There are plenty of idyllic villages and renowned stately homes to visit in the Peak District and Derbyshire, with an abundance of spectacular trails to follow and scenery to revel in, but what about the lesser-known destinations that are harder to seek out?
We’ve compiled a list of hidden gems, covert hideaways and sheltered sanctuaries that you might not stumble across so frequently in brochures or popular places compilations – shhh, they all come highly recommended with a degree of secrecy!
Pipes in the Peaks
This is the home of the ex-Royal/ABC Derby Compton Cinema Organ – a must-see experience!
The Compton, a famous cinema organ, has been restored to its former glory by fanatic Dave Thorp, and there are resident and guest organists who perform throughout the year and they welcome you to come and watch. Pipes in the Peaks invites you in to experience an event like no other with music, lighting, unique performances and bundles of humour. It has to be seen to be believed!
- Sunday 29th March: 2.30pm. Starting off 2020, they celebrate 21 years of Pipes in the Peaks. The resident organists, Christian Cartwright and Stephen Foulkes, will be performing and entertaining you with hit music, old and new. Ticket price: £12.50
- Sunday 26th April: 2.30pm. Making his 20th annual visit is the legendary world-famous resident organist Phil Kelsall MBE from Blackpool’s Tower Ballroom. Ticket price: £12.50
- Sunday 14th June: 2.30pm. The Organist Entertains, Nigel Ogden, makes a welcome return to Pipes in the Peaks, one of the UK’s most popular organists on the concert circuit. Ticket price: £12.50
- See their full list of events here
Location: Dovedale Garage, Thorpe, Ashbourne, DE6 2AT. Follow them on Facebook.
Lumsdale Valley and Mills, Matlock
Enjoy peace and serenity with this charming valley walk.
Heritage, history and horticulture combine with beautiful landscapes and an abundance of wildlife for a truly enchanting walk in this hidden haven. Gaze in awe at spectacular waterfalls as you explore the ancient woodland and historic ruins, reading facts about its past. The Mills themselves are haunting and ethereal, with both the Bone Mill and Paint Mill looking like a cross between something from a horror film and a fairy tale. Keep an eye out of the Wishing Stone, too! Tranquil and idyllic, it’s a Matlock must-visit.
- The circular route takes about 1.5 hours.
- The route is steep, muddy and uneven, with steps and some sharp drops to the sides. Please keep to the paths to avoid accidents.
- This is a wilderness route which has no toilet/refreshment facilities so be prepared before you start walking, and stock up on water and snacks.
Guided tours: You can book onto guided tours which generally happen on Sundays throughout spring and summer. A small donation of £3 per person is requested for these walks.
Read about other beautiful waterfalls to visit in the Peak District.
Darley Park, Derby
On the outskirts of the city, this beautiful park is a world away from the industrialisation, noisy vehicles, and heavy footfall and is a haven of nature and wildlife.
Picturesque and peaceful, it’s the perfect escape for a leisurely stroll, ideal at any time of year with flowers blooming in the spring, sun shining in the summer, golden hues in the autumn and the chance of snow for winter.
Being located on the River Derwent, you have the chance to relax by the water and spot wildlife ranging from otters to kingfishers! Some other species include shrews, barn owls and spotted woodpeckers. If nature spotting isn’t burning enough energy, then a potter around the beautiful gardens would be a good option. Darley Parks Hydrangea Collection is the largest in Britain and the third-largest in the world growing over 400 different types. The butterfly garden is situated next to the Hydrangea Collection and boasts a beautiful array of butterflies - they are a sight to see in the summer months.
Some other things to do:
- Take a walk around the acres of picturesque parkland.
- Have a picnic by the river.
- Follow the tree trail, orienteering course or cycle route.
- Rest your legs at the tea room and enjoy a range of hot and cold food and snacks, cakes and ice cream – yum!
Laughing Badger Gallery
In this quirky establishment, you will find the perfect combination of art, food and community.
This little gem is one of the area’s crowning jewels, lesser-known to many visitors in the Peak District. The Laughing Badger started as an artist’s gallery but was also intended as a place for people to meet and get together, so it is now a popular haunt for both locals and visitors to the small village of Padfield.
It is the perfect place to chat with friends or even make new ones, and if you do drop by then why not say hello and maybe have a bite to eat or attend one of the many workshops run throughout the year?
