Places to Visit in the Peak District for a Perfect Staycation
Heading out for a weekend in the Peak District and want to know where to go? These are the best 18+ places to visit in the Peak District for the perfect time in England’s oldest National Park.
There are so many amazing places to visit in the Peak District. From craggy hilltops to quaint stone villages, the Peak District offers a natural playground that’s perfect for a weekend, week, or even month of exploration.
Whether you’re a hiker looking for the best hikes in the area and sweeping views or a photographer looking for scenes of English country life, you’ll find it in the Peak District. With so many places to get active, eat well, and truly relax it’s also one of the best spots in the country for a UK staycation.
Keep reading to uncover the best places to visit in the Peak District. This Peak District weekend itinerary carefully combines all the best places to see and things to do in the Peak District with relaxing stays.
This means you can make the most out of your days in the area while indulging in creative and relaxing spaces in the evening and even a spa treatment or two. Our idea (and yours too hopefully) of the perfect weekend escape!
*This ‘places to visit in the Peak District’ 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.
Where is the Peak District National Park?
The Peak District is a National Park located in the center of England. It’s located between two major cities in Northern England; Manchester and Sheffield. It’s very accessible from most places in England particularly the Midlands and the North and even London.
The Peak District is an area of rolling hills that’s situated towards the end of the Pennines. It’s mainly located in the county of Derbyshire but as it’s quite a large area it also extends into Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Staffordshire, West Yorkshire, and South Yorkshire.
It’s the oldest national park in England and one of the UK’s most popular. It’s a haven for outdoor and nature lovers, travelers, hikers, climbers, and generally those looking for a quiet and relaxing UK staycation.
Getting to the Peak District is pretty easy from most places in England. How long it takes will depend on where you’re coming from and the amount of traffic you have to deal with.
By Car– If you’re thinking about heading for a weekend break in the Peak District then I highly recommend doing so by car. The best places to visit in the Peak District 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 one area. 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.
Places to Visit in the Peak District
There are so many great places to visit in Peak District from country walking trails to towns and villages. If you’re thinking about where to go in Peak District then keep reading! These are the top things to do in the peaks.
Use the map below to help you plan your visit to the Peak District.
Castleton – one of the best places to visit in Peak District
One of the most beautiful villages in the Peak District is Castleton. The village of 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, which lie just west of the village. This makes Castleton a great base for a weekend in the Peak District.
Castleton is a quintessential 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.
The main road itself is lovely enough but, 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’ll be calling out to your camera.
If you’re looking for some of the best places to visit in the Peak District, make sure to explore Castleton, often voted one of the best villages in Derbyshire.
Mam Tor – best Peak District Places for Walkers
The Mam Tor Walk is one of the most popular walks in the Peak District and probably in England. It’s located just outside Castleton in the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire, Mam Tor Peak District is the perfect place to come to experience some quintessential, English countryside while connecting with nature.
The walk directly up Mam Tor is quick and easy and perfect for those that want to do some hiking but not for the whole day. Doing this quick trek allows you to get a good hike in, some amazing countryside views, and then move on to other parts of the Peak District National Park.
At 517 meters above sea level, the Mam Tor walk is a great option for walkers of all abilities as well as children and even dogs. There is a path straight up to Mam Tor that is paved for most of the way and it’s a gradual uphill walk, so suitable for people of all ages and hiking abilities.
Read the full The Mam Tor Walk Guide for a guide on all 4 routes up to the top of Mam Tor.
Eyam is one of the most fascinating villages in Derbyshire, mainly due to its history. It’s a must-see for those interested in local English history and pretty little villages. Located right behind the high limestone peaks of Middleton Dale, Eyam today is a lovely English village with rows of lovely stone cottages with pretty gardens but things weren’t always that way.
During the miserable times of the Bubonic Plague in the 14th Century 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.
The Edale Valley is one of the most stunning parts of the Peak District National Park. It’s located in the valley just behind Castleton, Winnats Pass, and Mam Tor. There are many things to do in the Edale Valley from walks and hikes to visiting the local village, Edale. One of the best things to do in Peak District is also just to drive through this beautiful valley.
Edale village is also worth a look. You can 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.
Edale is also the start of the trail for the famous Pennine Way and Kinder Scout so if you’re planning this hike during your Peak District weekend, you’ll most probably come through here and I highly encourage you to do so.
Dovedale – the best place in Peak District for families
Right in the south of Peak District National Park across from the lovely village of Tissington, you’ll find Dovedale, a beautiful little ravine of rolling hills intersected by the slow-flowing River Dove. Occasionally you’ll find quite dramatic rocky overhang too.
