Home to the picturesque Peak District National Park, Derbyshire is hugely popular amongst hikers and tourists looking to breathe in the fresh and invigorating country air and take in the natural beauty of this perfect part of the British Isles. If you’re planning a trip to Derbyshire this autumn or winter and need a place to escape from the cold, or you’re a local looking for your new favourite place to eat or drink, we’ve rounded up some of the very best places in the county for you to check out below.
From charming, cosy and historic 18th-century pubs to stunning 2-AA-rosette-awarded restaurants, there are so many wonderful eateries in Derbyshire that are worthy of your love. Read more about these fantastic pubs, restaurants, and cafes below, and for a more comprehensive collection of places to eat and drink in the region, be sure to check out our recently released Peak District & Derbyshire Food & Drink Guide.
Set within the picturesque little village of Beeley in the breathtakingly beautiful Peak District, the AA-rosette-awarded Devonshire Arms is the perfect example of a British country pub done right. Popular with both locals and tourists, this handsome stone inn, flanked by traditional stone cottages and a gurgling brook out front, boasts a cosy bar area with toasty open fires in the colder months and characterful features that reflect its 18th-century origins. Situated next to the bar is a stylish and modern glass-fronted bistro, offering diners the choice of where to eat depending on their mood.
The Devonshire Arms‘ skilled chef Lewis Thornhill uses his creativity and flair to create an enticing range of seasonal dishes that will make your mouth water. Making full use of local produce like Chatsworth Estate lamb and venison, try mains like the Chatsworth shoulder of lamb with Moroccan-spiced couscous or the Derbyshire ox cheek accompanied by creamy potato, wild mushrooms, smoked bone marrow and charred onion – both slow cooked and beautifully tender.
Part of the stunning Chatsworth Estate, this former 18th-century coaching inn is a hidden gem in the peaceful village of Pilsley and boasts 13 well-appointed and beautiful bedrooms which combine chic, country house style with boutique hotel comfort. Guests of this cosy and charming country hotel or hikers hungry from spending the day exploring Chatsworth and the surrounding area will be delighted by the tempting choice of delicious, hearty British classics on the menu. Placing heavy emphasis on seasonal produce sourced from local farmers, expect to find dishes like beer-battered fish and chips, homemade pies, honey- and mustard-baked ham served with fried duck eggs and fluffy chips, rack of lamb ribs, sirloin steaks, and chicken breasts wrapped in bacon.
On a chilly winter’s evening, enjoy a hot sandwich for lunch made with freshly sliced bread from the Bakewell Pudding Shop and served with a warming mug of homemade soup.
This charming family-run restaurant, situated just outside of Chesterfield, offers visitors exceptional cuisine in a friendly and relaxed environment. Step through the doors and you’ll be greeted by the restaurant’s modern and stylish interior and accommodating staff. Whether you’re stopping by for a three-course meal, afternoon tea, or a classy and delicious brunch, you won’t be disappointed. Try the “Bubbles and Brunch” option and enjoy smoked salmon and scrambled eggs with a glass of Prosecco. If sweet treats are more to your taste, swoon over the indulgent waffles served with bacon, maple syrup, hazelnuts, and a poached egg.
A real treat for foodies, Blu Bistro’s hearty dishes are sure to delight. Why not order their fantastic juicy sirloin of beer or the pork belly and scallops, a creative culinary twist on the classic surf and turf?
Nestled halfway down Derby’s historic Friar Gate, Pitcher & Piano, housed in a beautiful old building, boasts an attractive frontage that conceals a large and quirky interior. With its eclectic modern furnishings, exposed brick walls, and wooden ceiling beams, you’ll be instantly charmed by the character of this brilliant bar and restaurant. Showcasing a large selection of small dishes and sharers on the menu, this is the perfect place to meet friends for a seasonal cocktail or a light bite. Expect tempting dishes like tempura chicken seasoned with lemongrass, roasted Padrón peppers with Cornish salt, and crisp halloumi fries.
