In the Peak District, there are so many hills and high points that choosing the best view can seem daunting.
In this article, I’ll make it easier for you by highlighting the top viewing spots in the Peak District and explaining what to keep in mind.
Don’t forget your camera, as we explore these amazing places!
If you’re short on time, here are the top picks for each category:
- Best overall view: Mam Tor & The Great Ridge
- Best views you can drive to: Monsal Head
- Best place to watch the sunset and sunrise: Bamford Edge
Best Peak District Viewing Points
Here’s a list of the top viewpoints in the Peak District, covering both the White and Dark Peak areas.
These spots are spread across the region, offering a variety of stunning views.
1. Mam tor
Mam Tor, often hailed as the top viewing spot in the Peak District, offers breathtaking, must-see views.
From its summit, you can gaze over the picturesque Hope Valley with the charming village of Castleton, while on the other side, you can see Edale and the other surrounding hills.
On a clear day, the panoramic views extend far, giving you a sense of the vastness of the Peak District.
The beauty of Mam Tor is the great Ridge acts as an amazing walk with only a 10-minute hike from the main car park, and your at the viewing point, which continues as you reach Hollins Cross, Back Tor and finally, over to Lose Hill.
However, with all this being said, it does get jam-packed, so you’ll need to ensure you arrive early or late in the afternoon, especially on the weekends and summer holidays.
View Mam Tor Walk
2. Bamford Edge
Bamford Edge, a lesser-known gem in the Peak District, offers some of the most stunning views. Standing on this rugged cliff, you’re treated to a spectacular sight of Ladybower Reservoir and the surrounding moors. It’s an iconic photo spot where you’ll often see people posing.
The contrast between the calm waters and the wild moorland is a true gem.
It’s a quieter spot compared to others due to the more strenuous effort to make it to the top and limited parking, making it perfect for those seeking a peaceful escape. The views here are also awe-inspiring at sunset when the sky and reservoir often light up with colours.
View Bamford Edge Walk
3. Stanage edge
Stanage Edge, renowned for its extensive reach across the Peak District, is celebrated not just for its natural beauty, but also as a filming location for the 2005 adaptation of “Pride and Prejudice“, featuring Keira Knightley.
The highest point, High Neb, offers particularly magnificent views, providing a broad panorama of the area’s stunning landscape.
This location is a magnet for climbers and walkers, drawn to its challenging routes and picturesque trails, which include the intriguing Robin Hood’s Cave.
The flat plateau at the top, however, is equally appealing for those who enjoy a more relaxed walk. Stanage Edge, with its mix of cinematic history and natural splendour, is a standout destination in the Peak District.
View Stanage Edge Walk
4. Win Hill
Win Hill, a prominent peak in the Peak District, stands out for its unique shape and the exceptional views it offers.
Its summit, known as Win Hill Pike, resembles a witch’s hat, adding an intriguing visual element to the landscape.
Although the ascent can be steep and challenging, the path to Win Hill is well-trodden and rewarding for both seasoned hikers and casual walkers. The summit is a popular spot, especially for those who relish panoramic views combined with a sense of achievement.
View Win Hill Walk
5. Winnats Pass
Winnats Pass, is a striking limestone gorge renowned for its dramatic scenery. This natural wonder, with its towering cliffs and winding road, creates a spectacular backdrop that is both awe-inspiring and slightly eerie.
The pass is steeped in history and folklore, adding a layer of intrigue to its already captivating landscape.
As you drive or walk through Winnats Pass, the towering cliffs rise imposingly on either side, offering a unique perspective of the Peak District’s rugged beauty.
The view from the top is also particularly breathtaking, with sweeping vistas of the surrounding countryside and the charming village of Castleton visible in the distance. It’s one of the few Castleton walks you can take.
6. Shinning Tor
Shining Tor, the highest point in Cheshire and a notable peak in the Goyt Vally, is renowned for its expansive views.
As you reach the summit, you’re greeted with panoramic views that stretch across the Cheshire Plain over Manchester and, on clear days, even as far as the Welsh mountains.
The walk to Shining Tor is a delightful experience, with a well-defined path that meanders through the picturesque landscape, or you can make your way up from Errowood Reservoir (Past Errwood Hall), making it accessible for both avid hikers and those looking for a leisurely walk.
The peak stands out for its unobstructed views from Cats Tor on the other end, offering a serene and somewhat secluded atmosphere away from the busier spots of the Peak District.
View Shinning Tor Walk
7. Monsal head
Monsal Head is a renowned viewpoint offering one of the area’s most iconic scenes.
Perched above the Monsal Trail, it provides a stunning overlook of the River Wye and the famous Monsal Viaduct. This spot is celebrated for its picturesque landscape, where the lush valley meets the elegant curve of the viaduct.
The view from Monsal Head is of a car park, allowing those less able to still take in the beauty without having to go far.
The area is also a starting point for various Peak District walks and bike trails, allowing visitors to explore the viaduct up close and venture along to Bakwell in the south or up to Chee Dale and the stepping stones further North East.
8. The Roaches
The Roaches is a spectacular ridge in the Staffordshire peaks, offering more than just its imposing gritstone crags and stunning natural beauty.
From atop this striking formation, visitors are treated to panoramic views that encompass a vast portion of the surrounding area.
