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Market Square And City Council In Nottingham
Chatsworth Manor At Derbyshire in East Midlands
Chatsworth Manor At Derbyshire in East Midlands
The Fabulous Shottle Hall Country House Hotel In Derbyshire
DIG into Robin Hood’s quiver, witness regal glory, picture perfect country charms and quaint heritage towns in England’s salubrious East Midlands
NESTLED in the verdant rain-soaked meadows the Leicestershire countryside is the Stapleford Park Country House Hotel and Sporting Estate, a gracious hideaway for the crème-de-lacrème. This 14th Century stately home is an upper crust, exclusive luxury country house boutique hotel.
The Stapleford attracts wealthy patrons from across the world to tee off on their famed championship golf course, relax in their celebrated spa, ingest the best of fine dining and try a hand at falconry. Ours was an elaborate gourmet experience
to follow at the distinguished Gringling Gibbons dining room, with excellent Champagne at the lounge library bar.
Our morning walk through the woodland ended at the spa where massage expert Christina Howden worked her magic on our muscles. An open air breakfast on the patio with magpies for company awaited us. As we hauled up our last bag into our
companion and driver Raj’s boot, a flock of inquisitive sheep trotted up to the fence as if grunting, “The next time you better get in here for a change, its time we traded places!”
The miniature county of Rutland is just 16 by 11 miles and its capital is Oakham. The Oakham Museum has wonderful period artefacts of another era, while the unusually small Oakham Castle with its royal horseshoes, some of them donated by the Prince of Wales, is fascinating to explore.
The chilly wind caught us unawares as we ducked inside tiny Clipsham’s well awarded pub, the Olive Branch. This charming den was originally three farm labourers cottages joined into one establishment way back in the 1890s and now witnesses a full house every day of the year.
Doddington Hall in Lincolnshire is a stately English mansion. Built in 1595 by celebrated Elizabethan architect Robert Smythson, this grand country manor has elegant living spaces including a Moroccan tented room complete with bright floor
lounge sofas and tapestry. The manicured gardens offer rare flora and vegetation.
Walking down the hilly inclines of Lincoln city around its fantastic Gothic cathedral and castle and its famed Steep Hill, medieval timber-raftered homes and country boutiques was an educative and refreshing experience.
That night we strolled down to the best and most celebrated dining destination in Lincoln, the Old Bakery, where the charming Italian chef and owner Ivano De Serio specially picked a vintage 2003 Primitivo red wine from Puglia for us.
We relished some outstandingly rare-done monkfish and delectable panacotta and cinnamon ice cream. Late that night we walked past rowdy groups of young Saturday night ale guzzlers yodelling their rugby numbers.
We cruised further down to the fabled English countryside’s pristine jewel - Chatsworth Estate, the magnificent home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Well known as Darcy’s home in the recent film Pride And Prejudice, this grand property is a treasure house of priceless art, antiques, crystal ware, statues, regal splendour and one of the finest gardens in the world.
The shadows were lengthening, the fat sheep were trudging back to their paddocks, and the larks were settling on the elms and birch trees as we pulled up into the picture-perfect Shottle Hall Country House Hotel’s lush gardens within the Chatsworth estate in the southern Peak District.
We took time off to explore the estate, the gardens and the neighbouring farms, as grinning farmers on tractors waved at us. That evening great wines and super fine dining by effusive head chef Dean Crews and his seasonal marvels concluded an exciting day’s memorable appointments.
“You betta watch out lads or else you’ll get pinned and sliced by an arrow,” chuckled our effusive guide and companion Margaret who showed us the city’s legendary celebrity Robin Hood’s statue outside the Nottingham Castle. This delightful city is famed for its cathedral, the grand Exchange building, colourful street life and designer boutiques and its famous watering hole, Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem Inn, which has been standing proud since 1189 CE. This pubinn, the oldest in England, is a quaint ales lair attracting customers from far and wide.
We then headed out to Derbyshire, driving past pretty Matlock town on to small and aristocratic Buxton. The sprawling Pavilion Gardens in this former Roman thermal spa town in the fantastic Peak District National Park are serenely beautiful and well
laid out. And worth visiting are the charming baroque Opera House, the Crescent, small streets and the University of Derby with its impressive giant pendulum.
Fly non-stop direct to London Heathrow from Mumbai. Then drive down to the East Midlands (Nottingham, Derbyshire, Lincoln or Leicester) with each destination just an hour away from each other on excellent country roads and dual carriageways. The Hart’s Hotel is stylish, affordable 4-star accommodation, close to the city centre.