Things to do in the Peak District
There’s no shortage of fun things to do in the Peak District, from heart-racing adventures to family days out.
Take a hike on The Pennine Way
The Peak District is home to some of the UK’s favourite walks and most iconic beauty spots, from the photogenic Roaches ridge to the awe-inspiring Stanage Edge. The pretty village of Edale lies at the southern boundary of The Pennine Way, the UK’s first national trail, and it’s a mecca for keen hikers. From here you can take an invigorating hike up Jacob’s Ladder to the highest point in the Peaks, Kinder Scout, or walk the stunning Great Ridge from Mam Tor.
Discover Derbyshire’s stunning stately homes
You’ll feel like a character in a Jane Austen novel when you enjoy a fun-filled family day out at Chatsworth House and Estate. With its gorgeous setting on the banks of the river Derwent, it’s no wonder it’s a popular period filming location. Stroll around the lavish house and formal gardens or tire out the kids at the adventure playground and farmyard. Continue your stately home tour at the picturesque Haddon Hall or visit Lyme Park to catch a glimpse of the reflecting pool where Mr Darcy famously got his shirt wet.
Delve deeper on a caving adventure
Explore what’s under the surface of the Peak District on an adrenaline-pumping caving tour. Get geared up with a local guide, and abseil, climb and crawl your way through the region’s limestone passages and caverns, and old mine workings. For a fascinating but less nail-biting experience explore one of the Castleton’s ‘show’ caves. Or head to the popular Heights of Abraham Estate at Matlock Bath to combine a cave tour with trip on their scenic cable car ride.
Eating and drinking in The Peak District
From cosy pubs and cheery cafes to surprisingly fine dining, there’s something to satisfy every appetite in the Peaks.
Try an original Bakewell pudding
No trip to Bakewell would be complete without a taste of its delicious namesake pudding. The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop is a popular choice to sample puddings, tarts, and other local delicacies. To wash it down, forgo the tea, and head down the road to the award-winning Thornbridge craft brewery for a tour and tasting.
Enjoy award-winning dining and exceptional hospitality at Fischer’s Baslow Hall, a long-standing destination for foodies in the Peaks. Menus change with the seasons, but expect a beautifully presented, modern take on classic British cuisine, inspired by the best local produce. Choose from the luxurious, traditional dining room, or take a front row seat at the kitchen tasting bench.
Enjoy afternoon tea on a steam train
What could be more delightfully British than enjoying a delicious cream tea – or a traditional Sunday roast - in the elegant dining room of a heritage steam train while looking out at the stunning Peak District countryside? Take a ride on the Peak Rail service from Matlock to Rowsley South and dine in the Palatine car on your way. Keep an eye out for upcoming themed dinners, like their popular Murder Mystery nights and the classic Curry and Real Ale evening.
Shopping in the Peak District
Looking for a unique gift? The Peaks has you covered, with delicious artisanal products and crafts, and surprisingly chic boutiques.
- Pick up local produce at Farmer’s markets
Time your trip to the Peaks with one of the region’s wonderful farmer’s markets and fill your shopping bags with delicious local produce and crafts. Shop the best local meats, cheeses, vegetables, fresh-baked bread, beers, jams, chutneys, and unique gifts. Depending on when you visit, there are markets in Bakewell, Leek, Buxton, or Matlock, to name but a few.
Get your cheese fix with a stop at The Old Cheese Shop in Hartington. They specialise in local Peak District and Derbyshire cheeses, including artisan blue cheese from the nearby Hartington Creamery, known as the world’s smallest Stilton producer. The idyllic village of Hartington lies along the Tissington Trail, a former railway line that’s now popular with cyclists and walkers, so it makes an excellent spot for a picnic stop too.
- Boutique shopping in Buxton
Enjoy some retail therapy in the vibrant town of Buxton – England’s highest market town - and you’ll find a host of unique, independent shops to explore. Buxton’s oldest shopping centre, the Cavendish Arcade, is filled with trendy boutiques offering everything from sweet treats and craft beer to boutique fashion and zero-waste upcycling. Or for even more quirk, head to the artisan market at the Arches.
Culture and history in The Peak District
There’s no cookie cutter culture here. Uncover the complex character of the Peaks, from the grandeur of its wealthier residents down to its salt-of-the-earth roots.
The original lockdown village
Especially fascinating in the wake of Coronavirus and lockdown life, the Eyam Museum tells the story of the villagers of 17th century Eyam, who in an amazing show of self-sacrifice, sealed themselves off from the world to stop the spread of the Great Plague in the surrounding area. When you’ve explored the history, take a walk around the village to complete the picture.
These days, there’s not so many operatic performances staged at the iconic Buxton Opera House, but it is still a fabulous venue for gigs, crowd-pleasing musicals, festivals, and stand-up. You can catch smaller, more intimate gigs and cinema next door at the Pavilion Arts Centre, and the beautiful Pavilion Gardens are on the doorstep.
Visit the Peaks during the summer months and experience the unique local custom of well dressing. Each year volunteers painstakingly decorate their local wells and springs, using natural materials like leave, petals, and berries to create elaborate and unique designs. Take a tour around the many charming villages of the Peak District and keep an eye out for this amazing tradition.