Top 10 things to do in the Peak District

Breathtakingly stunning and utterly inspiring, the Peak District landscapes boast vast expanses of Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, combining rugged, peat-covered moorlands and magnificent limestone dales, with picturesque villages, pretty market towns, historic houses and grand monuments.

Most significantly, the Peak District is home to both Britain’s first, and the world’s second most visited, National Park. A world away from the hustle and bustle of the neighbouring metropolitan areas, striking views boasting moors, dales, rivers, springs and caverns are all at the heart of this tranquil place – it really is no surprise as to why it is known and loved by millions.

There are an abundance of things to see, do and explore during a holiday to the Peak District!

1. Dovedale

Dovedale is a renowned beauty spot, a shaded valley hidden between Milldale and Thorpe Cloud. This two to three mile stretch alongside the River Dove contains some of the most spectacular limestone gorge scenery on offer in the Peak District. The river is edged by towering cliffs, caves and rock pillars, of which Ilam Rock is one of the most spectacular.

Dovedale makes the perfect starting point for a scenic walk exploring the network of pretty footpaths. Admire the impressive rock outcrops, meander over the much-loved stepping stones and smell the sweet scent of the rare wild flowers.

2. Ridge Walk Mam Tor to Losehill

This circular walking route will reward you with some of the most gorgeous panoramic views over the Peak District’s rural landscapes, stretching right across the Edale Valley to Kinder Scout and the Derwent Moors. This stone-surfaced footpath is the perfect route for beginners due to the easy nature and steady gradient over Peak District’s most fascinating hill: Mam Tor.

Mam Tor is steeped in the most fascinating history dating right back to the Bronze Age, as well as it being an amazing example of geology – it is still possible to see it shaping itself today.

3. Chatsworth House

As you drive across the 1000 acres of impressive parkland and catch a glimpse of Chatsworth House for the first time, it will definitely take your breath away. The stunning building is comprised entirely of yellow stone surrounded by gardens, fronted by the River Derwent and backed by a tree-clad hillside. It isn’t hard to see why this one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Peak District.

Home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, this truly grand manor house has been passed down through 16 royal generations. There are over 30 magnificent rooms to explore, each one offering beautiful artwork and their own little piece of ancient history to delve into.

After being overwhelmed by the grandiosity of the interior, take a walk into the gardens, famed for its rich history, modern waterworks and sculptures. Explore the Victorian rock garden, maze, children’s farmyard, tea room and shops – we guarantee that this is a wonderful day out for all the family.

4. Stanage Edge

Located in the heart of the Peak District National Park, Stanage Edge is the largest of the gritstone edges that overlook Hathersage in Derbyshire, stretching for approximately 6km. This large and impressive destination is extremely popular throughout the year for climbers and walkers who like to embark on the challenging rock climbs and to enjoy the picturesque views across the surrounding moors and countryside.

5. Monsal Trail

The Monsal Trail is a wonderfully tranquil, traffic-free route for walkers, cyclists and horse riders through some of the Peak District’s most spectacular limestone dales. The trail runs along the former Midland Railway line for 8.5 miles between Blackwell Mill in Chee Dale and Coombs Road at Bakewell.

This trail will lead you along a magical journey across stepping stones, past natural springs, lime-kilns and the old station at Millers Dale, built in 1863 where the hustle and bustle of the past are all but a distant memory. Stop and look down to see the River Wye waterfall at Water-Cum-Jolly, unseen from this view point for over forty years.

On your way back you will be greeted by a number of delightful restaurants, tea rooms, market towns and shops from which to refresh and re-fuel!

6. Heights of Abraham

Since first opening its gates to visitors in the 1780s, the Heights of Abraham has become one of the Peak District's most popular destinations. Located in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales, this estate is brimming with attractions, making it an unmissable family day out. If you are looking for a unique way to bask in the charm of the Peak District then this is the place for you.

There is so much on offer including cable car transportation, providing you with break-taking views of the Derwent Valley and cavern tours, taking you on a fascinating journey through the spectacular hillsides and caves. You won’t be far from refreshments either with two venues on site – Terrace Café and the Vista Bar and Restaurant. On your way out don’t forget to stop off in the gift shop to purchase those holiday souvenirs whilst the children are busy in the adventure playgrounds.

7. The Roaches

The Roaches, where buzzards fly and wallabies once roamed, is a wind-carved outcrop of gritstone rocks, straddling the parishes of Leekfrith and Heathylee. Fascinating rock formations have been worn into intriguing shapes by the natural elements and make for an impressive visit.

The Roaches area includes Hen Cloud, so named due to its appearance. Hen Cloud is a solitary edge which rises steeply from the ground below, whereas The Roaches themselves have a gentler approach.

8. Pavilion Gardens

The spectacular Pavilion Gardens have been described as the Jewel in the Crown of Buxton and the High Peak. This Grade II-listed visitor attraction offers a fantastic free day out for the whole family. A visit to this wonderfully historic venue, situated in the heart of Buxton, will delight you with 23 acres of beautiful gardens where events, farmers markets, dances and fetes are often held as well as two parks, a miniature train and finally three fantastic choices for a bite to eat. For those in need of just a little sustenance, the Coffee Bar is the perfect place to relax with a hot drink and a light refreshment. However, if you’re after something more substantial, you can pay a visit to the Pavilion Café or the mezzanine Art Café, whose menus both boast delicious meals using fresh, locally sourced ingredients.

9. Poole’s Cavern

Take a journey beneath the earth with a day at Poole’s Cavern! With the leading hand of one of the expert guides, you will be able to explore the vast and mesmerising limestone caverns and see how crystal stalactites have lined the chambers over millions of years.

After wandering through the depths of the cavern, you can head back to ground level and explore the beautiful country park, woodlands and trails to Grin Low and Solomon’s Temple - a panoramic Peak District hilltop viewpoint.

After all that walking and sightseeing, you can stop by the Cavern Café to indulge in a meal, snack, café or coffee. The perfect location for a family day out.

10. Lady Bower Reservoir

Peace and tranquillity emanates from this naturally stunning location. Lady Bower Reservoir is situated in the Upper Derwent Valley at the heart of the Peak District National Park, in an area often referred to as the ‘Lake District of the Peak’. The sparkling reservoir is surrounded by magnificent countryside where water and woodland are topped by high moors and conifer clusters.

The outstanding beauty of the area draws crowds of walkers, cyclists and fell runners, as well as those looking to just relax and enjoy the serene countryside. So whether you are after a day full of activity or you just want to enjoy a picnic with a view, a visit to Lady Bower Reservoir is a must during your time in the Peak District!

If you would like to experience these Peak District gems for yourself, browse through our collection of Peak District cottages.

Posted by Hayley on 31st May 2017