Derbyshire Venues & Accommodation For Every Occasion

Your Springtime Check list

Challenge yourself with fun this Spring! The weather has warmed up beautifully and everything’s turning green, the blossom is out and we've shaken off the winter blues. We've shed our winter coats and come up with a great list of fun ways to enjoy the spring season. See our article "50 Fun Spring Activities" to get stuck into and see how many you can tick off.

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.



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.

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.



Make Your Own Gin!

Gin School Details

Gin School includes a tour of Burleigh’s distillery, where you’ll discover the history of gin and the fine art of distilling.

Whether you prefer floral, citrus, herbal or spicy notes, you’ll learn how to create your own unique gin using botanicals of your choice. Burleigh’s Master Distillers will guide you through the process of weighing your ingredients and distilling your gin on your own mini copper pot. You’ll then bottle, cork and seal your own 70cl bottle before adding a personalised label ready to take home.

Gin School lasts approx. 3 hours and normally costs & 95 per person.

However, Worth Brothers Wine have negotiated a special rate and can offer a trip to Gin School plus mini bus transport there and back for only &85 per person.

Please let us know if you’re interested (we need 8 customers per trip) and we can get some dates arranged. 


To tempt you further here's Worth Brothers Wine account of the Gin School visit.

TO BOOK: Ring 01332 825704 or click here 



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. 


50 Fun Spring Activities Checklist



Challenge yourself with fun this Spring!

The weather has warmed up beautifully and everything’s turning green, the blossom is out and we've shaken off the winter blues.

We've come up with a great list of fun ways to enjoy the spring season - see how many you can tick off... 


The Great Outdoors

  •  1.       Plant something green
  •  2.       See the cherry blossoms
  •  3.       Have a picnic at the park
  •  4.       Find the first crocuses and snowdrops
  •  5.       Jog outside
  •  6.     Take a hike
  •  7.     Play softball
  •  8.     Ride a bike
  •  9.     Sit outside at a café
  •  10.   Visit a farm to see the animals
  •  11.   Walk on a deserted beach
  •  12.   Play a round of golf
  •  13.   Go horseback riding



  •   14.   Fly a kite
  •   15.   Look for four-leaf clovers
  •   16.   Jump in puddles
  •   17.   Get dirt under your fingernails
  •   18.   Blow bubbles
  •   19.   Climb a tree
  •   20.   Find a playground and swing on the swings
  •   21.   Feed the ducks at a pond
  •   22.   Wade in a creek
  •   23.   Draw pictures on the sidewalk with chalk
  •   24.   Skip stones across a pond
  •   25.   Plan a spring break vacation


Eat and Drink

  •   26.      Roast a bunch of asparagus
  •   27.      Steam whole artichokes and eat them leaf by leaf
  •   28.      Bake cupcakes with pink (or lavender or yellow or baby blue) frosting
  •   29.      Eat a ripe apricot
  •   30.      Visit the farmers’ market and buy spinach and sugar snap peas
  •   31.      Pick strawberries
  •   32.      Eat jellybeans
  •   33.      Buy a package of Peeps
  •   34.      Mix up a pitcher of margaritas


Just Because

  •   35.     Listen to the rain
  •   36.     Watch bumblebees at work in a garden
  •   37.     Notice the trees budding
  •   38.     Spot a rainbow
  •   39.     Listen to the birds singing
  •   40.     Go bare-legged
  •   41.     Feel the sun on your face
  •    42.    Leave your windows open to catch a spring breeze
  •    43.    Pet a bunny
  •    44.    See all the Oscar-winning movies
  •    45.    Send someone other than your mom a Mother’s Day card
  •    46.    Wear open-toed shoes
  •    47.    Buy a fun umbrella
  •    48.    Visit the zoo
  •    49.    Decorate your home with fresh tulips and daffodils
  •   50.     Get caught in a spring shower


We'd love to hear your stories or see your pictures of you checking off your Springtime List - send them here!

And definitely let us know here if you manage to complete them all!  



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

How To Cook A Dirty Steak


Next Friday, April 17th, is World Malbec Day and joining in the celebrations couldn't be simpler.

All you need is a few bottles of quality Argentinian Malbec and some juicy steaks.

We hope you'll pop in to see us for the Malbec, or we can deliver, and why not go full on gaucho with an authentic and delicious Dirty Steak? 

How to cook a Dirty Steak - see here for the method.




Taking place on Friday April 24th, our 'Story of O' tasting will showcase 9 great wines from 3 countries.

Click here to see the list of wines.

TO BOOK: Ring 01332 825704 or click here