Derbyshire Venues & Accommodation For Every Occasion

Get Crackin' For An Eggs-tra Special Easter


Eggs-cellent family time!


               There was plenty to do at Gainsborough Retreats over
                      Easter, the site was full of activities and treats for
                   the kids and grown ups - every guests also received
                                an Easter Activity Planner

We love to share the GOOD TIMES

with our guests, which means we always

strive to keep you entertained

and busy throughout your stay -

here are just some of the treats

our Easter guests received this year!







If you have any questions or need any advise throughout your stay we will be delighted to help to make your stay with the family as enjoyable as possible.



Get On Yer Bike!


Ashbourne Cycle Hire


Where you can cycle?

The Tissington Trail provides a flat, traffic-free cycle route through the beautiful Peak District countryside. The picturesque, traditional Derbyshire village of Tissington is an easy three-mile cycle ride away with the end of the trail being a further 10 miles.

New routes have been developed to enable you to join up with other cycle trails in the area as part of the White Peak Cycle Routes. The Tissington Trail also forms part of the 350 mile Pennine Cycleway to Berwick-upon-Tweed.

A short ride through the tunnel complete with railway sound effects brings you out in Ashbourne town centre where a range of pubs, cafés and shops are available. Ashbourne is famous for its Shrove Tuesday football match where the two halves of the town play one another at football with the goals three miles apart!

Visit here for cycle hire prices and more information.

Derwent Cycle Hire

Where you can cycle?

There is a wide range of both easy going and challenging routes for cyclists but remember that cycling is only permitted on bridleways – not on footpaths or open moorland. View the cycle routes in the Upper Derwent Valley.

The reservoirs of the Derwent and Howden were built nearly 100 years ago to supply the cities of Sheffield, Nottingham, Derby and Leicester. Ladybower was completed in 1945 to supply an ever increasing demand. With the combination of water, woodlands and high moorland, the Upper Derwent has become a unique place for wildlife.

In the West Tower of the Derwent Dam there is a memorial and museum for the Dambusters 617 squadron. The museum is open most Sundays and Bank Holidays.

View the Upper Derwent Valley Visitor Guide.

Visit here for cycle hire prices and more information.


Parsley Hay Cycle Hire

Where you can cycle?

Both the High Peak and Tissington Trails are easily accessed and provide over 30 miles of flat, traffic-free cycling, walking and horse riding. New routes have been developed to enable you to join up with other cycle trails in the area as part of the White Peak Cycle Routes. The Tissington Trail also forms part of the 350 mile Pennine Cycleway to Berwick-upon-Tweed.

Visit here for cycle hire prices and more information.

Middleton Top Cycle Hire

Where you can cycle?

There are plenty of cycle routes to choose from whether you are planning a short ride or a longer, more challenging outing. (Most cyclists will cover approximately 6 miles in an hour. So a 3 hour bike hire should allow time to get to Minninglow, or Friden, and back again).

View the Middleton Top Trail here

Visit here for cycle hire prices and more information.



Did someone say CHOCOLATE...???

8 of the best chocolatiers and chocolate shops in Derbyshire


Naughty & Nice

The name says it all – from hand-dipped truffles to chocolate ‘soup’ made with Belgian chocolate and double cream, a visit to this charming chocolate shop and café in Bakewell is every chocoholic’s dream.

Chocolates can be made to order with personalised messages and there’s also a bespoke chocolate cake service, where owner Kath Girling can create almost anything you desire.

The café-cum-bistro was awarded ‘Café of the Year’ at the Derbyshire Food and Drink Awards 2014 and offers light lunches and refreshments, all day breakfast, home made cakes and ice-cream, all in a picturesque courtyard location. Bakewell,

Photo: Naughty & Nice, Bakewell  


Barry Colenso

During his 30 year career in the chocolate industry, Barry became the youngest-ever Head of Patisserie at the Savoy Hotel in London and worked as a Master Chocolatier at Thorntons. He has made numerous cakes for the royal family including Her Majesty the Queen, His Royal Highness Prince Charles and the late Queen Mother and was also invited to help in the design and production of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s chocolate wedding cake in 2011.

