With windswept fells and glittering caves, quaint villages and grand stately homes, there are so many amazing places to visit in the Peak District, England.
The Peak District is the United Kingdom’s oldest national park, covering 555 square miles of glorious countryside right in the centre of the country.
This beautiful region is best known for its wild moors, craggy peaks and wonderful hiking trails, but it also guards plenty of other secrets, just waiting to be discovered.
From beautiful underground caverns filled with rare minerals and precarious stalactites, to the magnificent gardens of the Chatsworth Estate, there’s no shortage of incredible places to visit in the Peak District.
In fact, there are so many things to do in the Peak District that you’ll be spoilt for choice, whatever your tastes! Thrill seekers can spend the day at Alton Towers, or try their hand at paragliding or rock climbing out in the hills.
If you’re a culture vulture, there are plenty of significant historic sites across the region, some of which have links to some of Britain’s literary greats.
If you’d rather put your feet up or do a little leisurely shopping, there are lots of gorgeous Peak District villages with cosy pubs and sumptuous hotels, perfect for spa breaks.
To give you a little travel inspiration, here’s the ultimate list of the best places to visit in the Peak District. You’ll find recommendations for where to stay and where to eat, and lots of Peak District tips to help make your stay a memorable one!
Getting To The Peak District
The Peak District covers a vast area in the centre of England, covering areas of Derbyshire, Yorkshire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester, and Staffordshire. Thankfully, that means it’s very accessible via a number of train lines that criss-cross the region from north, south, east and west.
For those coming from the north, Manchester, Sheffield and Huddersfield all provide regular connecting trains to various parts of the Peak District. Meanwhile, from the south, Derby offers excellent connections to Matlock, Bakewell and the Light Peaks.
The closest airports are Manchester and Birmingham, where you’ll be able to catch a train that takes you deep into the park.
If you’re coming from Manchester, we really recommend this full-day tour. Everything from admissions tickets to transport are taken care for you so you can just concentrate on having fun!
Alternatively, hop in the car and head off on an epic road trip. You won’t believe the views!
Once you’re in the national park, there are plenty of local buses that service all the main towns, villages and walking routes, so it’s relatively easy to get in and around on public transport.
Places To Visit in The Peak District
Head for the Hills and Go Hiking
The number one reason most visitors take a trip to the Peak District is to take advantage of the many wonderful hiking trails across the national park. It’s one of the most popular places in the UK to go walking, and you’ll find trails to suit all tastes and fitness levels.
The Dark Peaks offer some of the most dramatic scenery for trekking, with imposing gritstone ridges and wild moorland, but you’ll also find plenty of variety across the region. If you’re a keen hiker, the best time to visit the Peak District is in spring, when the woods are typically covered in a bright carpet of bluebells.
There are too many wonderful hikes in the Peaks to mention, but no itinerary is complete with attempting the hike up Mam Tor – the route may be steep, but the rewards at the top are simply stunning!
Enjoy a Bakewell Pudding in Bakewell
If all that hiking has worked up an appetite, why not stop off in Bakewell for a spot of lunch and a traditional Bakewell pudding? The village of Bakewell is one of the most popular places to visit in the Peak District, with its quaint, picturesque streets, fascinating historical sights, friendly tourist information centre, and unique, independent shops.
However, the ancient ‘Capital of the Peaks’ is probably best known for Bakewell pudding, a local speciality best sampled at the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop. This delicious tart is made with almond custard, set in a buttery puff pastry case, and absolutely must be tasted while you are visiting the Peaks!
Eat At One Of The Peak District’s Best Restaurants
The Peak District has several fine restaurants, and many Peak District villages boast a wide selection of places to eat. However, while you’re in this beautiful rural part of England, there’s nothing better than a top country pub, and the Devonshire Arms on the Chatsworth Estate ticks all the boxes.
