The Best Things To Do In The Peak District

Nov 03, 2023

The Best Things To Do In The Peak District

If you love walking or simply spending time in the great outdoors, try the Peak District for your next holiday. With over 1,600 miles of trails to explore, the Peak District National Park is a walkers’ paradise.

The 550-acre park takes in parts of Derbyshire, South and West Yorkshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire and Greater Manchester. The landscape varies from the moorlands of the Dark Peak area through to the valleys and farmlands of the White Peak, dotted with impossibly pretty villages. If you’re looking for a beautiful spot for your self-catering holiday, join the red deer and wild mountain hares in the majestic Peak District.

Spectacular Walks

The Peak District offers some of the best walking in England. For a start, that most famous of British walking routes, the Pennine Way, starts from a pub in Edale. There are pathways and trails to suit everyone in the Peak District, including the following popular walks.

Kinder Scout is the highest point in the Peak District, and as you can imagine, the views from this moorland plateau are stunning. If you fancy a challenging walk, try this National Trust-recommended circular walk up Kinder Scout Mam Tor (“Mother Hill”) has a Bronze Age hill fort at its peak and fascinating caverns at its base (more about these later). This is a more moderate three-mile walk that leads to the top of Mam Tor, where the vista is, again, incredible.

For gentler terrain, try this lovely walk around Ladybower Reservoir. It’s about 5.5 miles along well-made paths, taking in wooded stretches as well as views across the water. The Peak District reservoirs were used as practice locations by the Dambusters during World War II (you might recognise some of the scenery from the famous film). You can park at Fairholmes Visitor Information Centre.



Mam Tor

Impressive Historic Houses

Change out of your hiking boots and spend some time walking the graceful floors of the Peak District’s historic houses. Chatsworth House and Garden, home to the Devonshire family, is spectacular. Allow a day to visit Chatsworth, as the farm, shops and restaurants are also well worth exploring and there’s a full programme of special events, tours and fairs.

National Trust-managed Lyme Park is set in a 1,400-acre estate in Cheshire. While the elegant Regency house is a wonderful place to visit, many visitors are sidetracked by the lake in the grounds, the location of that scene in BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. After paying homage to Mr Darcy, enjoy a walk around the deerpark and ancient woodlands.

Haddon Hall near Bakewell dates back to the 11th century. Try to catch one of the free tours that bring the house to life, or book onto one of the new guided walks around the medieval parkland.


Lyme Park

Beautiful villages

The Peak District is home to so many traditional villages and market towns. Many visitors head for Eyam, famous for self-isolating itself during the Great Plague. Today, it’s a lovely place to stroll around, and you can find out more about its incredible story at Eyam Museum.

Bakewell, famous for its pudding, is a lovely place to eat, drink and shop. It’s also the start of the multi-use Monsal Trail, which follows an old railway line and is a lovely way to see the area.

Pretty Castleton in Hope Valley is a wonderful base for walking and exploring the Peak District’s caves. Don’t miss the chance to visit the ruins of medieval Peveril Castle. Bamford is the best place for reservoir walks and fishing and there’s a splendid two-mile walk from the village to Bamford Edge.


Bakewell

Family Days Out

For a uniquely Peak District experience, head underground to the park’s caves and caverns. Underground paths lead through mysterious worlds of rock formations and rare stones. Blue John Cavern and Treak Cliff Cavern are the only places in the world where you’ll see semi-precious Blue John Stone. For spectacular subterranean spaces, visit Peak Cavern near Castleton.

If you prefer above-ground thrills and spills, try the rides at Gulliver’s Kingdom, a real family favourite, or take a cable car ride at the Heights of Abraham. And of course, the best-known theme park of them all, Alton Towers, is just on the edge of the Peak District.

Peak Wildlife Park in Winkhill is the perfect outing for animal lovers, while the Victorian Pavilion Gardens in Buxton are just the place for a picnic and a play. Love a steam train ride? There are plenty of preserved railways to choose from in the Peak District. Take a look at Peak Rail’s timetable to find out more.


Cave in Peak District

Holiday Cottages in the Peak District

Here at Handpicked Cottages, we have a selection of luxury holiday cottages in the Peak District. A hot shower, a warm fire and a cool drink: just what you need after an excellent day’s walking.

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