self-catering holiday cottage, holiday rental near Alton Towers and Peak District

Self-catering near Alton Towers and Peak District - Call Barks Holiday Cottage 01538 703436 email or book online.


Winter Warmer Short Breaks - semi-catered, chalet style.

Winter Warmer short breaks at Barks are designed to cram in loads of entertainment and fresh air and minimise the time spent on anything domestic. We are describing this as semi-catered in the style of ski chalets. Weekends are great but can feel so short, so we are doing what we can to help our guests maximise a Friday evening to Sunday afternoon break. All you have to do is bundle the family into the car - which let's face it is a big enough hurdle to get over.

The highlights of our Winter Warmers are:

Friday evening - The heating is on, the fire is lit and there's a meal in the oven waiting for you. The beds are made (and any cots or extra beds are in place too). Memories of the motorway will soon fade, I promise.

Saturday - Various breakfast goods are available for you to help yourselves to a fry up or cereal and toast. For days out, walks, lunch venues and family activities we can recommend some options to suit your party. While you are out we can nip in a straighten the kitchen and lay another fire for the evening. If you want another meal prepared for Saturday night just let us know, or alternatively we can recommend restaurants and pubs meals in the area or help you source local ingredients to cook yourselves a delicious dinner.

Sunday - Make this more than just a packing up day and stay as long as you like. Indulge in breakfast then get some fresh air maybe. There are pubs to hike to, tea rooms to cycle to and a hotel to swim at . . . or newspapers to read, whatever takes your fancy.

For further information on Winter Warmer Weekends please give us a call on 01538 703436 and give us an idea of your requirements.

In the mean time, her are some activities and outings nearby that might appeal:

  • -Alton Towers Splash Landings
  • -Alton Towers Spa
  • -Alton Towers crazy golf
  • -Aerial Xtremes - nearby in Trentham and Buxton
  • -Hikes and walks - we have maps, books and several recommendations
  • -Cycling - Churnet Valley from Oakamoor; Manifold Valley into the Peak District; Buxton to Ashbourne Tissington trail.
  • -Pub Walks - from the doorstep
  • -Lights nights and Christmas shopping evenings in local market towns.
  • -Theatres
  • -Museums
  • -Great undisturbed painting locations
  • -Kayaking or sailing on Carsington Water or Rudyard Lake
  • -Letting the kids clamber around on the fallen tree and taking a flask of coffee and some sweets onto the ridge then coming back and putting your feet up by the open fire with a book and cuppa (until your favourite programme comes on telly).



We took delivery of a hen house on Saturday and some hens yesterday. Not an obvious time of year to start keeping hens, because we'll feed them all winter and as the nights draw in they won't lay so many eggs.

We went to a genuine farm dispersal sale last weekend. It was a fascinating event on so many levels. A reclusive old local farmer had lived on this 90 acre farm in the middle of nowhere all his life and now he has moved to a care home. I can only imagine that he held this fate at bay as long as possible, but seeing the state of the farmhouse I guess another winter was out of the question despite the amazing efforts of Staffordshire Moorlands visiting carers.

Many that turned up to the farm sale did so out of respect for this farmer, as much as to seize a bargain in these tough times. I overheard farmers and labourers with local accents so strong it could be called a dialect. There were a few other women, some children allowed to lark about on the haystack and farm machinery, but this event was noticeably dominated by local farmers; all white, predominantly male. They are a hardy close-knit local bunch, many of whom have been on their farms for generations. As a southern 'incomer' I felt priveleged to have been there, as I would if I'd been camel herding with the Bedouins or driving llamas up a mountain in Tibet.

So I was pleased that we scooped the coop for a reasonable sum. A local farmer brought it back for us in his trailer and then dropped off a couple of pullets for us yesterday. The coop is in the orchard in front of Barks, so visiting children will be able to collect eggs and catch hens. My 5 year old son is delighted by it all.

So to the business of marketing Barks self-catering holiday cottage now that we have welcomed our two chickens, and thinking up legitimate new straplines that might grab the search engines' attention:

Farm stays - self catering
Alton towers - dogs welcome - feed the hens
Stay on a farm with 2 chickens, 10 sheep, 3 dogs and some fruit trees.
I'll keep working on this . . .