“ Address: Edale / Hope Valley S33 7ZA / Derbyshire / Tel: 01433 670268 „
Edale is the perfect place to stay if you want to explore the Dark Peak region of the Peak District, and it is the starting point of the Pennine Way. There are one or two campsites and guest houses, but the only place offering accommodation as well as lunches and evening meals is the Rambler Inn. If you are travelling by train it is convenient as it is located about two minutes' walk from the station. It is, however, a little further from Edale village where there is a shop with a Post Office and the Pennine Way begins. There is a car park at the inn. My son had stayed at the Rambler Inn a few months before, and he and I planned a two-night stay for the end of August. I had spent many happy holidays in the Peak District as a child and longed for another sight of it. I had a look at the Rambler Inn's Website and found that they had just one twin room as well as several doubles. Luckily the twin room was available for the dates we wanted; booking was straightforward online. The cost of the room was £80 per night, and I had to pay a deposit of £40 by either credit or debit card at the time of booking. It wasn't long before I received an email confirming the reservation and giving all the necessary details. Things were fairly quiet in the pub area when we arrived at about 3.45pm. Check-in couldn't have been simpler. A young girl at the bar took my name and the dates of our booking, then found our key which had a boot-shaped wooden keyring - too big to lose! She took us up to the first floor and showed us into our room, told us to ask for anything we needed and left us to it. I was delighted to find that there was a beautiful view of the hills from the double window. The room was a decent size and was decorated in dark red and pale yellow. The wardrobe was an open one with deep shelves to one side. The bedside tables also had open shelves. There was a desk with drawers upon which was a tray with a kettle, glasses, cups and saucers, a bottle of water and a small basket containing sachets of coffee, tea, sugar and sweetener. The little containers of milk were inside the mugs. I'm always glad to find decaffeinated coffee, but the tea was limited to ordinary Tetley teabags. As well as the mirror above the desk there was a full-length one to the left. A small flat-screen television was installed rather high up in one corner of the room. We didn't use it as my son had his iPhone and iPad, and the Rambler offers free wifi. There was no bath and the shower room was quite small; it didn't help that the door opened inwards! The hot tap over the washbasin was a bit dodgy so I avoided using it. To the left of the basin was a bottle of handwash fixed to the wall. The shower was on the right, and while my son was able to reach the handwash from the shower it was that bit too far for me. Luckily I had brought a small bar of soap with me. The shower was certainly a good one. A hand towel and a bath towel were provided for each of us as well as one bath mat, and there was a towel rail next to the toilet. It would have been useful to have a shelf, as it was difficult to find anywhere to put bits and pieces while having a shower. After a walk we came back to the Rambler Inn at around 7pm for our evening meal. Other than the Old Nag's Head, it is the only place in Edale that serves dinner so it can be quite busy. The Rambler has quite a varied menu as well as several specials listed on a blackboard. My son had warned me that portions were very generous, so we didn't order a starter. He chose steak and ale pie served with chips, carrots and peas (£9.95) and I decided on butternut squash and spinach lasagne served with garlic ciabatta and a salad garnish (£8.95). The only apple juice was fizzy, so we had orange and pineapple; these were small but it didn't matter as we were going to have hot drinks in our room later. We didn't have to wait too long before our food was served. Both of us enjoyed what we had ordered; my son was surprised that I polished off all the lasagne as well as about half the ciabatta. In my defence I explained that the lasagne, served in an oven dish, was very saucy and perhaps not quite as filling as it looked. The salad garnish was better than I expected, with diced peppers and thin slices of onion as well as lettuce, tomato and cucumber. Neither of us had room for dessert. The mattress was not the most comfortable I have ever slept on, but it was good enough. This is obviously a quiet place to stay once visitors to the pub have left. I don't think many other people were staying at the Rambler that first night, and I certainly wasn't disturbed by any noise. Breakfast is served between 8am and 10am. We went down quite early and there was just one other person there. Several varieties of cereal are displayed and we both had some. There was a jug of orange juice on our table and we ordered a pot of tea as well. The Rambler does offer a full English breakfast, but my son just ordered toast and I asked for scrambled egg on toast. It was very good and I couldn't quite finish it. After a walk we had lunch at a cafe in Edale village and came back to the Rambler Inn for a drink in the garden in front of the inn. Although the sun wasn't shining it was a pleasant place to have a rest and still admire the view. After a while we went walking again and returned at about 7.30pm for dinner. I decided on a glass of red wine; my son went to the bar to order and they tried to persuade him to buy a whole bottle of wine for £20! I declined, and enjoyed the glassful. I was determined to try a dessert so I decided just to have soup rather than a main course. Soup of the day was tomato, served with a granary roll and butter. It was a good thick soup, like a home-made one. My son had a veggie burger with chips and vegetables, which he enjoyed. I have to confess to pinching a few of his chips to dip in my soup. For dessert I chose apple crumble with custard, and my son decided that while in Derbyshire Bakewell tart was the thing to have, so he ordered it with cream. Once again we found we had made good choices; the crumble had good, well-cooked pieces of apple in it, and the custard was served separately in a large jug. There was a jug of cream with the Bakewell tart too - far more than was needed. Up to our room we went, and we weren't late going to bed after all the walking we had done. Soon after midnight, however, we were both awake again and boiling hot. We discovered that the heating was on full blast, so we had to turn it down and open a window. Despite the disturbed night I still woke early and was delighted by the view from the window; there was a clear blue sky and a mist rolling across the fields nearby. Breakfast on the second morning was in a larger room as there were a few more guests. Again we both had cereal; my son had two kinds but I had just the one followed by toast and jam. We ordered coffee this time to have after the orange juice. Good coffee it was too, and I don't often say that. Check-out has to be made by 11am but we were catching an early train and stopping on the way to take a look at Ladybower Reservoir. Our check-out process was as straightforward as the check-in since we had paid for our evening meals and drinks already so just had to pay the balance on the room. We were accompanied to the door and wished a pleasant visit to Ladybower. When I arrived home I found an email from the Rambler Inn thanking us for staying there. On the whole I was very happy with my stay at the Rambler. The staff were all friendly and welcoming and the standard of comfort was what I would expect from a country inn mainly used by walkers and hikers. Perhaps my main issue is one of cleanliness; you could tell, for example, that the milk jug at breakfast had had custard in it the night before. After the first night our rubbish bin was emptied and cushions put back on the bed, but cups and saucers had not been washed. The hospitality tray could have done with a good clean, and the corners of the shower room needed a bit of attention. I don't expect this kind of place to be the lap of luxury, but one or two improvements could be made. I would recommend the Rambler Inn and I would definitely consider staying there again. It is particularly well situated for walking in the Dark Peak region, whether in the direction of the Pennine Way and Grinds Brook or the other side of the valley to Mam Tor and through to Castleton. Even if you are just driving through, the food is very good and it's worth stopping for lunch, dinner or a cask ale. As they say on the sign outside, the Rambler Inn welcomes families, dogs and even muddy boots. What more can you ask for?