The Peacock at Rowsley

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Once Haddon Hall’s dower house, this deeply comfortable, 17th-century country-house hotel is all stone walls, oak settles and roaring fires. Currently owned by local Lord Edward Manners, it’s been imaginatively tarted up, but not so much that its integrity has been compromised. Chef Dan Smith earned his stripes in Tom Aitkens’ kitchen and has brought considerable finesse back to his home patch. He’s also keen to showcase his skills, so expect some dramatic gestures: squab pigeon is paired with white asparagus, rhubarb chutney and liquorice, whilst local milk-fed lamb comes with peas, ransoms, black olive and lamb jus. Simpler dishes are also available in the old-style bar; a plate of crispy duck egg with Derbyshire black pudding and homemade baked beans is an excellent restorative if you’ve just scaled the nearby Peaks.

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