Looking out from The Roaches, you can see the Tittesworth Reservoir (6th biggest reservoir in the Peak District), a serene water body within walking distance below and on clear days, the view extends to the Cheshire Plain and the Welsh hills.
Personal Note: The Roaches was one of the first places I ever visited in the Peak District, so it has a special place on my list.
View The Roaches Walk
9. Thorpe Cloud
Thorpe Cloud, a striking limestone hill at the southern end of the Peak District, offers a unique vantage point with breathtaking views. As you reach its summit, you’re greeted with a 360 view that captures the essence of the area’s diverse landscapes.
From atop Thorpe Cloud, you can look out over the picturesque Dove Valley and see the famous stepping stones of Dovedale, a popular and scenic spot known for its natural beauty. The view also includes the River Dove, winding its way through the valley, bordered by steep limestone cliffs and lush greenery.
Nearby lies the charming village of Thorpe, adding a quaint, rural charm to the landscape. On clear days, the view stretches further, encompassing the rolling hills of the Peak District and beyond.
Thorpe Cloud’s distinctive shape and the stunning vistas it provides make it an exceptional spot for hikers and nature lovers exploring this beautiful region.
View Thorpe Cloud Walk
10. Solomon’s Temple
Solomon’s Temple, also known as Grin Low Tower, is a distinctive Victorian folly perched atop Grin Hill in the Peak District. This elevated location offers beautiful views of the surrounding landscape, making it a popular destination for visitors in the area.
From the vantage point of Solomon’s Temple, you can gaze upon the historic spa town of Buxton, nestled in the valley below.
The spectacular views extend across the rolling hills and moorlands, offering a broad perspective of this varied and picturesque landscape.
Nearby, the wooded slopes of Grin Low provide a scenic backdrop and a peaceful setting for walks.
If you have more time in the area, see my article on Buxton’s best things to do.
11. Edale Skyline
The Edale Skyline, a prominent ridge in the Peak District, provides an extensive and varied panorama that captivates hikers and nature enthusiasts. This high-level route encircles the picturesque valley of Edale, offering a continuous spectacle of the area’s natural beauty.
From various points along the Edale Skyline, you can enjoy great views of the Hope Valley, the Great Ridge, and the iconic peak of Mam Tor. On clear days, the vistas extend even further, encompassing parts of the Dark Peak and the distant White Peak.
Nearby, the quaint village of Edale serves as a gateway to this magnificent walk, providing a charming start and end point for your journey. The skyline also offers views of Kinder Scout, the highest point in the Peak District, known for its wild, rugged landscapes.
12. Kinder Scout
Kinder Scout, the highest point in the Peak District, offers an expansive and often dramatic panorama that captivates walkers and nature enthusiasts.
This moorland plateau is known for its wild, rugged beauty and is a key part of the area’s walking and hiking scene.
From the summit of Kinder Scout, you have a commanding view of the surrounding Peak District National Park.
On clear days, it’s possible to see across the vast expanse of the Dark Peak, with its undulating hills and moorlands stretching into the distance. The views include iconic landmarks like the Great Ridge, Mam Tor, and the Edale Valley.
Kinder Scout is also home to notable features like the Kinder Downfall, a Peak District waterfall that appears to flow upwards under certain wind conditions.
The plateau’s significance extends beyond its natural beauty; it was the site of the famous 1932 mass trespass, a pivotal event in public access to private land in the UK. Kinder Scout is not just a place of fantastic views and natural splendour; it’s a location steeped in history and symbolic of the enduring spirit of outdoor access and exploration.
Derwent Dam (Honourable Mention)
While a little different from the other spots on this list, Derwent Dam is an impressive feat of engineering and a site of remarkable scenic beauty. The view from the top, as well as from below where the water cascades, is particularly striking.
From this vantage point, you’re treated to a stunning view of the dam’s impressive architecture, with water flowing gracefully over its spillway, especially during periods of heavy rainfall. The backdrop of the reservoir, set against the lush hills of the Peak District, enhances the picturesque quality of the scene.
Nearby, the surrounding landscape of the Upper Derwent Valley unfolds, offering a tranquil and verdant setting. This area also holds historical significance, as it was used for practice runs by the RAF’s 617 Squadron, the “Dambusters,” during World War II. Derwent Dam, with its blend of historical resonance, engineering marvel, and natural beauty, provides a uniquely compelling viewpoint in the Peak District.
View Derwent Dam Walk
What is the best time of year and day for the perfect view?
Optimal Time of Year: Late spring to early autumn (May to September). These months typically offer clearer skies and longer daylight hours, enhancing visibility and the vibrancy of the landscape. Additionally, the transition of seasons, particularly in late spring and early autumn, can provide a diverse and rich colour palette in the flora.
Best Time of Day: Early morning or late afternoon to sunset. During these times, the lighting is often softer and more diffused, resulting in less glare and more vivid colours in the scenery. Early morning light can bring a serene and unspoiled view, while sunset offers dramatic lighting and potentially striking colour variations in the sky.
Note: Weather patterns and specific geographical locations within the Peak District can influence the optimal viewing times. It’s advisable to consider local weather forecasts and specific area characteristics for a more precise planning.
To learn more, see my article on the best time to visit the Peak District.