As part of our Green Traveller's Guide to the Peak District, Florence Fortnam picks out a selection of restaurants, cafés and markets to find the best local food and drink in this glorious National Park in central England.
As you might expect from a National Park with a strong agricultural and farming heritage, local food is big business in the Peak District.
The region is packed with a rich variety of local specialities: from lamb which has grazed on limestone dales, to organically-reared beef, to the hundreds of dairy products – cheeses, butter, ice cream – produced on farms which manage their field edges, woodlands and streams to benefit wildlife, and to the dozens of locally-brewed ales.
All this seasonal goodness can be sampled in the many restaurants, pubs and markets dotted throughout the region, so whether you want to splash out on a fine dining experience or buy directly from local producers at one of the monthly farmers markets, getting involved in the regional food scene should be a highlight of any trip to the Peak District.
The Yorkshire Bridge Inn Restaurant An award-winning inn supporting local suppliers and traditional community events, the Yorkshire Bridge Inn is also just a hop from Ladybower Reservoir. Walks start from the door making it an ideal base from which to explore this part of the Peak District. The quality and integrity of the food is paramount: delicious food is prepared to order using the freshest local, seasonal produce. An extensive menu, daily specials, and a great choice of beers and wines means you'll never be disappointed, no matter how many times you go back! How to get here by public transport: Bamford Railway Station is only 1.4 miles away. It is a quick walk straight along Ashopton Road, or the local 275 bus will take you along the road if you don't fancy walking. Also very nearby is Route 6 on the National Cycle Network. yorkshire-bridge.co.uk
The Orangery Restaurant at Losehill House Hotel & Spa Staff here are deservedly proud of this unpretentious, award-winning restaurant, which strives to provide the highest quality food without ever compromising on quality or ethics. Consequently the ingredients are very important (the website goes into exceptional detail about the provenance of the food - from the free range chicken to the pumpkin seed oil to the flour!). Food here is creative, with a constantly evolving menu which changes with the seasons. Set in beautiful rolling countryside, you really get the best of both worlds - superb food in a fantastic setting. How to get here by public transport: Hope Railway Station is only 1.4 miles away. It is possible to take the 272 bus to the other end of Hope village. However, this will only take you a short way and you will still have to walk the rest. It is therefore advisable to make the half hour walk from the station, or to take a taxi, which the restaurant will be happy to arrange for you. The Number 6 cycle route on the National Cycle Network goes past Hope. losehillhouse.co.uk
The Anglers Rest A community owned pub, cafe and Post Office, serving delicious freshly cooked food, using local produce, plus a wide selection of local real ales. The Anglers Rest offers something for everyone including a large car park, cycle racks and accessible outdoor seating. Families, walkers and dogs welcome. anglers.rest
The Red Lion Inn The Red Lion Inn is a traditional Peak District pub serving good quality food cooked fresh to order. As well as old favourites such as our Sunday carvery, we serve dishes with a Sardinian twist and at certain points in the year, host Sardinian banqueting evenings! Our chef/owner/brewer makes our very own Birchover Blue cheese using local milk and brews a range of four real ales and one Italian style lager onsite. True Derbyshire hospitality. red-lion-birchover.co.uk
Strand Fine Catering With over 30 years experience in the industry, Judith is the passion and creative drive behind Strand Fine Catering, a small but well-established company providing fabulous locally-sourced food. Whether you're planning a family gathering or corporate event, or you simply want to avoid the kitchen whilst on holiday, Judith and her team will cater for all types of event or occasion. strandcatering.co.uk
Gourmet Express With Emma's 20 years' experience in the catering industry, this local catering company uses the best local produce to provide you with whichever type of catering you require, from dinner parties or larger functions to ready meals for the freezer and a range of one pot meals for campers. They aim to use as much local produce as possible, including beef and lamb from local butchers Paul Bowyer in Hathersage and Watsons in Hope. gourmetexpress.org.uk
Peak District Fine Foods This family catering business goes to great pains to ensure their produce comes from within the Derbyshire Dales and the Peak District. With the aim to bring back real enjoyment of food through flavours that the mass food industry has all but destroyed, Ruth and Peter pride themselves in offering food and service that will make that special occasion one to remember. They have searched, researched, tasted and selected the best products so you can enjoy the best produce that the local area has to offer. Their environmental stance goes beyond the kitchen too - they are committed to ensuring that their business has an little impact of the environment as possible by conserving energy, reducing waste, and promoting best environmental practice wherever they go. peakdistrictfinefoods.co.uk
Eat Local E W Coates Butchers A fifth generation high class retail and catering butchers that has been trading from the Two Dales since 1949. The owners pride themselves in using only animals reared on local farms - many of which have themselves have been accredited by the EQM. All farming procedures are also as responsible and sustainable as possible. The sumptuous sausages and home dry-cured bacon have won many awards both locally and nationally, while the owners also make their own steak and pork pies - a fantastic option if you're in a self-catering accommodation. How to get here by public transport: Matlock Railway Station is just 2 miles away. From there, take the TransPeak bus service to Darley Dale. A short walk will take you to the butchers. No website, call 01629 733504.
