A guide to historic houses and castles in the Peak District holiday cottages

A guide to historic houses and castles in the Peak District

Kate Atkin 12 March 2020

The Peak District is home to some of the most fascinating and spectacular historic houses and castles in the country. Experience informative literary tours, a plague village and huge mansions for the wealthiest, some of which have been used in noteworthy films and television series. The region is full of historical remnants of its potted past; the tales of playboy lords, mad hatter socialites, deadly kings and vengeful ghosts. Many of the the Peak District's castles and stately homes have inspired authors, poets, painters and more recently film makers.

The castles and manor houses of Derbyshire also feature heavily in todays films and TV shows. The Peak District National Park is easily accessible for handy local transport hubs like Derby, Sheffield and Chesterfield, so you don't necessarily need a car to visit this fantastic aspect to this area of the North of England. 

For your inspiration, we have put together a collection of historic houses and castles to spend a glorious day out near our holiday cottages in the Peak District. We have self-catering holiday cottages large and small all across the Peak District National Park and Derbyshire. Find your perfect cottage today.

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Peveril Castle – Castleton, Derbyshire

  • Entry Fee: Adults £5.60, Children £3.40, Family ticket £14.60
  • Tea room: Yes
  • Fascinating fact: The ruins are haunted by the apparition of a white knight. 

Standing high above the picturesque village of Castleton are the imposing ruins of Peveril Castle, one of England’s earliest Norman fortresses. After an exhilarating climb from the village you are rewarded with breath-taking panoramic views over Hope Valley from the top of the hill. All that survives of the castle today is the atmospheric keep, built by Henry II in 1176. 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.

Stay at: Cave End Cottage | Sleeps: 3 guests 

Chatsworth House – Bakewell, Derbyshire

  • Entry Fee: Entry prices vary – check website for further details
  • Tea room: Yes
  • Fascinating fact: Chatsworth Estate has its very own fire brigade.

Set in the heart of the Peak District on the pretty banks of the river Derwent lies the magnificent Chatsworth House, by Bakewell, the seat of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Rich in 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 rooms containing significant collections of artwork, ancient artefacts and sculptures spanning 4000 years.

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. For children, there is a farmyard where they can watch milking demonstrations and burn off some energy in the adventure playground. Throughout the year there are a variety of fun, family events such as the famous ‘Christmas at Chatsworth’ – a perfect day out for the whole family.

Stay at: Paeony Cottage | Sleeps: 6 guests

Bolsover Castle – Bolsover, Derbyshire

  • Entry Fee: Adult £10.80, Children £6.50, Family ticket £28.10 – other prices apply, check website for further details
  • Tea room: Yes
  • Fascinating fact: The house was intended to be used as a pleasure palace by Cavendish.

Discover an extraordinary 17th century romantic residence, perched on a ridge, high above the Vale of Scarsdale. Built by Sir Charles Cavendish in 1612 on the site of a medieval fortress, Bolsover Castle boasts glorious panoramic views. It was originally designed as a fantasy house for lavish parties and entertainment; one of the highlights being the fairy-tale Little Castle, which has rich panelling, sumptuous decoration, impressive painted walls and ceilings, and intricately carved fireplaces.

Immerse yourself in an age of elegance and learn about Bolsover’s (near Chesterfield) rich past. Explore the most important and spectacular 17th century riding house in the country where Sir William Cavendish trained his horses in the sport of dressage, and admire the captivating Venus Garden with its secluded love seats and intriguing statues. The castle regularly hosts historic and cultural events throughout the year.

Stay at: Southwood Chase | Sleeps: 10 guests 

Haddon Hall – Bakewell, Derbyshire

  • Entry Fee: Adults £14.50, Concessions £14.00, Children £8.00, Family (2 adults, 3 children) £37.00, Car Parking £3.00 per car
  • Tea room: Yes
  • Fascinating fact: Haddon Hall is the film location of choice for British period dramas.

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. The beautiful house and grounds have played host to many notable films including Jane Eyre, Elizabeth, Pride & 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. Among the highlights of your visit will be the grand 14th century Banqueting Hall with a minstrels’ gallery, which looks exactly as it must have done 600 years ago, and the atmospheric Tudor Long Gallery.

Sleeps: Pudding Cottage | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 1 dog

Codnor Castle – Codnor, Derbyshire

  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Tea room: no
  • Fascinating fact: Although a Grade II listed site, it is also on the buildings at risk list; a register of fragile ruins.
Codnor Castle by Steve - CC BY 2.0 

Overlooking the Erewash Valley, Codnor Castle near Wirksworth has a rich history dating back to the late 12th century. It was home to one of medieval England’s most powerful families, the De Grey family, known as the Barons Grey of Codnor. The dramatic ruins of a once formidable castle now stand in mute remembrance of a time long gone. All that survives is the length of the great boundary wall of the upper court, portions of the dividing wall, and here and there a window frame, doorway and a fireplace. Some of the stone from the ruins has been pillaged over the years and used in the surrounding farmsteads. It is still possible to visit the castle, although for safety reasons the remains are being conserved and it is now safely surrounded by a high security fence.

