Top Places to Visit in the Peak District

Top Places to Visit in the Peak District

The first of Britain’s 15 national parks, the Peak District lies in the heart of England. A living landscape with many facades, this incredible area is comprised of everything from striking sandstone ridges to undulating green valleys to cavernous limestone caves. Cleaved by 26,000 miles of dry-stone walls (enough to go around the earth) and brushed with miles of paths and trails, it really is a paradise for those looking for relaxation and exploration alike. It’s also the home of Bakewell Puddings, if you weren’t sold already…

From the rugged reaches of the Dark Peak in the north, to the softer underbelly of the White Peak in the south, we’ve picked out some of the top places to visit in the Peak District National Park.

Hills and Mountains

Lakes and Reservoirs

Towns and Villages

Beauty Spots

Attractions and Things to Do

Hills and Mountains

Kinder Scout

 Image of Kinder Scout in the Peak District National Park

The 2,086ft-high-Kinder Scout is the highest point in the Peak District National Park, boasting incredible views over the surroundings. There’s even a waterfall hidden amongst its rocky clefts. For some of the most challenging (and rewarding) hiking in the park, head over to Edale and pick up the 7-mile Kinder Scout circular walk over hill and down dale.

Mam Tor

The top of Mam Tor in the Derbyshire Peak District

Mam Tor is a 1,700ft hill near Castleton in the High Peak district of Derbyshire. Its name actually means "mother hill", owing to the number of mini hills sitting beneath its eastern flank. One of the best walks in the Peak District, Mam Tor is traced by an excellent 3-mile circular route which affords wonderful views of Hope Valley, Edale Valley, Kinder Scout and the Derwent Moors. For a road trip in the car, it’s also worth detouring through nearby Winnats Pass en route for the dramatic scenery.


Footpath towards High Shelf Stones from Bleaklow in the Peak District

For a great day out in the Peaks for hardy walkers, the 9.5-mile walking route between Bleaklow and Higher Shelf Stones is a real favourite. The second highest peak and one of only two mountains in this National Park, Bleaklow certainly channels the wilder side of the Dark Peak. Meanwhile Higher Shelf Stones is famed for the remains of a World War Two bomber that can be seen scattered on its weathered face.

Win Hill

A view of Win Hill in the Peak District

At 1,515ft above sea level, Win Hill is a small but mighty peak in the Peak District overlooking the glassy Ladybower Reservoir. Woven with many great walks, this area offers a variety of walks for all ages and abilities, from lakeside wanders to invigorating rambles to the top. Lace up your best walking boots, pop some snacks in your backpack and choose your favourite route for an unforgettable day.

Shining Tor

A distant view of Shining Tor on the left with Shutlingsloe in the distance, from Goyt Valley

Providing all the more incentive for a hearty walk in the Peak District, the panoramas from the top of the 1,834ft-high Shining Tor (Cheshire’s highest point) reach as far as Snowdonia on a clear day. To immerse yourself in Peak District beauty and admire the vistas, follow the loop walk from Errwood Hall car park. Around 4 miles long, its ascents and descents provide a worthy challenge and reward hikers with fairytale scenery.

Lakes and Reservoirs

Ladybower Reservoir

A beautiful over Ladybower Reservoir in the Peak District

A tranquil reservoir in the Upper Derwent Valley, Ladybower is connected to Howden and Derwent reservoirs to create the largest expanse of water in the Peaks. A popular destination for tranquil escapes, it’s a great place for picnics, dog walking and cycling thanks to its many nearby trails and viewpoints – including the 5-mile Ladybower Reservoir walk which is made up of neatly maintained tracks.

Derwent Reservoir

A view over the water of Derwent Reservoir in the Peak District

Located in the picturesque Derwent Valley, Derwent Reservoir is a freshwater gem in the High Peak area. For the best introduction to this peaceful idyll, trace Derwent’s 4.5-mile reservoir walk through countryside, across moorland and along the tranquil shores of the reservoir. Wandering beside the water, you’ll even walk past the lost village of Derwent which was flooded in 1944 for the creation of the dam.

Carsington Water

A view of Carsington Water with the visitor centre in view and boats on the water

If you love being on the water just as much as you enjoy being beside it, then venture over to Carsington Water between Wirksworth and Kniveton. One of the most popular destinations in the Peak District for water sports and activities, there is something for everyone here. Some of the most popular options are the site’s cycle hire and range of boat hire services and courses, which are available to visitors of all ages.

