Usually I carry out research and present my partner with a fait accompli but a chance remark this summer resulted in a holiday for which I had done no laborious work. In fact, an utter delight. While away in St Albans house sitting for a relative, we visited the local Tourist Office. To our surprise we saw a large brochure for the Peak District. ‘We need that,’ said my partner and I agreed. I thought that in a few weeks I would come across the brochure and begin research but within days everything was arranged. My other half is not that computer literate but he had the nous to scan the brochure and mark the self- catering cottages that for just for two. We have researched in the past and found the costs prohibitive, simply because of a sofa bed in the lounge indicating that it sleeps 4. Prices then are twice as high. Of course most owners of holiday cottages ensure their property is on the internet, so his next job was to look at the websites and run the slide show of photographs, this being quite advanced for a pensioner only just into his second year of computing and with no lessons taken. Eventually he showed me a cottage that he thought we would like and which would be close to Peak District walks and scenery – we are avid club competition photographers. It was in Hathersage which he deemed an ideal location. ‘It looks wonderful,’ I said but we were cautious, wondering what we would find when we arrived. That same evening he telephoned the owner, online booking is not yet in his repertoire. As I sat struggling with a Just Back article for the Telegraph’s Travel pages on a Saturday, he interrupted me to say he had booked it and sensibly, not in the children’s half term when we always receive grandchildren for visits. After an AA route search, we departed on 15th October for Derbyshire. The journey was hassle free and we arrived too early so went for a browse around the outskirts of Hathersage before we disturbed the owners for the key. When we did arrive, what an utter delight awaited us. There was a welcome pack in a large basket, a bowl of six free range eggs from a local friend, two small bottles of wine and glasses on the table between our two armchairs and a plethora of other useful and thoughtful touches. There was good quality shower gel, handwash at the sink and the bathroom basin and a cupboard full of local information, maps and books which provided all we needed to know. In the fridge there were sachets of sauces, some butter and the milk we had asked for. In the cupboards there was tea, coffee and sugar in containers. A large file of useful information was provided and the special offers in local eating places were printed and placed inside the folder. We planned our week around the timing of the offers and cooked simple fast yet healthy food on three days. We didn't have time to watch the DVDs or read the extensive range of books on the shelf. We did hours of walking each day and came back refreshed, lighter on the scales and with my blood pressure back to normal. October, even early, means dark evenings but we had made so much of our day that by 5pm we were pleased to be going home to this cosy little cottage, decorated and furnished in warm terracotta colours and pine furniture. At the end of the week my partner was sad to be leaving and we do hope to return. But this holiday was so cheap that we think we will do the same in the Lake District. For a week starting 15th October, the cottage was £325 with a large portion of our spending money used on petrol from the south coast to the Peak District, unfortunately a sign of the times. We both recommend this cottage unreservedly. It is already booked for much of 2012 at peak times such as Easter and summer. Get in quick if you want to holiday in the glorious Peaks.
Read a Silver Travel Star Review about the Peak District