Peak District, England: 14 Unmissable Things to Do + Best Walks + Map

Peak District England

The First National Park in England, the Peak District boasts of having one of the most stunning landscapes in the UK. Spread over 500 square miles mostly in Derbyshire, Peak District is very famous for its rugged rolling hills, magnificent valleys, breath-taking rocky edges, idyllic reservoirs, and spectacular show caves. 

It’s extremely popular with the walkers, climbers, cyclists and potholers. Some of the elegant country houses and bustling small towns are also located in the Peak District. Plus, Peak District hosts some unique festivals like Garland Day and Well Dressing Festival. 

It attracts over 10 million visitors every year from all over the world. Visiting Peak district would definitely be a memorable experience. Here is our 4 days travel itinerary for the Peak District.

Getting to Peak District:

The attractions, that we talked about above, are huddled around 3 main villages and small town: Castleton, Bamford and Bakewell.  All of them are well connected with Sheffield by bus.

Castleton:

Bus 272 runs from Sheffield Interchange to Castleton few times day. It takes about an hour to reach. If you are coming by car, it would be about 35 minutes via A57.

Bamford:

Bamford falls on the Hope Valley Railway which connects Sheffield with Manchester. By train, this village is about 15 minutes from Sheffield, but the village centre is almost 15 minutes walk from the train station. If you are coming by bus from Sheffield, it would take about 35 minutes. By Car, Bamford is 25 minutes from Sheffield via A57.

Bakewell:

Take the bus 218 from Sheffield Interchange to reach Bakewell. It takes roughly an hour. If you are coming by car, it would take almost 40 minutes via A625.

🇬🇧 14 Awesome Things to do in Peak District, England

DAY-1 in Peak District:

1. Chatsworth House

chatsworth house peak district

Chatsworth House is one of the top tourist attractions of the Peak District in Derbyshire. Since it was built in the 1500s, Chatsworth House has been the home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire (Cavendish family). This is one of the most visited country houses in Britain.

Once here, explore the grand Painted Hall, beautifully decorated State Rooms and the Sculpture Gallery of the Cavendish family. The film adaption of Jane Austen’s romantic novel, Pride and Prejudice has made the Sculpture Gallery more popular. They have a tearoom as well where you can enjoy some light bites and indulge in an afternoon tea. 

The estate boasts of having one of the finest gardens in the UK. The centrepiece of the 105 acres garden is the Emperor Fountain which sits at the north end of the Canal Pond. It was built in the 1800s when Tsar Nicholas I of Russia was expected to visit here. At the time of construction, it was the world’s highest fountain. The garden has many other elegant features such as cascading steps, rock gardens, Greenhouse where Sir Joseph Paxton – the head gardener of the 6th Duke of Devonshire, cultivated the famous Cavendish Banana.

Chatsworth view from old bridge, Peak District

You would also enjoy the walk along the bank of River Derwent which flows by the estate. Plus, don’t miss the stone arched bridge near the car park. You would get to admire a brilliant view across the estate and the river.

2. Explore Edensor

Edensor village peak district

This small village lies quite close to the Chatsworth House estate in Derbyshire. Originally Edensor (pronounced as ‘Enza’) was located just outside the Chatsworth House down the River Derwent. But in the 1800s, it was removed by the 6th Duke of Devonshire, William Cavendish as the village was obstructing the view from the estate. So, he decided to relocate the village near the Parish Church.

Present Day Edensor is incredibly picturesque. The buildings in this small village have strikingly varied architectural styles from Tudor to Swiss Chalet. It’s believed the 6th Duke couldn’t make up his mind when the architect John Robertson showed him a wide range of designs.

At the heart of this village, lies St Peter’s church. In the churchyard over there, most of the past Dukes of Devonshire are buried. Also, there is a memorial to Kathleen Kennedy, the sister of the late US president, John F Kennedy and the wife of William Cavendish, the eldest son of the 10th Duke. This village’s former post office is now the Edensor Tea Cottage, a nice spot for lunch.

3. Roam around the Village of Bakewell

bakewell peak district

This market town in Derbyshire is best known for inventing the famous delicious dessert, Bakewell Pudding – a strawberry jam-filled pastry topped with almond custard. If you have a sweet tooth, you will have to pay a visit here.

