Here are the top 10 things we'd want to do if we were staying here at Breedon but had an insiders perspective.
Visit Calke Abbey. This has to be the number 1 place to go near to Breedon - less than 15 mins by car. This house is one of the NT go-to houses because it is more than just a museum. It is a snapshot in time, it's a glimpse of a house in decline and frozen in that time, so you can see its fading glories and its advancing shabbiness. Unique and all the more rewarding as a visitor because of it. The parkland is wonderous, ancient oaks evince an older time, a time far. far removed from our modern world, the gardens and orangery restored to their Victorian heyday. It's a full day out and worth it. Book your slot here.
Watch a Race at Donington Park. Revitalised, new management, new calendar of events, conditional on Covid-19 restrictions. Our favourite? Historic cars 1-2nd May. This is literally 8 mins away from Breedon - you could walk if you felt inclined!
Visit the Melbourne Arts Festival . This is a really great thing to go to. It has everything: artists, art, architecture trails (around the hidden and fascinating parts of Melbourne*), artisanal foods, music, galleries and workshops. There is a wealth of things to do, and all within the relatively compact environs of little Melbourne. *Covid-19 has bowled us all a conundrum, but if it can happen it will but some things might be off the agenda this year. Either way, have a gander here.
Watch the Racing at Uttoxeter racecourse. This is a lovely course, with much-improved facilities in recent years, and is not so big that it has lost its character or charm. It's about 40 minutes drive from Breedon, mainly along the A50 which makes the journey very easy. See their programme of events, again, rather curtailed for 2021, here.
Visit King Richard III's Museum and Tomb in Leicester. For history buffs this is a special trip because the museum is built on the site of where King Richard's body was discovered, memorably, under a car park in Central Leicester, and also conveniently close to the Cathedral where he is now rightfully interred. Book a visit here. Approx 45 mins drive from Breedon.
Watch the Shrovetide Football in Ashbourne (Feb). This is quintessential Englishness, an all-day ruckus between the Uppers and the Downers (people living north or south of the river in Ashbourne) which has been going on for centuries, the aim of the day to score a goal at either end, except each goal mouth is 5 miles apart! Really, it's a background activity whilst everyone else has a marvellous time seeing their friends and (in normal times) having a very good time in the pub/local restaurant! We've missed it this year as it obviously happens in February, but if this sounds like something fun and a little different, it's well worth going! Here is a 2.30 min preview!
Visit the Chapel of the Holy Trinity at Staunton Harold. This 17th Century NT owned church is a special place and one of only two churches built in England during the Commonwealth period. Beautifully situated and combined with a wander around the Ferrers Craft Centre next door, it makes for a lovely morning/afternoon. 5 minutes by car from Breedon.
Watch a play or listen to live music at Nottingham's acclaimed Theatre Royal & Royal Concert Hall. This is where we tend to go if something good is on, although to be fair there are other very good venues in Derby and Birmingham too. This is the nearest, significant one anyway, and is about 35 minutes by car/taxi from Breedon. Their programme of events has been / is inevitably affected by the pandemic but look here to see what is possible. Don't forget, there are some cracking restaurants in Nottingham for a pre or post-dinner theatre trip!
Visit the Peak District. We are on the southern tip of the Peak District National Park. There are too many places to visit to list but based out of Breedon you will find that many of the major attractions are easily doable; Chatsworth, Bakewell, Dovedale, even Buxton and its huge restoration projects are within reasonable travelling distance.
Watch the Sun / Moon come up atop Breedon Hill. It couldn't be easier and it is of course right on our doorstep, but the view up there is spectacular on a clear night/day, you can see 6 counties!
Naturally, there are many more things to do and see and we have left out a lot of the eating places because we're not 100% sure what will survive after this terrible year. Let's hope that most will bounce back with the gathering economy and we shall be able to enjoy he eating out experience properly once again very soon.