His creations are available online and are also included in Cocoa Boutique’s Tasting Club boxes – a monthly-changing range of chocolates chosen by different artisan chocolatiers.

Barry Colenso chocolates


Holdsworth Chocolates

Spurred on by her passion for a handmade approach to chocolate-making, Barbara Holdsworth began making chocolates to her own unique recipes in 1988. Chocolates are created using sweet cream butter and Belgium couverture, before liqueurs, spirits, fruit purees or praline pastes are added to create a delicious flavoured centre.

Creations include over 70 truffles, pralines and creams, with tasty varieties such as English Rose Cream, Chocolate Dipped Ginger and Apricot Brandy.  Bakewell

Holdsworth Chocolates  


BitterSweet Chocolates

Founded in 2007 in the Melbourne kitchen of owners Nigel and Diane Holling, BitterSweet is now based at the Three Horseshoes pub in Breedon on the Hill, where a Victorian-style chocolate counter at the bar is filled with firm’s exquisitely-made chocolate bars, truffles and lollipops.

All chocolates are made by hand using the finest ingredients including organic essential oils, organic cream, liqueurs, fruit and honey.  Breedon on the Hill,

BitterSweet Chocolates' ThingyMeJigs 


Charlotte’s Chocolates

Seduced by the mouth-watering descriptions of a chocolate shop in a fictional French town in Joanne Harris’ novel Chocolat, and equally impressed by the famous Betty’s Café, Beverley Jones longed to own a chocolate shop-cum-café of her own.

Five years ago, her wish came true when she acquired Charlotte’s Chocolates in Buxton’s Cavendish Arcade. The café of Charlotte’s Chocolates extends onto a terrace with a great view of the town and every hot drink that is served is accompanied by a complementary handmade chocolate. Buxton,




After travelling the world, self-taught chocolatiers David Golubows and Bridget Joyce decided to start their own chocolate company in the Peak District village of Castleton. All chocolates are handmade to order and include fresh, local ingredients, with delights such as Marc de Champagne truffles and sticky toffee lips. The site is open for group visits and chocolate experience days only. Bookings are currently open for Easter Egg making workshops. Castleton,



I Should Cocoa

Husband and wife team Sid and Lisa founded I Should Cocoa in 2008, after spending two and a half years visiting some of the finest chocolate houses in France.

They returned to Belper to set up their new venture – an artisan chocolate shop and small café. All chocolates are handmade in small quantities in the studio above the shop to ensure maximum freshness. Belper,


Chocolate by Design

This family-run business has established itself as a haven of handmade chocolates, unusual gifts and eye-catching cakes. Products are handmade using traditional methods and unique colouring techniques. There’s a wide range of novelty chocolates, hand-crafted truffles and bespoke designs – ideal for parties and special occasions - plus a colourful range of Easter Eggs and chocolate hens.  Chesterfield,




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



Family Fun Day!



Our "Family Open Day" will be held at Knockerdown Cottages for all runners and their families involved in the RSPCA Derby Run at Carsington Water on Sunday 10th May at midday. 

If you're not yet signed up to run but would like to, please click here to see further details on the race. 




There will be lots to do to keep the kids amused and a great relaxing, scenic environment for the runners to refresh and be restored.

&10pp Entry Fee to the Family Open Dayunder 10's &5pp fee  or  FREE entry to any guest staying at Knockerdown Cottages over the weekend for the run.  

  •  Face Painter & Glitter Tattoo Artist 
  •  Bouncy Castle
  •  Candy Cart 
  •  BBQ - with soft drinks 
  • Licensed Bar for alcoholic beverages
  •  Swimming Pool
  •  Use of changing and shower facilities
  •  Games Room
  • Spa available onsite - treatments would need to be booked before arrival through Brackendale Spa
  • Brackendale Events Room available in the case of bad weather.



Please click here for more information if you would like to find out more about our offer on accommodation over the RSPCA Run weekend. 

Running For The RSPCA? Why Not Stay?!


Firstly - GOOD SPORT for signing up to the RSPCA Derby Carsington Water Run.  

It should be a fantastic day overall with beautiful scenery, lots to do and time to replenish and relax with family.

