15 Best Things To Do In the Peak District, England

15 Best Things To Do In the Peak District, England

By will

As someone who loves exploring the great outdoors and immersing myself in the beauty of nature, the Peak District in England has always been a dream destination for me. With its breathtaking countryside, picturesque villages, and a rich history that dates back centuries, there are endless opportunities for adventure and discovery in this region.

In this article, I will be sharing with you the 15 best things to do in the Peak District, England, so you can make the most out of your visit and create memories that will last a lifetime.

One of the highlights of the Peak District is its stunning countryside, which offers a diverse range of landscapes to explore. From rolling hills and rugged moorlands to tranquil lakes and winding rivers, there is something here to suit every outdoor enthusiast. Whether you prefer hiking along scenic trails, cycling through peaceful valleys, or simply taking a leisurely stroll through fields of wildflowers, the Peak District has it all. With its vast network of footpaths and bridleways, you can easily lose yourself in the beauty of nature and experience a sense of tranquility like no other.

Aside from its natural beauty, the Peak District is also home to charming villages that are straight out of a storybook. With their quaint cottages, cobblestone streets, and welcoming locals, these villages offer a glimpse into traditional English life. Take a stroll through Bakewell, known for its famous Bakewell pudding, or visit Castleton, where you can explore the fascinating ruins of Peveril Castle. Whether you choose to wander through the bustling markets, indulge in a traditional pub lunch, or simply soak up the atmosphere, these villages are sure to leave a lasting impression.

So pack your bags, put on your walking shoes, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure in the Peak District.

Exploring the Beautiful Countryside

Peak District
Photo by Eirian Evans

One of the best things to do in the Peak District is exploring the stunning countryside. As soon as you step foot into this picturesque region, you’re greeted by rolling hills, lush green valleys, and meandering rivers. The landscape is simply breathtaking, and it offers a multitude of opportunities for outdoor activities and exploration.

One of my favorite ways to explore the countryside is by taking long walks along the numerous hiking trails that crisscross the region. There are trails for all levels of fitness and experience, from easy strolls to challenging hikes that take you to the highest peaks. As you walk, you can admire the panoramic views, breathe in the fresh country air, and discover hidden gems like ancient woodland, quaint villages, and historic landmarks.

Another great way to immerse yourself in the beauty of the Peak District is by cycling through the countryside. The region’s a haven for cyclists, with a network of well-maintained cycle paths and quiet country lanes. You can pedal through fields of blooming wildflowers, pass by grazing sheep, and feel the wind on your face as you speed down gentle slopes. It’s a truly invigorating experience that allows you to see the countryside at your own pace and appreciate its natural splendor.

Exploring the beautiful countryside of the Peak District’s an absolute must-do. Whether you choose to hike along the trails or cycle through the lanes, you’ll be rewarded with stunning views and a sense of tranquility that can only be found in nature. So put on your walking boots or hop on your bike, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure in this idyllic corner of England.

Hiking the Scenic Trails

Helmesley, Peak District
Photo by Oliver Mills

Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Peak District by exploring its scenic trails through hiking. The Peak District is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts, with its diverse landscape and stunning views.

From rolling hills to rugged moorland, there is a trail for every level of hiker. Lace up your boots and venture out into nature, where you’ll be greeted by panoramic vistas, charming villages, and an abundance of wildlife.

One of the most popular hiking trails in the Peak District is the Pennine Way, a long-distance path that stretches for 268 miles. This challenging trail takes you through some of the most picturesque areas of the national park, including Kinder Scout and Edale. As you hike along the rugged terrain, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

If you’re looking for a shorter hike, the Monsal Trail is a great option. This former railway line offers a relatively flat and easy walk, perfect for families or those who prefer a leisurely stroll. Along the way, you can admire the stunning viaducts and tunnels that make this trail so unique.

Hiking in the Peak District is not just about the physical challenge, but also about immersing yourself in the natural beauty of the area. As you walk along the trails, you can listen to the birds singing, breathe in the fresh air, and feel the gentle breeze on your face.

The peacefulness and tranquility of the countryside will wash away any stress or worries, leaving you feeling rejuvenated and refreshed. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, the Peak District offers a wide range of trails that cater to all levels of fitness and ability.

So put on your hiking boots and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure in one of England’s most stunning national parks.

Visiting Charming Villages

Peveril Castle
Photo by Stephen McKay

Discover the hidden treasures of quaint villages while exploring the scenic beauty of the Peak District. As I ventured through this stunning region, I couldn’t help but be captivated by the charming villages that dotted the landscape.

Each village had its own unique character and story to tell, making it a delightful experience to explore.

