On previous visits to the UK we’ve stayed with my parents, Bobs Mum, Bobs sister and we’ve also stayed in a hotel. Each has their pros and cons. Hotels can get expensive as you have to eat out a lot. Staying with family is ok but honestly I don’t enjoy living in their pockets for two weeks. I need my space. As we saved money on our flights this visit, we decided to try renting through airbnb. We found an apartment in Milford, a small village between Belper and Duffield. It was close to family in Derby, but not so close to be tripping over them. Plus we had local pubs and shops just a short walk away. Plus the peak district was on our doorstep along with National Trust Castles and historic houses.
Airbnb Milford Apartment
What sold me on the Milford apartment is that it’s in a converted 18th century cottage. Living in the USA for 16 years I really miss the old buildings and what better way to stay in the UK than in a grade II listed building with beautiful panoramic views of village countryside. We only had one rainy day during our 8 day stay so our views were amazing most days, overseeing the lush green landscape engulfing the River Derwent.
Our main reason for staying in an airbnb was to self -cater. The hotel life is fine for a weekend, but for longer trips I prefer to have a kitchen. This gives us the option to eat in should we choose to, which we did every breakfast and most evening meals too. The apartment had a fully loaded kitchen, the only thing missing was a blender for my morning smoothies. We just bought a cheap one from a local store, and then it truly felt like home from home. I will have a full post on the UK vegan food we had coming soon!
Of course along with the convenience of eating in, we also had somewhere to chill out and relax at our leisure. Both inside and outside. The living area was small and compact but with a two seater sofa, cable TV, and internet we were more than comfortable. The outdoor area had a small patio set and an amazing view. A couple of mornings I did yoga outdoors underneath a fig tree and surrounded by the beautiful English garden. Note the
Having an outdoor space was a really nice touch to the apartment, I sat out most mornings with my smoothie or pot of tea. We also ate our ice cream out here, and the odd alcoholic beverage. This is what I loved most about having our own place for the trip, being able to move about freely. Having our own space. The cottage gardens were so pretty, with lots of flowers and birds. Plus our closest neighbors we the owners (upstairs) and their rescue sheep.
Of course there is so much more I want to share regarding the beautiful places we visited in the UK this trip, but I’m going to start with our homebase for the week in the village of Milford. As country villages go Milford was a delight. I’m sure we’ve all seen the old tv programs were all the neighbors know each others names, well Milford is that village! As part of the industrial revolution in the UK (and the USA), every building in Milford was originally owned by Jedediah Strutt and his estate. The mill was just down the street from our cottage and the River running through the village provided power to run the mills. In fact much of the gears for the weir on the river are still there!
What’s remarkable is that this machinery still works two centuries later! Bob easily got the cogs to turn using the handle. Obviously they are no longer connected to the workings of the weir and the factory has long gone but the character and history remain. Although there is a modern pub closer to our accommodation we prefered The Holly Bush Pub in nearby Makeney. This 18th Century pub has a ton of history, character and I’m sure a TON of stories. We managed to coincide with the beerfest they were having which was lucky. Even closer to us, just across the Milford Bridge, was the King William a cosy candlelit pub, with real ale. We enjoyed these two pubs a lot.
I’m sure village life can be pretty boring once it’s part of your daily grind but I found it delightful. Maybe it wouldn’t be so fun in winter but the Summer weather really made Milford Shine. I especially liked their repurposing of the old red telephone boxes into a mini library. What a fantastic idea! We did a similar thing in the yoga studio last year and it was a roaring success. Donate your books, pick up something new. Love community projects like this. Plus it keeps a quintessential part of British history alive.
I’d say our first airbnb stay was a roaring success. We loved the old building, the village location was quiet, and having nature on our doorstep was bliss. Plus in the cottage we had all the modern amenities from internet, to a full kitchen, including washer/dryer. Also we were only a short walk from a bus route into Derby, Duffield, and Belper. There were local pubs within walking distance, and a Morrisons supermarket just a mile and half down the road. Totally convenient for everything, our hosts were available if we needed anything and we had a great stay. We would definitely stay here again, and thoroughly recommend it.
If you are interested in trying out airbnb they offer $40 off your first trip through my referral(new clients only), so definitely check out the link if you’re looking for a good deal!
We both also enjoyed being in Milford. The history, the charm, the cosy pubs, and especially the real ale! For me the natural beauty of the English countryside combined with the stone buildings just made the whole stay a little more special.
Have you tried an airbnb or vrbo?
Do you prefer Self-catering or hotels?
What appeals to you about staying in a small village?