The Peak District is somewhere I’d never been to and hadn’t given that much thought to if I’m completely honest. That’s until I visited back in August, and I realised there is so much to do.
There are so many beautiful little towns to stroll around, hikes and walk with stunning panoramic hilltop views, and many tourist attractions across the district too. With that in mind, here is a list of the best places to visits and walks to complete if you visit the Peak District.
1. The Heights of Abraham
The Heights of Abraham, is a hill top park and tourist attraction, set within 60 acres do woodlands. The attraction is reached by cable car, which takes you over a deep limestone gorge in the Peak District. The views are just stunning. The ticket doesn’t just include the cable car ride, but also two guided tours around the historic caverns: The Great Masson Cavern and the Rutland Cavern and Nestus Mine. Both of which are just stunning.
There are a few changes in place to align with government guidelines. Whilst you are riding the cable cars, in the caverns and whilst in any of the indoor facilities, you must be wearing a mask. Also, you can ~normally~ reach the attraction by taking the 1 hour steep walking route, however this is currently not accessible due to these Covid-19 restrictions.
There is so much to do, and the views from the top are simply beautiful. It’s a really special place to visit, and was at the top of my Peak District bucket list, prior to our little holiday. A definite recommendation!
2. Monsal Trail
The Monsal Trail is a walking, cycling and horse-riding trail, along a former Railway line in the Derbyshire Peak District. It runs along the former Midland Railway line, and it around 8.5 miles long. Starting at Bakewell and passing through Coombs Road, Chee Dale and finishing in Blackwell Mill. The route is entirely traffic-free and is a lovely route you can experience at your own pace – suitable for any ability and family friendly too. You also pass through numerous railway tunnels during the venture.
We chose to hire two electric bikes from Hassop Station to cycling the route. With me having joint problems, this was the perfect choice. We hired them for the full day, so we could cycle at a leisurely place and enjoy the many beautiful views along the route. This was definitely one of my favourite days during our staycation in the Peak District.
3. Kinder Scout Walk
This is an 8-mile moderate loop trail near Castleton. This walk takes around 4-5 hours, depending on the level of fitness and the number of breaks and photo stops. The route takes you through the rocky, narrow valley of Grindsbrook Clough to Edale Moor and onto Kinder Downfall, then past the trig point and down Jacob’s Ladder back to Edale. The views on this walk look amazing, and is a walk I’ll definitely be completing next time I’m in the Peak District.
4. Mam Tor
I spent my birthday morning walking Mam Tor, and it was definitely a Peak District highlight. Mam Tor means ‘mother hill’, as it towers over hope valley and the smaller hills below it. This is a 517m hill, near Castleton. Mam Tor, is known as being one of the best ridge walks in the country, and I can see why. The views are stunning.
It takes around 1-2 hours to walk up the ascent, and is approximately 6.5 miles, with a few breaks and photo stops along the way. The walk isn’t too difficult, although there are a few steep and unstable parts, but the route does have stepping stones making it easier to walk sections of it. This walk can be done all year round. When we visited, the weather was cool, but quite windy. The feeling of the wind through your hair whilst taking in the spectacular views is beautiful.
5. Peak Wildlife Park
Situated just on the edge of the Peak District National Park, in Leek, the Peak Wildlife Park is a great day out for all the family. This walkthrough wildlife park is home to exotic and endangers animals from across multiple continents, including penguins, lemurs, zebras and your friendly farm animals too.
6. Visit Matlock Bath and Lover’s Walk
Matlock Bath is known as the seaside town thats no where near the sea. The main street of this little town is lined with fish and chip places, souvenir shops, and arcades; just like you’d find our UK coastal towns to be. We popped into Mad Hatter Cafe for one of their Freakshakes each and some dirty fries to share, it was delicious. The cafe is so quirky too.
Lover’s Walk is a lovely, quiet paved walk along the side of the river Derwent, which runs through Matlock bath. A focal point of Lover’s Walk is the natural outfall from a thermal spring into the river. This is a short but peaceful walk to take whilst in the town.
7. Stroll around Bakewell
Bakewell is the biggest town in the Peak District. We spent a few hours here strolling around and having a look in all the different little shops (mainly to hunt for a snow-globe, which we were unsuccessful in doing). Bakewell is known for their local confection…the Bakewell Pudding. We queued at the Old Original Bakewell Shop to get our hands on a few before wandering around the town a little more. There is a beautiful flower garden too, which makes for a lovely stroll.
8. Poole’s Cavern and Buxton Country Park
Poole’s Cavern is a 2-million-year-old natural limestone cave, situated on the edge of Buxton in the Peak District. The cavern is huge, and it’s formation is breathtaking. The cavern forms part of the Wye system, and is a Site of Special Scientific Interest which you only get to see if your take the tour.
Also, you can stroll around the beautiful Buxton Country Park, with the option of a few different routes, to the viewpoint for panoramic views of the Peak District.
9. Chatsworth House
Located in Bakewell, this tremendous stately home is home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. You can explore Chatsworth House itself, and it’s beautiful gardens too. With over 25 rooms to explore and sat on 105 acres of land, there is a lot to see. There is also a working farmyard and playground for the little ones too.
10. Linacre Reservoir
Three reservoirs make up Linacre Reservoir, and they were built between 1855 and 1904. The reservoirs hold more than 240 million gallons of water between them, so you can imagine the span of water here. The surroundings are comprised of bluebell woods and fields. Perfect for a lovely walk around. There are several trails around the reservoirs, and on the upper reservoir, the broad-walk crosses the water. An easy yet lovely walk.
11. Lumsdale Falls and Woodland Walk
Lumsdale falls is a steep-sided gorge near Matlock. The views are said to be spectacular, so make sure you grab your camera if you visit. However, due to Covid-19, Lumsdale valley and waterfalls are currently closed to the public. I suppose this is a good excuse to pay another visit to the Peak District when things are a little more ‘normal’.
Due to the closure, we instead went for a woodland walk around the area, and found a lovely spot to watch the sunset.- the perfect way to end the day.
12. Go Ape
There are many Go Ape sites across the country, including one within the Peak District at Buxton (right next to Poole’s Cavern). Here you can complete their tree top challenge, an obstacle course up in the tops of the trees, with zip wires and Tarzans swing. I have wanted to visit Go Ape from being a child, and I am still yet to go. I don’t know what’s stopping me but I need to go soon.
13. Ladybower Reservoir and Plug Holes
Ladybower is a v-shaped reservoir in the Upper Derwent valley. It was built between 1925 and 1943. The reservoir is surrounded by stunning countryside and magnificent views. There are many different walks around the area, including a circular 5.5 mile easy walk around the reservoir. Walks include walking over the dam, where you can see into the huge plug holes. These plug holes are designed to tunnel away the water when water levels are high.
What are your Peak District recommendations?
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