The story goes that a local cook made this by mistake in the 1800s after misreading the instructions and since then it’s a firm favourite. Once in Bakewell, pop into The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop near Rutland Square, and enjoy this tasty treat. You may have to queue for some time, but it’s totally worth it.

bakewell river

Not only the pudding, Bakewell has plenty of other things to do as well. Explore the medieval five arched stone bridge, take a stroll along the River Wye and admire the view of the town, enjoy a moment with your loved ones at the Love Locks Bridge.

If you are here on Monday, visit the bustling local market which takes place near the Visitor Centre. Plus, the Bath Gardens just opposite the Rutland Arms Hotel is a nice place to sit and relax in quiet and enjoy the garden.

4. Haddon Hall, Peak District

Not too far from Bakewell, Haddon Hall is an elegant medieval manor house in the Peak District. Built in the 11th century, Haddon Hall is home to the Lord and Lady Edward Manners. Once here, explore the grand interiors and enjoy a meander around the magnificent cascading garden. Plus, Haddon hosts several events and exhibitions throughout the year. Haddon Hall has appeared in many films and documentaries. 

DAY-2 in Peak District:

5. Ridge Walk in Mam Tor

Mam Tor ridge Peak District

Mam Tor is one of the most scenic ridge walks in the UK offering a stunning view over Hope Valley and the Vale of Edale. This ‘shivering mountain’ is situated on an active landslide and ever year, it moves about a quarter of a meter. In fact, ‘Mam Tor’ means Mother Hill because all the surrounding small hills were formed due to its movement over the last 4000 years.

view from mam tor

This 517 meter high hill is a firm favourite with the walkers and climbers. The most popular walking trail starts from the Mam Tor Car park and the summit can be reached by accessing a series of steps. This 3-mile long circular path continues along the flagstone path over the Great Ridge. It’s quite an easy walk and typically takes about 2 hours to complete unless you get too carried away with the view.

You can also do a bit longer circular trail (about 6.5 miles) from Castleton. Part of the path can be a bit boggy, particularly on a wet day.

On a sunny day, Mam Tor is very popular with paragliders as well. As you walk along, you can see many people floating around and enjoying the breath-taking view of the Great Ridge and the valleys on its two sides.

6. Blue John Cavern

blue john tavern peak district

Not too far from Mam Tor, Blue John Cavern is a very popular tourist attraction in the Peak District. This is considered one of the finest show caves in Western Europe. Now, if you are wondering what Blue John is, it’s a rare mineral that was first discovered in the Peak District about 2000 years ago by the Romans. Even, Vases made of Blue John were found during the excavation of the Pompeii in Italy.

Once here, take a guided tour and enjoy this vast underground cavern of the magic mineral. The miners still dig this precious stone by hand and turn those into jewellery. If you fancy wearing a Blue John jewellery, pop into their shop at the cavern or the Original Blue John Craft Shop in the nearby village, Castleton.

7. Winnats Pass

winnats pass peak district

Winnats Pass is one of the famous hill passes in the UK and lies very close to Castleton. The name derives from the Windy Gates – won’t be hard to realise the origin of the name if you pass through this limestone valley on a windy day. The road is extremely photogenic with limestone ridges on either side. If you are travelling by car in the Peak District, you have to drive through here. As you can see, it can be busy sometimes particularly in summer but totally worth it.

8. Treak Cliff Cavern, Peak District

After Visiting Blue John Cavern, if you are in for another Blue John stone wonderland, pop into Treak Cliff Cavern. This one is nestled in the Treak Cliff Hill and falls on the way to Castleton from Blue John Cavern. Take their guided tours and experience the jaw-dropping cave formations, most remarkably The Pillar – the largest Blue John stone and The Stork – the most impressive rock formation in the cave. They have self-guided audio tours available as well.

DAY-3 in Peak District:

9. Explore Castleton

Located at the head of Hope Valley in the Peak District, Castleton is a picture-perfect village. Having an abundance of rolling hills nearby, Castleton offers some of the scenic walking opportunities in the UK. This is also a great base to explore the famous show caves of the Peak District.

Once here, simply take a ramble around the village and take in the stunning view of the surrounding hills. Also, look up to the Norman ruins of Peveril Castle as well which overlooks this beautiful village. 

