Have you made plans for the May half-term holiday? With warmer weather and longer days, May is the perfect month to spend some time together as a family. The Peak District combines beautiful countryside with a range of attractions, so is a great option for keeping the whole family entertained.
You’ll find family-friendly cycle trails at the Peak District National Park, activities for children at Chatsworth, a couple of theme parks to visit and even an outdoor heated pool to splash about in. It's just right for a family half-term holiday...
Take a look at 7 reasons why you should head to the Peak District this half term...
1. There’s more to Chatsworth than you think...
Chatsworth may be best known for its famous stately home, but Chatsworth House is just one part of this grand country estate. There’s also a working farmyard, maze, woodland playground and a Little Explorers Trail for children to complete through the grounds.
Kids can watch milking demonstrations and meet the friendly animals at the farm before swinging through ropes and travelling across a zip wire in the woodland adventure park.
During half term, you’ll find a range of extra activities too including face-painting and a special doggy agility course to keep four-legged friends happy.
Finally, you can’t leave Chatsworth without tackling the maze - it was designed almost 60 years ago, and more than 1,200 yew trees were needed to complete it! Don’t be put off though if you make a wrong turn as that’s all part of the fun. Find out more about Chatsworth.
2. See things from a new perspective…
A cable car will take you soaring above the beautiful Derwent Valley to reach The Heights of Abraham which is located over 1,000 feet above sea level. What better way to enjoy the stunning scenery of the Peak District?
The hilltop park attraction first opened to visitors in the 1780s, although visitors were required to climb Masson Hill themselves in those days. Today, cable cars will take you alpine-style to the summit and you can then journey deep into the hillside to explore some fascinating show caverns. These passageways and tunnels are lit up by a state-of-the-art lighting system and you’ll be shown the way through by a helpful guide.
While at the top of the park, it’s worth heading to The Tinker’s Shaft viewing platform which looks down vertically into the Great Masson Cavern, and climbing the Victoria Prospect Tower will give jaw-dropping panoramic views of the Peak District National Park. Little ones have a choice of two adventure playgrounds so they can run off some energy before you catch a cable car back down.
3. There’s lots of child-friendly Peak District bike trails to try…
One of the big attractions of the Peak District for families is that in and amongst the dramatic peaks and valleys there is a selection of flat bike trails too.
The Monsal Trail is a traffic-free paved route that runs along the old Midland railway line and has lots of great vantage points to stop at along the way. You can travel through the old tunnels which are fully lit to make them completely safe on this Bakewell walk and there’s an abundance of Wye Valley wildlife (and even a couple of nature reserves) to spot along the way.
Another great railway line trail to try is the Manifold Track which follows the route of the disused Leek and Manifold Light Railway. As with The Monsal Trail, the route is well paved so suitable for prams, pushchairs and wheelchair users. Bikes can be hired nearby, and you can stop for a picnic at Hulme End along the way. It’s worth taking in the view at Thor’s Cave, although you will have a small climb from the track to reach this.
Carsington Water is a Peak District reservoir which makes another lovely spot for a bike ride. You can hire cycles on-site and take a gentle ride around the water with a family-friendly 3-mile route. There’s lots of birdlife to spot along the way, a range of water sports you can try if the mood takes you, and a cafe to call in for refreshments afterwards.
Fancy a mountain bike ride instead? Read our guide to The best Peak District Mountain Biking Locations.
4. You can walk with the penguins at Peak Wildlife Park
The fantastic Peak Wildlife Park is made up of a series of large ‘walk-throughs’ so that families can get up close to a range of exotic animals. The immersive environments mean that you can watch feeding times, see the animals at play and learn how they live with each other.
We’re particularly partial to the Penguin Path but you’ll also find lemurs, wallabies and a recreated African village (complete with pygmy goats and a family of meerkats).
There’s a variety of hands-on experiences available too, with the chance to go behind the scenes at the penguin enclosure or become a mini keeper for the day.
5. You can take a swim in an outdoor pool…
Did you know that the Peak District has its very own outdoor pool? You’ll find Hathersage swimming pool in the Hope Valley and the water is kept nice and warm right throughout the year. The 30-foot pool dates back to the 1930s and is one of the few remaining outdoor lidos from this era. Hathersage itself is a bustling Peak District village and it’s reputedly the birthplace of Robin Hood’s sidekick Little John who is buried in the village church. It’s well worth exploring while you are here.
6. There are two great Peak District theme parks to visit…
Do you like thrills and spills or something a little more sedate? With Alton Towers and Gulliver’s Kingdom both on the doorstep of the Peak District, there is plenty of choice for a fun-filled day out.
Gulliver’s Kingdom is a perfect option for younger children as all the rides are aimed at 2-13 year-olds. There’s a pirate play area, a Jurassic experience with animatronic dinosaurs and lots of classic rides such as a log flume and carousel.
Alton Towers is one of the UK’s largest theme parks and has everything from death-defying rollercoasters to a CBeebies Land. You can scare yourself silly at the Alton Towers Dungeon or get wet through on the slides and flume rides at the Waterpark.
7. Where better to get a Bakewell tart (or pudding) than Bakewell...
Bakewell is the Peak District’s well-loved market town and the birthplace of a Bakewell pudding (and the subsequent Bakewell tart).
The Bakewell Pudding came first and was originally created by accident at a local inn back in 1860. The resulting pudding was such a success that it was recreated and sold by a Mrs Wilson in what was to become The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop.
The Bakewell tart arrived much later (though it’s still a variant of the original pudding) and you’ll find freshly baked versions of both delicacies in cafes and bakeries throughout the town. You can still get a pudding or tart at The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop and their delicious recipe remains a top secret to this day.
Have we whetted your appetite for a visit to the Peak District this half term (and perhaps a Bakewell pudding)? Browse our range of Peak District holiday cottages and start planning your getaway to this beautiful part of the world. For even more inspiration take a look at our Ultimate Guide to the Peak District.