If you fancy something a little more substantial, try their melt-in-the-mouth barbecue pork ribs or juicy 8oz rib-eye steak, accompanied by confit tomato, a delicious balsamic-glazed flat mushroom, and delightfully crispy chips. Pitcher & Piano’s renowned Sunday lunch is also a must try.
With its enviable location on the famous Sadler Gate, this historic building, which was originally a blacksmith’s, is the ideal place for a casual drink with colleagues or a delicious meal with your family and friends. Split across two floors and featuring industrial-chic touches, this sophisticated, buzzy bistro, owned by mother-and-daughter team Amie and Sharon Marlow, was crowned Best Bar at the Derby Food and Drink Awards 2017 and it’s clear to see why. Whether you’re sat in the elegant downstairs bar with a cocktail in hand or the beautiful courtyard where live music plays at the weekends, you’ll feel truly welcomed at The Palfrey, and if you’re feeling peckish, talented head chef Tom Burton promises an inspired and flavoursome meal you’ll go mad for.
Head to The Palfrey on Sundays to sample their famous Sunday roasts. Start with the scrumptious baked Camembert infused with honey, thyme and black garlic to share before moving on to the roasts themselves. Whether you opt for the succulent and tender roast chicken or the juicy and perfectly cooked Derbyshire strip loin of beef, you won’t be disappointed.
The ideal venue for a relaxed dining experience or a special occasion, the 2-AA-rosette-awarded Amalfi White, situated in the bustling market town of Melbourne, is known for its enticing European-inspired dishes and superb quality grill. Having appeared on Masterchef and even having cooked for the Queen, you can be sure gifted head chef Matthew Clayton will cook you up something truly special. Using only the best locally sourced ingredients, you’ll be spoiled for choice with the selection of tasty starters, mains, and desserts on the menu. From crispy, authentic wood-fired pizza cooked in a proper Italian pizza oven to succulent burgers including n’duja, chicken, bean and lentil, or beef, Amalfi White is well known for its fantastic grilled dishes and array of vegetarian and vegan options.
If you’re looking for a place to drink and catch up with friends, you’ll be impressed by the well-stocked bar, hand-picked wine list, and cocktail selection which includes the innovative and delicious Candy Floss Fizz. The pewter-topped bar also boasts 95 different gins and a bespoke gin menu incorporating different tonics and garnishes.
A characterful pub situated in the historic and charming town of Clay Cross, The Three Horseshoes underwent a thorough renovation in 2013, and since then, under the guidance of new owners Craig and Mark, won the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Offering a warm welcome to all who step through its doors, the interior will instantly make you feel at home with its comfy Chesterfield armchairs and fresh flowers on all the tables. The impressive menu features popular favourites alongside innovative delights and the well-stocked bar boasts over 20 different kinds of gin, five types of Scrumpy Cider, and four varieties of real ale. Come along for their famous breakfasts and enjoy a generous full English with crispy bacon, sausages, eggs, black pudding, mushrooms, baked beans, tomato and toast.
Tucked away in the charming village of Donisthorpe, The Halfway House is everything you’d expect from a delightful village pub and then some. Recently taken over by former chefs Ashleigh and Zara, this is the ideal place to enjoy a delicious dinner or pint with friends and family.
As soon as you step through the doors, you’ll feel right at home. With an extensive menu of tempting dishes to choose from, you won’t know where to start. Try the Italian baked mushrooms with soft, warm bread or beautifully presented prawn cocktail before moving onto mains like the juicy rump steak and chips or the scrumptious ‘Twix of salmon’ – flavoursome smoked salmon served with flaky fillet of salmon and paired with a jacket potato and salad. Not only is The Halfway House a wonderful place to spend a relaxing autumn evening, but it’s also the perfect spot for hosting events. With a large 100-seater marquee fully equipped with a dance floor, lights and heaters, their accommodating team can cater to any occasion.
