The Peak District and surrounding area
The Peak District is a popular tourist area of Midland / Northern England and the location of Englands first National Park.
The area covered by our website includes the Peak District National Park and some surrounding areas to the south and west, an area containing some of the finest scenery in the whole of England.
Places to Visit
Many different people have placed their mark upon this landscape - Neolithic farmers, Iron Age people, the Romans, Saxons and Vikings, Normans came and built castles, then great landowners built grand houses. So there is a lot of history to see.
For example, Arbor Low is a magical place - a rare stone-age 'henge' monument, while Peveril Castle is a fine example of a Norman castle.
Chatsworth House, home of the Dukes of Devonshire, is one of the greatest houses in England. Haddon Hall is a gem - a medieval manor house, Hardwick Hall is a marvellous Elizabethan house. There are many more great houses - Lyme Hall, Sudbury, Kedleston to name just a few.
More modern attractions include the 'Heights of Abraham' at Matlock Bath, with its cable car and fine example of a former limestone cavern / lead mine. Just outside the area we cover is Alton Towers, one of the country's premier theme parks.
There are also enthusiasts' railways, canal basins, the famous Crich Tramway museum, and a lead mining musem at Matlock Bath.
Towns and Villages
As well as some lovely towns, there is a treasure trove of lovely villages - with beautiful Norman or mediaeval churches, ancient lead mines, fine old houses and traditional pubs.
Do not miss Buxton, a lovely spa town with an Opera House and an 18th century Crescent to rival that at Bath. Bakewell is a beautiful and bustling market town, while Matlock is the county town of Derbyshire and Matlock Bath is a lovely resort spread out alongside the River Derwent.
Ashbourne is another beautiful and historic old market town, as is Leek over in Staffordshire. Both have thriving antique trades, with many shops to browse. Ashbourne also has a fine old church with splendid alabaster tombs and stained glass. At the north of the region, Glossop is a former mill town overlooked by high moorland plateaus.
A step down in size, Tideswell has a magnificent 14th century church, known as the 'Cathedral of the Peak'. Castleton is overlooked by Peveril Castle and is famous for its caverns, while Hathersage has another fine church with the grave of 'Little John' and many links to the novel 'Jane Eyre'.
Hartington, with its cheese factory, is the gateway to Dovedale, while Eyam is known as the 'Plague Village', due to its decision to go into quarantine rather than allow the Plague to spread.
The landscape of the Peak District divides naturally into two regions - the gritstone and shale hills of the northern area, known locally as the 'Dark Peak', and the limestone valleys (or 'dales') of the southern area, known locally as the 'White Peak'. Each region has its different features and charms.
The Dark Peak
The Dark Peak has some wild moorland areas, with gentle sheltered valleys. This is a great area for walking or cycling, or more extreme sports like rock climbing or hang-gliding. There are some superb places to visit, such as the Stanage Edge or the Derwent Dams.
The White Peak
The White Peak has rocky limestone dales, with rolling hills and wide panoramas imbetween. This has some of the most dramatic scenery England has to offer, which has inspired poets and authors for centuries. Dovedale and the nearby Manifold valley offer excellent walking, cycling, fishing and a place to come and wonder at the sheer magnificence of nature.
The Peak District is a great place to enjoy the outdoors, whether you want to come to take part in extreme sports or come in spring to enjoy the many rare flowers.
Kinder Scout and the area around Hope Valley and Edale are great places for walking - much of it on high moorland plateaus covered in peat.
For easier walking, head south to the Limestone Dales of the White Peak, with its sheltered valleys.
There is excellent mountain biking especially around the Dark Peak area, while further south there are several former railway tracks which have been turned into cycle trails as well as numerous quiet back roads to cycle on.
For rock climbing, Stanage Edge has few equals - a four mile (6km) long gritstone edge, with hundreds of recorded climbs. However, this is just one of several gritstone edges, all of which have many excellent climbs, and longer climbs are also available on the numerous limestone crags to the south.
If you come to Mam Tor on a fine weekend you will almost certainly find hand gliders in the air, while at Carsington Water people are sailing. Meanwhile, often at night, troglodytic figures are descending the numerous potholes which dot the White Peak area.