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A complete guide to the Peak District National Park, England

Updated On 27th April, 2021

The Peak District National Park is without a doubt one of the best places to visit in England, that is, if you love the outdoors.

Located in the North-West of the country and within close reach of thriving cities of Leeds and Manchester, The Peak District is even a strong contender for the best places to visit in the UK. The Peak District is one of England’s 10 National Parks and is an area with natural beauty and landscapes in abundance. There are so many fun things to do in the Peak District; you absolutely have to put it on your England bucket list.

If you’re the type of traveller that seeks mountains, countryside walks, climbing adventures and cycling trails, The Peak District is going to be right up your street. Climbing and caving are both very popular activities here. Whatever the weather, nothing takes away from the beauty and fun I’ve had in this UK National Park… You might just need to have a raincoat in your backpack and at the ready!

Check out my weekend in the Peak District here.

In this Peak District National Park travel guide I am going to share with you the best places to stay in the Peak District, the best things to do in the Peak District and my favourite adventures so far. From summiting Kinder Scout, going rock climbing, enjoying a bespoke meal by a private chef, to taking on many of the walking trails, my time in the Peak District has been nothing short of adventurous!

See my complete guide to travelling in England here.

A weekend with friends in The Peak District

Peak District National Park:
A complete travel guide

Where is the Peak District National Park?

If you came here wondering ‘where is Peak District National Park’, ‘where is the Peak District’, or ‘what does a map of Peak District National Park look like’ you’re in the right place. The Peak District National Park is in the north-west of England, mostly in Derbyshire. It is was the first of the National Parks in England and Wales. 

To drive to the Peak District, it’s about three hours from London and the South East, 1 hour from Manchester and York. If you’re using a Sat Nav, pop in the postcode of your accommodation or a car park near a walking trail in the Peak District. 

However, it’s recommended to take get to the Peak District by public transport to avoid congestion and pollution. National Express and Stagecoach run buses to the Peak District from all over the UK, and there are regular, direct trains from Manchester. Book your train tickets online on thetrainline.com. 

Check out this map of the Peak District to see where in England it is:

Where to stay in the Peak District National Park:

Where to stay in the Peak District really depends on what type of accommodation you’re looking for, and where you want to be based. Once you’ve got your list of the best things to do in the Peak District during your time here, plot them on a map and see where the most convenient base location will be.

There are loads of options, but somewhere I’ve stayed in the Peak District that I can wholeheartedly recommend is Redhurst Barn. Set in the heart of a sleepy English country village, Wetton Village, and sleeping 16, this newly renovated, stunning holiday barn was the perfect set up for a cozy few days out of the city in the countryside.

Check out booking.com or Airbnb for more hotels or apartments in the area.

There are also lots of campsites in the Peak District for camping, as well as the fact that if you have permission from the landowner, you can try wild camping in the Peak District. Check out my camping packing list here.

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The best things to do in the Peak District:

1. Cycle the Monsal trail.

The Monsal Trail is a 14km route between Blackwell Mill and Bakewell in the Peak District.

Suitable for pedestrians and cyclists, completing this trail in the Peak District is one of the best things to do here. There are plenty of options for cycle hire in the area, and lots of pubs and cafes on the trail to stop off for refreshments.

As you explore, you can take in the beauty of Monsal Dale, see retired milns and kilns, and marvel at the famous Monsal Viaduct. 

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2. Take on one of the many walks and hikes in the Peak District.

There are so many walks and hikes in the Peak District… it really is one of the best places to go walking in England and even in the UK. with breathtaking views of the rolling English countryside, it’s enjoyable come rain or shine! 

Some of the best hikes and walks in the Peak District include: 

  • the ridge walk from Mam Tor to Losehill
  • Dovedale stepping stones
  • Ladybower resevoir
  • circuit of the Burbage Valley
  • Thorpe Cloud
  • high peak trail
  • Pennine Way: the UK’s first National Trail

3. Go rock climbing in the Peak District.

Rock climbing is one of the best things to do in the Peak District. We climbed at Lawrence Field,  which used to be a quarry. The gritstone rock you find there is 270 million years old! It was locally used for millstone, but trade died out as people could import and use cheaper stone. It is a bit of a sun trap in the summer so make sure you take suncream with you!

Some of the best places to go climbing in the Peak District include: 

  • Lawrence Field 
  • Stanage
  • Horseshoe Quarry
  • Froggatt
  • Curbar
  • Burbage South Valley
  • Millstone Edge

4. Summit Kinder Scout, the highest peak in the Peak District.

Kinder Scout, a moorland plateau with stunning views across the countryside, is the highest peak in the Peak District, standing at 636m above sea level. It’s a moderate climb, and the most popular trail from Edale takes 4-5 hours. This area is also home to Kinder Downfall on River Kinder, the tallest waterfall in the Peak District. The views of this waterfall are equally as stunning as the views from the top of Kinder Scout. 

Check out my top tips for hiking in this blog post.

