Peak District National Park – Our top 7 activities in the first National Park of England!
We have been lucky to live in Sheffield, right next to the Peak District National Park for the last 6 years. Over the last 7 months of blogging, I have been highlighting our travels all over the world, but in all honesty, we are lucky to have some of the best places to visit right by our doorstep in England! I am sharing this post as part of this Weekly Photo Challenge: Warmth, both for remembering lovely summer days and the feelings associated with time spent here.
We have three national parks within an hour and half reach from Sheffield – North York Moors National Park, Yorkshire Dales and the Peak District National Park. And the bigger and more popular ones – Lake District and Snowdonia 2-3 hours drive away. Sheffield is an ideal place to be based for outdoor enthusiasts like ourselves 🙂 This distance is relative, as to my readers in USA, that’s just a stone throw away..for locals in England, especially for people down south, anything outside radius of M25 could be another planet!
While Lake District and Snowdonia are amazing places to visit, here I highlight our top 7 (in no particular order) in the Peak District National Park. This list by no means covers all there is here. It is just our own personal experiences travelling with two small children, and usually with visitors from London and abroad.
A large reservoir located in the upper Derwent valley, Derbyshire, it is a popular tourist location great for walking, cycling and other outdoor activities. There is a cycling route around the reservoir , as well as well marked paths for hiking with beautiful views of the wonderful countryside. This is where we tend to bring most of our visitors over the years. There is a visitors centre located at the Northern Tip of Ladybower.
This is one of the spots in England for wild swimming. Located north of Howden Reservoir, you can walk here, about a mile up from the car park at the road end of the Derwent / Lady Bower Reservoir. There is also shuttle bus that takes you to the top. You then walk along the trail, with stunning views and then you are at this stream which has a plunge pool where you can dive into the cold clear water! Great fun!
Castleton and Peveril Castle
This is one of the more popular and really touristy places to visit in the Peaks. There is Peveral castle (which in my opinion is not worth the expense costs to get in), Speedwell Caverns has underground boat rides, and there are several outdoor shops, restaruants and is the base for the start of some of the famous hiking trails like Mam Tor
This is one of my personal favourites and I have been lucky to come here for work and with the family on several occasions. Home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, this place has been passed down through 16 generations of the Cavendhish family.
While it is very dear to get into the House and gardens, it is just so beautiful, I really don’t think anyone is ever disappointed (it would be nice though if they would reduce the price a little!) You can either pay the full ticket which includes the House, the gardens, the farm and the play area (£20.) Or you can have just one e.g gardens(£12) or farm and playarea( £6). You can also have a fantastic day exploring the 1000 acre park on the banks of the river Derwent for free. You can have a picnic here, walk along the grounds and admire the grounds and the estate from the outside. The House itself has 30 rooms to explore with beautiful paintings, tasteful décor and architecture. but it is the gardens that really makes this place magical!
With the kids we have done just the farm and play area several times and it is such a fantastic play area – one of those which is set in natural environment, trees everywhere, no plastic colourful artificial swings and slides. Chickens running around, and there is something for kids (also adults) of all ages! Water features, sand features, trampoline, ziplinging, there is so much here to keep children entertained for the day. The farm has some great animals – from donkeys, cows, pigs, chicken, ducks and more, great to visit here during springtime.
Longshaw Estate and Padley Gorge –
This is the easiest and shortest distance to Sheffield using public transport. The Bus drops you right outside near the Longshaw Estate. Lovely walk along the Longshaw Estate Grounds which is managed by the National Trust.
After passing through the estate, you get to Burbage Brook and Padley Gorge. It is a really great family day out activity, the walk is short and not too steep. There are streams running through where kids (and adults) can paddle in, splash about, and have a picnic on the banks. The views here again are just gorgous, I wish I had more pictures of this place!
Famous for rock climbing and people come from all across the country and other parts of the world to go climbing here! While we have not done proper climbing (with gear and all) we have been here several times with different people and walked (climbed) our way through these giant rocks to the top, had picnics and enjoyed the gorgous views all around.
Bakewell is one of the prettiest English village I have ever seen! Set on the banks of the river Wye, it is a beautiful old market town set in the heart of the peak district. It is famous for its tarts and other puddings, annual events, it is lovely to amble along the narrow streets and houses with thatched roofs.
Bakewell has some lovely shops to browse through, and I love the many charity stores – you can pick up some great bargains here. Overall a lovely village to visit, whether just to admire the beautiful buildings and streets, do some fun shopping, eat your heart out in the marketplace or have a picnic by the river.
Wonderful place for camping and exploring the outdoors. Mountain biking is a popular local sport here and there are some great hikes around the Edale Valley. On the southern edge of the valley Mam Tor is the leading hang-gliding centre in the Peak District. Edale Youth Hostel is a leading centre for courses in walking, rock-climbing, caving, orienteering, cycling and canoeing. There are some great camp sites here as well.
Several other excellent walking, hiking and running routes, a few pictures from one of our winter walks here earlier this year.
We have found Peak District to be a very special place, beautiful and different in each season. As we get ready to leave England and move to New Zealand after 10 wonderful years here, it’s been lovely remembering so many of our memorable times in the Peak District National Park 🙂