Want to know the best times to visit the Peak District? Our top picks of things to do each month will help you decide. Whether you want to discover some of the best places for hiking and cycling, or when the moors are coloured purple by the heather, certain months are best. For any events and venues mentioned, please check dates and opening times before travelling.
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January is one of the best times to visit the Peak District for a winter break. Start your new year health kick in beautiful surroundings by wrapping up and going for a refreshing winter walk. There are plenty of places to choose from and at this time of year the National Trust’s Ilam Park, a country park five miles from Ashbourne, is delightful.
Wherever you choose to wander, make a stop at a traditional pub for a hearty lunch or pick up some Bakewell Tarts to enjoy with a cuppa back at your cottage. Book a luxury cottage with a log burner and it will make your time away extra cosy.View Peak District Cottages
February is perfect for a romantic break in the Peak District, whether you‘re celebrating Valentine’s Day or simply want to spend quality time together. Things are quieter and ideal for leisurely pursuits, from a gentle walk in The Pavilion Gardens in Buxton to a breath-taking cable car ride to the Heights of Abraham.
Looking for a romantic gift? Visit Blue John Cavern, home to the rare Blue John stone. Once you’ve taken a look around, head into the pretty village of Castleton to shop for a special piece of jewellery.View Peak District Cottages
As spring arrives, it’s time to get out into the countryside and see the daffodils in all their golden glory. Chatsworth House near Bakewell is a great place to start. That’s because the bank around the Canal Pond, with its majestic fountain, is carpeted with them. Pretty as a picture.
Meanwhile, the Wildlife Trust’s Lea Wood in the Lower Derwent Valley near Cromford, offers the opportunity to walk beside wild daffodils in picturesque ancient woodland.View Peak District Cottages
The Bakewell Food Festival, held in the pretty, riverside town of Bakewell, is an excellent way to sample local produce, delicious dishes and mouth-watering drinks.
Held over a weekend and usually coinciding with Bakewell’s monthly farmers’ market on the Saturday, there are up to 100 stalls to discover.
This is very much a family-friendly event, so you can also expect additional activities and entertainment from pony rides to a craft fair in the Town Hall.View Peak District Cottages
May is one of the best times to visit the Peak District if you like hiking, just as the weather is getting pleasantly warm. Plenty of routes incorporate beautiful landscapes from rugged limestone valleys to sparkling reservoirs.
Some of the most popular walks in the Peak District include Dovedale with its famous stepping stones across the river. For something more challenging, there’s the ridge walk from Castleton to the summit of Mam Tor. En route, enjoy stunning views over Edale and the Hope Valley.
Meanwhile, if you love history, the Cromford Mills and Village Walk offers a glimpse into why the area was at the forefront of the Industrial Revolution.
If you have a dog that loves their walkies, book one of our dog-friendly cottages in the Peak District, so they can join in the fun too.View Peak District Cottages
Take to two wheels on a bike ride along the Monsal Trail, a disused railway line turned into a multi-use track. (Walkers and horse-riders use it too, plus it is accessible to wheelchair-users). Being traffic-free, the Monsal Trail is a good choice for a family-friendly day out in the Peak District.
Adults and kids alike can explore this 8.5-mile trail at leisure, passing through old railway tunnels and stopping to admire the scenery. The views are particularly spectacular from Water-cum-Jolly Dale and the Headstone Viaduct.
Bikes can be hired locally and there is a café about half-way along the route where you can enjoy light refreshments.View Peak District Cottages
July marks summer festival season. For creative arts, street theatre, music and comedy the Ashbourne Festival, held in the small market town of Ashbourne, packs quite a punch. It runs for two weeks from June and into July and offers picnics in the park with live bands, open-air plays and talks from esteemed authors.
Meanwhile, Buxton International Festival is one of the UK’s leading arts festivals and a top event in the Peak District. The festival celebrates opera, music and books through shows and performances from leading British and international singers, performers and literary figures. Amongst the venues used, is the beautiful Buxton Opera House.View Peak District Cottages
The heather-covered moors of the Peak District and Derbyshire are a stunning sight. However, there’s a relatively brief window of opportunity to view it. August is the best time to visit the Peak District to see heather in all its splendid glory.
The heather begins to flower around mid-July, but it’s the last couple of weeks of August and into early September that it’s usually in full bloom. As the hills become a sea of purples and pinks, the landscape is particularly beautiful, especially at ‘golden hour’ in the late afternoon sun.
If you like photography, it is definitely time to start snapping away. There are many popular vantage points from which to see this spectacle including the Hope Valley and Kinder Scout nature reserve.View Peak District Cottages
As September is much quieter than summer, it’s another good time for walking and cycling in the Peak District. If you like the idea of having beauty spots to yourselves as much as possible, that is.
Meanwhile, the Chatsworth Country Fair is an annual outdoor show held in the parkland of Chatsworth House. A fantastic family-friendly day out in the Peak District, the show puts on events such as air displays, dog-racing, music from military bands, cooking classes and a vintage fun fair.
As the nights draw in, the annual Matlock Bath Illuminations is popular with families with little ones. Models, ranging from cars to animals, are decorated with coloured lights and attached to boats that bob along on the river.View Peak District Cottages
In October, you might be looking for somewhere to visit for Halloween. Well, the Peak District is home to Creswell Crags where hundreds of marks, known as Witch Marks, are etched into the walls and ceilings of the limestone caves. It is one of the largest collections of its kind in the world and the marks are thought to be a symbol used to protect from evil spirits.
Creswell Crags is on the Nottinghamshire/Derbyshire border and its history spans back a whopping 60,000 years. There are a variety of guided tours, including one specifically focussed on the Witch Marks, while over the October half term a number of family-friendly Halloween-themed events are held.View Peak District Cottages
A variety of attractions are still open in November in the Peak District. At weekends, the Stuart mansion of Bolsover Castle, with its lavishly decorated rooms and riding school, is open. As too are the ruins of Peveril Castle that is one of England’s earliest Norman fortresses and offers panoramic views of the Peak District.
If you’d prefer, there are underground treasures to discover in the form of the Peak District’s famous caves such as those at Poole’s Cavern and Buxton Country Park. Guided tours are available, while there are walks through the woodland and to the folly of Solomon’s Temple to be enjoyed too.View Peak District Cottages
On a luxury cottage holiday in the Peak District in December there are festive activities to fill you with seasonal cheer.
Chatsworth House is beautifully dressed with decorations for Christmas and hosts a Christmas market. Meanwhile, if you are seeking a slightly more quirky Christmas event in the Peak District, the Matlock Victorian Christmas Weekend, held on the first weekend in December is popular.
Or for something quite atmospheric there are special carol concerts by candlelight in the Peak District’s caves.View Peak District Cottages
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