10 things to do on a rainy day in the Peak District

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Posted by Kate A on 4th March 2020

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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.

Kinder Scout

As wonderful as the Peak District is, with its magnificent rolling hills, wild moorland and dramatic valleys, we all know that sometimes the weather doesn’t always play ball. But even if the forecast isn’t as predicted, there’s still plenty of fun to be had. It might just mean taking sanctuary in the shelter of an indoor attraction - and there are loads to choose between!

From incredible adventures in underground caverns to exploring historic houses and fascinating museums, we’ve chosen ten things to do on a rainy day in the Peak District – so even if the sky is gloomy, your mood needn’t be.

Read on to discover our fun suggestions for what to do in the Peak District on a rainy day and if you need somewhere to stay, just click the button below to browse our Peak District holiday cottages.

Peak District cottages

1. Delve underground into a mysterious cave

Poole's Cavern
Poole's Cavern credit: Instagram @pooles_cavern

 

While it may be wet above ground, down below there’s an abundance of caves in the Peak District to delve into and explore, without getting caught in a shower. A perfect wet weather activity, you can venture deep below the earth to discover vast illuminated limestone caverns, adorned with incredible crystal stalactite formations and admire the beautiful mineral stone Blue John which is unique to the Peak District.

Poole’s Cavern in Buxton is one of our favourites and its spectacular natural showcave is one of the seven ‘Wonders of the Peak’. Formed millions of years ago, you can learn about the cave’s history and its geological formations in one of the regular tours, which take around 45 minutes. And if the rain lets up, there are some lovely walks above ground, including one up Grin Hill to Solomon's Folly.

Postcode: SK17 9DH

Stay nearby: Chapter House, sleeps 4

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2. Wander around a magnificent stately home

Chatsworth House

When it comes to things to do in the Peak District in the rain, you simply can’t beat a wander around one of the national park’s grand historic houses. There are so many to choose from, peppered throughout the rolling countryside, but one of our top choices for all ages is Chatsworth House near Bakewell, with its awe-inspiring interiors, priceless art collections and a packed calendar of events.

Brimming with treasures and artwork to rival any palace or gallery, Chatsworth House and Estate is rich in prestigious history, having been home to 16 generations of the Cavendish family since the 1500s. Take a guided tour to explore its 30 resplendent rooms, before sitting down to some tea and cake in the restaurant. And if there is a break in the weather, there are also 105 acres of ornamental gardens and parkland to admire too. With so much to see, you’ll be willing the sun to stay away for longer!

Postcode: DE45 1PP

Stay nearby: Baslow Cottage, sleeps 5

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3. Sample the famous Bakewell Pudding

Bakewell Pudding
Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop credit: Instagram @realbakewellpud

 

After a busy morning of sightseeing, one of the best things to do in the Peak District when it's raining is to hide away with something delicious. A must-visit for those with a sweet tooth is the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop in the picturesque village of Bakewell. Here, a centuries-old, top-secret pudding recipe has been kept alive, baked by hand using a traditional overnight method.

The iconic Bakewell Pudding is made from a pastry base with a layer of strawberry jam and topped with a filling of egg and almond paste (plus a secret ingredient), and is served warm with cream or custard. At this quaint little bakery, you can sit down with a pot of tea and savour this delectable ‘pud’, either on its own or as part of an afternoon tea – and for an extra-special treat, they even offer a ‘Pudding Experience’, where you can have a go at making your own Bakewell Pudding to take home as a souvenir.

Postcode: DE45 1BT

Stay nearby: Sugar Cottage, sleeps 4

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4. Hop aboard a vintage steam locomotive

Peak Rail

If you came to see the sights but the weather is keeping you out of the national park, then Peak Rail offers a magical way to experience the stunning scenery without getting drenched. This heritage steam and diesel railway chugs its way between Rowsley and Matlock, taking in some of the most captivating countryside that the area has to offer.

Sit back and experience the thrill of a bygone age of travel – for added fun, you could book one of the special services, where you can tuck into a delicious Sunday lunch or an afternoon tea in the Palatine Restaurant carriage. Plus, if you’re bringing your four-legged friend on your Peak District holiday, then you’ll be pleased to hear that the trains are dog friendly too. 

Postcode: DE4 3NA

Stay nearby: Jackson House – Matlock, sleeps 10

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5. Enjoy a brewery tour and tasting

Thornbridge Brewery

If you’re looking for Peak District indoor activities for adults, then head to Thornbridge Brewery in Bakewell for a behind-the-scenes brewery tour and tasting. Producers of the renowned Jaipur IPA and Lord Marples bitter, this popular Peak District brewery offers a great way to escape the showers for a couple of hours, with an informative tour that includes a welcome half-pint, a tasting session of the beers and a branded Thornbridge glass.

You won't find out the secret recipes, but you will see the brewing process and get to taste the most delicious award-winning beers. Afterwards, you can take a seat in the Tap Room and relax with a pint of your favourite brew until there’s a break in the clouds.

Postcode: DE45 1GS

Stay nearby: The Mill Wheel, sleeps 6 + 2 dogs

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6. Explore a fascinating museum

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery
Buxton Museum and Art Gallery credit: Instagram @buxtonmuseum

 

Museums make for great indoor attractions in the Peak District, and there are so many to choose from! The Buxton Museum and Art Gallery is an intriguing place to discover more about the archaeology, geology, history and art of the local area. Find out when sharks swam across the Peak District and giant dragonflies were a common sight.