One village that stood out to me was Bakewell, famous for its mouth-watering Bakewell Pudding. As I strolled through the narrow streets, I was greeted by picturesque stone cottages and cozy tearooms. The village was bustling with activity, with locals and visitors alike enjoying the quaint shops and cafes. I couldn’t resist trying the famous Bakewell Pudding, a delectable dessert that lived up to its reputation. The village also offered stunning views of the River Wye, which added to its charm.

Another village that stole my heart was Castleton, nestled in the heart of the Peak District. This village is known for its rich history and breathtaking scenery. As I walked through the village, I was transported back in time with its medieval architecture and ancient caves. One of the highlights of my visit was exploring the imposing Peveril Castle, perched on a hilltop overlooking the village. The views from the castle were truly mesmerizing, with rolling hills and limestone cliffs stretching as far as the eye could see. Castleton also offered the opportunity to explore the famous Blue John Cavern, where I marveled at the unique underground formations.

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Visiting these charming villages in the Peak District was a truly enchanting experience. The combination of stunning natural beauty and quaint village charm created a perfect getaway.

Whether it’s indulging in delicious treats in Bakewell or immersing yourself in history in Castleton, these villages are sure to leave a lasting impression on any traveler.

Experiencing Traditional English Charm

Immerse yourself in the enchanting atmosphere of traditional English charm found in the picturesque villages of the Peak District.

As you stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets, you’ll be captivated by the quaint thatched-roof cottages and well-preserved historical buildings.

Each village has its own unique character, but all exude a sense of tranquility and timelessness.

Take a moment to admire the vibrant flower gardens that line the pathways, adding bursts of color to the already stunning scenery.

The locals are friendly and welcoming, and you’ll often find them gathered in the village square, engaged in animated conversations or enjoying a pint at the local pub.

One of the highlights of experiencing traditional English charm in the Peak District villages is the opportunity to explore the charming village shops.

Step into a world of old-fashioned elegance as you browse through antique stores, boutique shops, and local craft markets.

Discover unique treasures and souvenirs that reflect the rich heritage of the area.

Don’t forget to indulge in some traditional English tea and scones at one of the cozy tearooms, where you can relax and soak in the atmosphere.

As you wander through these idyllic villages, you’ll feel a sense of stepping back in time, immersing yourself in the beauty and charm that has attracted visitors for centuries.

Discovering Historic Landmarks

As I journey through the picturesque villages of the Peak District, I find myself captivated by the rich history and impressive landmarks that dot the landscape.

One of the must-see historic landmarks in this area is the stunning Chatsworth House. This magnificent stately home is set amidst beautiful gardens and parkland, and it’s renowned for its grandeur and opulence. As I explore the house, I’m awestruck by the exquisite architecture and the extensive art collection, which includes works by Old Masters such as Rembrandt and Veronese.

The history of Chatsworth House is fascinating, as it’s been home to the Cavendish family for over 500 years. Walking through its grand halls and lavish rooms, I feel transported back in time, experiencing a glimpse into the lives of the aristocracy throughout the centuries.

Another historic landmark that shouldn’t be missed is Haddon Hall. Nestled on the banks of the River Wye, this medieval manor house is one of the best-preserved examples of its kind in England. As I approach Haddon Hall, I’m immediately struck by its imposing stone walls and the beautiful Tudor gardens that surround it. Stepping inside, I’m transported to the medieval era, with its well-preserved interior and authentic furnishings.

Exploring the hall, I’m captivated by the intricate tapestries, the ornate woodwork, and the impressive collection of medieval armor. It’s truly a step back in time, and I can’t help but imagine the generations of people who’ve walked these halls before me.

Visiting these historic landmarks in the Peak District is a truly enriching experience. They not only showcase the architectural beauty of the past but also offer a glimpse into the lives of those who lived in these grand houses.

As I continue my journey through the Peak District, I’m excited to discover more of these captivating historic landmarks and learn more about the fascinating history of this beautiful region.

Enjoying Outdoor Activities

After exploring the fascinating historic landmarks of the Peak District, it’s time to embrace the great outdoors and indulge in the thrilling outdoor activities that this stunning region has to offer.

As I step into the vast expanse of the Peak District, I’m immediately captivated by the breathtaking natural beauty that surrounds me. From rolling hills to dramatic cliffs, this place is a haven for adventure enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

One of the best ways to immerse yourself in the outdoor wonders of the Peak District is by embarking on a hiking expedition. With an extensive network of well-marked trails, there’s a hiking route to suit every level of fitness and experience.