We realise that the majority of runners involved will be travelling some distance to take part, so if you and you're family were thinking of making a retreat out of the weekend then our below offer may be just what you're looking for.


We're offering all RSPCA Runners the following:    


Stay at Knockerdown Cottages (right on Carsington Waters doorstep) for: 


* &60 per person per night  (&40 per head for children under 10 years old)

* &25 for a beautifully prepared breakfast hamper (optional)

* 1 night stays available on Sat 9th May or stay over the weekend for a longer break.

* Check in time 3pm, with a late check out 3pm (Sunday 10th only) otherwise Monday 11th is 10am checkout as normal.

* Free entry to the Open Day after the race. See here for more details on the Open Day.

* Free Guest Car Parking.

* Use of facilities after the race - showers, pool, spa. 


Cottages will be allocated on arrival and this offer can not be used in conjunction of any other offer. 


If you haven't signed up yet for the RSPCA Run but would like to, you still have plenty of time. Click here to find out more details.

Exclusive Venue Hire For Your Special Event

We offer exclusive use hire accommodation and stunning countryside locations, choose one of our three beautiful venues, which accommodate you for almost any type of event. All our venues are set in the heart of rural Derbyshire so you can get away from the hustle and bustle and enjoy the company of your friends, family or colleagues!

We encourage you to bring your own ideas and make your event everything you dream it could be and we will help in any way we can or recommend a local business to make your ideas really come to life.

So please speak to our events team to find out which venue best suits your requirements and download our events packages brochure here for more information. 


Leap To These Derbyshire Spring Days Out

50 top places to visit this Spring around Derbyshire - from beautiful stately homes to fascinating caves...


Calke Abbey

‘Un-stately’ home, frozen in time and set in 600 acres of ancient parkland. Discover the tales of a family who amassed a vast collection of treasures, visit the walled gardens and spot the ‘Old Man of Calke’ – a 1,200-year-old oak tree. House open Sat-Wed. Ticknall DE73 7LE, 01332 863822,

Hardwick Hall

Elizabethan mansion designed by Robert Smythson for Bess of Hardwick. Fascinating tapestries, circular parkland walks and fine gardens, restaurant and shop. The Hall is currently commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of Lady Arbella Stuart. House open Wed-Sun, BH Mons. Doe Lea, Chesterfield S44 5QW, 01246 850430,

Kedleston Hall

Neo-classical mansion designed by Robert Adam in 820 acres of parkland. Home to the Curzon family since the 12th century, the Hall includes Lord Curzon’s Eastern Museum – a treasure trove of objects acquired on his travels in Asia and while Viceroy of India (1899 to 1905). House open Sat-Thurs. Quarndon, Derby DE22 5JH, 01332 842191,

Sudbury Hall

Hardwick Hall Photo: ©NTPL/Mike Williams  

Late 17th century house, country home of the Lords Vernon, with lavish interiors and the National Trust Museum of Childhood – a delight for adults and children alike. House open Wed-Sun, BH Mons. Museum open daily from 25th March.

Sudbury, Ashbourne, DE6 5HT, 01283 585305,


Bolsover Castle

Of Norman origin, but rebuilt and enlarged in 1612, Bolsover includes an impressive mock medieval keep, Riding House, restored wall walk, play area and exhibitions. ‘Cavalier Horsemanship’ events April-Sept. Easter Quest 3rd-6th April. English Heritage, Bolsover S44 6PR, 0870 333 1181,

Haddon Hall

Described as ‘the most perfect house to survive from the Middle Ages’. Home to the Manners family, the Hall includes splendid medieval kitchens, a Banqueting Hall, 17th century Long Gallery and lovely gardens. Easter opening and activities 1st-7th April. Bakewell DE45 1LA, 01629 812855,

Chatsworth House

Sudbury Hall Photo: National Trust 

Home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Highlights include the magnificent Painted Hall and Sculpture Gallery, one of Europe’s most significant art collections, 105 acres of gardens, adventure playground, shops and restaurant. House, garden and farmyard open from 28th March. Bakewell DE45 1PP, 01246 565300,

