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Must-visit Peak District attractions holiday cottages

Must-visit Peak District attractions

Kate Atkin 05 December 2019

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

The Peak District, known for some of Britain’s finest landscapes is a treasure trove of different sights and places for the tourist to visit. There are numerous world-class heritage sites, museums, theme parks, castles and natural wonders to discover. When the weather is on your side, the Peak District is a vast playground for intrepid explorers with a rich collection of trails and walking routes to follow by foot or on two wheels, taking in some extraordinary views.

Whether you choose to escape to the great outdoors and admire the scenery or head indoors and enjoy some of the fascinating history and fun the region has to offer, holidays here are guaranteed to entertain all ages, with a fantastic range of things to do in the Peak District. We have collated some of the must-visit Peak District attractions for all weathers to inspire your next getaway.

Heights of Abraham

3 top highlights

  1. Enjoy woodland walks
  2. Indulge in the restaurant
  3. Marvel at panoramic views

Heights of Abraham

One of the most spectacular attractions in the Peak District is the Heights of Abraham, which is reached by a landmark cable car line (the first of its kind in the UK – operational since 1984) providing a spectacular journey across the Derwent Valley.

Open since 1780, visitors have for years experienced breathtaking scenery as they ascend towards the summit. The higher you climb, the better the views become and when you reach the top you are rewarded with even more exciting attractions. This is one of the best places to visit in the Peak District for the whole family, so be sure to take your camera!

Location: Matlock Bath

Prices: Adults £16.00, Kids £11.00, Under 5's Free, Seniors (60+) £12.80, Family from £43.00.

Opening Times: Open seasonally from 10am (check website for more details).

You might also be interested in: Peak Rail – indulge in a nostalgic rail journey through the splendour of the Peak District National Park. Relax in a traditional carriage pulled by a steam or diesel engine and take in the dramatic views.

Chatsworth House and Estate

3 top highlights

  1. 30 beautiful rooms to explore
  2. 105 acres of stunning gardens
  3. Farmyard and adventure playground

Chatsworth House and Estate

Set in the heart of the Peak District on the pretty banks of the River Derwent lies the jaw-droppingly magnificent Chatsworth House and Estate, the seat of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Known as the ‘Palace of the Peak’ and rich in prestigious history, the house has been in the Cavendish family since the 1500s, passing down through 16 generations. It is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Peak District, encompassing over 30 opulent rooms to explore, which contain significant collections of artwork, ancient artefacts and sculptures spanning 4,000 years.

In addition to the luxurious interior, the grounds are equally as grand. Take a relaxing stroll in 105 acres of beautiful gardens and surrounding parkland, admiring fine scenery, enchanting woodland and views of the striking yellow-stone exterior of the house; explore the Victorian rock garden, maze and extravagant water features. Some of the gardens have been landscaped by the famous Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. Throughout the year there is a variety of fun, family events such as the famous ‘Christmas at Chatsworth’ – one of the best Peak District days out for the whole family.

Location: Bakewell

Prices: Adults £21.90, Kids (3-16) £14.00, Family (2 adults, 3 kids) £60.90.

Opening Times: Opening times vary throughout the season (check website for more details).

The Pavilion Gardens

3 top highlights

  1. 23 acres of gardens and lakes
  2. Stop for cake in one of three cafes
  3. Discover the tropical greenhouse

The Pavilion Gardens

A firm favourite family attraction in the Peak District are the beautiful Pavilion Gardens, often described as the ‘Jewel in the Crown’ of Buxton and the High Peak. These 23 acres are dotted with domed pavilions, glittering lakes, flamboyant flowerbeds, a tropical greenhouse and picturesque walks.

Best of all, this wonderfully historic venue is free to visit and boasts plenty of fun events throughout the year including farmers markets, dances and fetes. If you’re looking for things to do in the Peak District for all ages, this is sure to be a hit as kids will love the extensive children’s playpark, adventure playground and miniature railway.

Location: Buxton

Prices: All Pavilion Garden managed events are free of charge.

Opening Times: Open throughout the year except Christmas Day (check website for specific times).

You might also be interested in: Chestnut Centre Conservation and Wildlife Park – a 50-acre site home to owls, foxes, Scottish Wildcats and deer. Kids will love seeing the daily keeper talks and getting up close to their favourite cute and cuddly creatures.