I lace up my boots and set off on a scenic hike, feeling the crisp air against my face and the gentle crunch of gravel beneath my feet. As I ascend higher, the panoramic views unfold before my eyes, revealing sprawling landscapes and picturesque villages nestled in the valleys below. The tranquility and solitude of the Peak District’s hiking trails provide the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Aside from hiking, the Peak District offers an array of other thrilling outdoor activities. For those seeking an adrenaline rush, why not try rock climbing? The rugged cliffs and crags of the area provide an ideal playground for climbers of all abilities.

As I grasp onto the rough edges of the rock, my heart pounds with excitement and my senses heighten. The thrill of conquering a challenging climb and the sense of accomplishment at the summit is unparalleled.

Alternatively, if you prefer to take to the water, the Peak District’s reservoirs and lakes offer fantastic opportunities for kayaking, paddleboarding, and even wild swimming. The crystal-clear waters beckon me to dive in and embrace the refreshing embrace of nature.

The Peak District truly is a playground for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a myriad of activities to suit all tastes and abilities. Whether you choose to lace up your hiking boots and explore the stunning trails or test your limits with rock climbing, the natural wonders of this region are sure to leave you awe-inspired and rejuvenated.

So, pack your sense of adventure and get ready to embrace the great outdoors in the Peak District.

Trying Local Cuisine

Savor the flavors of the region by indulging in the local cuisine, a culinary experience that will tantalize your taste buds and give you a true taste of the Peak District. The Peak District isn’t only known for its stunning landscapes and outdoor activities, but also for its delicious food.

From traditional dishes to modern culinary creations, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

One must-try dish in the Peak District is the famous Bakewell Pudding. This sweet treat originated in the town of Bakewell and consists of a flaky pastry base filled with a layer of jam and a rich almond filling. The combination of textures and flavors is simply divine.

Another local specialty is the Derbyshire oatcake. Similar to a pancake, these savory oatcakes are made with oats, flour, and water, and are often enjoyed with fillings such as cheese, bacon, or sausage. They make for a hearty and delicious breakfast or snack.

In addition to these regional delights, the Peak District is also home to many traditional pubs and restaurants where you can sample classic British dishes. From hearty pies and Sunday roasts to locally sourced meats and vegetables, the culinary scene in the Peak District showcases the best of English cuisine.

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Don’t forget to pair your meal with a pint of locally brewed ale or cider for the complete experience.

Exploring the local cuisine in the Peak District is a truly delightful experience. Whether you’re trying traditional dishes or indulging in modern gastronomic creations, you’re sure to be impressed by the flavors and quality of the food.

So, make sure to treat yourself to a culinary adventure and discover the delicious tastes that the Peak District has to offer.

Exploring Caves and Caverns

Explore the mysterious underground world of caves and caverns, a captivating adventure that will leave you in awe of nature’s hidden wonders.

The Peak District in England is home to a variety of fascinating caves and caverns just waiting to be discovered. One of the most popular caves in the area is the Speedwell Cavern, where you can take a boat ride through an underground canal and marvel at the breathtaking rock formations. As you glide through the narrow passageways, the guide will share interesting facts about the history and geology of the cave, adding to the sense of wonder and excitement.

Another must-visit cave is the Blue John Cavern, famous for its exquisite Blue John stone, a rare mineral found only in this area. The guided tour takes you deep into the cavern, where you can see the stunning natural formations and learn about the mining history of the Blue John stone. The highlight of the tour is the opportunity to see the beautiful Blue John veins, with their unique colors and patterns. It’s a truly mesmerizing sight that will leave you amazed at the beauty that lies beneath the surface.

Exploring the caves and caverns of the Peak District is an adventure that shouldn’t be missed. From the Speedwell Cavern to the Blue John Cavern, each cave offers a unique experience that will leave you in awe of the natural wonders that lie beneath the earth’s surface.

So grab your sense of adventure and get ready to embark on a journey into the mysterious underground world of caves and caverns.

Admiring Stunning Waterfalls

Immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of cascading waterfalls as you stand in awe of nature’s power and grace. The Peak District in England is home to some of the most stunning waterfalls in the country, offering visitors a chance to witness the mesmerizing display of water flowing effortlessly down rugged cliffs.

One such waterfall is Kinder Downfall, a magnificent sight that stands at an impressive 98 feet tall. As you hike through the scenic Kinder Scout, you’ll be rewarded with the sight of this majestic waterfall, where the River Kinder plunges dramatically over the gritstone edges. The sheer force of the water creates a mesmerizing spray, casting rainbows in the sunlight and creating a truly enchanting experience.

