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.
The Peak District attracts all sorts of visitors from the keen outdoor explorers to the culturally interested individuals and families looking to retreat to the peaceful surroundings of the most beautiful peaks in the world.
Most people will need more than a week to do the Peak District National Park justice due to the sheer amount there is to do in this amazing region. Outdoor and extreme sports are very popular with visitors here; you could choose to spend all your time mastering a paragliding course or learning how to go cave exploring or rock climbing. All these pursuits are available, and you get to ply your new sporting skill sets in some of the very best locations in England. You can’t find that many spots to rival locations like Stanage Edge, The Roaches along the Pennine Way, or the Monsal Trail in the UK.
Sightseers amongst you who love a good stroll are in for a treat as well. Whether your pace is full-on fast or relaxed and steady, the Peak District definitely has something for you to throw yourself into with its great range of walks. Take on some personal challenges at some of the best theme parks in England or walk into the wilderness for views you will never forget. Whether you come to the Peak District with your best friend, partner, a group of pals or your family, there is something for everyone here.
We have pulled together our top 5 days out in the Peak District which offer a nice variety for a range of different interests…
Experience one of the many stately houses in the Peak District
On the banks of the River Derwent sits Chatsworth House, a 16th-century mansion that is open to the public to enjoy of a day. Built in 1553, many of the historical features have been restored to immaculate condition and it one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Peak District.
This makes a lovely day out as not only can you marvel at the craftsmanship of this amazing yellow-stone structure; you can enjoy the surrounding grounds of gardens and woodland where the little ones can stretch their legs. There is a on-site tearoom serving tea, coffee and cake as well as light bites for lunch and there are also a range of family-fun events hosted throughout the year – keep an eye on their website for updated information.
- The house has over 30 rooms containing significant collections of artwork, ancient artefacts and sculptures spanning 4,000 years.
- Some of the gardens were designed by Capability Brown, with so many interesting features both restored and modern for you to experience, like the Hunting Tower, the Seahorse Fountain (on the South Lawn), The Cascade, The Emperor Fountain, and Angela Connor’s Revelation sculpture too.
- For children, there is a farmyard where they can watch milking demonstrations and burn off some energy in the adventure playground.
Fun fact: Chatsworth House was chosen to be the fictional Pemberley in the 2005 production of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley. Exteriors and interiors of the house were used for sets and today you can visit the stately house and enjoy all it has to offer.
The estate is massive and rewards repeat visits, so if the weather is clement, a day out at Chatsworth should be your top pick. Even on hot days, there are plenty of places to rest in the shade with an ice cream!
Stay close by to Chatsworth house in one of our Bakewell holiday cottages and for more ideas, read our blog on historic houses and castles in the Peak District.
Hunt down some wallabies and yaks during your day trip in Derbyshire
The Roaches is a wind-carved outcrop of gritstone rocks straddling the parishes of Leekfrith and Heathylee in the Peak District National Park, about 4 miles north of Leek and 8 miles south of Buxton.
Many might not believe that there are still wallabies roaming the land here, but there are many that still do! Whilst the last confirmed sighting of a wallaby was in 2001, there have been unconfirmed sightings over the years and they still occur to this day. This unusual colony thrived for over 50 years after the original five broke out of a private zoo in the mid-1940s. The last male died in 1996, and we’re told that the average age of a wallaby is 12-14 years. The yaks are fondly remembered by locals but perished long ago. But it still fun to encourage the little ones to use their imagination!
The Roaches are easily accessible and a beautiful spot for walks. The unusual landscape and weird rock formations, coupled with stunning panoramic views, make this a truly memorable walk. The mighty gritstone cliffs of the Roaches strike an imposing profile, guarding the south-west approaches to the Peak District, and also offer the perfect platform to admire one of the most dramatic landscapes in Britain.
Reward yourself: Tuck into a homemade lunch or selection of just-baked cakes at the Roaches Tea Rooms and Restaurant in Upper Hulme to refuel. Make sure you try a traditional cheese-filled Staffordshire oatcake or sumptuous, slap-up cream tea – you won’t regret it! Location: ST13 8TY
If you are inclined to get your walking boots on during your visit to the Peak District, make sure you check out our guide to planning the perfect Peak District walking holiday.
Explore a historic village to feed your cultural intelligence
Buxton is one out of many picturesque villages in the Peak District, but what makes it stand out is the fact that it is the highest market town in England! It’s also been welcoming people to relax in its thermal springs since the Roman times. Reminiscent of Bath with its spas and ornate architecture, Buxton is a fantastic town to explore. The town has a sandstone crescent of houses similar but smaller in scale to the Royal Cresent in Bath; the Buxton Opera House was built in a similar style in 1903 and is a beautiful example of Edwardian style.
