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8 Best Things To Do In The Peak District

The Peak District is a picturesque area of the East Midlands region of England. Covering more that 550 square miles, it is the UK’s original National Park and attracts thousands of visitors every year.

It has a beautifully contrasting landscape of wild moorlands, peaceful dales, dramatic rock edges, large reservoirs and famous hills to explore. With activities such as walking, cycling, climbing, caving and more on offer.

It’s also home to some cute little towns such as Bakewell and Matlock, where you can visit traditional English pubs, antique shops and tearooms.

With lots of offer, here are some the best things to do in the Peak District.

1. Mam Tor

Towering over the village of Castleton, Mam Tor is one of the most popular hotspots in the Peak District.

Standing at 517 metres high, Mam Tor means ‘Mother Hill’, which alludes to the mini-hills at the base of Mam Tor.

There are many different walks that you can take up to the summit of Mam Tor.

However, the easiest walk being from Mam Nick Car Park, from where you will have a short but relatively steep climb to the top.

Once at the summit, you will have spectacular 360 degree views over the rolling Peak District countryside. A great spot for amazing sunrise shots if you don’t mind an early start!

We completed the circular 6.5 mile (10.5km) walk from the picturesque village of Castleton to Mam Tor and would recommend this as one of the best things to do in the Peak District.

Mam Tor Walks In The Peak District
Half way across the Great Ridge at Mam Tor.
Mam Tor Walks In The Peak District
The views from Mam Tor summit.
Mam Tor Walks In The Peak District
An easy enough walk that also delivers incredible views.

2. Ladybower Reservoir

Ladybower Reservoir is one of three large reservoirs located in the beautiful Upper Derwent Valley. It’s located close to the village of Bamford in the heart of the Peak District. 

You will find paid car parking at the Visitor Information Centre along with toilets, a gift shop and cafe. (Post code S33 0AQ)

The scenic trail around the reservoir is 5.5 miles (8.8km) and is popular with walkers and cyclists. This is also a great place to start one of the many Peak District walks.

Interestingly, the local villages of Derwent and Ashopton were submerged during the construction of this reservoir between 1935 and 1943.

In 2018 the water levels of Ladybower Reservoir fell so low that the ruined village of Derwent could be seen once more.

There are two holes, technically known as shaft spillways, that are designed to regulate water levels when Ladybower Reservoir becomes full. The excess water flows away into the River Derwent downstream. 

Recently voted one of the Top 5 Places in Britain to start a walk, it’s certainly on our list of best things to do in the Peak District!

Ladybower Reservoir Peak District Things To Do In The Peak District
An example of the shaft spillways at Ladybower Reservoir.
Ladybower Reservoir Peak District Things To Do In The Peak District
Lauren enjoying the scenery.
Ladybower Reservoir Peak District Things To Do In The Peak District
A nice flat walk if you have the time.

3. Winnats Pass

Winnats Pass in the Derbyshire Peak District, is a stunning hill pass and limestone gorge, lying just west of the pretty village of Castleton.

Most people’s first experience of Winnats Pass will be driving through the pass via the 5.8 mile (9.3km) long winding road.

If walking Winnats Pass there are many different starting points. One of the most popular, starting from Castleton, is a 5 mile (8km) Winnats Pass + Mam Tor Walk. 

This is quite a challenging walk that takes you above Winnats Pass but it is definitely worth the effort as it has some of the most amazing views. (Not recommended for young children.)

Alternatively, if parked in the car park at Speedwell Cavern at the base of Winnats Pass, you will find many walking trails from here that lead directly up and into the pass.

Winnats Pass In The Peak District
Overlooking Winnats Pass from the top.
Winnats Pass In The Peak District
Exploring the area and looking for sheep.

4. Explore Bakewell

The picturesque and historic market town of Bakewell in Derbyshire is the largest of the towns in the Peak District.

Situated on the banks of the river Wye, this bustling market town has a selection of cafes, bakeries and gift shops.

With its wonderful old buildings, character cottages, and a medieval five-arched stone bridge it is extremely popular with visitors.

If you’re looking for a bargain, you can visit the outdoor market held every Monday. Or for something a little different, head for the livestock market to experience the action in the auction ring.

Enjoy a stroll past mellow stone buildings to quaint courtyards showcasing local art work. Followed by a visit to cosy cafe for a pot of tea and slice of the famous Bakewell pudding.

This beautiful little market town has to be on your list of best things to do in the Peak District.

Bakewell River Wye Things To Do In The Peak District
Lauren enjoying some food with the ducks in Bakewell.

5. Enjoy A Bakewell Tart

A Bakewell tart is a variant of the tasty Bakewell pudding that originated in the Derbyshire town of Bakewell in the Peak District.

Created back in the 1800’s following a mishap by the cook at a local inn, who misunderstood the recipe for a strawberry tart and ended up topping her creation with a soft set almond custard.

Consisting of a shortcrust pastry shell beneath layers of jam, frangipane, and a topping of flaked almonds a Bakewell tart is a tasty treat that you have to try when in Bakewell.

There are plenty of places to purchase the famous Bakewell tart, including local shops, bakeries and cafes.

In the centre of Bakewell, you will find the iconic Bakewell tart shop that has been the home of the Bakewell tarts for over one hundred years.

Bloomers Bakewell Tart Things To Do In The Peak District
We couldn’t leave without grabbing a Bakewell tart.
Bakewell Tart Things To Do In The Peak District
A traditional tart with a traditional back drop.

