The Peak District is stunning and it’s right on our doorstep. So, in celebration of its beauty, here’s 6 places you should revisit in the Peak District soon
The Peak District National Park welcomes 8.75 million visitors a year and they spend some 11.75 million days enjoying all that this protected area has to offer. There is a spectacular variety of scenery and routes to be explored whether you want a challenging hike or a short stroll, as well as the chance to visit quaint country villages, historic towns and stately homes.
If you’ve not visited Britain’s first National Park for a while here are some suggestions for a return visit to rediscover what the Peak District has to offer.
Visit Dovedale at Ashbourne to enjoy the country at a gentle more leisurely pace by having a picnic by the River Dove, watching the wildlife or by crossing the famous Dovedale stepping stones which are less than half a mile from the main car park. Dovedale is open countryside creating a sense of wilderness with no facilities beyond the entrance, and opportunities to explore caves, search for fossils, climb Cloud Thorpe, spot wildflowers or walk along the valley from the stepping stones to Milldale.
Tourists have been visiting Buxton since the fourteenth century and it is one of the most popular destinations in the Peak District. In the eighteenth century the then Duke of Devonshire had ambitious plans to exploit the potential of Buxton’s famous thermal spring to create a spa town to rival that of Bath. Today you can see the evidence of this in the Crescent and in the architecture of the town, as well as visiting the Opera House and the beautifully landscaped Pavilion Gardens.
Kinder Scout is the highest point in the Peak District at 636 metres, and in April 1932 it was the sight of a peaceful mass trespass by around 400 people in support of their access rights to the land. This event was pivotal in the access movement that led to the formation of the National Parks starting with the Peaks in 1951, and today you can retrace their steps out of Hayfield or Edale where there is a National Trust Visitor Centre to cross the same heather clad moors.
The then Princess Victoria first visited Matlock Bath in 1832 before becoming Queen while she was a guest of the Duke of Devonshire at Chatsworth House. Today Chatsworth is still the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and has been passed down through sixteen generations of the Cavendish family. The House has 30 rooms with a world-renowned art collection, and a 105-acre garden with sculptures, waterworks and maze as well as an adventure playground and farmyard. Complete a very full day with Afternoon Tea from £21 per person.
Close to the village of Matlock Bath is the theme park Gulliver’s Kingdom especially designed for families with children aged between 2 and 13, and it is also located overlooking a valley so there are some magnificent views. The park offers a wide range of rides and attractions, while at the same time trying to stay cost conscious with picnics allowed on the site and free parking.
Scale the Heights of Abraham
Amazingly this attraction in the village of Matlock Bath opened for the first time in the 1780s when visitors used to scale the Heights on foot. Today they are catered for with a cable car that stretches across the Derwent Valley to the top of a dramatic limestone gorge where along with spectacular views are woodland trails and adventure playgrounds, as well as the opportunity to follow in the footsteps of eighteenth century lead miners in the underground caverns.
The Peak District is about beautiful places protected by statute for our enjoyment and appreciation, but it is also rich in experiences and a celebration of the senses. From the dark but heroic story of the plague village of Eyam to the world-famous Bakewell pudding from the quaint and mellow stone town that gave it its name; the Peak District once rediscovered can never be forgotten.