- Delicious food on offer, all locally sourced.
- Enjoy a drink in the gallery bar.
- A community space for workshops, private functions and special occasions.
- Exhibitions from local artists and a forum to discuss the artists' work.
- By arrangement, special celebration lunches, dinners and buffets.
Location: 99 Platt Street, Padfield, Glossop, SK13 1EJ
Millennium Walkway, New Mills
A walk that will either thrill you or scare you!
Walk above the rushing waters of the River Goyt on this magnificent steel structure, which is sheltered from view from many angles thanks to the sheer railway embankment it runs alongside. Perhaps not one for those scared of heights, but certainly a feat of engineering and scenic spectacle; it’s a fantastic walkway to experience when visiting the area.
- The walk is 4.5 miles long.
- It has been described as ’a steel spider’s web’ as it stands on stilts above the River Goyt.
- Completed in 1999, the walkway provides a link in Europe’s premier walking route, E2, which passes through New Mills on its way from Stranraer in Scotland, via Dover, to Nice in France.
- The Old Mill and visitor centre are great for brushing up on your knowledge
- Location: Millennium Walkway, Torrs Gorge, New Mills, England
Linacre Reservoirs, Chesterfield
Find your inner peace by the water in secret Peak District.
Renowned perhaps amongst locals, but certainly a hidden gem for anyone unfamiliar with the area, these three reservoirs are home to multiple trails, all well marked and with solid boundaries in most places making it an ideal walk for families or those with dogs. Bluebells carpet the surrounding woodland in the springtime, creating a blanket of colour underfoot and a truly captivating landscape under the growing green canopy of leaves above – it’s a truly pretty place for a stroll and an even better one for a picnic! Read all about Chesterfield.
Fun fact: They were built between 1855 and 1904 and, between them, they hold more than 240 million gallons of water.
Admission: Free with a car park cost of £1.50 for up to 2 hours.
Location: Woodnook Lane, Cutthorpe, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, S42 7AU
Lavender Tea Rooms
We thought it only sensible to feature an unusual restaurant in Derbyshire.
Hidden away in the quaint Hebden Court, charming period décor combines with delicious afternoon tea and treats for a quintessentially British tea room experience. Explore the beauty of Bakewell, then drop in at this sublime café to rest your feet and take a moment to appreciate the glorious setting – perhaps even treating yourself to the cake that shares its name with the village.
- Breakfast and lunches
- Afternoon teas and cream teas
- Freshly baked cakes and a variety of teas
- Dogs are welcome in the courtyard area
- Opening times can be found on their website
Location: 6 Hebden Court, Matlock Street, Bakewell, DE45 1EE
Derbyshire hidden gems – holiday cottages
We’ve got a few hidden gems of our own in the Peak District, with some fantastic holiday cottages to choose from – why not discover more of the area’s secrets whilst treating yourself to a stay in one of them? Here are some of our favourites.
An undiscovered grand holiday home with views out over the countryside.
Beautiful property with period features, two hot tubs, games room, two bars all with stylish furniture and décor. This is perfect for that much-needed family celebration!
- Sleeps 34 in 15 bedrooms
- A historic property which is spacious and luxurious fit for a special occasion
- Enjoy walking, cycling, caving, rock climbing, water sports and wildlife watching
A pretty dog-friendly stone barn which is the perfect base for a family holiday.
Close to Matlock Bath and the Heights of Abraham, this holiday home is in a convenient spot for visiting lots of Peak District attractions. It’s comfortable and stylish and the countryside setting is the icing on the cake.
- Sleeps 9 in 4 bedrooms
- A short drive from the grandeur of Chatsworth House
- 1.5 acres of fields for the kids to play in
- 3 dogs welcome
Thors View Cottage
A romantic cottage on the fringes of a pretty Peak District Village.
This beautiful cottage is great for couples wanting a relaxing escape in the country. With a romantic slipper bath and a cosy wood burner surrounded by rolling countryside, this is the perfect holiday.
- Sleeps 2 in 1 bedroom
- Enjoy a freestanding slipper bath situated in the bedroom
- Stunning countryside walks from the doorstep, beautiful in all seasons
- 2 dogs welcome
Discover even more of our collection and find your perfect place to stay amongst all of our Peak District cottages.