Poole’s Cavern

3 top highlights

  1. Fascinating guided tours below ground
  2. Admire spectacular stalactites and stalagmites
  3. Enjoy a picnic in the surrounding country park
Poole's Cavern
Poole's Cavern credit: Instagram @pooles_cavern

 

Delve underground and explore the fascinating underworld of Poole’s Cavern, one of the finest show caves in England. Known as the ‘First Wonder of the Peak’, this 200-million-year-old limestone cave system is one of the top Peak District places to visit, and can be explored alongside an expert guide who will lead you through mesmerising passages and vast illuminated chambers decorated with stalactites and stalagmites. There are paved walkways and only 28 steps throughout the tour, making it suitable for all ages.

Above ground, there are a wealth of trails to follow through the stunning country park and enchanting woodlands. A 20-minute stroll leads you through Grin Low Wood to Solomon’s Temple, a ruined tower with awe-inspiring panoramic views over Buxton. There are plenty of picnic areas to make the most of the sunshine and a café serving a variety of hot and cold refreshments and drinks.

Location: Buxton

Prices: Adults (16+) £9.75, Kids (5-16) £5.25, Concessions £8.50, Family £26.00.

Opening Times: Open all year round, times vary during the summer and winter (check website for more details).

You might also be interested in: Gulliver’s Kingdom – this theme park is brilliant for families with a wide range of thrilling rides suitable for little adrenaline junkies aged 2-13.

Haddon Hall

3 top highlights

  1. The grand 14th-century Banqueting Hall
  2. An atmospheric Tudor Long Gallery
  3. Romantic tales and fascinating legends

Haddon Hall

Sitting like a jewel in its Elizabethan terraced gardens, overlooking the River Wye, Haddon Hall near Bakewell in Derbyshire is an enchanting place to visit. With its stone turrets, time-worn timbers and walled gardens, the beautiful house and grounds have played host to many notable films including Jane Eyre, Elizabeth, Pride and Prejudice, and The Other Boleyn Girl.

With parts of it dating back to the 12th century, it is one of the finest examples of a medieval manor house currently in existence in England; glimpse mysterious gargoyles, a beautifully carved alabaster retablo and perfectly preserved pre-Reformation frescos. When it comes to Peak District attractions, the hall is a fine example of early English life and makes for a great day out in the Peak District.

Location: Bakewell

Prices: Adults £14.50, Concessions £14.00, Kids £8.00, Family (2 adults, 3 children) £37.00, Car Parking £3.00 per car.

Opening Times: Open seasonally (check website for more details).

You might also be interested in: Lyme Hall and Lyme Park – a National Trust property boasting more than 1,400 acres of spectacular moorland, perfect for long relaxing walks. Fans of the BBC’s 1995 production of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ will recognise Lyme Hall as the magnificent building used to represent Pemberley.

Well Dressings

3 top highlights

  1. Colourful local fetes and festivals
  2. Watch the mosaics being created
  3. Over 80 towns and villages take part

Well Dressings

Every year, between May and September, the ancient tradition of Well Dressing in the Peak District takes place. This must-see attraction is lovingly created by teams of villagers who display their floral masterpieces next to wells and water features, giving thanks to the county’s freshwater springs.

Well dressing is unique to the Peak District and more than 80 towns and villages join in the tradition, painstakingly designing intricate mosaics by hand using natural materials such as leaves, flower petals, moss and even coffee beans on a bed of rich, moist clay. Most villages then hold a blessing ceremony followed by carnivals, fetes and flower festivals, bringing out the entire community.

Location: Check the website for the different locations of Well Dressings.

Prices: Free to visit

Opening Times: Between May and September annually.

Eyam

3 top highlights

  1. Incredible history at the village museum
  2. Step back in time on a guided tour
  3. Marvel at the treasures within Eyam Hall

Eyam

The pretty little village of Eyam hides a gruesome history. In 1665 the black plague was discovered, and the village chose to isolate itself to stop the infection spreading. This awful disease is believed to have killed approximately 260 villages, leaving only 83 survivors. The museum in the village tells the incredible story, with vivid displays of the tragic and heroic quarantine decision that the brave villagers made.

