Weekend in Ashford in the Water

Strange name for a place really as it’s more on the water than in it. Unless they suffer from flooding I suppose. Still, it was the last minute destination of choice for Miss C and I for a long weekend break. Having had a very pleasant time, thought the least I could do was blog about it for any other would be traveller who might be considering a trip there.

Within walking distance of Bakewell in the Peak District, the village itself is very picturesque. Not much there – few small shops, a couple of pubs, a church and a post office as far as I could see – but what more do you need? The first night there we decided a pub meal was in order so picked one of the two at random and chose the Ashford Arms.Staff were brilliant and the food… the food was really really nice! Good hearty stuff but a little more up market – very gastropub.

Whilst the Ashford Arm had rooms, we opted to stay in the Riverside House Hotel. Strange mix of a place really. On the one hand it’s a 3 star rated establishment and that does show a little. The odd bit of dried fruit under the bed, a spider that had made it’s home in the window frame and decor that needed a little sprucing up in places. That said, we aren’t fussy people and having to wipe spider web off my nose first thing in the morning as I peaked out the window didn’t really bother me at all but I can imagine that for some people it would not be acceptable.

Then you have the staff and their customer service and it’s the opposite side of the coin. We really could not fault the level of service they provided. The room came with the usual tea, coffee (not instant) and biscuits but you also had bottled water, a fruit bowl, nut selection, chocolates and (my personal favourite) a small decanter of sherry!! Oh how I wish more hotels did that…

On the second night we opted to eat in the hotel restaurant which was a little pricey maybe at £45 a head but it was a special occasion and the food sounded top-notch. We’d already read the reviews so knew what to expect price wise anyway. Being a Sunday we were the only people in the restaurant. Our hostess for the evening made sure we knew this from the start and assured us that we didn’t need to feel uncomfortable, something she did a fine job of preventing. Always there when we needed something but leaving us to eat and chat without being bothered the rest of the time.

I’d probably have to say that this was the most fancy meal I’ve ever had. There was an interesting selection of food (such as my trio of pork belly all done in different styles) which were all presented very nicely. The £45 covered three course but if you count the canapes, virgin mary and blackcurrant jelly (palate cleansers) and coffee you are up to seven. I’d also count the homemade bread selection (I loved the treacle bread) and say 8 courses but Miss C disagrees. The only problem we found was that we were absolutely unable to eat anything else by the end! The chocolates that came with the coffee looked so very tempting for me but I simply could not eat anything else by that point. We even skipped drinking wine to leave a little more room. Maybe that actually detracted slightly from enjoying the food as I started to think a little more about how full I was than paying proper attention to enjoying the flavours. Still, I would definitely eat there again but maybe skip the huge cooked breakfast in the morning and stave myself all day in between.

Having booked the hotel last minute it was half price and we felt the price reflected things accurately. As other reviews have said, they’d be less inclined to pay full price. If you do decide to go (both to Ashford and the Riverside Hotel):

Do: Eat in the Ashford Arms, walk to Bakewell and eat at the Riverside.
Don’t: Worry too much about getting spider web on your nose at the Riverside and just enjoy the sherry.

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