Grand country houses, picturesque villages and bustling market towns, all set amidst spectacular countryside, make the Peak District the perfect place for a short break or longer holiday. At its heart is Britain’s first National Park with an unrivalled variety of landscapes to explore. Situated in the middle of the country and easy to reach wherever you are coming from, the Peak District is quintessential England.
For walkers and cyclists an unrivalled network of paths criss-cross the area, offering a huge choice of routes with spectacular views across the limestone landscape of the ‘White Peak’, the gritstone edges and heather-clad moors of the ‘Dark Peak’ and the sparkling river valleys of Derbyshire’s limestone dales.
In the middle of the Peak District the countryside is a patchwork of green fields and grazing cows behind stone walls. The main town here is Bakewell, home to the well-known ‘pudding’, a delicacy which is sold in several bakery shops in the town and posted all over the world. Set on the banks of the River Wye, with stone buildings and an arched medieval bridge, Bakewell is a ‘don’t miss’ place with little courtyards and attractive shops.
A wealth of stately homes including Chatsworth House, Haddon and Hardwick Hall are set in sweeping parkland, perfect for a picnic after wandering around these palatial buildings. But it’s perhaps the tiny stone cottages in pretty villages that visitors remember just as much as the grand homes. Decorated with window boxes and hanging baskets in the summer, they were often the former homes of lead miners, mill workers or farm labourers.
Families have plenty of choice too, for many the holiday wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Britain’s premier theme park Alton Towers, situated in the south west corner of the Peak District. Or a ride in a state-of-the-art cable car across the Derwent Valley to the visitor centre and caves at the Heights of Abraham at Matlock Bath. Here too are the rides and carousels of Gullivers Kingdom, a mini theme park great for younger children.
For a day out with a difference descend to the underground world of caves at Castleton in the Hope Valley, where there is a choice of travelling on foot or by boat to see stalactites, stalagmites and veins of the unique Blue John stone. The entrance to Peak Cavern is overlooked by the ruins of Peveril Castle, a Norman stronghold perched high up above the valley.
The Peak District sits in the county of Derbyshire, so we’ve hand-picked our best Derbyshire cottages for you to browse through.