Take a guided tour and be transported back in time to hear the tales of the villagers and the sacrifices they made to stop the spread of the deadly disease. Visit the Jacobean style manor house, Eyam Hall, boasting a wealth of interior treasures including fine tapestries, family portraits and elegant furniture, as well as a craft centre, cheese shop, craft-beer shop and a café. Then explore the beautiful Eyam Church which dates as far back as the 13th century.

Location: Eyam

Prices: Prices vary at different attractions within the village.

Opening Times: Opening times vary at different attractions within the village, please check their individual websites.

Castleton Caverns

3 top highlights

  1. Four magnificent caverns to explore
  2. Take a boat trip to the Bottomless Pit
  3. Admire the rare Blue John stone
Blue John Cavern
Blue John Cavern credit: Instagram @worldfamousbluejohncavern

 

A great attraction for the whole family is deep underground at Castleton Caverns in the Hope Valley. This collection of four underground caves is home to the semi-precious Blue John stone, which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The stalactite and stalagmite formations in Treak Cliff Cavern have to be seen to be believed, and along with Blue John Cavern, you can clearly see the veins of the rare Blue John stone in the walls. 

Peak Cavern is the largest and the only wholly natural cavern of the four with endless miles of passages to explore and the most popular is Speedwell Cavern where you can take a boat trip along its atmospheric underground canal to the Bottomless Pit, a large water-filled natural cavern, so high it’s impossible to see the top! Informative guides are on hand to point out the array of underground marvels as you journey through the depths of the fascinating caverns.

Location: Hope Valley

Prices: Admission prices vary per cavern (check individual websites for more details).

Opening Times: All caverns are open daily (check individual websites for specific times as they all differ slightly).

Kinder Scout

3 top highlights

  1. Mesmerising views from the summit
  2. Find the tallest waterfall in the national park
  3. Incredible photo opportunities

Kinder Scout

No Peak District holiday is complete without accomplishing the challenging hill walk to the top of Kinder Scout. For lovers of outdoor pursuits, this natural attraction should be on the top of the list. It is the highest point in the East Midlands, and from the flat plateau at the top, you can admire unforgettable and extensive views as far as Manchester and even Snowdonia.

Whilst walking this historic route, you’ll encounter wild moorland, bubbling streams, dramatic rock outcrops and the glorious Kinder Downfall, one of the Peak District’s unspoilt beauty spots and the tallest waterfall in the national park. Be sure to take a map, compass and wear some sturdy walking boots as this is a demanding hike, which can often be a difficult place to efficiently navigate.

Location: Dark Peak

Prices: Free entry.

Opening Times: Open all year round.

You might also be interested in: Blue Mountain Activities – if it’s an adventurous getaway you’re after, this fantastic company host high adrenaline activities from rock climbing and abseiling to gorge scrambling and cave exploration.

Peveril Castle

3 top highlights

  1. Far-reaching views over Hope Valley
  2. Interesting displays in the visitor centre
  3. One of England’s earliest Norman fortresses

Peveril Castle

Standing high above the picturesque village of Castleton are the imposing ruins of Peveril Castle. After an exhilarating climb from the village, you are rewarded with breathtaking panoramic views over Hope Valley from the top of the hill. All that survives of the evocative castle today is the atmospheric keep, built by Henry II in 1176.

The crumbling ruins are now an English Heritage property and remain one of England’s earliest Norman fortresses. Inside the visitor centre, you will find interesting displays telling the fascinating story of Peveril and the Royal Forest of the Peak, a royal hunting preserve since the 11th century.

Location: Castleton

Prices: Adults £5.60, Kids £3.40, Family ticket £14.60.

Opening Times: Vary throughout the year (check the website for more details).

You might also be interested in: Cromford Mills – home to Sir Richard Arkwright’s first mill complex and an internationally recognised UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in 1771, this is the world’s first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill and the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution. If you’re pondering what to do in the Peak District, enjoy a tour and experience a day in the life of Arkwright himself.

Map of attractions in the Peak District:

Plan your holiday in the Peak District by finding your favourite attractions from the list on the map below.

If you’ve been inspired to spend your next getaway in the beauty of the Peak District, take a look at our collection of holiday cottages in the Peak District to find your perfect place to stay.

 

*Prices and opening times are correct at the time of publishing; however, they are subject to change.

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