Linacre Reservoir

The tranquil surface of one of Linacre's three reservoirs on a blue sky day

Featuring three reservoirs, Linacre is a haven for both nature-lovers and wildlife. Making the area around the lake really accessible, a number of trails weave around the reservoirs, cutting through the surrounding countryside and woodland. Encompassed by conifer, beech, larch, alder and oak trees, and home to nuthatches, flycatchers, woodpeckers and more, it’s full to the brim with wildlife species, so make sure to bring a wildlife guidebook and your binoculars.

Doxey Pool

A view of the magical Doxey Pool in the Peak District

If you’d like to head off the beaten track and visit one of the Peak District’s few natural lakes, pop the small but atmospheric Doxey Pool on your list. A humble body of water in the Roaches, a gritstone ridge in the Staffordshire Peak District, it can be reached via several hikes and is well worth the effort. While up there, keep your eyes peeled for the pool’s legendary mermaid, as well as the Roaches’ resident colony of wallabies.

Towns and Villages

Matlock Bath

A view of cottages and houses overlooking the River Wye in Matlock Bath in the Derbyshire Peak District

A popular spa town since the 17th Century, Matlock Bath in Derbyshire is a 2-mile walk from neighbouring Matlock and is one of the best places to visit near the Peak District. Nestled within a limestone gorge on the River Derwent, its quaint main street, picturesque riverside gardens and array of shops and cafés make for a welcome sight. For a special visit, go there in September and October to see the Matlock Bath Illuminations.


Houses and the local church through the trees in the pretty village of Hathersage in the Derbyshire Peak District

For literary fans, a trip to Hathersage in the Hope Valley is a must. During the mid-1800s, it was here in this characterful village that author Charlotte Brontë stayed to explore the moors, and where she subsequently based her world-famous novel Jane Eyre. Follow in the famous footsteps of this legendary writer and explore the beautiful surrounds of the village, enjoying the proximity to Stanage Edge and the Dark Peak moorlands.


Houses with multi-coloured doorways on Green Hill in Wirksworth in the Derbyshire Dales

A market town in the Derbyshire Dales on the edge of the Peak District National Park, Wirksworth is known for its imposing stone buildings and tangled web of attractive lanes and alleyways. Dubbed one of the prettiest towns in the Peak District, it calls to all those looking for a taste of urbanity and the chance to peruse its local shops and cafés. Head to the award-winning heritage centre to learn about its history and visit in September for its annual Arts Festival or October for its Wizarding Day.


The church, homes and buildings in Bakewell surrounded by Derbyshire countryside in the Peak District National Park

The biggest town in the Peak District National Park, Bakewell sits on the banks of the River Wye and awaits with all kinds of delights. From its array of events and festivals, to its plethora of boutiques and restaurants, it has something for everyone throughout the year. Bakewell ‘musts’ include trying the town’s famous Bakewell Pudding and taking a trip to Bakewell Bridge, a Grade I-listed Medieval five-arched bridge.


The beautiful countryside of the Edale Valley in the Derbyshire Peak District

The first (or the last) stop of the 268-mile Pennine Way, Edale village is a magnet for walkers of all generations. Found within the Vale of Edale, it’s only a stone’s throw from Jacob’s Ladder, Kinder Scout and Kinder Scout’s ‘Downfall’ waterfall and Mermaid’s Pool. To discover more about local attractions and walks, a visit to the Edale’s Moorland Visitor Centre is a must, as is a drink in the Old Nag’s Head or the Rambler Inn to refuel afterwards.

Beauty Spots

Heights of Abraham

View point at the Heights of Abraham visitor attraction in Matlock in the Derbyshire Peak District

The Heights of Abraham in Matlock is one of the best family-friendly attractions near the Peak District. Home to a 60-acre, dog-friendly hilltop estate, this gorgeous beauty spot showcases a range of scenery and landscapes that’ll wow even the most seasoned travellers. Take a ride on a cable car above the Derwent Valley, explore two famous show caverns (Great Masson and Rutlands Cavern) and follow the Willow Sculpture Trail.

