A guide to Christmas in the Peak District holiday cottages

A guide to Christmas in the Peak District

Kate Atkin 23 December 2016

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.

Christmas in Derbyshire and the Peak District is a very special time of the year; listen to the joyful sound of traditional Christmas carols being sung around village Christmas trees, enjoy the splendour of a Chatsworth Christmas or pick up some unique gifts at one of the many festive markets adorned with twinkling lights, a mug of mulled wine or hot chocolate in hand. Cosy country pubs with warm log fires await happy shoppers, and our collection of Christmas cottages offer the perfect place to gather friends and family to join in merry contentment, celebrating Christmas and welcoming the New Year.


To help you plan your perfect Christmas, we have compiled a guide to all the Christmas markets and festive events taking place across Derbyshire and the Peak District in 2019:

Santa Special Steam Train Journeys

peak district winter scene

When: 7th – 24th December 2019

Where: Rowsley South Station

Combine the nostalgia of a steam railway with the excitement of meeting Santa for a really great day out in the Peak District. As you chuff merrily along, Santa and his joyful elves will meet all the children and give each one a gift as adults relax with a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie. Within the garland filled coaches families will be entertained by festive entertainers, whilst admiring the breath-taking views of the Peak District National Park. The journey lasts for approximately one hour and we strongly advise booking early to avoid disappointment.

Christmas at Chatsworth

When: 9th November 2019 – 5th January 2020 (check the website for individual events)

Where: Chatsworth, Bakewell

During the Christmas period Chatsworth transforms into a world of make-believe with an exciting programme of events to get the whole family into the festive spirit. Highlights include:

  • In a land far, far away - Follow in the footsteps of Amelia Earhart and Phileas Fogg as thy lead visitors on a global Christmas adventure around Chatsworth which includes a Nordic winter wonderland and Japanese blossom trees.
  • Christmas Market – Start the festive season in style with a stroll through the cinnamon-fuelled Christmas market and browse over 100 stalls boasting the best crafts and gastronomic delights that the Peak District has to offer. Sample delicious local produce, listen to live music and pick up some unique stocking fillers. You can even enjoy exploring the lovely Chatsworth onsite shops including the Orangery and Stables shop where you’ll find an emporium of books, toys, home and fashion gifts.
  • Christmas Twilight Evenings – After the house closes to the public, enjoy live Christmas music in the house from traditional bell ringers and a strings trio as you explore the house dressed for Christmas warmed by a delicious mince pie and a glass of wine.
  • Christmas Nativity – Children have the chance to be the stars of the show as Chatsworth brings the nativity to life with their farmyard animals. Tickets need to be purchased in advance online.
  • Christmas Workshops - There are a variety of festive workshops throughout December designed to get you in the spirit of Christmas from wreath making to creating special decorations from natural materials found in the Chatsworth Estate.

The Welbeck Winter Weekend

reindeer decs

When: 22nd – 24th November 2019

Where: Welbeck Estate, Worksop

Looking for some Christmas gift inspiration? Visit the historic Welbeck estate and wander in awe around the stalls bursting with handmade goods from over 75 artisan makers curated by The Harley Gallery. This annual Christmas event on the edge of the Peak District features a food market with 30 artisan food stalls to whet your appetite, 15 artists’ studios to explore, two critically acclaimed art galleries, relaxing cafés, pottery painting and decorations galore at Dukeries Garden Centre. You will be spoilt for choice!

Audience with Father Christmas

When: 23rd November – 24th December 2019

Where: Lyme Park, Disley

Celebrate the magic of Christmas at Lyme Park with the chance to meet Father Christmas, Mother Christmas and their helpers in the magnificent Chapel. After making yourself comfy in the warm, richly decorated surroundings listen to an enchanting Christmas story read by Mother Christmas, then watch kids’ faces gleam with excitement as they are invited to receive a treasured gift directly from Father Christmas himself. This wonderful event will leave lasting memories for the whole family.

Christmas at Haddon Hall - A Chorus of Carols

candle Christmas

When: 1st – 23rd December 2019

Where: Haddon Hall, Bakewell

Visit the enchanting medieval manor house, Haddon Hall during the Christmas period and music will fill your ears. Explore each sumptuous room and listen to the sound of different Christmas Carols as the Hall investigates the meaning behind our favourites. Admire roaring fires and golden decorations as you enjoy a festive day out in the Peak District for the whole family. During twilight hours visitors are also invited to take a Candlelight Tour through the Hall when it is at its most atmospheric. This special Christmas treat needs to be booked in advance as spaces are limited, and on selected evenings can also be combined with a delicious festive meal.