Eyam Hall

An unspoilt example of a grit-stone Jacobean manor house, home to eleven generations of the Wright family. In the stableyard, the Craft Centre offers a hub from which to explore the famous ‘Plague Village’. Hall open Wed-Sun, BH Mons. Craft centre open Tue-Sun. Eyam S32 5QWT, 01433 639565,

Peveril Castle

The remains of one of England’s earliest Norman fortresses with breathtaking views over the picturesque village of Castleton. Displays in the visitor centre highlight the castle’s important role in the ancient Royal Forest of the Peak. English Heritage, Castleton S33 8WQ, 01433 620613, 

Renishaw Hall

Late 17th century house, in the Sitwell family for over 400 years, with Italianate gardens, vineyard, café, museum and galleries.

Renishaw, Sheffield S21 3WB, 01246 432310,

Tissington Hall

Bolsover Castle Photo: Peter Richardson, English Heritage 

Fine Jacobean house with gates wrought by celebrated smith Robert Bakewell. Home to the FitzHerbert family since 1609, the Hall includes a marvellous Library and Billiard Room. Easter opening 6th-10th April. Tissington, Ashbourne DE6 1RA, 01335 352200,

Tutbury Castle

Medieval castle largely ruined in the Civil War. Historical re-enactments throughout the year. Open from Easter Sunday.

Castle St, Tutbury DE13 9JF, 01283 812129,

Melbourne Hall

Delightful 18th century-style garden with clipped yews, fountains and Robert Bakewell’s famous Birdcage. Gardens open April-Sept, Hall open in August. Melbourne DE73 8EN, 01332 862502,


Buxton Pavilion Gardens

Haddon Hall from a distance Photo: Haddon Hall 

23 acres of restored Victorian gardens with regular events, play area, café and Pavilion Arts Centre. Easter events 3rd-6th April.

St John’s Rd, Buxton SK17 6BE, 01298 23114,

Carsington Water

Visitor centre, watersports, cycle hire, fishing, bird hides and playground. Ashbourne DE6 1ST, 01629 540478,

Chestnut Centre

Wildlife park involved in the rehabilitation of otters, owls, deer, wild cats and foxes. Castleton Rd, Chapel en le Frith SK23 0QS, 01298 814099,

Creswell Crags

Limestone gorge providing an insight into life during the last Ice Age. Early cave art, museum and visitor centre. Crags Rd, Welbeck S80 3LH, 01909 720378,


Family-friendly centre in the National Forest, offering a mix of indoor and outdoor experiences including play areas and discovery zones. Rawdon Rd, Swadlincote DE12 6GA, 01283 216633,

Castleton Show Caves

Experience an underground boat journey at Speedwell Cavern, unravel the mysteries of the Devil’s Arse at Peak Cavern and discover the home of the famous Blue John stone at Treak Cliff Cavern.Castleton, Hope Valley S33 8WS, 01433 620679,

Denby Pottery Visitor Centre

Pottery tours, courtyard shops, cookery demonstrations, restaurant and play area. Denby DE5 8NX, 01773 740799,

Gulliver’s Kingdom

Amusement park for families with children aged 2-13. Over 60 rides and attractions. Matlock Bath DE4 3PG, 01925 444888,

Ilam Park

Spectacular views and walks, youth hostel, visitor centre, tea room and shop. An ideal base from which to explore the White Peak.

National Trust, Ilam, Ashbourne DE6 2AZ, 01335 350503,

Heights of Abraham

Country park and caverns set in 60 acres of woodland, reached by cable car over a deep limestone gorge. Dale Rd, Matlock Bath DE4 3NT, 01629 582365,

Lea Gardens

Woodland walks and over 500 varieties of rhododendrons, azaleas and other plants. Nr Matlock DE4 5GH, 01629 534380,

Royal Crown Derby

Factory tours and visitor centre with shop, refreshments and museum. 194 Osmaston Rd, Derby DE23 8JZ, 01332 712833,


Cromford Mills

The world’s first water-powered cotton spinning mill, built by Sir Richard Arkwright in 1771. Guided tours, shops and exhibitions. Easter trail 3rd-6th April. Cromford DE4 3RQ,