Stanage Edge

The striking ridge of Stanage Edge near Hathersage in the Derbyshire Peak District

Whether you’re a walker, rock climber, photographer or more, a trip to Stanage Edge near Hathersage is a must. Set between the High Peak of Derbyshire and the borders of South Yorkshire, this 4-mile-long gritstone edge boasts jaw-dropping views of the Dark Park moors and the Hope Valley. For a real leg stretch, complete the 9-mile walk from Hathersage to the cliffs of Stanage and back.

Padley Gorge

Autumn scenes at Padley Gorge in Hope Valley in the Peak District National Park

With trickling streams and cascading waterfalls all surrounded by thick woodland, it’d be difficult to find a more magical place than Padley Gorge in the Hope Valley. Tread the Padley Gorge Trail to discover the area on foot and enjoy the photogenic setting for waterside picnics underneath tangled branches. You can also extend your adventures with trips to the nearby National Trust-run Longshaw Estate and Grindleford village.

River Wye

The River Wye running past the pretty Peak District town of Bakewell in Derbyshire

Exuding beauty at every turn, the 22-mile-long River Wye is a limestone river that winds its way through the Derbyshire Peak District. Perfect for adventurers and leisure seekers alike, its flowing waterways and leafy banks provide the perfect backdrop for walks and picnics under beaming sunshine. The 3-mile Millers Dale walk is particularly lovely for taking in the river and the Peak District Wye Valley.

Treak Cliff Cavern

Inside one of the intriguing underground caves at Treak Cliff Cavern in Castleton in the Derbyshire Peak District

Renowned for its Blue John Stone, Treak Cliff Cavern is a world-famous cavern and museum in Castleton. Etched with beautiful caves and boasting impressive viewpoints across the Hope Valley, the site is open for self-guided audio tours, perfect for solo exploration. For more natural wonders in the Peak District, you can also visit Poole’s Cavern in Buxton Country Park, and Peak Cavern (which boasts the biggest natural cave entrance in Britain) and Speedwell Cavern in Castleton.

Attractions and Things to Do

Monsal Trail

The Monsal Trail cutting across the Monsal Dale Viaduct - one of the highlights of the Monsal Trail

The Monsal Trail is one of the most popular walking trails in the Peak District amongst walkers, cyclists, horse-riders and wheelchair users owing to its 8.5 miles of traffic-free trail. Following a former, disused railway line between Chee Dale and Bakewell, it showcases some of the Peak District’s most spectacular scenery, including limestone dales, the Monsal Dale Headstone Viaduct and the Monsal waterfall.

Chatsworth House

A view of Chatsworth House in the Derbyshire Dales

Used as the location for the film Pride and Prejudice, Chatsworth House near Bakewell is one of the finest estates in the country. Home to a web of over 25 rooms, a 105-acre garden, and 1,000 acres of Capability Brown-designed parkland, it is a truly enchanting setting full of history and intrigue. Venture over to this regal manor (home to the same family for 16 generations) and step back in time for a magical journey of discovery.

Crich Tramway Village

The historic trams and buildings of Crich Tramway Village in the Derbyshire Peak District

The home of the National Tramway Museum, Crich Tramway Village near Matlock is a brilliant family-friendly attraction in the Peaks. Displaying over 60 vintage trams that date from the mid-19th Century to the late 20th Century, this recreated period village provides a novel experience for all generations. Head over to see the Crich Tramway’s historic working pub, café, sweetshop and trams for a fun day out for all.

Haddon Hall

 A view of Haddon Hall through the trees

One of the best-preserved houses from the Middle Ages in the world, Haddon Hall in Bakewell is renowned for its original Tudor interiors and Elizabethan gardens. Revealing 900 years of history, its immaculately kept rooms exhibit all kinds of historic gems, from remarkable tapestries to early English furniture. Explore its rooms and stroll through the Medieval deer park, before refuelling at its onsite restaurant with home-cooked fare.

Eyam Museum

Outside of Eyam "Plague Museum" in Eyam in the Derbyshire Peak District

The Eyam Museum in Eyam village is known as the “Plague Museum”. Telling the story of Eyam and its shocking plague story, it invites visitors to learn all about the village’s incredible tales – from a chance mistake that led to the death of 260 villagers to the brave self-sacrifices of its residents to the invention of safe silk materials. Browse the museum’s collections, read the displays and delve into the area’s fascinating past here.

Looking forward to your next adventures? Take a look at our luxury cottages in the Peak District and Derbyshire here.


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