6. Baslow Edge

Sitting above the village of Baslow at the eastern edge of the Peak District, Baslow Edge is characterised by dramatic gritstone escarpments.

Baslow Edge walk is quite popular with families due to there being plenty of boulders along the way for the children to climb on and explore. You might also spot a highland cow if you are lucky!  

On of the popular walks is the short circular walk starting from Curbar Gap that is just under 2 miles (2.7km). Park at Curbar Gap National Trust Car Park, postcode – S32 3YR. 

You can expect some amazing panoramic views from Baslow edge, across the beautiful, undulating Peak District Countryside. On clear days will also be able to see the famous Chatsworth House. 

Baslow Edge Walk In The Peak District
Lauren off to explore Baslow Edge.
Baslow Edge Walk In The Peak District
The view from the top at sunset.

7. Explore Matlock Bath

Matlock Bath nestles at the bottom of the Derwent Valley in the Derbyshire Peak District.

It’s 1.5 miles (2.4km) south of the town of Matlock. It has been a popular tourist destination since the late 17th century. 

With its attractive riverside gardens, wooded hillsides, rocky limestone crags and spa waters it became popular with the victorians and was named ‘Little Switzerland’ by poet, Lord Byron.

There are lots of activities at Matlock Bath including a cable car ride that takes you up to The Heights of Abraham, show caves to explore, museums to visit and riverside walks.

It’s the seaside resort a hundred miles from the sea and well worth a visit.

Matlock Bath Things To Do In The Peak District
The old ‘seaside’ town of Matlock Bath.
Matlock Bath Things To Do In The Peak District
A typical bit of English rain didn’t stop us strolling around.

8. Camping

There are lots and lots of campsites to choose from in the Peak District, all with varying facilities.

If you wish to wild camp in the Peak District National Park you must first obtain permission from the landowner before camping otherwise you will be committing a trespass.

There are a number of free spots for campervans or motorhomes which we found on the Park4Night app.

Our favourite of which was located directly at the bottom of Mam Tor just round the corner from Mam Nick Car Park.

Not only was it a lovely peaceful place to enjoy dinner, we also got a great sunset over the Peak District and a head start on those hiking Mam Tor the next morning.

Camping In The Peak District Things To Do In The Peak District
Ready for a night of camping in the Peak District.
Mam Tor Things To Do In The Peak District
Overlooking the Peak District around sunset.
Camping In The Peak District Things To Do In The Peak District
Fuelling up before taking on Mam Tor.

Where To Stay In The Peak District

Luxury

Devonshire Arms at Beeley – Chatsworth

Devonshire Arms at Beeley is located on the Chatsworth Estate, which is owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. 

It is a 25-minute cross-country walk from Chatsworth House, and the property offers free WiFi in all areas and free on-site parking.

Each of the 18 individually designed bedrooms has an en-suite bathroom. Rooms are situated either in the main inn or the converted adjoining cottages.

Devonshire Arms at Beeley – Chatsworth has a relaxing and welcoming bar serving a selection of locally brewed ales, and wines from around the world. The restaurant serves produce that is locally sourced from the Chatsworth Estate.

This dog-friendly accommodation is 5.8 miles from Matlock and 9.7 miles from Chesterfield.

Mid-Budget

Ackroyd House

Set in just under 2 acres of private gardens, Ackroyd House is a 5-star country house located in Thurstonland, in the heart of Yorkshire countryside. It offers free WiFi and free private off road parking.

Rooms at the Ackroyd House feature en suite bathroom facilities, a large private seating area, a large flat TV and tea/coffee making facilities.

At Ackroyd House you will find a garden, barbecue facilities and a terrace. Other facilities offered at the property include an ironing service.

An array of activities can be enjoyed on site or in the surroundings, including cycling and hiking.

Budget

YHA Hartington Hall

Set in a grand 17th-century manor, this YHA offers cosy log fires and cooked meals. It is situated in Hartington, in the heart of the Peak District.

The majority of rooms at YHA Hartington Hall contain bunk beds. There is also a guest lounge, with Wi-Fi access and a games area, and laundry facilities are available on site.

The traditional restaurant serves full evening meals, and features exposed beams and original fireplaces. A breakfast buffet is served daily, and there is also a guest kitchen.

Hartington Hall YHA is set in beautiful grounds, just a 20-minute drive from historical Buxton. YHA has free parking, and the magnificent Chatsworth House Estate is a 25-minute drive away.

For more places to stay in the Peak District, you can check the latest prices on Booking.com.

Planning Your Trip

Book Your Flight

Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. 

They search websites and airlines around the globe to find you the best possible routes and prices.

Book Your Accommodation

Use Booking.com to find the best accommodation deals.

They consistently return the cheapest rates on everything from guesthouses to hotels for all of your budget needs.

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance

Use SafetyWing to find the best travel insurance for you.

They provide travel and medical incident insurance built specifically for digital nomads.

Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations.

Book Your Tours & Activities

Use GetYourGuide to book your activities in advance.

They sell the best tours, excursions and activities to attractions around the world.

Conveniently book, download and access your tickets on the move all from your mobile. 

Book Your Rental Car

Use RentalCars.com to find the best deals on rental cars in the area.

They compare all major car rental companies and allow you to easily book the perfect vehicle for your trip.

Buy Those Last Minute Bits

Use Amazon to buy everything you need for your adventure.

They offer next day delivery and you can use my travel packing checklist to make sure you haven’t forgotten anything.


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Bakewell Tart Things To Do In The Peak District