The Ultimate Guide to the Best Peak District Villages & Towns
Thinking about visiting the Peak District? Keep reading to discover the best Peak District villages and towns for the perfect English countryside ramble.
The Peak District National Park is one of the most beautiful areas in England. It’s a landscape composed of rolling green hills, moors and limestone peaks all punctured every so often by a beautiful stone town or village.
There’s a lot to do in the Peak District too from hiking and walking to climbing and caving. The area is also home to some of the most beautiful villages in England. From the model, custom-built Edensor to the picturesque walker’s base of Castleton. If you want to discover the best villages and towns in the Peak District you’re in the right place.
Keep reading to discover the 13+ best Peak District Villages and Towns and plan your Peak District holiday today.
*This ‘best Peak District villages’ post contains affiliate links meaning I might make a small profit if you choose to book at no extra cost to you. This helps me to keep providing you with top-quality content for free.
Headed up Mam Tor? Also read The Mam Tor Walk Guide – 4 Picturesque Mam Tor Walks
Where is the Peak District
The Peak District is a National Park located in the heart of England. More specifically it’s located between the two major cities of Manchester and Sheffield making it very accessible from most places in England.
The Peak District is a fairly hilly area that’s located towards the end of the Pennines. It’s mainly in Derbyshire but as it’s quite a large area it also extends into Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Staffordshire, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire.
It’s one of the UK’s most popular national parks and is a haven for outdoor and nature lovers, hikers, climbers and campers.
How to Get to the Peak District
Getting to the Peak District is a relatively easy feat from most places in England with journey time varying depending on where in England you’re coming from.
By Car – If you’re thinking about heading into the countryside to visit the best Peak District Villages then I highly recommend doing so by car. The villages can be quite spread out from one another and public transportation in this area is limited. For total flexibility and efficiency exploring the Peak District National Park by car is a must.
If you don’t have your own car, I highly recommend renting one from your origin destination or from Manchester or Sheffield.
I always use Discover Cars to find the cheapest rates for car rental in the UK. They generally have the best service, policies and deals. Click here to check rates for your dates with Discover Cars.
By Public Transportation– If you prefer not to rent a car it’s also possible to get to the Peak District by train or bus (coach) but you might be limited to just a couple of villages. For example, you could get the train to Edale and explore Castleton and Hope too as they are located quite close together and can take a bus between them.
You could also take the train to Bakewell and focus on exploring Bakewell and Ashford in the Water with a visit to Chatsworth House as again they are located close together.
To compare bus and rail tickets you can use Omio– it’s my preferred platform to research and buy bus and rail tickets in the UK and Europe. Check bus and rail connections to the Peak District using Omio here.
13+ Best Peak District Villages and Towns
The Peak District is one of the most beautiful areas in England. Composed of rolling green hills, valleys full of forests or historical English villages, it’s the ideal place to visit for the weekend or even a week. Apart from the towns and villages, the Peak District is full of caves, climbing opportunities and hiking perfect for the outdoorsy traveller.
If you’re thinking about where to go in Peak District keep reading to find out about the best villages in Peak District and start planning your trip today.
Best Peak District Villages: Castleton
One of the most beautiful and popular villages in the Peak District is Castleton. Castleton is located in the Hope Valley and close to many of the Peak District’s highlights. These include Winnats Pass, Speedwell Cavern, Blue John Cavern and Mam Tor, just west of the village.
Often used as a base for hikers and explorers Castleton is a quaint English village with picturesque streets, stone cottages and lovely village pubs. Going for a stroll through the village on a Sunday afternoon is one of the best things to do in the Peak District.
While the snaking main road itself is lovely, you’ll want to park and explore all the side streets radiating out from the main street. Here you’ll find some of the most beautiful cottages, streams and corners that just beg to be photographed.
If you’re looking for some of the best Peak District houses and cottages make sure to explore Castleton, often voted one of the best villages in Derbyshire.
Where to Stay: The George Inn– traditional lodgings in a lovely village pub/inn.
Drive a little east of Castleton and you’ll find the lovely village of Hope. Dating back to mesolithic times, Hope has definitely seen its fair share in the way of history.
