10 Best Days Out in the Peak District
The Peak District National Park is absolutely crammed with amazing places to visit and sights to see. We guarantee that you’ll be spoilt for choice, no matter where you’re based or how long you’re here for. It’s so hard to choose any favourite spots from so many brilliant contenders, but these are our choices for the Top 10 Best Days Out in the Peak District!
Arguably the Jewel in Derbyshire’s Crown, Chatsworth House and its Estate offers a wonderful place for family days out in the Peak District!
The magnificent Chatsworth House is set in over 1,000 acres of parkland, beautifully situated on the banks of the River Derwent. A true feast for the senses, there are more than 30 rooms open to the public, with awe-inspiring interiors, lavish furnishings, and a world famous collection of art.
There are also 105 acres of formal gardens, designed by Capability Brown, as well as a large woodland adventure playground and a child-friendly farmyard.
When you’ve worked up an appetite, there are a number of restaurants, cafés and tea shops throughout the estate, and no trip is complete without a visit to the award-winning Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop, located a short distance away in the pretty village of Pilsley.
A day in the beautiful village of Castleton should feature in the itinerary of every visitor to the Peak District. It’s surrounded by stunning scenery, nestled in the hills at the western end of the Hope Valley, and has something to offer for everyone.
Visitors who prefer a gentle pace of exploration will enjoy wandering its narrow lanes, browsing the independent shops and sampling the fare in the many tea rooms, restaurants and pubs.
History lovers should explore the Norman ruins of Peveril Castle which overlook the village. A walk up to the castle offers visitors the chance to admire the breathtaking views over both the gritstone Dark Peak and the limestone White Peak areas of the Peak District.
At 2,087 feet high, Kinder Scout is the highest point in the Peak District and the views from its summit are awe-inspiring – in the truest sense of the words. Walking to the vast open moorland on the top of Kinder takes the visitor through a wide variety of different landscapes and perfectly illustrates the diversity of the Peak District, with mighty gritstone edges, hillside lakes, heather moorland and crashing waterfalls.
Kinder Scout is also significant in the history of hill walking in the UK, being the scene of the famous ‘Kinder Trespass’ in 1932, when over 400 peaceful protesters took to private land and joined in a mass trespass to highlight the restrictions upon walking in open country. This led directly to legislation that allowed people to walk freely on access land, and was also a contributory factor in the creation of the National Parks, the first of which was the Peak District.
The beautiful town of Bakewell, set on the River Wye, is the ancient capital of the Peak District and is the only town wholly within the National Park. It has a wealth of historic buildings, shops and restaurants, and and it’s a wonderful place to explore, with pretty riverside walks, old stone cottages, narrow lanes and hidden courtyards.
Bakewell has a long and fascinating history; its market was first established in 1254 and still takes place every Monday. The towns also hosts one of the largest agricultural shows in the UK every August, as well as an annual Arts Festival and the Peak Literary Festival.
And no trip to Bakewell is complete without sampling some famous Bakewell Pudding, a sticky, sweet confection made of pastry, eggs, almonds and jam!
To work off the calories, the nearby Monsal Trail offers an accessible walking and cycling route out of the town into some of the most stunning scenery in the Peak District.
The Roaches is a stunning gritstone ridge rising up from moorland close to Leek in Staffordshire. At its highest point the ridge reaches 505m (1,657 feet) and provides spectacular views over Staffordshire, Cheshire and even into Lancashire and Wales. Covering 975 acres of rocky upland, the perfect playground for walkers and climbers, this is a great place for outdoor adventures in the Peak District!
The Roaches is managed by the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust and is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Its heather-clad moorland and blanket bog provides important habitats for a huge variety of wildlife, including birds such as curlew, red grouse and peregrine falcon.
For fantastic views, climb the stone steps to the left of a distinctive stone cottage built into the hillside (the Don Whillans Memorial Hut, run by the British Mountaineering Council), and walk left along the rocky ridge.
