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!
There’s 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?
Pipes in the Peaks
Pipes in the Peaks, Thorpe – A truly unique experience hidden in the Peak District. The Compton, a famous organ, has been restored to its former glory by fanatic Dave Thorp, and there are regular and guest organists who perform throughout the year. A particularly special time to visit is December, when the venue is decked for the festive season ready for a string of ‘Christmas Spectaculars’, and you can enjoy the enchanting frosty surroundings of the National Park on your visit too.
Lumsdale Valley and Mills, Matlock
Lumsdale Valley and Mills, Matlock – 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 with the opportunity of a guided tour on Sundays. 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.
Darley Park, Derby
Darley Park, Derby – On the outskirts of the city, this beautiful park is a world away from the industrialisation, noisy vehicles, and heavy footfall. 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.
Lavender Tea Rooms
Lavender Tea Rooms, Bakewell – 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.
Laughing Badger Gallery
Laughing Badger Gallery, Padfield – 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. Create a masterpiece, inspired by the glorious surroundings or your experiences during your break away, meet new people that are passionate about the area, and indulge in some fantastic food while you’re at it.
Derby Museum and Art Gallery, Derby
Derby Museum and Art Gallery, Derby – If you didn’t know it was there, you’d be forgiven for wandering past this unimposing and unexceptional building’s exterior, blending into the streets of Derby. But one foot in the door and you’ll be transported to a world of culture and discovery, with longstanding and temporary exhibitions keeping it fresh and interesting for visitors of all ages. From a trip down toy and TV past to fine art, military collections to nature exhibits, plus events held all year round, it’s definitely one to add to your list when visiting the area.
Millennium Walkway, New Mills
Millennium Walkway, New Mills – 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.
Linacre Reservoirs, Chesterfield
Linacre Reservoirs, Chesterfield – 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.
Piedaniels, Bakewell – Described as being ‘French cuisine with a European twist’, this delightful restaurant boasts a friendly atmosphere and fantastic menus at both lunch and dinner. Tucked away down a side street in Bakewell, it may not be as prominent as some others in the village, but rest assured it is well worth seeking out, with glorious reviews from both press and customers.
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?