Top 10 things to do in the Peak District

Family, Rural, Seasonal

Posted by Ed Roberts on 1st August 2020

There is an abundance of things to see and do during a holiday to the Peak District! It's difficult to know where to start, but our suggestions on some of the best places to visit in the Peak District should help you decide what to do during your visit.

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, spanning the counties of Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Cheshire. 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. Read on to discover our top ten best things to do in the Peak District.

Stay in one of our self-catering holiday cottages in the Peak District. We have properties to suit all your holiday requirements, whether you are looking for a large country house or a remote cosy bolthole to escape to with your partner. From cool apartments to impressive townhouses, browse our range to find your perfect place to stay in the Peak District.

1. Dovedale

Dovedale is a renowned beauty spot, a shaded valley hidden between Milldale and Thorpe Cloud. This 3-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 wildflowers.

Stay at: The Garden Loft | Sleeps: 2 guests plus 2 dogs

2. Ridge Walk: Mam Tor to Losehill

This iconic 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 the Peak District’s most fascinating hill: Mam Tor.

Mam Tor is steeped in the most fascinating history dating right back to the Bronze Age, and it's an amazing example of geology – it is still possible to see it shaping itself today. Once you've scaled the summit, there are more amazing views to be had walking along the ridge and to the summits of Back Tor and Lose Hill.

Stay at: Cave End Cottage | Sleeps: 3 guests

3. Chatsworth House and Estate

Chatsworth House

As you drive across the 1,000 acres of impressive parkland and catch a glimpse of Chatsworth House near Bakewell 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 is 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, tearoom and shops – a wonderful day out for all the family.

Stay at: Little Cottage | Sleeps: 3 guests plus 2 dogs

4. Stanage Edge

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. Enjoy the walking route to the summit of Stanage Edge from the nearby village of Hathersage.

Film fans will recognise Stanage Edge from Joe Wright's version of Pride and Prejudice. It's an exceptional viewpoint from which to enjoy the staggering beauty of the Peak District National Park.

Stay at: West View | Sleeps: 4 guests 

5. The Monsal Trail

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 walking 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 viewpoint for over 40 years. Following a former railway line, the trail also passes through six tunnels, taking you to places once hidden from public view.

Stay at: Sugar Cottage | Sleep: 4 guest

6. The Heights of Abraham

heights of abraham

Since first opening its gates to visitors in the 1780s, the Heights of Abraham in Matlock Bath has become one of the Peak District area'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 to the hilltop park, providing you with breathtaking 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: the 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.

Stay at: Judy Cottage | Sleeps: 5 guests plus 2 dogs

7. The Roaches

The Roaches

The Roaches is a wind-carved outcrop of gritstone rocks, towering above the town of Leek and Tittesworth Reservoir. 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 of a hen nesting on a cloud. Hen Cloud is a solitary edge which rises steeply from the ground below, whereas The Roaches themselves have a gentler approach. At the top of The Roaches you'll find Doxey Pool, a beautiful pool of water shrouded in folklore.

Stay at: Abbey Barn Inn | Sleeps: 8 guests plus 2 dogs

8. Pavilion Gardens

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.


  • The pond
  • The Art Cafe
  • The mini train

Stay at: Chapter House | Sleeps: 4 guests 

9. Poole’s Cavern

Take a journey beneath the earth with a day at Poole’s Cavern in Buxton Country Park. 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, or coffee. Afterwards, take a turn around the leafy streets of Buxton.

Stay at: Bagshot House | Sleeps: 18 guests

10. Ladybower Reservoir

Peace and tranquillity emanate from this naturally stunning location. Ladybower Reservoir is situated in the Upper Derwent Valley near Hope at the heart of the Peak District National Park. The area is 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 Ladybower Reservoir is a must during your time in the Peak District!

Stay at: Hollowgate Cottage | Sleeps: 4 guests plus 1 dog

Further inspiration

If you are looking for even more ideas for places to go, check out some of our other Peak District guides. We have searched high and low for the best days out on the Peak District National park for you and your friends and family.

Stay in the Peak District

With so many attractions, things to see and places to visit, a day in the Peak District just isn't enough time to see all that this simply stunning National Park has to offer. Make your visit to the Peak District one to remember with a stay in one of our Peak District holiday cottages. With all the comforts of a home from home, set in beautiful locations, our cottages are the perfect places to rest your weary legs after a day of exploring the Peaks. We're not only experts on the best days out the Peak District has to offer, but also on how to truly make the most out of your holiday in the National Park. 

If you're thinking of bringing your dog along too, our guide to dog-friendly days out in the Peak District is sure to be helpful. Alongside the many walks your dog can enjoy alongside you, they're also welcome to a wealth of attractions and places to eat.

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.