This warm, 18th century pub comes complete with roaring fires, a fine selection of real ales, and a menu packed with locally sourced ingredients. This is the best place to curl up after a long day out on the hills.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for something a little more upmarket, head for Fischer’s at Baslow Hall. As the only Michelin starred restaurant in Derbyshire, this is the place to come for a real treat, and the wonderful, inventive, and constantly changing menu certainly won’t disappoint.
Admire the Views At Stanage Edge
Stanage Edge is an iconic ridge extending 6km over the Derwent Valley. This beautiful part of the peaks forms a significant section of the Long Causeway, an ancient highway that runs from Sheffield to Derbyshire, itself an important piece of local history.
The view from the top of the ridge is simply magnificent, with a panoramic vista over the Derwent and Hope Valleys, and the wild, high moors that stretch beyond the Edge. This is the place where Charlotte Bronte found inspiration for her iconic novel, Jane Eyre, and it’s a marvellous place to admire the fabulous scenery of the Peaks.
Enjoy The Rides At Alton Towers
If you’re looking for a few thrills during your escape in the Peaks, head for the region’s best attraction park – Alton Towers. This popular theme park is packed with epic rollercoasters and a Caribbean themed water park.
There are rides to suit all tastes and age groups and hotels on site if you want to make a weekend of it. With new attractions and activities that take advantage of cutting edge virtual reality technology, there’s never been a better time for a day out at Alton Towers.
If you’re heading to Alton Towers, it’s always a good idea to get your ticket before you go!
Visit Chatsworth House
The magnificent Chatsworth Estate is one of the finest attractions in the Peak District, with over 1000 acres of beautiful parkland and gardens. There’s enough to do here for a whole day out, with extensive gardens, water features, galleries and shops, not to mention to the excellent restaurant and café.
The grounds also include an adventure playground and farmyard – perfect for younger visitors!
Visit A Peak District Cave
Although the Peak District is best known for its hills, valleys and moors, some of its finest treasures are found beneath the ground. One of the best places to visit in the Peak District is Treak Cliff Cavern, a remarkable cave system filled with glittering stalactites and stalagmites.
This is also one of the rare places where you might find Blue John Stone, a unique mineral traditionally used for jewellery, ceramics and ornaments in the Peak District. There are many other underground caverns to explore all across the national park, some of which can be incorporated into a hike for a wonderful day of exploration.
Visit the Heights of Abraham
The Heights of Abraham is one of the most unusual things to do in the Peak District, perched on the top of Masson Hill, close to Matlock Bath. Visitors arrive by cable car, travelling high over the Derwent Valley with stunning views over the region.
The main attraction is the stunning natural limestone gorge, and visitors can take special guided tours into the Great Masson Cavern, the most spectacular show caves in the Peaks! Outside the caves, Masson Hill is the perfect place for a picnic, with more than 60 acres of wooded hillside, covered in easy walking trails.
Walk Through The Pavilion Gardens
The Pavilion Gardens is one of the highlights of the Victorian town of Buxton, with over 23 acres of beautiful gardens dating from 1871. This is a wonderful place for a stroll and one of the best things to do in the Peak District in winter, when the bad weather may keep you off the hills. There’s a pleasant café and a miniature railway train that provides tours around the gardens.
Where To Stay In The Peak District
Walking distance from the magnificent Chatsworth house, this old coaching inn is now a beautiful country house hotel. The décor is the perfect mix of traditional and modern (think luxury furnishings and grand old fireplaces), and you’ll receive a very warm welcome from the friendly staff.
There’s a choice of two restaurants, including the laid-back Garden Room for light daytime meals, and the more upmarket Gallery, where you’ll find a modern menu that really showcases some of the Peak District’s finest local produce. A stay here is the perfect way to enjoy the best of this glorious region.
The Michelin starred restaurant at Fischer’s Baslow Hall is just one of many reasons to stay at this fine manor house.
Set in beautiful grounds in an ideal location close to Chatsworth, Castleton, and Stanage Edge, it’s perfect for hiking in the Peaks and touring many of the fascinating sights of the region.
Now you’ve got your list of beautiful places to visit in the Peak District, you can start planning your trip. Let us know where you end up.
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