Buxton Museum & Art Gallery

Discover the geology, archaeology and history of the Peak. Art and photographic collections plus Boyd Dawkins study, dedicated to Sir William Boyd Dawkins and Dr Wilfrid Jackson. Easter events 2nd-8th April. Buxton SK17 6DA, 01629 533540,

Chesterfield Museum & Art Gallery

Explore the town’s rich heritage from its beginnings as a Roman fort to the building of the ‘Crooked Spire’ Church. St Mary’s Gate, Chesterfield S41 7TD, 01246 345727,

Crich Tramway Village

The National Tramway Museum. Vintage tram rides, play areas, tearooms, workshop and galleries. 1940s weekend 5th-6th April. Crich DE4 5DP, 01773 854321,

Erewash Museum

18th century house with historic collections from the local area arranged in room settings and galleries – including a refurbished Victorian Schoolroom and War Gallery. High St, Ilkeston DE7 5JA, 0115 907 1141,

The Old House Museum

Early Tudor house with Victorian kitchen and displays of historical toys, lace, embroideries, textiles and costumes. Cunningham Place, Bakewell DE45 1DD, 01629 813642,

Derby Museums

Three fascinating sites to explore: Derby Museum and Art Gallery, home to the largest public display of Joseph Wright oil paintings in the world; Pickford’s House Museum of Georgian Life and Historic Costume; and The Silk Mill, site of the world’s first factory and gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Derby Museums, 01332 641901,

Peak District Lead Mining Museum

Items from the lost Derbyshire lead mining industry, rock and mineral specimens, exhibits and climbing tunnels. The Grand Pavilion, Matlock Bath DE4 3NR, 01629 583834,

Sharpe’s Pottery Museum

Learn about the once-prolific pottery industry of South Derbyshire. Exhibitions, gallery, play area and shop. 23 West St, Swadlincote DE11 9DG, 01283 222600,

Strutt’s North Mill

One of the most important buildings from the Industrial Revolution. Guided daily tours, hands-on experiences and exhibits. Belper DE56 1YD, 01773 880474,


Barrow Hill Roundhouse

Britain’s last surviving operational roundhouse shed. Railway museum with special events, galas and concerts throughout the year. Train rides on select days. Rarities Diesel Gala 18th-19th April.Barrow Hill, Chesterfield S43 2PR, 01246 472450,

Ecclesbourne Valley Railway

Journey from Wirksworth to Duffield by train, or travel up the incline to Ravenstor at the foot of the High Peak Trail. Train times vary. Easter events and family circus 3rd-6th April. Wirksworth Station DE4 4FB, 01629 823076,

Midland Railway Centre

Train rides, railway museum, historic locomotives, model railway, country park and special events.Butterley Station, Ripley DE5 3QZ, 01773 570140,

Peak Rail, Matlock

Experience the thrill of steam and diesel trains on a preserved railway, operating between Rowsley and Matlock on select dates.

Matlock Station DE4 3NA, 01629 580381,


Alton Towers, Staffs

Belvoir Castle, Leics

DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum, Eastwood

Erasmus Darwin House, Lichfield

Lyme Park (National Trust), Disley

National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas

National Space Centre, Leics

Trentham Monkey Forest, Staffs

Twycross Zoo, Atherstone

Wollaton Hall, Notts



The content provided in this article has been sourced from


Be An Eggsplorer!

Derbyshire's local National Trust locations are hosting some great Easter events this year, and we just love this Cadbury Easter Egg Trail...
Click here to read Be An Eggsplorer!.

Easter HOPpenings!

We've come up with a diary planner of all the great events and activities on around Easter in Derbyshire, whether you're travelling from near or far this activity planner will keep everyone entertained through the holiday.

Our guests staying at Gainsborough Retreats over Easter will receive discount vouchers to use at:

Middleton Cycle Hire & Hire Peak Trail

Ashbourne Cycle Hire, Derwent Reservoir & Parsley Hay

Kedleston Hall Entry Fees - for grounds, hall, gardens and park. 

Easter Activities at Knockerdown Cottages

Easter Egg Hunt & Face Painting