Today it’s a little village full of locals and hikers who come to explore the beautiful scenery of the surrounding Hope Valley. Make sure to visit St. Peter’s Church as well as taking a walk through the lovely, quiet streets before exploring the countryside.
Where to Stay: Losehill House Hotel & Spa– Gorgeous manor house and a great spa in the middle of the English countryside.
One of the most famous villages among hikers in the Peak District, Edale is located at the start of the famous Pennine Way National Trail, a 268-mile walking route from Edale to the Scottish border. It’s also the start of the trail for Kinder Scout so if you’re an avid walker, Edale is the village in the Peak District for you.
The best things to do in Edale are just to walk around admiring the pretty stone cottages and narrow streets and streams. You can also visit the Edale Visitor’s Center to find out more about what to do in the local area. Finish the afternoon with a pint at The Rambler Inn’s beer garden, especially if the sun is shining.
Where to Stay: The Rambler Inn – basic but comfortable rooms above the lovely pub. For more choice of accommodation, you can also stay in Castleton.
Best Peak District Town: Bakewell
Easily one of the best towns in the Peak District, Bakewell is a beautiful place with many picturesque streets, local heritage and quaint corners. It’s one of the main towns in the National Park but it still has quite the village feel.
In Bakewell Peak District you’ll find typical English, picturesque streets, a local parish and beautiful country scenes of the River Wye, one of the main rivers in the Peak District, flowing slowly through town.
Bakewell is also famous for the traditional Bakewell pudding, an egg and almond pastry filled with jam that’s thought to originate from here. You’ll find three different shops in town that claim to use the original recipe for it.
Apart from sampling one of England’s most traditional desserts, things to do in Bakewell also include a walk over Bakewell Bridge and along the banks of the River Wye, a walk through the quaint town centre and a visit to All Saints’ Church.
As it’s one of the best towns in Peak District, if you are trying to decide which to visit, make sure it’s Bakewell town- especially if you like pudding.
Where to Stay: The H Boutique Hotel – modern, comfortable and cosy rooms in the heart of Bakewell.
Another beautiful option when it comes to towns in the Peak District Buxton is a larger spa town in the High Peak area of the Peak District. Buxton is full of beautiful neo-classical buildings as well as the gorgeous stone cottages that England is best known for.
Spend the morning or afternoon in Buxton, one of the best small towns in England, before exploring some other Peak District towns and villages and the surrounding countryside.
Some of Buxton’s highlights include Poole’s Cavern, an underground cave you can walk through and Buxton Opera House, a lovely Edwardian-style building. There’s also The Pavilion Gardens as well as Buxton Museum and Art Gallery where you can learn more about the geological history of the Peak District.
Where to Stay: Roseleigh – lovely, traditional B&B-style accommodation on the outskirts of Buxton.
Eyam is one of the most fascinating villages in Derbyshire and a definite must-see when in the Peak District. Tucked in right behind the high limestone peaks of Middleton Dale, Eyam today is a pretty little village with rows of lovely stone cottages with pretty gardens but things weren’t always that way.
During the 14th Century, during the tragic times of the Bubonic plague, Eyam was a quarantined village. To stop the spread of the Plague many brave villagers isolated themselves here where they lived and died. Today you can walk around and notice all the plaques on many of the cottages dedicated to those that lived there.
To learn more about the tragic past of the village make sure to visit Eyam Museum as well as the Little Edge House before wandering the beautiful limestone streets.
Where to Stay: West end cottage and shippon – lovely, self-catering cottage in the village
Ashford in the Water
Most well-known for its charming stone bridge over the river Wye, Ashford in the Water is another stunning Peak District village that’s a must-visit.
The best way to explore is just to walk around and admire the quaint limestone cottages with beautiful gardens, the 13th Century village parish and the traditional pub The Bull’s Head.
Apart from that, there’s not much to do here but just admire the beauty of the surrounding countryside. If you love traditional English villages then Ashford in the Water is one of the best villages in Derbyshire so it’s definitely worth a visit.
Where to Stay: Rafters at Riverside House Hotel – beautiful and cosy country house lodgings.
If you’re heading into the Hope Valley from the East, you’ll no doubt drive through Hathersage, just make sure to stop otherwise you’ll be missing one of the Peak District’s top villages.
