2EQ

11th Oct 2014 - 12th Oct 2014
Contact: Peak District Artisans Web:
Browse and buy from more than 25 of the Peak District's best artists, jewellers and contemporary designers.


Introduction to Fungi at Carsington Water Visitor Centre

Carsington Water Visitor Centre, Carsington Water, Carsington, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 1ST

11th Oct 2014 10:00-16:00
Contact: DWT Tel: 01773 881188 Web:
&12 per person
Learn about fungi. Discover the range of fungal families in the UK. Identify species under the microscope. 
Join in a fungal foray around Carsington Water Booking essential


Craft Fair at Arkwright's Cromford Mills

Arkwright's Cromford Mills, Mill Road, Cromford, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 3RQ

12th Oct 2014 10:00-16:00
Contact: Information Tel: 01629 825995 Email: Web:
Browse a variety of stalls selling a selection of different themed handcrafted and local products.


Afternoon Tea at Alton Castle

Alton Castle, Castle Hill, Alton, Staffordshire, ST10 4TT

12th Oct 2014
Contact: Debbie Tel: 01538 703224 Email: Web:
&10 per person
Afternoon Tea at Alton Castle


A Wedding fit for the WHOLE weekend!


Knockerdown was bubbling with excitement when the girlfriends of Rebecca Cameron arrived on Friday 5th September.


They were all set for a night of Spa treatments and pampering - along with some good girl time gossip and giggles!


But first we all decorated the site ready for the weekend wedding to begin the following day.


Knockerdown Cottages looked beautiful - The Brackendale Room was finally ready for a stunning ceremony fit for Rebecca Cameron & Thomas Boone. 


The weekend guests filtered through the courtyard & admired their luxury cottages and a few arrival drinks together, until the whole party was settled for the weekend and ready for their first treat...


Spa Night of Pampering for the ladies and Pub Pints of Dutch Courage for the gents at our neighbouring pub Knockerdown Inn.

Later that night everybody gathered together for an event filled night of family and friends from near and far, it was great to see the party catching up and sharing stories & laughing at memories once made - as you can imagine... it was a late one!


And the late one contributed to a few very sore heads the following morning! A sign of a great night! 


Well planned by the 'soon to be bride and groom' that the Ceremony wasn't until the following afternoon, giving our guests a chance to rest and relax in their luxury rooms and lounge in their dining areas.


Some early risers decided to treat themselves to a swim in our pool while others still on a high from the previous night were competing in our games room. 

Of course the Bride was on top form and ready for a morning of more pampering in the spa with hair and make up artists fussing around her and treating her like the princess she deserved to be. 


The Ceremony was held at 3.30pm in the Brackendale room, followed by a chilled out drinks reception in the courtyard and photographs in the gardens.


All the Knockerdown staff had a quick dash to turn the ceremony room around in time for the reception where Glorious Catering hosted a huge hog roast. 


In the evening the party continued with an Extension Marquee erected to the Brackendale Room - a centre piece of a fabulous cheese layered wedding cake stood proud & a choose your own oven pizza cooked to order by Glorious Catering and the evening entertainment Photo Booth Flashbak!

There were plenty of grimacing photos, far out fancy dress poses & fabulous friends popping in and out the booth all night for a glimpse and lots of laughs at their printed photos whilst a DJ manned the decks throughout the night keeping the dance floor alive and the drinks were flowing!


After another round of sore heads the following Sunday morning but the the guests were still enjoying the fun & took to the back meadows for team games with adult inflatables to add to the fun while the Knockerdown Staff cleared up the site fit for the next wedding to arrive.


Knockerdown Cottages certainly became its own little village full of friendly faces, neighbours & close community - everybody had a wonderful time in a perfect location.

The newly wed Mr & Mrs Boone left with a smile of their faces as their guests waved them off as they looked forward to their honeymoon.


Site News - Why stay with Gainsborough Retreats?


Gainsborough Retreats want to offer you more than just a holiday, it's all about what you want to do or experience while you stay with us that matters. Let us cover a few things to make you feel differently about us and want to come and stay... 

We have two beautiful holiday venues and both are in a great location with stunning views.

Over 20 individual cottages to choose from along with function rooms, meadows, a lake, an indoor swimming pool, spa....

You can be sure of a different experience every time you visit

Fantastic range of accommodation that will suit large families, singles, couples, large groups.

We have from the luxury of Sunshine Cottage with it's hot tub to the most simple small character cottage.