Haddon Hall is acclaimed as one of the most beautiful medieval manor houses in the whole of England, and rightly so. Its castellated stone walls are covered with ivy and climbing roses, and its perfect setting on a hillside overlooking the River Wye is straight out of a romantic fairytale. We think it’s a Must-See for any visitor to the Peak District!
Parts of Haddon Hall date back to the 11th Century and it is remarkably well-preserved, with most of it unchanged since the days of Henry VIII. The rooms offer fascinating glimpses into history, and the beautiful Elizabethan terraced garden is the perfect place for a summer stroll.
There’s also a licensed restaurant in the 17th Century stable block with a great menu when you’ve worked up an appetite.
Just on the edge of the Peak District, the historic spa town of Buxton offers a great day out with something for everyone. In Buxton you’ll find stunning Georgian and Victorian architecture, beautiful parks and quirky shops, as well as top-class theatre, an award-winning spa, museums, art galleries and fantastic dining.
For the kids there are caverns to wonder at and woodland trails to explore at Poole’s Cavern and Buxton Country Park. Located just a short drive outside the town, Poole’s Cavern is a beautiful show cave formed naturally out of the limestone rock over 2 million years ago. The Cavern is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, and has been entrancing visitors since 1853.
Buxton is also well known for its beautiful Edwardian Opera House, designed by Frank Matcham in 1903. As one of Britain’s leading receiving theatres, Buxton Opera House presents around 450 performances each year including dance, comedy, children’s shows, drama, musical concerts, pantomime and opera as well as a lively Fringe Theatre and Community and Education Programme. The theatre is also home to the renowned Buxton International Festival.
The elegant Lyme Park is in Cheshire, on the very edge of the Peak District. Originally a hunting lodge and modest family home, it was transformed into a glorious Regency mansion in the 15th Century. Now owned by the National Trust, it’s a great family day out in the Peak District.
The house has lavish interiors and fascinating collections of art, but there is plenty to keep kids interested too – try out the billiards table in the Long Gallery, read a book in the library, or visit the Dressing Room to try on the finest Regency regalia.
Outside there’s a magnificent 1,400 acre estate, complete with a medieval herd of red deer. You can explore the elegant Rose Garden, Ravine Garden or the reflecting lake where a certain Mr Darcy got his shirt wet in the BBC production of ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Children can let off steam in the Crow Wood adventure playground, and the nearby Timberyard Café offers delicious hot and cold food.
The wooded ravine known as Padley Gorge is only a stone’s throw from civilisation, but it feels like another world entirely. Located on the border between Derbyshire and Yorkshire, here you’ll find ancient, twisted oak and birch trees growing along gentle slopes, and in the valley below a crystal-clear stream, Burbage Brook, rushes across rocks.
The northern edge of Padley Gorge, where Burbage Brook leaves the edge of Burbarge Moor and runs towards the National Trust estate at Longshaw, is extremely popular with families in the summer months. Take a picnic and some paddling clothes and you can happily spend a whole day out here. The shallow streams, shady trees, pretty wooden footbridges and large flat rocks – perfect as stepping stones – make the area a haven for children.
Although it’s just outside the Peak District, the quirky town of Matlock Bath has to appear in our list because it’s a fabulous place for a great day out. There’s plenty to see and do in the town itself, with shops, cafés and museums, as well as riverside walks along the River Derwent for shady strolls.
But the reason it features in our 10 Best Days Out in the Peak District is because of the numerous attractions around the town. There are magnificent cable cars at the Heights of Abraham, which take visitors 339 metres up and across the Derwent Valley. For younger visitors there’s the family-friendly theme park of Gulliver’s Kingdom, or steam train experiences on the Peak Rail heritage railway. And at the fabulous Crich Tramway Village, home to the National Tramway Museum, the whole family can spend a day riding vintage trams and exploring the heritage village.