Why move to Tutbury, Staffordshire
PUBLISHED: 17:27 19 May 2011 | UPDATED: 19:24 20 February 2013
Why move to Tutbury....'a place to see, shop, eat and stay' words and photographs by Ashley Franklin
If you are thinking of moving towards South Derbyshire, the appeal of neighbouring East Staffordshire is considerable, especially around Tutbury. Estate agents in these parts invariably speak of a location sought after, desirable and picturesque. You will also come across the word historic. Tutbury boasts a splendid ancient castle, famed as the lodging quarters of Mary Queen of Scots. Although she wrote of her detestation of the horrors of this medieval castle, she (or someone who looks a lot like her) is happy to take tea with you at the castle on weekends this summer, along with Elizabeth I, Anne Boleyn and Boudicca!
In its prime Tutbury was an important market town and, although now a village, it could more accurately be described as a small rural town, not least for its wide range of unique, varied, niche retail attractions, many of which line its well preserved Georgian High Street. The distinctiveness of the villages retail units led to the formation two years ago of the business group Discover Tutbury which promotes the area as a place to see, shop, eat and stay and where small isnt just beautiful, its gorgeous. Even recognised destination towns like Ashbourne and Buxton would crave the shopping streets in Tutbury as it houses a 15th century tavern, a ceramics caf, photography studio, exclusive clock shop, model railway stockist, chocolatier, traditional sweet emporium, gallery, gift shops, delicatessen, dress agency and hat hire centre and other stores that trade in fashions, jewellery, beauty and wellbeing, bridal wear, toys and party goods, oak furniture, fireplaces and contemporary digital art.
Its an impressive list with a noted leaning towards creative retailing and even though Tutbury has lost its reputation as an antiques base along with a few basic amenities like butcher and baker, its pertinent that its seen a recent injection of fresh retail blood through the creation of 12, a High Street courtyard unit that houses eight classy new businesses including Steve Withers Photography, Alla Moda fashion house and the Slice coffee lounge.
Slice is one of several eateries in the area. Ye Olde Dog & Partridge the former town house of the Curzons of Kedleston has a fine reputation for its elegant brasserie and hearty carvery while other refined palates will find much to relish in the nearby Brookhouse in Rolleston, the Old Vicarage at Branston and Dovecliff Hall in Stretton.
The Discover Tutbury brochure describes Tutbury as a pretty village set in agricultural countryside in the heart of England. However, there is more to this place than greets the eye. One resident speaks of a quiet, bucolic atmosphere, another of the voluntary lifeblood in the village which produces numerous community events and activities. There is also a very active Civic Society, not surprising in a place of great architectural appeal with over 30 listed buildings. Several residents point to the advantage of Tutburys central location. Although it sits in splendid rural isolation, Tutbury is conveniently close to the A50 and, subsequently, the M6 and M1. Burton is only five miles away, its equidistant to Uttoxeter and Stoke in the west and Derby and Nottingham in the east, with the conurbation of Birmingham only an hours drive to the south and the countryside of the Peak less than half an hour away to the north.
Tutbury is also well placed as a commuter base in that it houses a wide range of properties. There are elegant piles from Tudor, Regency, Victorian and Georgian periods but also affordable homes of varied sizes in quiet cul-de-sacs, all within striding distance of Tutburys centre. Estate agents also readily point out that it falls within the popular de Ferrers Technology College catchment area.
Friel Homes has established a reputation for high quality homes sympathetic to Tutburyssurroundings. Developments vary from one bedroomed apartments to barn conversions and apartments exclusively for the over 55s, such as Crystal Court which has brought new life to the villages disused glass works site.
As the summer approaches, Tutburys residents will find themselves competing for its free car parking spaces with the inevitable visitors to Georgian Crystal on Silk Mill Lane where you can view the time-honoured methods of melting and blowing glass. Georgian Crystal has recently been boosted by earning Royal approval for its tall crystal vase, goblet and paperweight for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton.
You can view the upcoming Royal Wedding on a giant screen inside Tutbury Castle. This celebration day is one of many special events taking place at the castle virtually every weekend this summer including, notably, a Medieval Fair and on 28th to 30th May a 1940s Re-enactment weekend that takes over the whole town. The excellent open gardens event takes place on 2nd and 3rd July. Tutbury is also well placed for numerous nearby attractions including the National Forest and Sudbury Hall.
The eco-conscious can also look favourably on this area through a new, environmentally friendly scheme called Tutbury Eco Power, spearheaded by local residents aiming to reinstate the ancient mill fleam so that a micro-hydro-electric scheme can be installed. Better still, a set amount of the profits will go towards community causes. If youre keen to be green, here is another reason to discover Tutbury.
An attractive rural town in agricultural countryside with a remarkable array of independent, bespoke shops within easy walking distance. Over 30 listed buildings including a Grade I listed Norman Priory Church. Good amenities including an excellent medical centre and dental practice.
Average house price: 215,467. Houses currently on sale range from a 7-bedroom country house with a range of outbuildings and land for 1,350,000 to a high quality 2-bedroom mews house at 159,950.
De Ferrers Academy (11-18) described by Ofsted as outstanding; good choice of preparatory and independent schools; Richard Wakefield Primary and Tutbury Pre-school in the village.
In Tutbury itself there are four pubs, including 15th century Ye Olde Dog & Partridge with restaurant and accommodation; Eastern Palace; a variety of take-aways and cafs/coffee bars.
Easy road access to A50 and motorway network. 30 minutes to East Midlands Airport. Buses every half hour to Burton/Uttoxeter/Derby. Tutbury/Hatton railway station has trains to Uttoxeter, Crewe and Derby.
Tutbury Castle stages special events throughout spring and summer and hosts weddings, ghost hunts, lunches and dinners, cream teas, private bookings and corporate events; Georgian Crystal on Silk Mill Lane has free demonstrations of glass blowing and a factory shop; Sudbury Hall, with its Museum of Childhood, is only about 10 minutes drive; The National Forest only 30 minutes away includes Conkers, offering a unique mix of indoor and outdoor experiences; Ashbourne and the Dales are only 15 miles north.
Tutbury travels back in time from 28th to 30th May when hundreds of WWII re-enactors descend on the town. Vintage cars, armaments and stalls fill the castle grounds and take over the town. The sounds of the
40s ring out at a Swing Dance on 28th (01283 812129).
For details go to www.tutburycastle.com