Operating out of a beautiful building built in 1773 that underwent an extensive refurbishment in 2011, this impressive looking pub with its elegant first-floor restaurant is a must visit. Having been awarded two AA rosettes for culinary excellence, Harpur’s of Melbourne guarantees an eating out experience you won’t soon forget.
Making use of the very best locally sourced ingredients, the menu features dishes that are sure to please all, whether you’re a vegan, vegetarian or meat eater, and the accommodating and helpful staff are more than happy to cater their dishes to suit your allergies and dietary requirements. Try tempting mains like the aubergine and courgette tagine or creamy mushroom Stroganoff, or choose from the excellent selection straight from the grill that includes juicy steaks, burgers, and succulent chicken. Harpur’s of Melbourne also hosts themed foodie evenings like steak nights and gourmet nights, along with music evenings with performances from talented local bands.
This characterful and charming restaurant situated in its enviable location in the heart of Willington village and overlooking the Trent and Mersey canal is a stunning place to spend a pleasant autumn evening. Their new Garden Room, which boasts postcard-like views of boats floating peacefully along the picturesque canal, offers al fresco dining all year round with its retractable canvas roof providing complete protection from the elements.
Whether you’re visiting for a hearty breakfast, a light lunch, a scrumptious afternoon tea, or a three-course supper, you won’t be disappointed. Why not start with the peppered beef fillet or the artichoke and celeriac risotto with potato foam and truffles then tuck into the tender duck breast with celeriac fondant, creamed cabbage and a light jus? Then finish with the creamy vanilla pannacotta with cherry textures and aerated chocolate or the rich baked Alaska with malt toffee parfait and hazelnut meringue.
With its attractive traditional features and elegant country-chic décor, this converted 17th-century coaching inn situated in the historic village of Repton was named AA Pub of the Year England for 2016-2017 and provides the perfect setting for a casual evening with family or a refreshing pint at the cosy bar with your mates. Boasting nine luxury bedrooms and its own micro-brewery, the Boot Beer range is hugely popular with visitors, as is the great selection of cider, spirits, and soft drinks.
Sit in the enchanting terrace restaurant and enjoy a delicious dish created for you by talented head chef Rob Taylor using the freshest local ingredients. Combining classic British flavours with influences from around the world, the menu features delights like Dorset crab, delicate quail ballotine, and succulent rabbit loin in tarragon sauce. Rob and his team also run regular gourmet nights and themed evenings that showcase stunning dishes from around the world.
Escape to the country at the Marsh Green Farm Shop, situated in a charming spot in the Marsh Green Estate at the heart of 150 acres of grassy parkland. Here you can peruse locally sourced meat and cheese along with freshly baked bread and locally brewed beers before making your way over to the charming café for a bite to eat. Featuring an outdoor patio and seating across two floors, the café makes the perfect spot to admire the Great British countryside on a pleasant morning.
Treat yourself to a full English breakfast featuring locally sourced free-range eggs or enjoy a sausage or bacon sandwich made with meat from the Marsh Green butchers. You won’t find a better breakfast in the county. If you visit for lunch, expect sandwiches made with freshly baked bread and a choice of fillings including Marsh Green’s own cured ham and cooked beef. Finish your meal with the dessert of the day or a slice of homemade cake with a warming cup of tea or coffee.
Nestled in the beautiful village of Hayfield and sitting on the edge of the Peak District National Park, this lovingly restored 18th-century gastropub provides hikers and nature-lovers with the perfect pit stop after a day spent exploring the notable beauty spot Kinder Scout which overlooks the village.
With its traditional charm and contemporary style, you’ll feel welcomed by the Chesterfield sofas, warming log burners, and local artwork adorning the walls. Bringing together seasonal, sustainable ingredients, landlord and talented chef Luke Payne demonstrates a real mastery of flavour with his delectable menu of culinary delights. Try imaginative main courses like the Chisworth lamb shoulder seasoned with merguez spices and served with flatbread, raita, crisp raw courgette and fennel, and roast carrots and beetroots, and delicious desserts like the elegantly presented chocolate delice with blitzed hazelnuts and salted caramel ice cream.