“ Traditional Pub and Camping Site / Address: Hurdlow / Derbyshire SK17 9QJ / Tel: 01298 83288 „
A family Holiday
For our family holiday this year we had decided on a camping holiday in the Peak District. We chose the Peak District as we haven't been before well I haven't and since we were going with my sister and brother in law it would be between where we live and the 270 miles down south where they live. A holiday this year was a bit doubtful as money is tight so we were looking for a cheapish site we could camp at. The Royal Oak at Hurdlow came up on a Peak District tourist board and although it didn't really have many amenities we thought it would be ok especially at the price.
We were allowed to arrive on the site from 12 noon on the first day. Finding the pub wasn't the easiest but then we didn't get lost after we wrote instructions from Google maps down which I would highly recommend you did. On arriving we drove up to the pub car park. The pub looked lovely from the outside and very welcoming. We had to report to the pub to receive our ticket to say we had paid to get on the site. When we rung up to book the site we were told you had to pay the whole fee up front. This is something I am not often keen on but as the price was very cheap we were happy to do so. On arrival the staff in the pub were very friendly and helpful.
The camping field & amenities
To get on to the field for campers you drive round the back of the pub and through a gate which while we were there was never shut. They have tried to gravel the entrance here to give you grip to get out as you are on a hill but they have used large pieces of what can only be described as rubble and isn't very kind on your car. There are two fields a top and a lower field. The top field looked to be more square shape and the lower field is longer but narrower. The bottom field does have space for a row of tents on either side and room for cars to drive down the middle but it can be a little tight. We chose the bottom field as the top field had quite a bit of a slope on it. The grass in the field is kept well and is plenty short enough.
As I have mentioned there were little amenities but there was what you would need. They have separate showers for males and females with toilets and hand basins too. There was a washing up sink which was just a big stainless steel sink outside. Now it had two sinks but only one side had a draining board. So in my eyes the other side was pretty useless for washing your pots up. It seemed most people agreed with me as the whole week I was there I didn't see a single person use the side without a draining board. The ladies shower block had only two toilets, three hand basins and four showers. On first looking in this did concern me as it did state the camping site had forty five pitches. The block looked clean and tidy which pleased me! On first appearances I felt the amenities were very basic but very clean, what you would expect for the price. One thing I did find annoying was the basins were slightly annoying as the taps weren't big enough for them. They didn't hang over the basin enough so when you put your hands under them water slashed everywhere.
The first night went well. Even though we had gone in the summer holidays our holiday had started on a Monday and the site was fairly quiet. It had only just over half a dozen campers. We had a fairly quiet night with the site going quiet by ten o'clock. We did hear a few aircrafts going over from time to time.
High Peak Trail
The site is situated just off a disused railway line, the High Peak trail. The High peak trail is one of many trails that are available in the Peak District. The High Peak Trail joins onto the Tissington Trail. This is one of the reasons we chose this place. Having two young boys we wanted walks we could do with a pushchair. So this made it ideal for us as a family. Talking to other people who had come to camp here they too had chosen the site because of the direct link onto the trail. Over the week we saw many cyclists and hikers come and go. It was ideal for them a cheap place to set up for a rest.
As the week went on my first impressions did go down a bit and I was slightly disappointed. I know we had got a cheap deal but there are still standards you expect. It became apparent that this pub was successful for being a great pub and the idea of having campers was just an afterthought for them. The camper's amenities were quite poor. By the end of the week the bins were over flowing and we ended up leaving bags of rubbish by the bin which were situated near the showers. The washing up sinks were mucky and one of them had become blocked. And to make things worse in the ladies block (which was small to start with) one of the toilets had no light in and as the door went right up you couldn't shut the door aless you had a torch. By Friday the site was very busy with some big groups camping and taking up a lot of space. The pub was extremely busy on Friday and very noisy till gone 12am. As it was Friday this didn't bother us. On Saturday night however we were told by a member of staff who came down the field to us to be quiet as it was a family site. It was 10:15pm and after carefully reading the terms on their website before coming it does state no excessive noise after 10:30pm. We were slightly upset as the large group of slightly older people who were making much more noise were not warned straight away. This did leave a bit of distaste on what had been quite a pleasant week. It was then we decided to cut our holiday by leaving Sunday rather than Monday lunch.
