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Peak District Travel Guide (including tips, itinerary + map)

Our Peak District Travel Guide includes recommended places to visit and things to do, accommodation options, tips and more for one of the most beautiful areas of England. Everything you need to plan your visit and essential reading for any visitor to the Peak District!

Let’s plan your visit to the Peak District

The beautiful Peak District National Park in the East Midlands of England is a favourite destination for visitors from all over the UK.

Although the bulk of the Peak District is found in northern Derbyshire it spreads into a number of other English counties including Staffordshire, South Yorkshire, Cheshire and Greater Manchester towards the north west.

The Peak District National Park was the first National Park to be established in the UK in 1951. It is divided into the southern area known as the White Peak and the northern area referred to as the Dark Peak.

Both are areas of natural beauty and feature dramatic landscapes, valleys and moorlands, ridges and hills. The White Peak is characterised by areas of limestone and is located primarily in Derbyshire and Staffordshire while the Dark Peak is found to the north and has a wilder and more desolate character.

If you love the outdoors the Peak District is the perfect holiday destination.


Peak District Map

Peak District
Click for a Google map of the Peak District

FAQ’s for visiting the Peak District

When is the best time of year to visit the Peak District?

The Peak District is a wonderful destination throughout the year though can at times parts can be less accessible due to weather conditions (especially during the cold winter months when snow is common) If you do head there in winter it is perfect for long walks and cosy pubs!

If you visit at the end of August into the first week of September expect to see purple as the heather flowers across the landscape.

How much time should I plan to spend in the Peak District?

You can easily spend a week touring the Peak District and exploring the area by car or on foot if you enjoy hiking.

Book accommodation in a central location in one of the pretty towns and villages such as Bakewell or Matlock and use this as a base for day trips to surrounding areas.

The Peak District is the perfect destination for a weekend break or staycation. Accommodation options include cottages and cabins perfect for a relaxing countryside stay.

What are the very best places to visit in the Peak District?

To provide a quick snapshot these are my top places to visit and things to do in the Peak District:

  • Visit beautiful Chatsworth House and estate home to Lord and Lady Devonshire.
  • Sample Bakewell Pudding in the pretty market town of Bakewell
  • Take a hike along the Tissington Trail, High Peak Trail or Ridge Walk Mam Tor to Losehill
  • Take a trip to the picturesque Dovedale Valley and cross the River Dove using the famous stepping stones
  • Visit Cromford Mills the location of the world’s first water powered spinning mill and birthplace of the modern factory system (Arkwright’s Mill) and UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Take the cable car from Matlock to the Heights of Abraham for amazing views of the countryside
  • Visit Treak Cliff Cavern in Castleton famous for its Blue John Stone

How can I get around the Peak District?

The Peak District is famous for its walking trails to suit all fitness levels and interests from short strolls to longer hikes. Kinder Scout, the Limestone Way, the Bakewell to Chatsworth walking route and the Cromford Mill and Village Walking route are just some of the walks popular in the Peak District.

Public transport is available in the Peak District with buses and trains connecting the larger towns and most popular areas.

In the summer the Hope Valley Explorer (a hop on hop off bus) runs from Edale, Hope, Bamford (change at Sheffield for these train stations) or Chesterfield and Dronfield. (Please note that the bus was cancelled in 2020 but hopefully should make a return soon)

Hope Valley explorer map
You can use public transport to get around parts of the Peak District National Park

What is the best way to get to the Peak District from London?

The Peak District National Park is spread across a large part of England so identifying your first destination will influence the best method of transportation.

If the train is your preferred method of transportation to the Peak District I recommend travelling to one of the larger train stations such as Derby, Chesterfield, Buxton, Sheffield or Manchester and picking up a hire car to make the most of your visit to the Peak District.

If you drive from London allow around 3 hours (from central London to Matlock in the heart of the Peak District)

Tours to the Peak District are available from Manchester including:

Experience the delights of Derbyshire on a full-day tour from Manchester. See the rolling hills of the Peak District, taste the traditional treats of Bakewell, and journey into the natural wonder that is Poole’s Cavern.

Travel through the best of Northern England on this tour to York, Chatsworth House, the Peak District and more. On this 3-day small-group tour from Manchester, you explore all of it in the comfort of a luxury, 16 seat mini-coach.

Read more – Complete transportation guide to the UK

What traditional English foods originate from the Peak District?

There are many famous Derbyshire dishes that must be sampled when visiting the Peak District. These include:

  • Bakewell Pudding or Tart
  • Hartington Stilton Cheese
  • Ashbourne Gingerbread
  • Buxton Pudding

Don’t miss a visit to a farmer’s market or farm shop to purchase locally grown produce. Chatsworth Farm Shop (located on the estate) and the Bakewell Farmers Market (held on the last Saturday of the month) are particularly noteworthy!

Bakewell Tart

Attractions and things to do in the Peak District

Places to stay in the Peak District

Find more special stays in my Accommodation Guide for England.

Chatsworth House in Derbyshire
Stately homes such as Chatsworth Estate are located in the Peak District National Park

Books to read about the Peak District

Enjoy your visit to the Peak District

This guide to visiting the Peak District will have answered all your questions and helped you plan your trip to one of England’s prettiest regions.

You can find more practical tips, resources and advice in all my UK travel guides which include:

Looking for more inspiration for your travels in England? Check out my England Travel Planning Guide which has loads of ideas, tips and resources to plan your itinerary.