Colin Crosby Heritage Tours

Weekend in Chesterfield

My wife Anne and I spent a weekend recently in Chesterfield. As we are both busy in different ways, it is quite a rare occurence for us both to be free at the same time.

The occasion was a familiarisation weekend run by the Group Travel Organisers Association (GTOA), jointly between the Central Branch and the Northern Branch.

I had been to the Northern equivalent last year, which was held at Kendal.

We stayed at the Chesterfield Hotel, conveniently situated a short walk from Chesterfield Station, and had a room with a lovely view of a wooded hillside. The hotel is run by Legacy Hotels. The food was good, and the restaurant well managed.

We had a stroll around Chesterfield when we arrived on the Friday morning, and had coffee in the delightful Peacock`s coffee house in the Market Place, before meeting some of the delegates for a climb up the famous Crooked Spire of St. Mary and All Saints Church, in the company of the church`s own guide. After that, we found another coffee house, the vegetarian Elliott`s.

On the Saturday, we all went out on a double decker bus.

First, we were taken to Chesterfield Market. This excellent market claims to be the biggest in England, and I agree that it could well have that honour. I know several big Market Places, but I think the one at Chesterfield is probably bigger.

We went on from there to Bolsover, and had a quick walk through to Bolsover Castle, where we had a short guided tour with a local guide.

After that it was lunch, in the form of a buffet at the Shoulder Inn at Hardstoft. Very nice.

Then in the afternoon, we were taken to Hardwick Hall. We were regaled with a talk by an actress playing the part of Bess of Hardwick`s companion, and then walked around the house at our own pace.

We did intend to have a coffee at Hardwick Hall, but the time being taken to serve the people already there meant that we would certainly not have had time, so we had to forego that pleasure. Instead, we had a quick look at the ruined Hardwick Old Hall next door.

The meal in the evening included a raffle, and I am delighted to say that I won one of the prizes! So at some point next year, Anne and I will be spending a couple of nights at the TLH resort at Torquay. I have promised to donate a prize next year, in the form of a Guided Walk for a group around Historic Leicester.

On the Sunday morning, we attended the AGMs of the two regions. After that, there was a sort of "treasure hunt" by car, which ended at Bateman`s restaurant at Old Tupton, and then it was time to go home.

It was very nice to meet group orgaisers from over a wide area. In particular, I was able to talk to people from Chester, Coventry, Henley-in-Arden and Northampton.

Thanks very much to Alan Brett for organising the weekend.