Great British boltholes: A review of The Devonshire Arms, Sheffield


The tiny village of Middle Handley is just 15 miles from Chatsworth House, one of Britain’s grandest stately homes, and it once formed part of the Chatsworth Estate, the seat of the Duke of Devonshire since the 16th Century.

Now it is linked by name only thanks to the village’s popular pub, The Devonshire Arms.

The pub is still perfectly placed to explore the surrounding Derbyshire countryside, even offering packages that include tickets to visit Chatsworth.

Rustic glamour: The Devonshire Arms is a popular pub with rooms in the village of Middle Handley

Rother Valley Country Park, the fairytale Bolsover Castle and the Heights of Abraham cable cars are also minutes away. Yet the temptation is to copy the locals and stray no further than the snug pub itself.

The 18th Century stone-built inn is surprisingly modern and airy inside without abandoning traditional cosiness. 

There is modern art on the walls, underfloor heating and an immaculate terrace for outdoor drinking, but also reclaimed church pews, a traditional oak bar and open fire.

The little things have been thought about, too: a brand-new children’s playground, water bowls and treats for dogs, non-alcoholic wines and a dedicated gin corner with flavours ranging from grapefruit to violet.

Upstairs, there are stylish bedrooms offering countryside views over undulating hills to the village of Nether Handley.

All of the rooms are named after brands of gin and come with Egyptian cotton linen, an Amazon smart speaker, reasonably priced minibar and Illy coffee machine, plus a supply of fresh milk. 

All of the rooms are named after brands of gin and come with Egyptian cotton linen

All of the rooms are named after brands of gin and come with Egyptian cotton linen 

The Sir Robin Of Locksley suite is the largest, with its own lounge area, a walk-in wardrobe with dressing table, and a gleaming ensuite with a large bath, separate rainfall shower and handmade sliding barn door.

The gin-themed posters, vintage wooden chest and butterscotch velvet cushions make it feel more like a boutique hotel than a room above a pub, especially as no noise at all can be heard from downstairs.

Don’t expect mediocre pub fare either. The menu features hearty classics (loaded burgers, fish and chips, steak and blue-cheese pie) with a gourmet flair and unusual options too, such as spicy tomato and seafood tagliatelle.

The pub offers packages for guests that include tickets for Chatsworth House, so they can explore one of Britain’s grandest stately homes

The pub offers packages for guests that include tickets for Chatsworth House, so they can explore one of Britain’s grandest stately homes

The delicious flatbreads are a highlight, cooked fresh in the pizza oven and served with everything from courgette and feta to lamb curry.

Desserts range from traditional bakewell tart to adventurous ice creams and sorbets (chocolate miso, lime and lemongrass and pink guava and passionfruit). 

Luckily, there’s not far to stagger once you’ve tried them all.

The USP: A chic boutique hideaway with the relaxed homeliness of the perfect local pub makes an ideal base for exploring the area.

The food: Arrive hungry. Locally sourced steaks, Devonshire classics and tasty sharing plates are generously served, plus there is an epic dessert menu. 

For the ultimate sweet-toothed treat, try the chocolate served seven ways: mousse, terrine, ice cream, brownie, shard, soil and cookies.

The rooms: Rustic glamour with a tongue-in-cheek gin theme. 



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