Whether you’re taking long walks with the family, camping with a loved one or discovering the quaint villages and surrounding towns, the Peak District has a lot to offer. With ample opportunity for activities and exploration, where do you begin? From walking routes and cycling to discovering things to do in Bakewell, Buxton and beyond, find the best things to do in the Peak District with our guide.
The Peak District
Best known for its high peaks and beautiful walking routes, the Peak District National Park is home to the English countryside at its best. With breath-taking views from high mountain peaks alongside multiple outdoor activities such as Peak District walks, horse riding and cycling, it’s the perfect place to escape for the weekend with the family.
As a national park, the Peak District conserves and enhances the natural exuberant beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the area. It’s also home to some of the rarest breeds of animals in the UK – during your Peak District walks you could spot mountain hares, otters, owls, lizards, an array of beautiful butterflies and many more. Exploring the surrounding communities and villages, taking the trail on a half-day or day-long hike, or cycling in the Peak District with the family – whatever the agenda, your trip to the Peak District promises to be filled with adventure for the whole family.
Peak District History
As a historical point of interest, the Peaks certainly have a lot to offer. On April 17th, 1951, the Peak District became the UK’s first National Park, and hosted the UK’s first long-distance footpath, The Pennine Way. Since the 1880s, the Peak District was already a desired countryside area which people wanted to explore. Growing enthusiasm for physical exercise and exploring the outdoors during the early 1900s saw demands for public access to this beautiful area to be granted. This even led to a mass trespassing in the 1930s where five trespassers were imprisoned – but the campaign for access had begun.
Eventually, the park became a National Park and its Peak District history lives on today, oozing out of every peak and stream, and lived through the residents of the surrounding villages and towns. Wherever you decide to visit on your trip, there is Peak District history to discover in every village, town and fell.
What To Do In The Peak District
Peak District Walks
Best known as the walking country, the Peak District walking routes are well-known among outdoor enthusiasts, with exciting trails and rare wildlife aplenty. Discover extraordinary scenery from steep-sided limestone Dales, to dramatic high moorlands. Wherever your feet take you, you’ll be sure to find beauty and adventure at every turn. Perfect for single walkers, families and groups – there’s a challenge for everybody when you take walks in the Peak District.
Popular Peak District Walks
Some of the most popular Peak District walks include the Trans Pennine Trail – part of the E8 European Walking Route with a walk of 2,500 miles connecting to the Turkish Border; the Limestone Way trail – 46 miles of beautiful limestone scenery; and the Derwent Valley Heritage Way – 55 miles of rich industrial landscapes.
Easy Peak District Walks
Looking for easy walks in the Peak District? There are plenty of routes to choose from. The Monsal Trail, High Peak and Tissington Trails are all suitable for buggies and wheelchairs, providing easier and linear walks in the Peak District for all the family to enjoy.
Peak District Outdoor Activities
Cycle Hire Near Ashbourne
If you’d like to veer away from walking and try something different, why not take on cycling in the Peak District? Improve your health while taking in the stunning views of the Peaks at a higher speed, cramming as much into your trip as you can. With traffic-free routes suitable for all the family, explore the beautiful scenery with bike hire from Ashbourne town centre, Parsley Hay on the A515 or Derwent. Famous for off-road cycling, take to the trail on two wheels to explore the Peaks a little differently.
Horse Riding along the Tissington Trail
Why not try other Peak District outdoor activities? From horse riding on the Tissington Trail to rock climbing in Stanage End with extraordinary views – the Peak District is full to the brim of activities perfect for a family holiday in the countryside. There are multiple other Peak District outdoor activities to try, such as river fishing in the River Wye, Derwent or Dove; caving with experts exploring Titan Cave, Castleton – the highest natural cavern in the UK; or water sports including sailing, windsurfing, canoeing and swimming.
Places To Visit In The Peak District
Looking for a rest point from your Peak District walking routes? Discover beating heart of the Peak District with its thriving communities and bustling towns.
Best known for the delicious pudding it produced, the town of Bakewell is well known among Peak District regulars. Take a pit-stop in this quaint area, lined with markets and shops to break up the day’s activities. Visit the Peak District National Park visitor centre for a history lesson with a difference, explore the Bakewell Carnival Week in July, or one of the oldest agricultural events in the country in August, the Bakewell Show.
If you’re looking for Peak District history, Castleton is the place for you. Situated in the lee of Mam Tor, or “Shivering Mountain” as known to the locals, Castleton is one of the most beautiful places to visit in the Peak District. Approach from Winnats Pass or Hope Valley – whatever your direction, you will undoubtedly stop to admire the dramatic views. If you’re feeling active, climb up Peveril Castle to discover the Norman ruins and take in a bird’s-eye view from the top.
For something a little different, discover the best things to do in Edale. This quant village is home to the UK’s most famous long distance walking path, The Pennine Way. But if your legs need a rest from the Peak District walking routes, settle down for the afternoon in one of the two village pubs. When you’re rejuvenated and refreshed, wander round the Moorlands visitor centre and soak up the beauty and life of this unique Peak District community.
As well as Edale, Bakewell and Castleton, there are many more villages and towns waiting to be explored such as Buxton, Glossop and more. And don’t forget, if you need to pick up any emergency walking gear, nearby Hawkshead stores in Buxton or Chesterfield will help you get the most of out of your trip away.
What To Wear for Walking In The Peak District
Now you know the best things to do in the Peak District, it’s time to start packing. For any cycling or Peak District walks, layering up is essential to keep warm, regardless of the time of year. With high peaks reaching cooler temperatures, you’ll be thankful for your extra layers in the chilly breeze. Pop your layers into your rucksack, alongside provisions for the day including food, water, first aid kit and sun cream if the weather is warm.
Don’t forget to pack your waterproof jacket – showers aren’t a surprise in the Peaks, and with the right outdoor kit, it doesn’t have to dampen your trip. So pull on your walking boots and grab hold of your walking poles and you’re ready to go!
Find all the essentials for your trip to the Peak District from Hawkshead.