Kids can dress up as a Roman soldier and feed the Buxton Bear a coin to hear him roar, and marvel at the interesting displays of pre-historic tools, Roman jewellery, medieval coins, and a variety of fossils. A changing programme of exhibitions, visiting artists and events mean there’s always something exciting to see and best of all, this is one of the free Peak District indoor attractions to visit in our list.

Postcode: SK17 6DA

Stay nearby: Little Oak, sleeps 4

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7. Walk to a waterfall

Kinder Downfall
Kinder Downfall credit: Instagram @peak.district

 

Sometimes, it pays to embrace a downpour and one of the best things to do on a rainy day in the Peak District if you don’t mind getting a little wet, is to head for one of the national park’s dramatic waterfalls. Kinder Downfall in the Dark Peak is a top choice: the tallest waterfall in the Peak District at 30 metres high. During periods of heavy rainfall, the volume of water that tumbles over the edge of the moorland plateau can increase from a gentle trickle to a powerful and impressive force.

This icy cascade can be accessed from the nearby villages of Edale and Hayfield in the High Peak and the 8-mile Hayfield circular walk is a particularly good route. For added atmosphere, make the trek on a windy day; when a gust blows from the west, the plunging water blows back on itself and the spray can be seen for miles around (though it's worth noting that the area can become treacherous in extreme weather). To make the most of your rainy day out along the River Kinder, follow the flow to the Kinder Reservoir and Kinder Scout’s second cascading waterfall at Grindsbrook Clough. 

Postcode: SK22 2LH

Stay nearby: Grotto House, sleeps 6 + 3 dogs

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  • Waterfall Swallet, near Eyam
  • Lumsdale Falls, near Matlock
  • Padley Gorge, near Grindleford

8. Relax and indulge in a spa

Devonshire Spa

Don’t let the rain dampen your spirits if you’re on a romantic holiday in the Peak District - make the most of your time inside by spending the day in a luxury spa. You’ll instantly feel any stresses and strains drift away as you indulge in some heavenly treatments or a soothing soak in a swimming pool or hot tub, with your loved one by your side.

Enjoy a little ‘you time’ at The Devonshire Spa, set within the iconic Devonshire Dome in the spa town of Buxton. Recharge, relax and revitalise with a wide range of spa treatments to reconnect mind, body and soul. Following an invigorating massage with a powerful detoxing seaweed body oil with lemongrass, juniper and rose geranium, make the most of the spa’s on-site facilities including a hydrotherapy pool, reflexology foot baths, Hammam wet room, ice fountain, essence-filled sauna, monsoon shower and relaxation lounge.

Postcode: SK17 6RY

Stay nearby: The View, sleeps 2 + 3 dogs

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9. Ride the rails at Crich Tramway Village

Crich Tramway Village
Crich Tramway Village credit: Instagram @chrichtramway

 

The Crich Tramway Village in Matlock is a great family-friendly place to spend a rainy day in the Peak District, with plenty to keep all ages entertained. Here you can step back in time and spend your day hopping on and off vintage trams - some dating back as far as 1900 - along a mile-long stretch of track through the captivating Derwent Valley.

At one end of the track is the recreated period village, complete with a vintage pub, olde-worlde shops and tearooms – the old-fashioned sweet shop and ice cream parlour are always a hit with youngsters. Along the line, you’ll also find lots of indoor attractions, including a huge Exhibition Hall and Discovery Centre brimming with interactive displays. Best of all, you can ride a historic tram out into the open countryside and soak up the extraordinary views from the comfort of a dry carriage.

Postcode: DE4 5DP

Stay nearby: Spinners Cottage, sleeps 4 + 2 dogs

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10. Get crafty at the Denby Pottery Village

Denby Pottery Village
Denby Pottery Village credit: Instagram @denbypottery

 

At Denby Pottery Village, the whole family can retreat indoors for a craft-filled day of fun. Pottery has been made at Denby for nearly 200 years and the village allows you to take part in a tour to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the historic working factory and meet the skilled craftspeople who produce the iconic wares. As part of the tour, you can feel the clay and, if you’re feeling arty, have a go at painting a plate of your own.

As well as the tour, you can browse the museum, watch free cookery demonstrations in the kitchen, have a bite to eat in the restaurant, and pick up a bargain in the extensive factory shop where the world-famous pottery is sold at discounted prices. There is also a variety of other shops on-site, including a glass studio, a garden centre and a Dartington Crystal factory shop.

Postcode: DE5 8NX

Stay nearby: Canalside, sleeps 4

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As you can see, with so many indoor activities in the Peak District, you needn’t let a little rain put a damper on your holiday. From romantic cottages just for two where couples can cosy up in front of a glowing wood burner on a wet and windy day, to fun-filled family properties with an assortment of games and entertainment to keep all ages happy during a shower, you’re sure to find the perfect hideaway within our collection of holiday cottages in the Peak District. Just click the button below to have a browse.

Peak District cottages

 

When the sun is shining, we’ve also found some fantastic all-weather activities to keep your loved ones entertained in our guide to the top 10 things to do in the Peak District.