Home to Britain’s first National Park, the Peak District is big on natural beauty and historic charm.

This scenic destination in the United Kingdom covers 555 square miles (1,438 kms) and takes in the counties of Derbyshire, Cheshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Greater Manchester. Peak District National Park draws keen walkers from around the world who come to enjoy the freedom of being able to hike along 1,600 miles (2,575 kms) of public rights of way such as footpaths, bridleways and tracks, and 202 square miles (523 square kms) of open access land where hikers can walk wherever they please. Add caves as high as the London Eye, castles, country pubs, fortresses and historic villages to explore and you’ve got a great Peak District tour with plenty of opportunities for enjoying the great outdoors. Whether you would prefer to lace up your hiking boots and explore the Peak District on foot, cycle the Peak District or simply soak up the village atmosphere, the Peak District is waiting for you.

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Highlights of the Peak District

Bakewell in the Peak District

Explore the town of Bakewell

Located on the River Wye, Bakewell is best known for its sweets. Most people have heard of a Bakewell tart, filled with layers of jam and frangipane, but Bakewell is also home to a matching almond-flavoured dessert which was accidentally invented in the 18th century and continues to be made to a top-secret recipe. Treat yourself one of the town’s famous tarts or puddings as you explore the arched bridges, narrow shopping streets and stone cottages which make this town so picturesque. If you’ve read Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, you’ll probably recognise Bakewell as 'Lambton' in the novel.

Longshaw Estate in the Peak District

Explore Longshaw Estate

Lace up your hiking boots and discover the ancient landscape, tumbling streams and fascinating history of Longshaw Estate which covers 1600 acres (647 hectares). Once used for shooting by the Duke of Rutland, the estate of moorland and woodland is now managed by the National Trust. Make your way through rhododendron bushes, past moss-covered barns and grazing sheep, over babbling brooks, boulders weathered into natural sculptures, and along the heather and gorse flanked packhorse trails which once connected Sheffield to the salt wells of Cheshire. The views of the Peak District are superb.

Ladybower Reservoir near Bamford

See the sights around Bamford

Bamford is a small village with a big choice of things to see and do. Ladybower Reservoir, one of Britain’s largest historic reservoirs, is a great spot to enjoy a picnic lunch and views over the water. If the reservoir is full, you’ll get to see what the locals call ‘the plughole’, a huge 78 foot (24m) wide drain that resembles the plughole in the bathtub back at your hotel. Bamford also has plenty of rolling hills and picturesque moorland for hiking adventures. Don’t miss the walk to the top of nearby Mam Tor.  

Peak District cave

Marvel at Blue John Cavern

Blue John Cavern is named after the fourteen known varieties of Blue John stone which have been mined in the caves using picks and shovels for centuries. Miners still work here during the tourist off-season. Tours of the cave take around 45 minutes and pass through caverns up to 150 feet (45 metres) high filled with stalactites, stalagmites and mining equipment used to remove Blue John stone from the veins of limestone. Ask as many questions as you like as your guide is also one of the miners who works the seams. 

Drinking beer at a historic pub

Have a pint at a historic pub

Whether you’re after a pint at a simple country pub or would prefer to dine on Michelin-starred cuisine, you’ll find what you’re looking for and more in the Peak District’s pubs. After you’ve checked out Ladybower Reservoir, head to the nearby Yorkshire Bridge Inn for a refreshing ale. Housed in a historic coaching inn, The Old Hall Inn at Whitehough has a bar specialising in local brews. Some grand estates even have their own pub, like The Devonshire Arms which is part of Chatsworth Estate. If the weather is chilly, there’s a cosy fire at The Castle in Castleton.

Harwick Hall in the Peak District

Tour castles and historic houses

The Peak District is packed with castles and historic houses to explore. Walk in the footsteps of Henry II at Peveril Castle in Castleton, one of England’s earliest Norman fortresses. The lush formal gardens and parklands at Elvaston Castle Country Park are free to explore with plenty of room to go for a stroll. Head to Hardwick Hall in Chesterfield and you’ll discover excellent walks and some of the world’s best Elizabethan tapestries. The atmospheric, crumbling grandeur of Calke Abbey provides an understanding of the hard work required to maintain a country estate. 

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Peak District FAQs

Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards

From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).

However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.

Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.

Learn more about Intrepid’s COVID-19 policy

If you are visiting the Peak District from outside the United Kingdom, you can fly into either Manchester Airport, East Midlands Airport or Birmingham Airport. The easiest way to travel to the Peak District from Manchester Airport is by rail or you can take the bus directly from the airport to the town of Buxton which is a handy jumping off point for exploring the Peak District. From East Midlands Airport, it's easy to get to the Peak District by rail or bus but you'll have to take the bus to Derby first to catch the rail or bus connection to the Peak District. From Birmingham Airport, the easiest way to get to the Peak District is by train or bus but, like East Midlands Airport, you'll have to make your way to Derby first.

Bus and rail services travel to different towns in the Peak District. Check timetables for the best option based on where you are departing from and what town you would like to base yourself in while you're exploring the Peak District.

If you would prefer to drive, the Peak District can be reached via the motorway from the north or south of England. Other roads such as the M62, M42, M60, M56, M67 and M18 will also take you to the Peak District.

Ferry services are also available but the closest ports are either Hull or Liverpool which are more than an hour away from the Peak District.  

Learn more about how to get to the Peak District

Getting around the Peak District is easy with options for drivers and non-drivers alike. Many locals and visitors choose to explore the Peak District by car. The Stagecoach Hope Valley Explorer hop-on-hop-off bus service can be used to get around the Hope Valley area of the Peak District National Park during the summer months. Regular bus services can also be used to travel between many of the villages in the Peak District. Trains from London St Pancras International travel  and London Euston will take you to the Peak District but you will need to take a connecting train to reach some villages. 

Due to the Peak District's location in the Midlands region of England, the weather is usually pleasantly mild. The Peak District's rainfall is fairly even throughout the year which means anytime is a good time to visit the Peak District. However, this also means you might encounter wet weather during your visit so pack accordingly. The summer months seldom get above 19 degrees Celcius and during winter, the average daytime temperature is around 4 degrees Celcius during the day. Autumn weather can be changeable but it's worth taking a chance on this time of year to avoid the crowds. Snow is not uncommon in winter and roads can be closed when falls are heavy. 

Learn more about the best time to visit the Peak District

What to pack for your trip to the Peak District largely depends on what time of the year you choose to visit and what type of holiday you want to have. If you're going to be doing a lot of hiking or other outdoor activities, it's recommended you pack a sturdy, comfortable pair of boots or shoes, as well as long trousers and a waterproof jacket. If you're travelling in winter remember to pack scarves, beanies, gloves, long shirts, and jumpers. When you head out for a walk in the Peak District, always bring a jumper and wet weather gear with you as the weather can be changeable. If you are visiting the Peak District in summer, you will need to pack clothes suitable for warmer weather such as t-shirts, shorts, dresses, and a light cardigan or jumper for chilly evenings. Wet weather gear is essential, no matter what time of the year you're visiting. 

You will find a WiFi signal in the Peak District near major villages and tourist hubs but there is limited or no WiFi available once you get out in the countryside and start exploring the region's trails. If you want to use Google maps while you're in the Peak District, remember to download the offline versions of the correct maps to your phone before you get there.

You will find a mobile phone signal in the Peak District near major villages and tourist hubs but there is limited or no mobile phone coverage once you get out in the countryside and start exploring the region's trails. 

Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.

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