Phileas French

Travel Writer

Phileas French

Phileas French

Travel Writer | Exploring every country in the world, one adventure at a time

The Peacock at Rowsley, one of The Great Inns of Britain

The Peacock at Rowlsey

One of many pleasures during the Great Inns of Britain event was witnessing the passion and commitment that the hoteliers have towards their properties and guest experiences. Perhaps none more so than Jenni and Ian of  The Peacock at Rowsley, an utterly charming, hard-working, and delivery-focused couple. Those qualities have enabled them to build a quite exceptional establishment and brand.

As a potted history, Ian MacKenzie did his apprenticeship as a chef at Penn’s Hall in Birmingham in the 1960s, whilst Jenni ended her teacher training and took a receptionist position in a hotel, where she  met Ian, who was Head Chef. They have worked together in hospitality ever  since, starting couple hotel management in 1989 after returning from 8 years in Italy.

As with all the Great Inns of Britain, their hospitality is very personal, as is the ambience of their guest experience.

The Peacock has an enviable and compelling history. It was built in 1652 as a modest manor house by a steward on Haddon Estate, who was able to retain the house for two generations. It then reverted to Haddon Hall who used it as a Dower House until 1820 when it then became an Inn.  The Peacock has the marvellous and unique distinction of being the oldest hotel in the world selling fishing tickets to fishermen for Haddon Hall.

The rooms are sympathetic to the history and luxuriously appointed, but there's some eccentricity to revel in, too. Unique pieces of furniture include the Judge’s Chair, and  many original paintings from Haddon Hall and Belvoir Castle are on display. They have a designer, India Mahdavi from Paris, who created a mix of contemporary colours, fabrics, and feeling to mix the old of the building with modern colours.

The Peacock prides itself on its hard-won restaurant following. In an area of intense competition, they have achieved 3 AA rosettes for their food as well as several significant restaurant awards. They use quality local butchers for their meat and focus strongly on local, seasonal produce.

Their next big goal  is to maintain the AA 3 red stars and AA 3 rosettes, but also to eventually convert the stable block to 8 new bedrooms and then create 2 suites from their current bedrooms, enhancing an already appealing range of accommodation.

The  guest comment that Jenni and Ian currently prize most greatly is:  "extra care gave us extra happiness". It is not at all easy to create such an approachable and friendly setting in a high profile historic building, and The Peacock deserves great plaudits for doing so.

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Comments 2

Guest - Emma French on Thursday, 31 January 2013 15:47

Thanks for your comment, Jonathan. Jenni and Ian are doing an excellent job.

Thanks for your comment, Jonathan. Jenni and Ian are doing an excellent job.
Guest - Jonathan on Thursday, 03 May 2012 08:58

Excellent and informative piece. Thanks very much

Excellent and informative piece. Thanks very much
Thursday, 23 January 2020