Your local guide to the Peak District National Park
Welcome to the Peak District, the United Kingdom’s oldest national park, spread across 555 square miles of breathtaking landscapes. From leisurely walks and exploring quaint towns and villages to climbing, caving, and camping, there’s a wealth of activities to enjoy. Not to mention, the best local pubs are perfect for a relaxing end to your adventures.
At PeakDistrict.org, we offer a treasure trove of guides to make your visit memorable or help plan your future trips. Drawing from our roots in the Staffordshire Moorlands and our passion for the great outdoors, we’re here to share insider knowledge and practical tips for exploring the Peak District’s natural beauty.
Whether you’re a seasoned explorer or new to the area, let us help you discover the best of the Peaks.
Things to do in the Peak District National Park
1. Go for a Hike in the Surrounding Landscape
The Peak District is renowned for its rolling hills, majestic moors, and tranquil hiking experiences. It’s no surprise that hiking is one of the top activities.
Some of the best Peak District walks include:
Dovedale Valley, in the southern part of the Peak District, has been a cherished destination for visitors since Victorian times.
Walking along the river to Milldale is a top choice, featuring stops at Lover’s Leap and Reynard’s Cave. Consider a brief detour to the summit of Thorpe Cloud, where you’ll be greeted with spectacular views of the surrounding landscape.
Explore the Mam Tor and Great Ridge trail for breathtaking 360-degree views from the summit, stretching for miles along the ridge.
Large sections of the Mam Tor path are well-paved and easy to follow, offering an excellent walk for those new to exploring the Peak District National Park.
Edge walks in the Peaks rank among the most popular due to their distinctive shapes and the panoramic views they offer from the top.
2. Visit a Reservoir
The Peak District, home to numerous reservoirs and devoid of natural lakes, offers a picturesque setting for walks along well-maintained paths surrounding many of them.
Additionally, a selection of these reservoirs provides opportunities for watersports.
Some of the largest and most popular include:
The largest and most famous, Ladybower Reservoir, holds a staggering 27,800,000 cubic metres of water.
It has a rich history, with the villages of Ashopton and Derwent, submerged to create this crucial water supply, occasionally emerging from the depths.
Directly linked to Ladybower Reservoir in the Derwent Valley, Derwent Reservoir is renowned for its historical significance as a practice site for the Dambusters during World War II.
The iconic Dam wall is internationally recognised for its spectacular overflow after heavy rainfall, offering a mesmerising scene.
Located above the village of Greenfield on Saddleworth Moor in Greater Manchester, Dovestone Reservoir sits on the western edge of the Peak District National Park.
It combines natural beauty with easy access, making it particularly appealing for those near Manchester.
3. Visit a local Town or Village
Some of the most popular destinations for visitors include:
Buxton, known as the coldest and highest market town in England, is a picturesque spa town offering a wealth of experiences.
From the architectural marvel of Buxton Crescent to the verdant Pavilion Gardens, it’s a place of rich heritage, cultural highlights, and natural beauty waiting to be explored.
Famous for inventing the Bakewell Pudding, Bakewell is surrounded by picturesque landscapes.
This charming market town may be small, but it attracts visitors with its allure and historic backdrop.
Castleton, a historic village, is celebrated for its rugged beauty and peaceful surroundings. It features a rich history, from medieval times to ancient lead mines and captivating caverns.
Now a popular tourist destination, it invites visitors to enjoy scenic Castleton walks, geological wonders, and a peek into its rich past.
Matlock & Matlock Bath
Matlock Bath, alongside the picturesque town of Matlock, offers a mix of scenic river views and cultural sites, resembling a classic seaside resort in the countryside.
The area’s rich heritage is showcased in its grand Victorian architecture and the historical spa town status of Matlock Bath, where thermal springs have been attracting visitors for centuries.
4. Visit a Historic Building
- Chatsworth: Famous estate known for its stunning gardens and art collections.
- Ilam Hall: A picturesque gothic manor surrounded by beautiful parklands and walking trails.
- Haddon Hall: An exceptionally well-preserved medieval manor house with charming gardens.
- Peveril Castle: Historic ruins perched high with panoramic views over Castleton & Cave Dale.
- Lyme Park: A grand estate with a historic house, expansive gardens, and a deer park – famous for pride and prejudice.
The Peak District boasts a rich mining heritage, and venturing underground offers a unique glimpse into its stunning inner beauty.
Explore renowned show caverns like Poole’s Cavern, Peak Cavern, Blue John Cavern, Speedwell Cavern, and Treak Cliff Cavern. For a unique adventure, try instructor-led caving.
6. More Outdoor Activities
Beyond the hiking trails, the Peak District offers a treasure trove of outdoor activities set against its rocky landscapes and waterways.
- Water Sports: Dive into the excitement with canoeing, paddle boarding, and sailing.
- Climbing & Abseiling: The rugged cliffs and crags provide the perfect natural playground for both beginners and experienced climbers.
- Cycling: Routes like the Monsal Trail offer a scenic journey through tunnels and viaducts.
- Wild Swimming: With its hidden pools, waterfalls and quiet rivers, the Peak District invites you to discover the refreshing joy of swimming in nature’s own waters.
7. Other Popular Attractions
- Heights of Abraham: A must-visit destination, offering panoramic views of the surrounding countryside from its cable cars.
- Crich Tramway Museum & Peak Rail: Step back in time at the Crich Tramway Museum, where you can ride on vintage trams through a recreated period village. Or journey through the scenic Derbyshire countryside on a heritage steam train.
- Alton Towers & Splash Landings: Just outside the Peak District, Alton Towers provides an adrenaline-packed day out with its world-class roller coasters, waterpark and attractions.
- Gulliver’s Kingdom: Ideal for younger visitors, Gulliver’s Kingdom offers a magical experience with less waiting and more fun, all set in a stunning hillside location.
We’re still working on completing a full guide for things to do in the Peak District, but in the meantime, you can view our blog roll of our most recent posts:
- 13 Best Views in the Peak District: Panoramic & Picturesque Options
- 28 Best Peak District Walks: Varied Distances & Landscapes
- Parkhouse & Chrome Hill Walk (The Dragon’s Back)
- Three Shires Head Walk & Waterfall (7km Circular Route)
- 105 Peak District Towns & Villages: A-Z (Biggest & Best)
- 8+ Best Things to Do in Bakewell: Yummy & Scenic
Helping Spread the Word about the Peak District
Just some of the websites we’ve been featured in:
Hey, I’m Alex; I grew up in the nearby Staffordshire countryside, spending loads of time in the Peaks, a place that’s always been close to my heart.
I took over PeakDistrict.org to help share information about this gorgeous bit of the countryside with you!
Our mission is simple: to provide you with top-notch, free-of-charge information about the Peak District. From the best trails for a hearty ramble, the cosiest accommodations to put your feet up, to the most entertaining things to do while you’re here – we’ve got you covered.
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