Bakewell Christmas Market

When: 23rd – 24th November 2019

Where: Town centre, Bakewell

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to soak up the magic than at a local Christmas market? Boasting over 100 stalls of Christmassy goodies, many of which are locally produced, this quintessential English Christmas market is one of the best known in the Peak District. Enjoy a weekend of seasonal entertainment as the idyllic town of Bakewell is transformed into a hub of festivity. Sample a mouth-watering selection of speciality festive foods and wines from the Peak District, marvel at the dazzling Christmas Tree Light Switch-On in Bath Gardens and visit Santa in his grotto in the Original Bakewell Pudding Shop. There's something for everyone and you'll almost certainly find the perfect Christmas presents here!

We have some lovely holiday cottages throughout the Peak District, why not take a look at our collection to feel inspired?

Bolsover Christmas Festival and Lantern Parade

gluhwein market

When: 30th November 2019

Where: Bolsover, Chesterfield

Get your winter woollies on and embrace the festivities on offer as Bolsover comes alive with cheery traders, family entertainment, music and wonderful food. Among a raft of special festive events you’ll find foodie gifts, hand-crafted pressies and usually a bit of Glühwein to help you get into that merry spirit. The day concludes with the spectacular annual Lantern Parade, a special tradition in Bolsover that has been going on for over twenty years. A parade of several hundred people carrying lanterns of all shapes and sizes sets off from Bolsover Castle creating a dazzling bright winter night for families to enjoy, followed by some carol singing around the Christmas tree.

Derby Santa Fun Run

santa shh

When: 1st December 2019.

Where: Elvaston Castle, Derby

Santa Claus is coming to town and you can join him and thousands of other Santa’s for a festive 2.2 or 4.4 mile run in the name of charity! Each route gives you the chance to run, walk or jog for a good Claus, while spreading the Christmas cheer in your merry Santa suit. Tickets include a Santa suit, medal and goody bag.

Matlock Victorian Christmas Market

When: 7th and 8th December 2019

Where: Hall Leys Park, Matlock

A stroll around the Matlock Victorian Christmas Market is the perfect way to get into the festive spirit. With 170 stall, there’s something for everyone and you’ll be sure to find some unique local products and Christmas gifts to take home with you. This Christmas market in the Peak District isn’t just for shopping though, there are a whole host of other Christmassy activities happening throughout the weekend including live entertainment, Santa’s grotto, a light’s switch-on and a spectacular firework display. Indulge in some spiced cider, mulled wine or hot chocolate as the aroma of roasting chestnuts fills the air, and of course, round it all off with a mince pie.

Audience with Father Christmas

santa stories with child at Christmas

When: 30th November - 22nd December 2019 (Check website for availability)

Where: Bolsover Castle

Join in the festive fun with Santa at Bolsover Castle this Christmas. Kids will love listening to his tales of Christmas past amid the yuletide decorations and lucky visitors will even get a festive treat from him. Booking is essential due to the popularity of this festive event, however there are several slots throughout the day to choose from.

Christmas at Renishaw Hall

music sheets at Christmas

When: 28th November to 1st December and 5th - 8th December 2019

Where: Renishaw Hall

Get into the festive spirit with a visit to the home of the Sitwell family this Christmas. Traditionally decorated fir trees hanging with glittery baubles and sparkling lights provide a magical backdrop as you take a pre-booked guided tour of the house and learn about the traditions at Christmas. Enjoy a Christmas lunch or festive afternoon tea in the cafe, and hope for snow as you walk around the award-winning gardens.

Ashbourne Christmas Food and Gift Fair

When: 6th December 2019

Where: Ashbourne Market Place

Enjoy some late-night Christmas shopping where you can purchase beautiful gifts from the local shops in Ashbourne which stay open until 9pm. During this event you can look forward to a lantern procession, some festive music, a barrel organ being played, donkey rides, family entertainment and a variety of fairground rides to add to the atmosphere. Celebrations continue at the Artisan Market for the following two days where you can browse a wide range of gifts, food and arts and crafts from local traders. If you fancy a break from shopping, enjoy a warm mulled wine at one of the outdoor bars or some delicious street food.

Santa Special Boat Trips

mince pies with santa

When: 23rd November – 22nd December 2018

Where: Tapton Lock Visitor Centre, Chesterfield Canal

Watch little faces light up with delight on a Santa Special voyage along the idyllic Chesterfield Canal at Christmas. Kids receive a toy from Santa and adults can indulge in a drink and a mince pie. Trips last for 30 minutes and booking is essential due to its popularity.

Map of Christmas attractions in the Peak District:

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

Whether you want to revel in the bustling Christmas markets, witness a dazzling firework display or delight the kids with a visit to see Santa, we have a variety of cosy places to stay in the Peak District, perfect for a cracking Christmas break.


*Dates are correct at the time of publishing; however, they are subject to change.

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