Family and friends can escape from the hassle & stress of day to day life.

We have birds and wildlife perfect for nature walks.

Relax and unwind in natural surroundings in the heart of Derbyshire Peak District

For the most energetic we have a variety of outdoor activities such as golf, fishing, paintballing, rock climbing, quad biking, archery, cycling, walking, water sports all within easy reach. 

We also have a variety of indoor activities such as a swimming pool, sauna, spa, games rooms, group dining, murder mystery nights, flower arranging workshops, make up demonstrations, wine tasting, demo and dine evenings all of these can be arranged with our local businesses. 

Whether you are looking for a family holiday, activity holiday, short break, weekend break or even a Spa break Gainsborough Retreats are here to make your stay one you will remember.

All you have to do is decide how you want to spend your time on your perfect retreat!!

Give us a call on 01629 540525 and discuss your requiremnets with our dedicated team and we will try our best to accomodate you.

What's On?! We Recommend...

The 2014 Illuminations season will run every Saturday and Sunday from Saturday 6 September to Saturday 25 October.

Fireworks displays will take place on the following Saturday evenings:

27 September
4 October
11 October
18 October
25 October

Matlock Bath Illuminations feature a unique parade of illuminated and decorated boats on the River Derwent every weekend throughout September and October.

Each boat carries a decorated model and as darkness falls the boats disappear into the blackness below, leaving the models apparently gliding along just above the water.

On the above Saturday nights there are also spectacular firework displays at 9.00pm.

Matlock Bath Illuminations have an interesting history, dating right back to 1897, click here to read the history and facts about this festival. 


Some of the content provided in this article has been sourced from

Walk to an Ancient Stone Circle in Middleton


Much of this delightful walk is along the banks of the Lathkill and Bradford; both of these rivers flowing entirely through limestone country are famous for the purity of their water. 


After leaving Middleton and walking along Bradford Dale for a stretch, the walk soon takes you into the pretty village of Youlgreave. Leaving the village behind, you are quickly back into open countryside.

Your route leads you across Meadow Place Grange farmyard, which can be very muddy. The original grange farm belonged to Leicester Abbey from the 12th century until the dissolution of the monasteries in the 16th century.

Soon after leaving the farm, Lathkill Dale is reached. It is well known for its aquatic life. Trout may be seen in the river and the bank sides teem with wildlife.

Before the bridge was built at Alport, where the Lathkill and Bradford meet, the old Portway, an ancient trackway, forded the river on its journey from Castle Ring to the Iron Age hill fort on Mam Tor near Castleton.

The walk along Bradford Dale not only provides an opportunity to admire the scenery, but also to note the varying styles of bridges across the river and to gaze into the crystal clear fish pools as you near Middleton.

Walk Details

Length:    6 miles.

Start/Finish:     Roadside car parking in the centre of Middleton.    

Location:     From the A6 Matlock to Buxton road take the B5056 for the village and then follow the signs for Middleton-by-Youlgreave.      

Terrain:     Mostly easy walking with only short climbs and descents. Much of the route follows the Lathkil and Bradford rivers. There are some muddy patches to watch out for in wet weather.

To find out more details about this walk please click here for the guided tour of the route, you may also find other walks on here of all different strengths and abilities - from easy rambling to monstrous mountaineers! 



Some of the content provided in this article has been sourced from 


Recipe of the Month - Halloween Style!



  • 2 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter
  • 4 large (2 cups) shallots, thinly sliced
  • 10 ounce(s) fresh goat cheese, softened
  • 4 ounce(s) cream cheese, softened
  • 6 ounce(s) Greek feta cheese, at room temperature
  • Black sesame seeds, for garnish
  • 1 Piquillo pepper, for garnish
  • 6 (6 inches each) painted twigs, for spider legs
  • Crackers, flat breads, and bread sticks, for serving




  1. In a medium skillet, melt the butter. Add the shallots and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Scrape the shallots into a food processor and let cool. Add the goat cheese, cream cheese, and feta, and puree until smooth. Scrape the cheese into a bowl and refrigerate until chilled, about 30 minutes.
  2. Shape one third of the cheese mixture into a ball and roll in black sesame seeds to coat; shape the remaining two-thirds into a larger ball and coat with black sesame seeds. On a serving board, press the balls together to form the head and body of a spider. Cut the piquillo pepper into 2 small triangles and place them on the body in an hourglass shape. Serve with crackers, flat breads, or bread sticks. 


Some of the content provided in this article has been sourced from