Dog-friendly country inn the perfect place for a post-lockdown staycation

With holidays abroad off the radar for many this year, looking for places to stay closer to home has become a popular pastime for me.

Thursday, 20th May 2021, 3:00 pm

Times have been tough through the pandemic with the prospect of venturing overseas remaining a distant target in 2021. But every cloud has a silver lining as the old saying goes and despite the dramatic decline in foreign adventures there are many UK staycation venues that could be set to prosper.

Take The Farmhouse at Mackworth in Derbyshire for example. After a long year of cancelled plans, working from home and excruciating uncertainty over what the future might hold, a visit to a cosy dog-friendly hotel with our pet whippet was just what the doctor ordered.

Situated in what was once an 18th century farmhouse, this lovely 10-bed country inn gives you a feeling of warmth as soon as you walk through the doors and with its rustic contemporary decor, the building blends both old and new brilliantly thanks to its attractive boutique rooms and super cool modern bar and restaurant.

The Farmhouse at Mackworth is a lovely 10-bedroom country inn. Image: Farmhouse at Mackworth

As well as our four-legged friends, the hotel is ideal for walkers and visitors to the Peak District, while it's also handy for business-types looking for an overnight stop outside the city. Before checking in we decided to make the most of the good weather with a short, but pleasant, walk across the farmlands towards Mickelover.

Back at the hotel the generously-sized bedrooms, all named after Animal Farm characters, are attractively decorated in country inn style. Ours - 'Benjamin' - featured a Nespresso coffee machine along with warm white robes to lounge in, and there was a short flight of stairs which led to the bathroom, adding to the homely feel.

For us it was all about getting comfortable with a cuppa before heading down with the pooch for a hearty meal and bottle of wine, tucked away in one of the many nooks and crannies of the spacious bar.

Menu orders for the evening were fried buttermilk chicken and smoked pork belly to start, a beautifully tender 8oz sirloin and beef ragu pizza for the main courses along with lip-smackingly sumptuous desserts of baked lemon curd cheesecake and banana sticky toffee pudding.

One of The farmhouse's attractive boutique rooms. Image: Farmhouse at Mackworth

The Farmhouse seems to have got its food offering down to a tee and the eggs benedict breakfast the following morning was equally impressive.

Its Mackworth location is a big plus. You only have to drive three miles and you're in Derby city centre and ten miles the other way are the cobbled streets of Ashbourne in the Derbyshire Dales, while Kedleston Hall is another nearby attraction.

And with lots of car parking space, good bus connections and the ability to host weddings with up to 130 guests in 'The Folly', The Farmhouse really does have a lot going for it.

TRAVEL FACTS

A visit to a cosy dog-friendly hotel with our pet whippet was just what the doctor ordered.

Address: The Farmhouse at Mackworth, 60 Ashbourne Road, Derby, Derbyshire, DE22 4LY

Tel: 01332 824324

The super cool modern bar and restaurant. Image: Farmhouse at Mackworth

Room prices start at £90 per night

Delicious pizzas feature on The Farmhouse's restaurant menu. Image: The Farmhouse at Mackworth
The beautifully tender steak. Image: The Farmhouse at Mackworth
The hotel's generously-sized bedrooms are all named after Animal Farm characters. Image: Farmhouse at Mackworth