Plan an extension and an unexpected sewing retreat will fall in place just nicely. How did this happen?

Through a simple ask on the UKQU pages on where to go for a retreat and the recommending of a place I got to, I find out about Thirklow Cottage and Esther. To cut a long story short 17, 18 & 19 June was perfect dates for me to move out for a few days and to take along the other half too. Prior to booking I did make sure it was somewhere the hubby could go and not feel out of place in with a group of women constantly stitching and discussing all things fabric related!

The actual workshop for this particular date and days were a tutored group of four and all beginners, this was no problem to me I could just sit in a corner and hand quilt to my hearts content and wander the beautiful countryside without missing any tutoring had I been a beginner.

Thirklow Cottage with the hosts of Esther and Sam is very easy to find especially when using Google and post code location. You know you are going to be in for a treat as you head that way and find yourself surrounded by rolling hills, hidden farms, in and out of the dips and rises of the Derbyshire Dales you find yourself driving through to your destination.

Having arrived and spotting the small sign at the entrance and driving down a steep-ish drive you come upon Thriklow Cottage, hidden behind and nestled below Thirklow Rock, with only a couple of other dwellings way out into the distance and with absolutely nothing at all to spoil your views 360 degrees. Peace and tranquility, surrounded by lush green fields, all taken advantage of not only by yourself but the sheep and cows from the neighbouring, out-of-sight farm.

Upon entering the cottage, what a treat welcomes you, clean, tidy and very white and bright interior that you just know you will enjoy from that first step inside. Our bedroom was on the ground floor, with double bed, wardrobe, drawers and disabled friendly with an en-suite wet room. This was the ideal location for our room as it was adjacent to the small lounge that hubby was able to use all to himself for the duration of his stay. A perfect sized dining room with a table to seat 14, with the kitchen located in the same area giving a great workable space where you can all join in food preparation and eating together if you wish. Off from here and on the end of the cottage is the double height ceiling work room, light airy, plenty of windows, doors, a small kitchen area and toilet. This room was found to be very well equipped with tables, chairs, machines and sofas and during the hot spell of our stay the open doors really gave you the extra feeling of being in the countryside.

As this was a tutored retreat all food was prepped and served by Ester for lunch and evening meals, breakfast was a do-it-yourself and you were surrounded in all the communal rooms by bowls of fruit, sweets, nibbles and freshly baked cakes. A grazers heaven! Esthers food was of outstanding quality in that, she even converted me in the not liking of chicken pie to adoring hers and having a second helping. Food ranged from the pie, lasagne, salads consisting of many side dishes, cold meats and potatoes, all this made and doubling the cooking prep and baking with having also to create separate versions for those vegetarian among us. Meals didn’t end with the mains, oh no, extra calories just had to be consumed with the homemade desserts all accompanied by ice cream or fresh cream. Sam was the quiet, almost silent partner, in taking care of their own home and children and keeping the housekeeping of the retreat cottage up together whilst Esther taught.


Being nosey and knowing I could blog about this retreat on my return I managed to get permission from the other ‘retreaters’ to visit the 4 upstairs bedrooms all on suite and again all bright, white and very clean with access via two separate staircases. The outside area had a lovely patio to the side of the workroom with a paved area all along the front of the cottage just waiting to be sat on for views to be admired.

What did hubby do? Well, he had a well-earned rest as a few weeks prior he had had some very late evenings with work and he was able to sit and watch a fair amount of sport. He got to be waited on hand, foot and finger by all those staying. He popped into the workroom on occasion and had a look at progress on every ones work and a chat too. On the second day both he and I donned our walking boots and walked into Buxton having a well-earned drink on arrival and then the walk back that seemed to be more uphill than down. Altogether, including a good tour of Buxton we did an 11 mile walk in 6 hours. This walk is an easy walk in to Buxton and on arrival you will see plenty of busses and taxis that can be used to get you back if you didn’t feel up to the hike back. Extra costs to take hubby along for 2 nights, 3 days food all in…………………..£99 what a bargain.  I asked the other two married ladies on the retreat if their husbands would have come along as did mine and both of them said yes, it wouldn’t phase either of them and they also had hobbies that could’ve took them out and about alone and they would probably been just like mine, wandering in and out and sitting and joining in the conversations and meal times.  I would not hesitate to take him again.

I questioned Esther as to what she can do for me in my role as a mother wanting to take my family to her cottage or in my role as my group organiser and taking my quilting group away. The cottage is geared up to be used for either of my wants; here is what I gained from my interrogation!!

  • 3 bedrooms can be doubles or turned to twin, 2 bedrooms can be made into triple rooms (1 double and 1 single) and the lounge area has two sofa beds. Sleeping a total of 14.
  • As a family I can hire the whole place, do our own catering or arrange with Esther for her to cater for us.
  • Hiring the facility and doing your own thing as opposed to organised retreats is also available. Thereby my group could use the place but still have Esther cater for us. We could also arrange with Esther to do a structured and organised retreat where she could teach the group as a whole.

I traveled a fair distance to get to the retreat, breaking it up on the way with B&B and the same on the way back, this was our choice we could have driven up in the one day but decided to visit elsewhere. A couple of the ladies did arrive a day earlier and took up the B&B option prior to starting their beginners workshop, extra costs for the one evening room only was £25 each. Due to the distance and thinking if deciding to go with my quilting group I was pleased to hear that Esther would do a collection and return service from the train station for anyone wishing to visit and she also recommended going to Macclesfield Station as opposed to Buxton as it would be easier in the long run.

There are plenty of places to visit in the evenings in Buxton itself with many taxis on the ranks to get the lift back home of an evening.

Prices on various retreats throughout the rest of this year and now listed are 2020 together with the private hiring of weekends can be found by contacting through here.

We both had a fabulous time and one of my lasting memories will be sitting on the sofa hand quilting and looking up to watch two ponies walk past the glass back door along the public footpath and up the drive, one of many paths surrounding the whole area, also the same with sheep, cows and hikers too!

Watching the photos of the place and surrounding area pop uop on various platforms on-line makes me wish I was going again someday soon!

The story behind Thirklow Cottage is an interesting story in itself and can be found here on their web page, more information from their facebook page here and pictures galore can be found here on Instagream

I shall return!