Another must-see waterfall in the Peak District is Lumsdale Falls, a hidden gem tucked away in the Lumsdale Valley. As you navigate the ancient ruins and moss-covered stones, you’ll come across a series of picturesque waterfalls that seem straight out of a fairytale. The cascading waters create a soothing soundtrack, blending harmoniously with the serene surroundings. Explore the area at your own pace, taking in the tranquil atmosphere and capturing the beauty of the waterfalls through your camera lens.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, the waterfalls in the Peak District offer a captivating escape. Lose yourself in the mesmerizing beauty of these natural wonders, and let the soothing sound of rushing water wash away your worries.

The Peak District’s waterfalls are a reminder of nature’s remarkable ability to create awe-inspiring sights that leave a lasting impression on all who witness them.

Cycling through the Peaks

Embark on an exhilarating adventure through the picturesque landscapes of the Peak District by cycling through the breathtaking peaks. As I set off on my bike, the crisp morning air fills my lungs and energizes me for the journey ahead.

The winding trails take me through lush green valleys, charming villages, and rugged moorlands, offering a diverse and captivating experience at every turn.

Pedaling through the Peaks allows me to fully immerse myself in the stunning beauty of this national park. The rolling hills stretch out before me, adorned with vibrant wildflowers that paint the landscape in a kaleidoscope of colors. As I cycle along, I can’t help but be in awe of the dramatic rock formations and towering cliffs that surround me. The sound of rushing streams and the occasional waterfall adds a soothing soundtrack to my ride, making it a truly immersive and sensory experience.

Not only does cycling in the Peak District offer breathtaking views, but it also provides a sense of freedom and adventure. The network of well-maintained trails caters to all levels of cyclists, from beginners to seasoned riders.

I can choose to tackle challenging uphill climbs that reward me with panoramic vistas, or opt for more leisurely rides through quaint villages and peaceful countryside. Along the way, I pass by charming tea rooms and traditional pubs, perfect for a well-deserved pit stop and a taste of local delicacies.

Cycling through the Peaks is a thrilling and invigorating way to explore this beautiful region. It allows me to connect with nature, appreciate the stunning landscapes, and experience the sense of freedom that comes with cycling through the great outdoors.

Whether you’re a cycling enthusiast or simply looking for a unique way to explore the Peak District, hopping on a bike and pedaling through the Peaks is an adventure you won’t want to miss.

Wildlife Spotting in Nature Reserves

While cycling through the Peaks, one can’t help but be captivated by the diverse array of wildlife that can be spotted in the region’s nature reserves.

The Peak District is home to several nature reserves that provide a sanctuary for a wide range of animal species.

From the majestic red deer roaming freely in the open moorlands to the elusive otters playing in the crystal-clear streams, there is always something incredible to see.

One of the most popular spots for wildlife spotting in the Peak District is the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s Nature Reserve.

This reserve is a haven for birdwatchers, with a variety of species including peregrine falcons, kingfishers, and redstarts.

As you cycle through the reserve, the melodies of birdsong fill the air, creating a truly enchanting experience.

In addition to the birds, you may also come across other fascinating creatures such as badgers, foxes, and even the rare and elusive water vole.

Exploring the nature reserves in the Peak District by bike allows you to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature while also getting up close and personal with the incredible wildlife that calls this area home.

Keep your eyes peeled and your ears tuned in to the sounds of nature as you pedal through the picturesque landscapes.

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Whether you’re a wildlife enthusiast or simply appreciate the wonders of the natural world, the wildlife spotting opportunities in the Peak District are sure to leave you in awe.

Photography Opportunities

To make the most of your time in the Peak District, don’t forget to bring your camera. There are countless opportunities for capturing breathtaking photographs of the stunning landscapes and unique wildlife. The Peak District is a photographer’s paradise, with its diverse and picturesque scenery.

From rolling hills and lush green valleys to rugged moorlands and dramatic rock formations, the possibilities for capturing stunning landscape shots are endless. Whether you’re an amateur or a professional photographer, you’ll find plenty of inspiration in this beautiful national park.

In addition to the landscapes, the Peak District also offers fantastic opportunities for wildlife photography. The area is home to a variety of unique and fascinating wildlife, including rare bird species, elusive mammals, and beautiful insects. You may spot a majestic red deer grazing in the meadows or a colorful kingfisher diving into a crystal-clear stream.

With patience and a keen eye, you can capture these incredible moments on camera and create lasting memories.

Whether you’re a nature lover or just a photography enthusiast, the Peak District provides a wealth of photography opportunities. So, don’t forget to pack your camera and explore the stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife that this beautiful part of England has to offer.

Participating in Adventure Sports

Participating in adventure sports in the Peak District provides an exhilarating experience, filled with adrenaline and breathtaking moments. The rugged terrain and stunning landscapes of this area make it the perfect playground for thrill-seekers.

