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A welcoming Peak District home-from-home for large gatherings and celebrations.

If you're looking for a place for a large-scale get-together or family celebration, then this 19th-century gentleman's property, beautifully situated in the picturesque Peak District spa town of Matlock Bath, might be just the perfect place. It has no fewer than 12 bedrooms, most of which are en-suite, and they are well used to catering for large groups. Moreover, the house could hardly be more comfortable, with contemporary quirky touches that perfectly complement its more historic features.

You have the option of renting it on an entirely self-catering basis, and the house has a well-appointed (and, frankly, huge) kitchen in which to cook up some family feasts – how many places can boast a dining room with a table that can seat 24? There's also a large living room that can also seat everyone, and a bar and games room with a bar billiards table. You can also bolt on as much or as little as you like, with optional extras that include everything from catered dinner parties to cocktail-making and murder mystery events, while every weekend during autumn you can watch the fireworks from the terrace during the famous Matlock Bath illuminations.

We love the fact that despite being so big, Portland House has a warm and welcoming feel, with decor and furniture that reflects the Peak District setting, yet is thoroughly up-to-date, with wifi throughout and a multi-room music system. During your stay you will have the best hostess you could wish for, with nothing too much trouble, and the house's location is a winner, leaving you spoilt for choice for things to do during the day or at night. If you want to stay at home, spa treatments can be arranged and the house has a lovely walled garden with two built-in barbecues and a summer house. Or if you want to get out and about, a clay pigeon shoot with a qualified instructor, among other outdoor pursuits can be organised.

The riverside spa village of Matlock Bath has been a tourist destination since Victorian times and is worth a visit in anyone's book. The Heights of Abraham, the Peak District's oldest attraction, occupies a stunning spot above the village which you can reach by cable car, and you can do a lovely circular walk taking in both this and Matlock itself and the appropriately titled High Tor and Giddy Edge. The Derwent Valley is a World Heritage Site, and after a day out exploring, Portland House is a delightful home-from-home to return to. The same people own the slightly smaller Elton Old Hall just a few miles away, if Portland House is just that bit too large.


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