The Duncombe Arms – Ellastone, Staffordshire
When Johnny and Laura Greenall drove past the boarded-up 19th-century inn that had once been the hub of their nearest village, they dreamed of giving it a new lease of life. After a renovation that included creating a state-of-the-art kitchen and a light-filled dining space, they opened in 2012. Now, it’s a Michelin Guide restaurant with a garden (a new pergola with a retractable roof has recently been added) that serves up pub classics and modern British fare. Everything from the bread to the ice cream is homemade and the impressive 200-strong wine list has been developed with Bibendum. After dinner, guests can stroll to Walnut House, only a few seconds away, where ten cosy country-chic bedrooms are full of homely comforts. There are also two lovely rentals: the Garden Cottage in the grounds of the Wootton Hall Estate and The Old Barn, just behind the pub, both sleeping up to six people. On the edge of the Peak District, close to the market towns of Ashbourne and Uttoxeter, this is a fantastic base from which to explore the area.
Doubles from £170
+44 (0)1335 324275; duncombearms.co.uk