Whether you’re an experienced adventurer or a novice looking for a new challenge, there are plenty of options to get your heart racing. One popular adventure sport in the Peak District is rock climbing. With its craggy cliffs and challenging routes, this region attracts climbers from all over the world. As you scale the rocks, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, making it a truly unforgettable experience.

For those who prefer to stay closer to the ground, mountain biking is another thrilling option. The Peak District offers a variety of trails, from gentle slopes for beginners to steep descents for the more advanced riders. Whizzing through the countryside on two wheels, you’ll feel a sense of freedom and excitement like no other.

In addition to rock climbing and mountain biking, the Peak District also offers opportunities for other adventure sports such as caving, paragliding, and water sports. Exploring the underground caves and caverns is a unique experience that will test your courage and sense of adventure. Paragliding allows you to soar through the skies, taking in the breathtaking views from above. And for those who love the water, kayaking or paddleboarding on the reservoirs and rivers in the Peak District is a thrilling way to connect with nature.

No matter which adventure sport you choose, the Peak District is sure to provide an unforgettable experience filled with excitement and adrenaline.

Attending Festivals and Events

Attending festivals and events in the Peak District offers a unique opportunity to immerse oneself in the vibrant culture and lively atmosphere of this captivating region. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, there’s always something exciting happening in this area. From music festivals to food markets, there’s an event for everyone to enjoy.

One of the most popular events in the Peak District is the Bakewell Show, a traditional agricultural show that showcases the best of the region’s farming and livestock. This event attracts people from all over the country and offers a chance to see impressive displays of animals, as well as enjoy local food and drink.

Another highlight is the Matlock Bath Illuminations, a spectacular display of lights that takes place every weekend during the autumn season. The stunning riverside parade of illuminated boats is a sight to behold and creates a magical atmosphere.

Attending festivals and events in the Peak District is not just about the main attractions, but also about the smaller, more intimate gatherings. Local food and drink festivals offer the chance to sample delicious treats and meet the passionate producers behind them. Art exhibitions and craft fairs showcase the creativity of the region, with unique and handmade products available for purchase.

There’s always something happening in the Peak District, and attending these events allows you to truly experience the vibrant culture and lively atmosphere of this captivating region.

Relaxing and Unwinding in Tranquil Settings

After attending the lively festivals and events in the Peak District, I found myself longing for some peace and tranquility. Luckily, this stunning region is also home to some incredibly serene settings where one can relax and unwind.

From hidden gardens to peaceful lakeside spots, the Peak District offers a multitude of options for those seeking a slower pace.

One of my favorite places to escape the hustle and bustle is the picturesque Longshaw Estate. Nestled in the heart of the Peak District, this tranquil haven is a true gem. As I wandered through the well-manicured gardens and ancient woodlands, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of calm washing over me. The peacefulness of the surroundings, combined with the gentle sounds of nature, created the perfect atmosphere for relaxation.

Whether I chose to sit by the tranquil pond or stroll along the winding paths, I always left Longshaw Estate feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.

Another idyllic spot to unwind is the serene setting of Ladybower Reservoir. Surrounded by rolling hills and lush greenery, this expansive reservoir is a peaceful retreat away from the crowds. I often found myself sitting on the grassy banks, gazing out at the glassy water and soaking in the beauty of the surrounding landscape. The tranquility of Ladybower Reservoir is truly unmatched, making it the ideal place to unwind and recharge.

Whether I was taking a leisurely walk along the water’s edge or simply sitting in quiet contemplation, this peaceful oasis always provided the perfect escape from the busyness of everyday life.


In conclusion, the Peak District in England offers an array of activities and attractions that cater to every traveler’s interests. From exploring the beautiful countryside to hiking the scenic trails, there is no shortage of natural beauty to behold.

The charming villages and historic landmarks provide a glimpse into the region’s rich heritage, while the photography opportunities allow you to capture the stunning landscapes. Whether you’re seeking adventure sports or prefer to relax in tranquil settings, the Peak District has something for everyone.

Attending festivals and events in the area is a fantastic way to immerse yourself in the local culture and experience traditional English charm firsthand. From traditional music festivals to food and drink events, there is always something happening in the Peak District.

And when you’re in need of some downtime, the peaceful surroundings provide the perfect backdrop for relaxation and unwinding.

So, whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking for a getaway to recharge, the Peak District is the ideal destination. With its diverse range of activities, stunning landscapes, and welcoming atmosphere, a visit to the Peak District is sure to leave you with unforgettable memories and a desire to return time and time again.

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.