Hope Valley Cows have been milked at this family farm for some 300 years, which goes a long way to explaining why the ice cream they produce tastes so good. You'll be able to visit the parlour and sample a whole variety of traditional and unique flavours, from the likes of Camilla's Vanilla right the way up to Gertrude's Whiskey and Ginger. Cows are far from the only wildlife on the farm, with different types of mammals and birds living in the hedgerows and stream that leads into the River Derwent. Come and visit the farm you'll also be able to get to know the farm's piglets while wandering one of the farm's walking trails. How to get here by public transport: The farm is just a 15 minute walk from Bamford Railway Station along Castleton Road. hope-valley.co.uk
Blaze Farm Blaze farm is famous for its award-winning 'Hilly Billy' ice cream, all of which is made on the farm using milk sourced from their own dairy herd. Again, the flavours range from the expected (vanilla, raspberry, chocolate chip) and the delightfully imaginative (turkish delight with white chocolate chip). Head over to the Tea Room and you can order in homemade soups, sandwiches, cakes and desserts. Blaze Farm is far from being just a place to eat - there are numerous nature trails that'll take you on different routes through the farm, plus you can watch lambing in Spring and sheep-shearing during the Summer. How to get here by public transport: The closest railway station is Macclesfield, at 4 miles away. From there it is easiest to arrange a taxi. A list of local firms is available at TrainTaxi. blazefarm.com
Grindleford Community Shop Grindleford Community Shop is a wonderful example of what happens when passionate local people work together to create something really special for their own community. The shop supports a wealth of local food producers, artisans and projects. The shelves display an eclectic mix of favourite household brands alongside organic, fair trade, eco and wholefood alternatives. grindlefordshop.co.uk
Bloomers of Bakewell Ltd Traditional bakery in the heart of Bakewell, one of two (in the world!) to know the secret recipe for the famous Bakewell Pudding. The shop is quaint and quirky and stocks a good range of local treats alongside its own baked goods, including traditional Peak District fayre such as Hartington Stilton and Derbyshire Oat Cakes. bloomersofbakewell.co.uk
Hartington Cheese & Wine Co Ltd Hartington Cheese and Wine has its HQ in a charming traditional building in the centre of Hartington and has two smaller shops at Eyam Hall and also at Arkwright’s Mill in Cromford. The shops stocks a wide range of locally made cheeses, as well as local and British wines, alongside condiments and cheese accompaniments. hartingtoncheeseshop.co.uk
Matlock Meadows Ice Cream Parlour A visit to Matlock Meadows ice cream parlour is a wonderful chance to taste an artisan product from a working dairy farm, managed with the environment and conservation of the Peak District in mind. The parlour offers an wide range of ice-creams handmade onsite, using milk from their own dairy herd. It is also heated using a biomass boiler and designed for energy efficiency. matlockmeadows.co.uk
Village Green Cafe, Peak District This welcoming cafe in the heart of the historic village of Eyam is proud to offer fair-trade coffee, homemade cakes, as well as home-cooked breakfasts and light lunches. They are passionate about using ingredients from local producers. Community is at the heart of what they do, and they offer a warm welcome to cyclists, walkers and climbers who include Eyam on their route, (as well as their four-legged friends). cafevillagegreen.com
Hassop Station Ltd
This charming café and bookshop, located in an historic railway station, is a wonderful base from which to explore the Monsal Trail on foot or by bike. The café is a celebration of delicious local and seasonal food. Cycle hire is available, including an electric bike showroom. hassopstation.co.uk
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