England’s beautiful Peak District stretches over a huge part of northern England, taking in parts of Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire, Cheshire and Greater Manchester. The Peak District National Park was the first ever national park in the UK, and it has been a popular destination for walkers, climbers, outdoors enthusiasts and lovers of beautiful countryside ever since! Book a country cottage or holiday home, and enjoy a healthy country holiday in the Peak District… but make sure that you balance out the days of walking and fresh air with a few evenings exploring the cosy local pubs!
Where to Stay in the Peak District
There are countless charming villages throughout the region, and some bustling towns as well. A great place to base yourself is the old spa town of Buxton - it has some great bed and breakfast and self-catering accommodation available, and is a charming place to base yourself. If you are relying on public transport, then a cottage in or around Buxton is a sensible choice, as it is easily the best connected town in the Peak District by train and bus. Matlock is also easy to get to by bus or train. If you have your own transport, then the options are limitless! The region contains a huge number of beautiful villages, from tiny hamlets to larger places with shops, pubs and a restaurant or two. Take a look at holiday homes in Ashbourne, Tideswell or Hathersage for a taste of the rural good life!
Did You Know...
- Although the population of the Peak District is only 38,000, around 20 million people live within an hour’s journey of it!
- There are no mountains in the Peak District - the word “peak” probably relates to the Pecsaetan, an Anglo-Saxon tribe who lived in the region
- Titan Shaft is the tallest cave in the district, and at 464 feet it is taller than the London Eye!
Pull on your Walking Boots
The Peak District is a mecca for walkers and hikers, and has been since the 1932 Kinder Trespass when 400 ramblers from Lancashire trespassed on (what was then) private ground, to campaign for public right of way. There are now 1600 miles of footpaths, bridleways and tracks open to the public - including 64 miles suitable for people with disabilities - so you can ramble away to your heart’s content! Some of the UK’s longest walking routes pass through the Peak District, so you can join those for a few miles - the Pennine Way, the Limestone Way and the Gritstone Trail are all good ones to follow.
If you are feeling adventurous, the Peak District is a great place to channel your inner Bear Grylls and head underground to explore the caves and potholes of the region. If you want to make the most of your trip, we recommend that you contact the Derbyshire Caving Association for information - some of the caves are attached to or associated with old lead mines and can be dangerous.
Visit Chatsworth House
Derbyshire’s Chatsworth House is a jewel in the Peak District’s crown, and the seat of the Duke of Devonshire. It is most famous in recent popular culture for standing in as Mr Darcy’s gaff, Pemberley in the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice. Interestingly Chatsworth House is actually mentioned in the novel - Elizabeth Bennett visits it on her tour of Derbyshire before popping into Pemberley! The estate’s enormous garden covers 105 acres, and blends together design and features from six centuries, and offers some stunning views over Chatsworth’s parklands. You can visit the house (which has more than thirty rooms to walk around, and one of Europe’s most important private art collections), gardens and park throughout the year.
Take a Day Trip to Buxton
Buxton is a gorgeous old spa town and well worth a day’s visit. It is of course most famous as the home of Buxton Spring Water and you can try the stuff for free from a well by the Royal Crescent in the town centre! Head to Poole’s Cavern, which is an enormous limestone cave, now open to the public as a show cave. Nearby is Solomon’s Temple, an old folly which you can climb to get an outstanding view of the surrounding countryside. If you’re visiting as a family, treat the kids to an afternoon at Go Ape, an amazing high wire adventure playground in the forest - there are zip slides, rope bridges and swings high up in the trees, so get down there and indulge your inner Tarzan! Buxton has some great self-catering and bed and breakfast accommodation if you decide you want to stay there a little longer.
Like most rural areas in the UK, public transport in the Peak District is patchy. Some places, such as Buxton are really well connected however, and we recommend that you look for holiday accommodation there or somewhere similar if you are relying on local trains and buses. If you are driving, then your options are much more open. However you get around, we know you will love exploring this wonderful corner of England.