Castleton small river
streets of castleton peak district

Plus, Castleton hosts a very offbeat festival every year on 29th May – Castleton Garland Day. It’s totally one-of-a-kind festival where the Garland King on a horseback is completely covered with a bell-shaped flower frame (weighs almost 30 kg!).

He and his consort then parade through this village and stops at every village pubs. That’s an extremely popular event and thousands of people flock to Castleton to attend this event.

10. Cave Dale

cave dale castleton peak district

Cave Dale is a hidden gem in Castleton. Just a short walk from the bustling village centre, this is like an oasis of calm. Take a stroll along this rugged limestone valley and get an amazing view of Peveril Castle.

The walk from the cave-like entrance of this dale is moderately easy but at places, it can be a bit wet, slippery and steep. On your walk, you will get to see small caves tucked away in the hills. Cave Dale was featured in the 2008 film, The Other Boleyn Girl.

11. Peak Cavern, Peak District

Known to the local as the Devil’s Arse, Peak Cavern in the Peak District has the largest natural cave mouth in the UK. Located in Castleton just beneath the imposing Peveril Castle, the entrance to this cave is simply spectacular which was used by the ropemakers until the 19th century for the local mining industry.  Take their guided tour and visit the impressive chambers of this cavern – Orchestral Chamber, Devil’s Cellar, Pluto’s Dining Room.

If you want to enjoy a live music performance inside this cavern, check out their website. They host a number of concerts and events throughout the year.

DAY-4 in Peak District:

12. Hike up to Bamford Edge

bamford edge peak district

Bamford Edge in the Hope Valley is an overhang of gritstone rock formations. Climbing Bamford Edge should definitely be on your Peak District travel itinerary. It’s quite an easy hike and extremely popular with walkers and climbers in all seasons.

Nearby Bamford Village would be a good starting point for the walk. From the village centre, it would take about 1-1.5 hours depending on your fitness level. Once you reach the top, which is about 420 m high, you would get a spell-binding view across the Hope Valley and Ladybower Reservoir with Ashopton Viaduct.

When we were there, it was almost the end of summer. Though the moorland heathers were not in full bloom anymore, the purple colour was not completely faded. It was beautiful. You can extend the walk to Stanage Edge, another impressive gritstone Edge popular with rock climbers and hikers.

13. Ladybower Reservoir, Peak District

Ladybower Reservoir peak district

Ladybower Reservoir is a large Y-shaped reservoir in the Upper Derwent Valley in the Peak District. Centrepiece of the Ladybower Reservoir is certainly Ashopton Viaduct. Plus, this reservoir is historically very significant. During the World War II, pilots of 617 squadron did a bombing practice here before attacking the great dams of Germany as part of Operation Chastise (or Dam Busters) led by Guy Gibson.

The entire Upper Derwent Valley offers plenty of opportunities to walk, cycle and fish and enjoy the stunning scenery. Having plenty of woodlands, rolling hills and rare birds in the surrounding area, this is a great place to commune with the nature.

14. Bamford Village

bamford village in peak district

Located about 11 miles west of Sheffield, Bamford is a great base to explore the famous Bamford Edge and Upper Derwent Valley which consists of three reservoirs. Originally this village in the Hope Valley was developed around a corn mill and the population increased when the dams in the Upper Derwent Valley were built.  Bamford is also a popular rail station on the Hope Valley line which connects Sheffield and Manchester. 

Well Dressing festival, a popular flower decoration festival around the wells and water sources in rural England, takes place in this village in July every year.

After a long walk, Angler’s Rest at the centre of the village is a good spot for a pint and light refreshments. 

🗺️ Map of the attractions in Peak District

Here is the Google map of all the Best things to do in the Peak District, England for 4 days.

 Click here to open it in Google maps.

Planing a Trip to England?

Best Time to Visit Peak District:

Peak district is beautiful in all seasons. But days being longer, summer months are a better choice for outdoor activities. Plus, some of the popular festivals like Garland Day and Well Dressing Festival take place in summer. 

3 thoughts on “Peak District, England: 14 Unmissable Things to Do + Best Walks + Map”

  1. I love Derbyshire! I was born there in the early 1940’s and have a deep fondness for all that Derbyshire offers. Chatsworth House is fantastic. On a return visit 12 years ago all of my large family met there for a wonderful picnic. So happy that it has been kept up so nicely.

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