Okay, picking five of the best views in the Peak District is a nigh on impossible task but here it is. It’s tough. How does anybody pick a favourite view particularly in such a beautiful area of England? In somewhere like the Peak District there has to be an ‘eye-popper’ around every bend. We’re not exaggerating either, anyone that’s been there can attest to this. Anyway, after much deliberation here are our top five views around the Peak District. Don’t just take our word for it though, have a look at some of the photos.
Stanage Edge nr. Hathersage
Stanage Edge is the longest gritstone edge in the UK. It is immensely popular with walkers and rock climbers alike. Stick around until the magic hour when the shadows begin to lengthen and take some extra photographs before you head home, as this is when the colours here are earthier and richer. You’ll find the 3.5 mile long Stanage Edge on the moors north of Hathersage, and visible from miles away, down in the Hope Valley.
The northern end of the outcrop is called Stanage End and the southern-most point is called Cowper Stone. A well-used long distance trail called Long Causeway cuts across Stanage Edge which was a Roman age road from Brough to near Doncaster. Popular with climbers, a lot of the best known routes have become ‘polished’ from constant use but there are still ascents to be mastered the length and breadth of the edge.
Tinker’s Shaft at Masson Hill, Matlock Bath
The spectacular viewing platform provides an opportunity to imagine Masson Hill, the oldest tourist attraction in Derbyshire, as it once was... a hive of industrial activity. Beneath is the mine shaft and a vertical drop into the Great Masson Cavern! Accessible by cable car up the side of the Heights of Abraham , or scaling the side of the hill for hours (like you should just to appreciate the trip more). When you arrive at the summit you have free access to exciting underground tours of two spectacular show caverns as well as exhibitions, shops, play areas, picnic spots, cafe and vista restaurant - all with stunning views across the surrounding Peak District.
Surprise View, Burbage Edges
Sometimes it’s all in the name. It’s a pleasant experience getting a surprise, but knowing a surprise is coming may diminish the overall effect. Not in this case though. Surprise View is like the name indicates, a surprise. There’s a 2.5 hour walk called The Burbage Horseshoe that begins at Surprise View car park and takes you through many different landscapes from open moor to light woodlands. The view itself is expansive over the Hope Valley towards Chatsworth House – it will be rare in some seasons to meet other people out on the trail so you will be truly in the wilds when you journey through some sections. Surprise View has been named as one of the best spots for stargazing in the country.
With amazing views over the Monsal Dale, trail, and viaduct, this is a popular pick for anyone up for a trek in the Peak District. It’s one of the most photographed locations in England and that’s due to the combination of man-made and natural beauty. The River Wye curves like a snake through the deep sided Monsal Dale, past the rocky outcrops of Hobbs House and the wooded hills of Fin Cop. Nature is punctuated by the majestic railway viaduct with its stream of walkers and cyclists making their way along the Monsal Trail. The view from the top of the viaduct is the one we’ve choose as a favourite as it’s one of the best 360s in the area – in that you’re looking up and down.
The drive to the reservoirs at Derwent Water is a spectacle in itself. A view from a turnaround at King’s Tree gives a panorama of the dams. The drive takes in scenes from Ladybower, Derwent, and Howden Reservoirs. Car access is limited beyond Fairholmes so that the area can be enjoyed on foot and peace and order can be restored. Another claim to fame is the association with the Dambuster squadron of the RAF, because they used the Derwent Dams to practise for their famous raid on the Ruhr Dams in Germany. Since then this event has been regularly commemorated with fly-pasts of old bombers and aerial displays. There is a small museum on the history in the west tower of the Derwent Dam. Avid film fans will also recognise the dams from the film The Dam Busters (Dir. Michael Anderson 1955) illustrating the above. The upper two dams, Howden and Derwent, were opened in 1916 and they were such a large undertaking that a village called Birchinlee was constructed in the upper valley to house the workers. A narrow-gauge railway was also built between Howden Dam and Bamford to support the construction project. Traces of both the village and the railway can be found today. In 1935 an even larger dam was constructed called Ladybower, which is worth a visit to see its unusually designed overflow.
All these viewpoints have trails for walkers and visitors of all abilities and stamina levels. Have a look at our Peak District cottages, some of which are within striking distance of several of these views.