6 Peak District waterfalls with the wow factor


Posted by Ruth on 27th August 2020

Peak waterfalls

The Peak District is one of the best places in the UK to experience the stark beauty of the natural world. Whether you choose to explore the dramatic Dark Peak or the rolling White Peak, you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to stunning scenery wherever you go.

But for a day out in the great outdoors that offers the wow factor in abundance, seek out one of the Peak District’s waterfalls. The natural elements of the national park come together at these sites to create huge torrents of water that plunge from the craggy heights, resulting in a spectacle that is too good to miss.

We’ve picked out six of the Peak District’s most breathtaking waterfalls; visit just one or tick off all of them with a big roadtrip as you discover the Peak District – the choice is yours. And if you’re searching for a cosy Peak District cottage to relax in afterwards, just click the button below.

All Peak District cottages

Kinder Downfall

Kinder Downfall – the tallest one

If there’s one Peak District waterfall that you must visit on your next holiday, it’s this one. Kinder Downfall is one of the best Great British waterfalls, where you can watch as a 30-metre torrent of water tumbles from a moorland plateau at Kinder Scout. It’s best to time your visit for after heavy rain, when the waterfall is really in full force. Or even better – combine the heavy rain with wind and it’s possible to see the waterfall blowing back on itself, creating a huge spray!

As the waterfall is close to Kinder Scout, a visit makes a great day out exploring the many walks in the area. Watch out for Mermaid’s Pool, beneath the waterfall, which is said to be the home of a beautiful mermaid who tries to entice men to their death.

Stay nearby: Kinder Cottage, Hayfield | sleeps 4 + 1 dog

Panniers Pool

Panniers Pool – the off-the-beaten-track one

This waterfall is a bit tricky to get to, but well worth the effort. You’ll have to tackle some rough trails and some boggy patches before arriving at Panniers Pool, situated close to the point where the counties of Cheshire, Staffordshire and Derbyshire meet. Under the stone bridge, the water flows down a gentle step before joining a stream; it’s said that horses used to drink from this pool when they passed by.

If wild swimming is your thing, why not take a dip in the pool? Or, if you’d rather keep your feet on dry land, Panniers Pool and the Three Shires Head can be enjoyed on a meandering walk from nearby Macclesfield.

Stay nearby: Quarnford Cottage, Flash | sleeps 4 + 3 dogs

Lumsdale Falls – the historic one

If you feel like stepping back in time, take a trip to Lumsdale Falls. The area includes many 17th-century mill buildings which used to be powered by the nearby rivers, and the moss-clad ruins create a timeless atmosphere in the already beautiful Lumsdale Valley. You can watch as water from the Bentley Brook, which once powered the mills, cascades over the stone to a stream below. 

This spectacular force is only 2.5 miles from Matlock, creating the opportunity for a great day out combining the peaceful sights of the waterfalls with the bustling vibrancy of the thriving town.

Please be aware that Lumsdale Falls is currently closed - check local information before visiting.

Stay nearby: Millside Cottage, Matlock | sleeps 6 + 1 dog

Padley Gorge – the family-friendly one

The journey to this Peak District waterfall has an enchanting, fairy-tale feel, making it perfect for a fun day out as a family. Starting at the Longshaw estate in Sheffield, you’ll walk over a wooden bridge (are there trolls living underneath?!) across the babbling Burbage Brook before arriving at Padley Gorge. Once you’re there, you’ll discover the beautiful waterfall which cascades over giant stones.

The walk is around an hour each way, but there are plenty of picnic spots where you can all refuel, as well as areas for little feet to safely paddle in the chilly water.

Stay nearby: Rylea Cottage, Baslow | sleeps 4 + 3 dogs

Rivelin Valley – the photogenic one

Make sure you pack your camera when you visit this waterfall in the Rivelin Valley, as it’s one of the most picturesque spots in the Peak District. Follow the nature trail through the park and woodland where you’ll find dams, reservoirs, brooks and a series of very pretty waterfalls. Set amongst verdant greenery, it’s also a great place to find some peace and quiet on the edge of Sheffield.

The walk is only 2 miles long and fairly flat, so it’s also a good option for little legs. Keep your eyes peeled for the wide variety of flora and fauna living in the valley, and then refuel at the café in the park afterwards.

Stay nearby: Clementine Cottage, Hope Valley | sleeps 2

Waterfall Swallet – the secret one

Blink and you’ll miss it – Waterfall Swallet is hidden from view behind some trees between the villages of Foolow and Eyam. The land it’s on is privately owned, so you’ll need to view this torrent from the roadside. The sight is spectacular – a large stream of water plunges over rocks to the gentle pool below. In the summer months, you can scramble through the wilderness to get to the bottom, but it’s too treacherous in the winter.

The waterfall is situated close to the Pennine Way, a short drive away, so it’s a lovely beauty spot to visit before or after a walk on the famous long-distance footpath.

Stay nearby: The Trap House, Eyam | sleeps 2 + 2 dogs

A map of the top Peak District waterfalls

Stay with us in the Peak District

If you love the great outdoors, the Peak District should be top of your list of must-visit destinations. Find out what else you can discover in the national park with our guide to the great Peak District outdoors, or click below to browse our full collection of cottages.

All Peak District cottages

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.