5. Enjoy a wander through some of the cute towns and villages in the Peak District.

While the Peak District is best known for its stunning countryside landscapes, rock climbing and hiking trails, it’s also home to a lot of Derbyshire history which is nestled away in many towns and villages in the Peak District. With villages that were locked away during the Black Plague and others that Charlotte Bronte took inspiration from, towns and villages in the Peak District boast cobblestone streets, busy market squares, local festivals, cute cafes, cosy pubs and beautiful churches. 

Some of my favourite towns and villages in the Peak District include:

  • Bakewell (make sure you try one of the famous bakewell tarts here!)
  • Ashford-in-the-Water
  • Eyam (the town that went into quarantine during the plague)
  • Castleton
  • Edale

6. Take the cable car to The Heights of Abraham.

Taking the cable car to the Heights of Abraham, a 60-acre hilltop park, is one of the most popular things to do in the Peak District. Marvel at the stunning and dramatic views, visit the Victoria Prospect Tower and the Tinker’s shaft, take on many of the heritage walks, enjoy outdoor dining and picnics, and learn more about the area with a self guided audio tour. 

7. Try extreme quad biking in the Peak District.

Wild Park Derbyshire offer an extreme quad biking experience in the Peak District. Whether you’re an experienced biker or a first timer, this is one of the best things to do in the Peak District to get your adrenaline going! You can choose between a 10-mile or a 15-mile quad bike trek in the Peak District National Park, where you’ll go through  woodlands, swamps, brooks, open fields, mounds and speed arenas.

8. Visit the nine ladies stone circle.

According to local folklore, there are nine ladies ‘turned to stone’ at a Bronze Age stone circle in the Peak District. Located on Stanton Moor, near Birchover, these ladies were turned to stone as a penalty for dancing on a Sunday. The area boasts beautiful views of the surrounding moorland and this stone circle is part of a complex of prehistoric circles in the area.

9. Take a llama or an alpaca for a walk in the Peak District!

Alpacas have such a loving calm nature (they are often taken into hospices to cheer up the patients) and they have such funny tendencies. Alpaca or llama walking is one of the most popular and the best things to do in the Peak District – give it a try when you’re next here! Brackenfield Alpacas raise raising prize winning Suri and Huacaya Alpacas and allow you to do alpaca trekking in the Peak District, allowing you to experience these gentle giants and the stunning views simultaneously.

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10. Enjoy some countryside pub grub.

No matter what the weather is saying, add in an English country pub dinner or cosy up with a drink to your itinerary and you’re doing England right. Heading into a country pub to warm up, quench your thirst or have a chat with the locals is honestly one of my favourite things to do in England. It’s definitely a good thing to do in the Peak District as you’re breaking up a long walk!

If you’re looking for something for a special occasion, bring the pub home! We got a private chef to come and cook for us in the comfort of our own home. The menu, designed by Peak District Deli, was a bespoke three-course Vegan meal and was absolutely insane., as was the service the company offered. 

11. Visit Treak Cliff Cavern.

Treak Cliff Cavern, located in the Peak District in Castleton, is world-famous for its large deposits of Blue John stone. It’s home to some of the most beautiful cave formations in the UK. After you’ve taken your self-guided audio tour, you can explore the gift shop and cafe, and then head out to the Hope Valley for some of the most beautiful views in the Peak District. 

12. Take a boat trip along Cromford Canal.

Birdswood is a historical narrow boat that regularly does trips along the Cromford Canal. Get a different perspective of the Peak District National Park as you enjoy a gentle trip along the water. Whether you choose a regular powered boat trip, or an exclusive horse drawn boat trip, you’ll get to enjoy a lovely afternoon on the water. 

13. Visit the 5 Wells burial tomb, the highest megalithic tomb in Britain.

This neolithic chambered tomb is one of the most popular places to visit in the Peak District. Located on Taddington Moor, it’s the highest megalithic tomb in Britain. The tomb was excavated in 1846 and one of the chambers is still standing. Once covered by a large mound of earth, the two burial chambers used to hold twelve skeletons, flint tools and pottery remnants. 

14. Go paragliding in the Peak District for stunning views of the whole National Park.

Learn to fly and see the Peak District National Park from the sky in a tandem paragliding flight! Experience the tranquility and awesome scenery of the Peak District on your 900ft flight with Ginger Nomad. You don’t need any prior experience, just good weather, some sturdy boots, and a sense of adventure! 

What are your favourite things to do in the Peak District?

Where are your favourite places to visit in the Peak District National Park? Anything you’d add?

Love as always and happy adventuring,

Mollie.

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A complete guide to the Peak District National Park, EnglandA complete guide to the Peak District National Park, England
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I’M MOLLIE AND I STARTED THIS BLOG BACK IN 2013 WHEN I HEADED OUT ON MY FIRST BACKPACKING ADVENTURE. I’D LOVE TO SHARE MY STORY WITH YOU…

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