Top 10 Things to do in the Peak District
A mixture of moorland, limestone valleys and well-heeled spa towns – the Peak District is defined by its distinct and dramatic landscape. A diverse destination sandwiched in between some of the most beautiful areas of the Midlands, Yorkshire and the North West, it’s ideally located for those that want to escape from city life.
But this wild and untamed National Park area offers more than just scenery, so here are our top 10 things to do in the Peak District…
1. Unwind in Buxton
Buxton is a brilliant place to base yourself near to combine your luxury stay in the Peak District with some serious time at the spa. As well as the famous Natural Mineral Baths and array of pampering and wellness facilities, there’s also plenty of local culture and history to immerse yourself in – from gorgeous Georgian and Victorian architecture, to the local museum, opera house, boating lake and Pavilion Gardens.
2. Stroll Matlock Bath
This romantic, rural village runs along the River Derwent and is nestled into a green, forested hillside. Offering a day trip that’s full of local character, Matlock Bath is home to an aquarium, a museum, a preserved cotton spinning mill, and several peaceful spots for a stroll, such as Lover’s Walk and Derwent Gardens.
3. Castleton’s show caves
One of the best things to do in the Peak District is to make the most of its natural treasures, including its many caverns and caves. Ready and waiting for exploration, the Castleton caves are rated among the best show caves in the country. There are many to choose from but Treak Hill Cavern is the one to choose for stalactites and stalagmites – just remember to bring your sturdy walking shoes.
4. Picnic in Bakewell
The Peak District is full of cosy, picturesque countryside towns, with Bakewell chief among them. Best known for the tasty pastries and puddings that take its name, and its rows of quaint cottages, it’s a great place to pause and pick up specialities from the local bakeries and markets. Take your treat haul to the banks of the River Wye for a picnic, cross the 14th century bridge and browse the array of arts, gift and craft shops.
5. Visit Chatsworth House
Close to Bakewell is the imposing Chatsworth House – a grand stately home in the English Baroque style, which just happens to belong to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. The eagle-eyed may recognise it as the filming location for several period dramas and there’s plenty to do across its 105-acre garden, 25 rooms, farmyard, playground, restaurant and, of course, its outstanding collection of artworks.
6. Spot deer at Lyme Park
Located at the Cheshire side of the Peak District is the National Trust’s Lyme Park. As well as a magnificent mansion house, the estate boasts gardens and moorland. But it’s the deer park that sets this magical place apart from the rest, as lucky visitors can come here to watch rare red deer during rutting season in October – when you may catch a glimpse of a stag – or to watch baby deer from a safe distance during the spring. A must for wildlife lovers…
7. Trek the Monsal Trail
There are many, many great walking trails in the Peak District but the Monsal Trail is popular with experienced trekkers and novice walkers, alike. The traffic-free route is set along an old railway line and is a great entryway to the local scenery. Variety is key here, as you can tackle the trail on foot, by bike, via a horse ride, and it’s also suitable for wheelchair users.
8. Go for a ride at Alton Towers
So, you’ve walked the White Peak, trekked across the Dark Peak, and you’ve even explored the spa towns – what next? The Peak District is famously also home to Alton Towers, one of the UK’s best known theme parks. The adrenaline rush of its rides, rollercoasters and haunted house make a day spent out here a great companion to the serenity of the scenery.
9. Mam Tor
For those who’d like the thrill of conquering a summit, Derbyshire’s Mam Tor is a great choice. At 517 metres, the “mother hill” is an achievable climb and its circular walk offers panoramic views that will linger long in the memory. A moderate route that takes just a couple of hours out of your day, it’s one for most of the family and friends with four paws will love it too.
10. The Heights of Abraham
Tucked away between Matlock Dale and Matlock Bath, the Heights of Abraham is hilltop park with sweeping views. The draw here is the chance to scale its heights via cable car – a breathtaking adventure that will take you to a summit where there are walking trails, guided cavern tours, gorgeous woodland paths and even a selection of restaurants and cafes offering dining on high with a spectacular vista.