It’s a lovely and peaceful place for a walk. You can park your car at Dovedale Car Park and then head to the River Dove for a walk along it. You can also check out the Dovedale Stepping Stones which are always a great hit with kids.
There are quite a few walks to do in the area. One of the best walks in the Peak District is the walk from the Dovedale car park to Milldale along the River Dove. You’ll pass the Stepping Stones, Reynards Cave, Ilam Rock, and Dove Holes as well as taking in the gorgeous ravine along the way.
You can either drive or hike through it or even hike up it, but whatever you choose to do, make sure not to miss the gorgeous Winnats Pass, one of the best places to visit in Derbyshire.
Located just outside Castleton, this spectacular gorge features green rocky cliffs that give way to a sheer gorge. If you’re heading out of Castleton westwards you can drive through it, or if time allows you can park just outside Speedwell cavern and hike through or up it. The views from the top are well worth the extra climb up.
Chatsworth House – one of the top places to see in Peak District
One of the best mansions in England, Chatsworth House is a must-visit when on a Peak District weekend. Chatsworth house was built in 1552 by Bess of Hardwick and Sir William Cavendish and has been passed down through 16 generations of the Devonshire Family.
When visiting the country house today you can explore 25 different rooms including the Painted Hall, Sculpture Gallery, and State Rooms. A visit to the perfectly-maintained gardens is a must too which are beautiful year-round.
Chatsworth House also has many events throughout the year, one of the best being its Christmas Fair. To check what’s on and to book your tickets click here.
Peak District Caverns
The Peak District is home to many different caves or caverns.
Peak Cavern, or ‘Devil’s Arse’ as it’s also known is located in Castleton village. It has the largest cave openings in the UK and is definitely worth visiting if you’ve yet to experience any caves in England. At Peak Cavern you’ll be able to tour the natural cave, deep underground, and learn more about its history as well as see natural formations like stalactites.
Another cave well worth visiting is Speedwell Cavern located just by the entrance to Winnats Pass. The network of caves at Speedwell Cavern goes down some 450m under the hills of the Peak District. You’ll be able to tour the caves by boat and learn more about the mining that went on here.
Some other caves worth visiting in the area are Cave Dale, Treak Cliff Cavern and Blue John Cave. For a self guided Treak Cliff Cavern Tour with Blue John Stone Polishing Activity click here. All other cavern tours can be booked on the cavern’s website.
One of the best places to visit in the Peak District for the views is Bamford Edge. For those looking for a short, easy, and fast hike with amazing views to match, make sure to head to Bamford Edge. Located in the Hope Valley, just north of the village of Bamford and opposite Win Hill, it offers spectacular views of the surrounding area.
The walk is just an easy 2-mile circular walk and you’ll be rewarded with stunning views of Win Hill and Ladybower Reservoir. An absolute win-win for a weekend in the Peak District.
Ashford in the Water
If it’s some of the most picturesque Peak District villages you want to see during your weekend in the Peak District, make sure not to miss Ashford in the Water.
Best known for its charming stone bridge over the river Wye, Ashford in the Water is a small settlement of quaint limestone cottages with beautiful gardens, the 13th Century village parish, and traditional pubs like The Bull’s Head, a local favorite.
There isn’t much else to do here but walk around and just admire the pretty village. It certainly is worth the visit though.
Bakewell is one of the larger towns inside the Peak District National Park but it’s still a beautiful place with many picturesque streets, local heritage, and quaint corners. It might be larger 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 trying one of England’s oldest desserts, you can also take a walk over Bakewell Bridge and along the banks of the River Wye, a walk through the quaint town center, and a visit to All Saints’ Church.
Bakewell also makes a good base to explore the area as it’s conveniently located in the middle of most of the best places to visit in the Peak District on this list.
Monsal Dale- Headstone Viaduct
Not far from Ashford in the Water, you’ll find Monsal Dale and the stunning Headstone Viaduct that crosses it. Much like Dovedale, this is a beautiful ravine with the River Wye flowing through it. It’s filled with rolling hills, craggy rock, and greenery.
The Headstone Viaduct is one of the most beautiful spots in Monsal Dale. There are two main ways to experience it.
If you don’t have much time you can drive up from Ashford in the Water on the B6465 and turn off at the Monsal Head Hotel & Bar for a view of the viaduct and a drive down to the dale.
Alternatively, if you have more time and you’d like to do some walking you can hike the Monsal trail, a walking and cycling route that follows a disused railway line. It goes between Bakewell and Blackwell Mill but you don’t need to walk it all. You can join it at any point just north of Ashford in the Water and head towards the viaduct.
Another great hike in the area is to Stanage Edge. It’s one of the most popular places to visit in the Peak District UK and it’s great for sweeping views of the rolling hills and valleys of the Peak District.