Stay at: Long Meadow Barn | Sleeps: 2 guests plus 1 dog

Renishaw Hall & Gardens – Renishaw, Chesterfield

  • Entry Fee: Entry prices vary – check website for further details
  • Tea room: Yes
  • Fascinating fact: Renishaw was the model for Wragby Hall in DH Lawrence's novel Lady Chatterley's Lover.  
Renishaw Cottages
Renishaw Hall by giborn_134CC BY-ND 2.0

Renishaw Hall is a lovely 17th century house near Chesterfield in Derbyshire which has been the home of the Sitwell family for almost 400 years, and is still a lived-in family home. The Sitwell Museum (in the Stable Block) houses an incredible collection from the literary ‘Sitwell Trio’, Edith, Osbert and Sacheverell. Literary hall tours provide a fascinating, and unusual, experience. Visits to this wonderful hall are by guided tours, but do check opening times and pre-booking details on their website.

Inside the hall, be mesmerised by exquisite English and Italian furniture, art from every century, huge Flemish tapestries, black-and-white masterpieces by the celebrated photographer Cecil Beaton, and over 30,000 books housed in the library. If you can bear to tear yourself away from the treasures inside, you will be equally as impressed with the award-winning gardens outside the hall. Within the classical Italianate Garden, you will find expertly sculpted 140-year-old hedges, ornamental ponds, a spectacular fountain, secret garden rooms and classical statues. Visit in late April to enjoy a bevy of bluebells in the charming Woodland Garden and take in scenic views over the lake. Kids will love the Children’s Fairytale Garden filled with plenty of places for a thrilling game of hide and seek. Many exciting events take place throughout the year.

Stay at: Besom Cottage | Sleeps: 4 guests

Hardwick Hall – Doe Lea, Chesterfield

  • Entry Fee: Entry prices vary – check website for further details
  • Tea room: yes
  • Fascinating fact: This was the former home of Bess of Hardwick.

Hardwick Hall in Derbyshire was built for the formidable ‘Bess of Hardwick’ in the 1500s and stands on a hilltop overlooking the surrounding countryside. It is one of the earliest English interpretations of Italian Renaissance architecture, and one of the greatest of all Elizabethan houses. The architect, Robert Smythson, created an impressive statement about the power and wealth of Bess, with huge glass windows set into a turreted building, brandishing her initials ‘E.S.’ on the balustrades of each tower.

Inside, the house remains remarkably unchanged since it was first inhabited, and the contents are almost entirely original; appreciate intricately carved wooden furniture, elaborate plasterwork and grand fireplaces. Some of the most notable items on view are the large collection of tapestries and needlework that cover many of the walls of the rooms and staircases.

The Hardwick Estate is open every day for countryside walks, locally sourced gifts in the shop and delicious seasonal menus in the restaurant.

Stay in: Grange Cottage | Sleeps: 6 guests plus 2 dogs

Kedleston Hall – near Quarndon, Derbyshire

  • Entry Fee: Standard entry – Adults £13.00, Children £6.50, Family ticket £32.50
  • Tea room: yes
  • Fascinating fact: The estate has remained under the same ownership since the 13th century.

Located in 820 acres of breath-taking historic parkland is the stately mansion of Kedleston Hall near Ashbourne, Derbyshire. The estate has been owned by the Curzon family since the 13th century. The present 18th-century mansion is one of the best examples of the work of famous architect Robert Adam, with its Marble Hall and grand state rooms. It was designed for lavish entertaining and displays an extensive collection of the finest paintings, sculptures and original furnishings. Browse a treasure trove of fascinating objects acquired by Lord Curzon during his travels through Asia when he was Viceroy of India during 1899 to 1905 in the Eastern Museum.

No visit to Kedleston Hall is complete without marvelling at its surrounding parkland, which was also designed by Robert Adam. Wander around the five lakes, home to a variety of wildfowl, take one of the established walking routes or indulge in a tour of the recently restored Fishing Room and Boat Houses.

The house is generally open to visitors throughout the week 12 noon – 5pm but check before you visit. Other parts of the hall and gardens have varying opening times.

Stay in: The Old Hall Farmhouse Barn | Sleeps: 4 guests and 1 dog

Find the featured historic houses and castles of the Peak District

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Has this inspired you to get out walking in the Peak District? You can find even more inspiration in our guides to 10 fantastic Peak District Walks and planning the perfect Peak District walking holiday

Browse our range of Peak District holiday cottages to find the perfect property for your walking holiday, whether you are looking for dog-friendly, romantic, or somewhere to gather with a group of friends.

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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.

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