Claimed to be the place Little John (from Robin Hood) is buried and also where Charlotte Bronte visited, Hathersage is one of the top Peak District villages, for literary fans to say the least.
Pretty Hathersage is full of English stone cottages, a traditional church and a variety of shops and restaurants. Just outside the town, you’ll find natural landmarks like Stanage Edge and Higger Tor which makes Hathersage a great base for walkers.
Hathersage station is also on the main train line between Manchester and Sheffield so it’s very easy to get to if you don’t have a car.
Where to Stay: The George– Well-designed pub lodging in the middle of Hathersage.
Tissington is a tiny village located in the southern White Peak area of the Peak District that’s also extremely beautiful. It’s a firm favourite among locals and visitors alike for a number of reasons.
Firstly, there is Tissington Hall, one of the most quaint manor houses in the area and a definite must-see when going for a stroll around town.
Secondly, Tissington is also quite famous for its wells, in particular well dressing. This is an ancient custom, unique to Derbyshire all about dressing or decorating wells using only natural materials such as flower petals, leaves and twigs. The event happens once a year and the wells stay ‘dressed’ for some time afterwards. You’ll inevitably notice the wells as you walk around the village.
Apart from that Tissington also has many local businesses like tea rooms, cafes, pubs and B&Bs as well as those quaint English stone cottages we know and love.
Where to Stay: Fire Brigade Barn – lovely, Airbnb-style cottage perfect for a few nights’ stay.
Located between Buxton and Eyam in a limestone plateau, Tideswell is another lovely village that should feature on your Peak District bucket list especially if you’re looking for the best views in the Peak District.
Go for a wander to admire the old stone cottages, admire the surrounding limestone peaks and pop into the 14th Century church. Don’t forget to also stop for a meal at the highly rated ‘The Merchant’s Yard’ right in the centre of the village.
Where to Stay: The Merchant’s Yard– Great food and modern accommodation in the heart of Tideswell.
Sitting just on the grounds of Chatsworth House, Edensor is a welcome stop along your way to the famed manor house. Edensor (actually pronounced ‘enza’) is like something out of a fairytale. More of a hamlet than a village, its characterised mainly by its large parish church and old stone houses surrounding it. It is, however, very pretty.
Edensor is actually the perfect example of a custom-built model village. It was commissioned by the 6th Duke of Devonshire and features difficult styles of houses from Tudor to Swiss. He demolished the old village and built this new version out of sight of the Chatsworth Estate.
If you’re planning to visit Chatsworth House, make sure to also make a quick stop in Edensor.
Where to Stay: There aren’t many places to stay in Edensor. You’re better off staying in Bakewell just 4 miles away.
If you happen to find yourself in the south of Peak District National Park in the White Peak area, make sure to stop to explore the small village of Alstonefield.
Composed of just a couple of main roads and side streets Alstonefield is made for just strolling through and exploring. Here you’ll find Alstonefield’s main sights, St Peter’s Church, The Old Hall and the Old Lead mining sites.
You’ll be able to admire the cute little lanes, the rolling hills around town and the traditional pub, The George, which after a long day is the perfect place to grab a drink.
Make sure to also explore the surrounding countryside if you have time. From Alstonefield it’s easy to get to the dramatic rocky outcrops of Dovedale and Wolfscote Dale.
Where to Stay: Nothing is Alstonefield but Bankside Cottage is a dreamy cottage located in nearby Milldale.
Just north of Alstonefield, you’ll find another pretty Peak District village, Hartington. It’s located in the center of the Dove Valley and makes a great base to enjoy walks in the surrounding area.
It also has some lovely stone houses, a village church, local, independent shops such as the famed Old Cheese Shop and a farm shop.
Where to Stay: Devonshire Arms – a super cosy inn with lovely comfortable rooms.
Technically Matlock Bath is located just outside the Peak District National Park but if you’re travelling up from London this might be the first place you visit.
Worth a quick stop on your way to the national park, Matlock Bath has quite a scenic main thoroughfare- South Parade that’s worth a drive through.
You can also visit the Peak District Mining Museum here or just admire the lovely Derwent Gardens.
Looking for some other things to do in the Peak District? Check out some of these great tours.
Are you ready to explore the best Peak District Villages? Let me know your questions and comments below, I’d love to hear from you.
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