Stanage Edge is located just north of Hathersage and makes a great half-day trip from the town. You can park at Hooks Carr Car Park and make your way up to the escarpment. It’s also very popular with rock climbers. For those that love active days, it’s one of the top Peak District things to do.
Not far from Dovedale, you’ll find Thor’s Cave, another amazing place to visit in the Peak District. This limestone cave is brilliant for photographers as it has one of the most dramatic cave openings in England. It’s one of the best natural Peak District attractions.
The walk to Thor’s Cave starts at Wetton Mill Car Park and takes about 30 minutes to get to the cave. Not only is the cave fascinating to explore inside -it has a history of human settlement- there are some really great photo opportunities. The view from the cave opening is also stunning.
Just make sure to come here early as the small car park tends to fill up quickly. Also, make sure to be careful inside the cave, the rocks can get very slippery.
For those heading to the Hope Valley, there’s no better stop on the way than the pretty little town of Hathersage – 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.
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 (above) and Higger Tor which makes Hathersage a great base for walkers. Hathersage makes a great spot from which you can also explore the Hope Valley, Edale, Castleton, and many of the Peak District’s famous caves.
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.
Just behind Edale, you’ll find the highest peak in the Peak District, Kinder Scout. It’s a lovely area surrounded by rolling rolls, moorland, rock, and waterfalls.
At 636m, it’s also one of the most popular places to visit in the Peak District for serious walkers. The 8.5-mile hike via Jacobs Ladder is a great route to follow and takes about 4-5 hours to complete.
The walk starts at Edale Station (perfect for those that don’t have a car) and continues via the Pennine Way via Jacob’s Ladder to Kinder Low before looping back around. Check out the exact route via Google Maps here.
900-year-old manor house Haddon Hall is another spectacular heritage home to visit when in the Peak District. The home has been owned by just one family for its entire history as well as standing vacant for 200 years which is most unusual.
Visiting Haddon Hall you can explore the lovely gardens, and witness the rare 15th Century fresco in the Medieval Chapel, and the Tudor-painted ceilings in the Parlour. It’s a riveting insight into the history of England and a breathtaking place to take some pictures.
Along with Bakewell, Buxton is the other large town in the Peak District. It’s a beautiful spa town in the High Peak area of the Peak District. Buxton has a wide range of architecturally interesting neo-classical buildings as well as those gorgeous English stone cottages.
Some of Buxton’s highlights, which you can’t miss seeing when visiting the town are Poole’s Cavern, an underground cave you can walk through, and Buxton Opera House, a lovely Edwardian-style building. It’s one of the most unique towns and places to go in the Peak District.
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 in the Peak District
There are many lovely options when it comes to places to stay in the Peak District. Weekend breaks in the Peak District have never looked so good with the variety of cozy cottages, B&Bs, luxury hotels, and spa hotels on offer today.
Here are our best picks for places to stay in the Peak District that beautifully combine aesthetics, wellness, and service. Places where you can fully relax after a day of exploring, get a massage, have some sauna time, or just relax by a fire with a glass of wine.
Loosehill House Hotel & Spa – Located in the Hope Valley, there’s no better place to stay when it comes to wellness than Loosehill House.
A converted manor house, Loosehill boasts super clean and comfortable rooms, an excellent onsite restaurant, and one of the best spas in the Peak District. The spa features a sauna, massage, and facial services, and a pool. There’s no more relaxing experience in the Peak District. Check rates and availability here.
Three Horseshoes Inn & Spa – For a stay in a traditional English Inn with a wellness element, Three Horseshoes Inn is another lovely option. With fabulous food, ample rooms, and a lovely spa offering a range of treatments, a pool, and a sauna, it’s a wonderful place to base yourself in the Peak District. Check rates and availability here.
The Cavendish Hotel – Located in Baslow near Bakewell, the Cavendish makes a lovely base for your weekend in the Peak District. Featuring comfortable 4-poster bedrooms, onsite fine dining, great views of the surrounding landscape, and attentive service, this is one of the best places to stay for a relaxing weekend break in the Peak District. Check rates and availability here.
Are you ready to explore the best places to go in Peak District? Let me know your questions and comments below, I’d love to hear from you.
Now more than ever, make sure not to leave home without travel insurance. For the last few years, I’ve been using Safetywing Nomad Insurance for all my individual trips and digital nomad lifestyle and there’s no better company for all my insurance needs. Cover starts from as little as $42 per month. Get your quote below now.
Planning a trip right now? These are just some of my favourite websites I use to book everything from hotels to rental cars!
Booking.com for great deals on hotels
Agoda also for great deals on hotels
Related posts you might like:
FOUND THIS POST USEFUL? PIN IT AND SHARE