Fun fact: Have you ever enjoyed a bottle of chilled Buxton water? Well this is where it is from! As it’s an old spa town you can sample the very water that gets bottled, Buxton Spring, and distributed around the world, from a number of fountains around the town.
There is plenty to see and do in this idyllic town - here are our top suggestions:
- Poole’s Cavern – a spectacular natural cavern where you can wonder at amazing crystal formations in huge illuminated chambers. Take a 1-hour guided tour to make the most of it and fully understand this home of the past cave dwellers. Enjoy a tasty meal in the Cavern Café and explore the fossil and gemstone shop. Location: SK17 9DH
- Pavilion Gardens – this is a beautiful heritage visitor attraction which provides a great day out for all. There are 23 acres of Heritage Green Flag award-winning landscaped gardens as well as a café, coffee bar, gift boutique and tourist information centre. People love to come here and enjoy time next to the river and meandering lake, soaking up the atmosphere and enjoying the fresh air. Location: SK17 6BE
- Solomons Temple – get the best views around with a stroll through Buxton Country park from Poole's Cavern which leads to the summit of Grin Low at 1440ft altitude and the Victorian viewing tower of Solomon's Temple. From here you can see the surrounding Peak District landscape and the spa town of Buxton in the valley below. It was built in 1896! Location: SK17 9DH
- Buxton Opera House – this is a beautiful old theatre house which is well-loved by its locals and the artists that come to perform here. The inside is superb with all the old embellished features of a typical historic opera house, with quirky characteristics and atmospheric charm. With an interesting calendar of shows and performances throughout the year, you can enjoy shows from intimate music concerts to dance productions. There is a bar to enjoy a drink before or after a show, and of course the ice cream interval! Location: SK17 6XN
You can come and enjoy the town for yourself whilst staying in one of our Buxton holiday cottages which act as the perfect base to explore from. For more ideas, check out our guide on the best places to visit in the Peak District. Take the kids away and stay in a family-friendly town house or plan a mini-break in one of our cosy cottages for two. Whatever the occasion, we will have something to suit you.
The Heights of Abraham
Soar across the Derwent Valley in one of the Peak District's iconic cable cars
The Heights of Abraham in Matlock Bath is a must for you if you are planning a week’s stay or more in the Peak District. Connected by cable cars and a network of paths to climb Masson Hill, the views from the summit are jaw-dropping and well worth the high-flying journey up to the top. There’s a few cafes and a visitor centre at the top as well as entry to two show caves included in the entry price. There are also traces of the mine works at the top of the hill to get the historians amongst you speculating how it all worked.
Scaling a height of 169 metres, you’ll dangle (securely!) up to 23.5 metres from the ground. This attraction has been running since the 1780s, but thanks to a facelift in 1984, it’s enabled us modern explorers to glide up in style! Overcome your fear of heights in the top-of-the-range cable cars and you’ll never forget your time in the Peak District.
If you like going up high you can also enjoy thrills at some of the major theme parks in the Peak District.
The Monsal Trail
Walk or cycle your way along one of the UK’s most iconic trails
The Monsal Trail is a traffic-free route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders which takes you on an adventure through some of the Peak District's spectacular limestone dales. It takes in views of all kinds of countryside landscapes, old railway tunnels and viaducts. Following the path of a former railway track, the gradient is fairly level so it is suitable for all the family to get on their bikes and get into it.
- The trail runs along the former Midland Railway line for 8.5 miles between Blackwell Mill, in Chee Dale and Coombs Road, at Bakewell.
- The trail has four tunnels - Headstone Tunnel, Cressbrook Tunnel, Litton Tunnel and Chee Tor Tunnel.
- Each tunnel is about 400 meters long making them fun passageways to explore through. Don’t worry, you can't lose the kids as the tunnels are lit throughout the day and night. These are powered by light sensor so if you are using the trail in the afternoon, you are advised to take a torch or have bike lights in case you get caught out!
Keep an eye out for the Monsal Viaduct, now one of the most famous features of the trail and an object of architectural and historic interest – it joined Buxton and Bakewell together which caused controversy to many when it happened. Cresswell Brook is also a point of interest which was first opened as a cotton mill in 1783 and powered by the water from Cressbrook stream. The lime kilns to the east and west of Millers Dale Station are examples of commercial kilns built in the 19th and 20th centuries – keep an eye out for these too!
If you are looking to walk sections of this trail, or all of it, then check out our selection of cottages in Bakewell.
This blog is a just a small taste of the adventures you can go on in the Peak District; there’s so much more in the region to discover. We offer a wide range of family-friendly cottages, cottages for two and larger holiday homes to suit groups and extended relations. This region is also perfect for the dogs to join you, so make sure you keep our dog-friendly range in mind and for those who like a touch of luxury to their explorations, there are a handful with hot-tubs too!