Tuesday 7 April 2015

The Haybarn - Butterton - Derbyshire

How long did we stay?
7 nights

When did we visit?
27 March - 3 April 2015

How much was it?

Who did we book with?

What were our initial impressions?
The cottage is one of three on a site just inside the boundary of The Peak District National Park and is situated in a lovely spot.

We arrived on a glorious Spring day and the cottage looked really pretty in the afternoon sunshine, with beautiful views of the surrounding countryside across the valley.
We were greeted and welcomed by Chris, one of the owners, who showed us around and explained how everything worked, including the bike storage, which would be very handy, as we had bought ours away with us.

There wasn't really a welcome pack, compared to other places we've stayed at, though there were some very nice scones, with butter and jam, plenty of tea and coffee and a small jug of milk to get us started.  There were also some fresh flowers in the kitchen.
When we arrived the cottage was very warm, so we threw open all of the windows, but thought how nice it would be to get cosied up nice and toasty later on.

There was a lovely big kitchen, with some quirky features, as well as everything that we would need, and a nice cosy lounge, both with really good views of the surrounding countryside.
There were also two lovely bedrooms and a bathroom.  It was exactly as the pictures on the website had described it.
It looked spotlessly clean and Chris was very keen to let us know that he wanted us to have a great week and to just let him know if there was anything that we needed during our stay.

Our likes over the course of our stay
  • The location was perfect for what we wanted. There were good walks and bike riding to be had from the front door of the cottage, with no need to take out the car, but it was close enough to Leek and Buxton for when we wanted to venture a bit further afield. 
  • The whole cottage was spotlessly clean, with no need to do our usual job of running all the cutlery and crockery through the dish washer before using anything. 
  • The beds were lovely and comfy. 
  • The lounge was really nice and cosy. 
  • On our first night we had a problem with the TV and couldn't get reception on any channels. Chris was very good and came round straight away and, after a bit of fiddling about with the splitter cable in the loft, managed to get us up and running ........ just in time for Eastenders! 
  • There were enough dish washer tablets to see us right through the week, which was great, as we normally run out and have to use our own. 
  • The outside space around the cottages is really well maintained and cared for, with lots of pots and plenty of outdoor seating.
Anything that could have made it better?
  • We really didn't like the heating system which, of course, wouldn't be a problem in the Summer.  The cottage is heated by electric storage heaters so its impossible to change the temperature instantly.  As it was, the control mechanisms had been removed so if we wanted to make any changes, this involved asking the owners to come and do this.
  • The two bedrooms are interlinked and, when sleeping in the twin room, you have to go through the double to use the bathroom, which makes it hard not to disturb whoever is sleeping in the double room.  It wasn't a deal breaker, but it would be better if the upstairs layout was a bit different.
  • A downstairs loo is always a bonus for us who don't like going up and down the stairs!
  • Whilst the outside space is kept really well, it is shared.  We found privacy was not ideal as other holiday makers have to walk past the windows of The Haybarn to get to their cottages. We could also imagine that this would be more of a problem when using the outside space in good weather.
  • Big fluffy bathsheets are a must for us.  Sadly, only rather small bath towels are provided.  This didn't cause us a problem as I checked ahead and we took our own bathsheets.
  • The shower wasn't as powerful as we would normally like, though there was always plenty of nice hot water.
  • The wifi, whilst always available, was very, very slow.
Would we recommend this cottage to our friends and family?
Most definitely, but would say to be mindful of the above.

Would we stay in this cottage again?
I've had to think really hard about the answer to this question and, I feel really bad saying this because in so many ways this was a lovely cottage and the owners were just great.  However,  I don't think it's very likely that we would stay here again. For us, the heating system rules it out for the Winter and the lack of privacy would rule it out for the Summer.  I think, staying here will definitely influence our already very long list of what we look for in a cottage for future bookings, but then we are really picky!

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