Once arriving home I did re visit their website and reread there terms and condition and it seems they are quite happy to break rules they have put in place if it suits them. Dogs have to be kept on leads but many weren't, there was plenty of noise after 10:30 when it suited them, they had large parties too. This is a bit of a shame really.
Prices for camping are as follows:
Standard tent (up to four people) £13 per night
Large tent (& over 5 people ) £20 per night
Tents 2 man ridge (no car) £7 per night
Camper van £13 per night
These prices include any extra cars and dogs. This is why we found it to be the cheapest for us. We had four adults, two children under four, two cars and a dog (which didn't end up going in the end) and it only cost us £140 for a week.
Moving on from our camping experience we did feel as the pub was rewarded the pub of the year 2010 we would have to try it once. It is here they redeem themselves very well. On arriving in the pub you walk through a rather attractive entrance which has toilets on your left. The toilets are lovely and there is a baby changing drop down station. Walking into the bar you get a lovely warm feeling. It is very cosy and welcoming experience. It is here you see that it has been done to a very high standard, just a shame I couldn't say the same for the camping experience they provided. As I had mentioned previously the staff were very helpful and as we had booked (which I would highly recommend you do as it gets very busy) we were shown to our table. The menu was explained to us and they took a drinks order. Having one son under two they provided us with a highchair. It was an Ikea highchair which you could slide up to the table so my son could be part of it. It was very clean, a pet hate of mine is having to put my son in a stained mucky highchair.
The menu is very extensive and is provided on a very large black board. They have a few of the black boards around the place as they don't give you a menu to actually hold. This wasn't a problem for us and I guess it enables them to change it when they need to with ease. The menu consists of roughly ten starters, thirty mains and ten desserts. There is also a specials board which had about ten choices of mains on it. They do provide a small children's menu with a choice of five items on it. The adults menu certainly gives a large selection of food. It does consist of a lot of meat meals like steaks, lamb chops, lamb shank, burgers, chicken dishes, mixed grills as well as a few home favourites like fish and chips and lasagne. I did notice there are a quite a few fish dishes on the menu.
What we ordered
Me: Pork and chicken pie with chips, mushy peas and gravy.
My fiancé & brother in law both had: Oak Burger with chips and coleslaw relish
My sister: BBQ chicken and bacon melt with chips and salads
The boys shared: 3 sausages, chips and beans.
Tasting the meals they provided makes you realise why this pub got pub of the year 2011. The meals were fantastic. The chips are huge my eldest son kept saying they were roast potato chips. They were huge and crispy but yet so soft inside. The burger both my fiancé and brother in law had was massive and they both struggled to eat it whole, it looked delicious. The boy's meal was again on the large size even for a child's portion. I am just glad I got them one to share. Even though they shared it they didn't manage to finish it all. The sausages looked and tasted lovely; I couldn't believe they got three. We all fully enjoyed our meal the portions were very large which unfortunately left no room for pudding.
All our adults' meals cost £9.95 each which was tremendous value. The steaks and mixed grills on the menu were priced between £17 and £22 while all other meals ranged between £9 and £14. The starters were around the £5 mark as well as the desserts to. The children's meals cost £4.95 which on originally looking I felt was a bit high but when you see what they get is certainly value for money. When we asked for a second plate so my son's could share the staff were very happy to get us one. The drinks were averagely priced with a range of wines and beers on offer of which you would expect from a pub.
I really enjoyed my experience of eating at this pub and would definitely return to eat here. The staff went out of their way to be helpful and weren't put off by us having two very young and noisy boys! I felt the whole experience in the pub was brilliant and can see why this pub was voted pub of the year.
As a pub I would highly recommend the Royal Oak at Hurdlow for all types. They welcome children and are very children friendly. They cater for large parties too. I would highly recommend you book as it did seem to get busy most nights. As for the camping I would think it wouldn't suit everyone. For a family with young children it was difficult. The showers were hardly big enough to fit yourself in never mind yourself and a little child. I had to stand in the shower to close the door with my son in with me and I am quite a petite person. It is ideal for hikers and cyclists with the high peak trial or for maybe a couple of days but not for a week which is a shame as it is situated in a lovely pretty place.
A difficult one to score as I would give the pub five stars without a hesitation. As for the camping experience they provided I am afraid it is only two stars. I will point out while we were there; there was a lot of building work going on around the place so maybe things will be improved in the future.
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