Heights of Abraham
This 60-acre estate has something for everyone – photographers, explorers and many others besides.
Take in spectacular views on the cable car ride up to the summit of Masson Hill, for 36o-degree views across the surrounding Derwent Valley, or go underground, into the caverns on a guided tour of this truly fascinating space, which was formed some 350 million years ago.
There are winding footpaths through the gardens and parkland, with plenty of viewpoints such as the Victoria Prospect Tower, and opportunities to find out about the mining history of this important region.
Plus, for dining in a really dramatic location, try the Vista Restaurant.
Magnificent Chatsworth House, home to the dukes of Devonshire, is one of the finest country houses in the UK, where you can explore 25 of the most spectacular rooms and learn more about the history of 16 generations of the Cavendish family.
If that’s not enough to entertain and impress, a glorious 105-acre garden surrounds the house, including a fine arboretum, an intriguing maze, foundations, sculptures, and more.
Children will enjoy visiting the farmyard and running around in the woodland playground.
The grounds also regularly host events and guided tours, just check the website and book before you go.
Arbor Low Stone Circle
- Web www.english-heritage.org.uk
- Stay at New Haven Lodge Farm CL
Strap on your walking boots to visit this fine Neolithic monument, the most important prehistoric site in the area, which is often referred to as the ‘Stonehenge of the Peak District’.
Surrounded by an imposing earthen bank and ditch are no fewer than 50 rather mysterious white limestone slabs, which once stood erect but now, with the passage of time, have fallen.
At the centre of this atmospheric circle is an ancient stone ‘cove’, which according to archaeologists, indicates that this must one have been a major site for sacred rituals.
Just a stroll away is Gib Hill, a large Bronze Age burial mound. The site is set in unspoilt scenery, accessed via a private farm with a £1 entrance fee.
Ecclesbourne Valley Railway
- Web www.e-v-r.com
- Stay at Birchwood Farm Caravan & Camping Site
Admire the beautiful scenery from the Ecclebourne Valley Railway, which takes you on a journey encompassing Wirkworth, Ravenstor, Idridgehgay, Shottle and Duffield stations.
The nine-mile route runs all the way from Wirksworth to Duffield, and heritage trains operate regularly on the line, with options for on-board dining, as well as footplate experiences that give you the opportunity to learn all about diesel or steam locomotives from expert instructors.
While you’re here, why not check out the well-appointed museum and cafe at Wirksworth, or take a ride on the miniature railway?
Alight at Ravenstor Station to visit places such as the National Stone Centre, Derbyshire Eco Centre and Middleton Top Engine House, or enjoy a walk on the High Peak Trail for even more beautiful scenery.
Alton Towers Resort
Get your heart racing and adrenalin pumping with the dozens of rides at the famous Alton Towers.
Set in over 500 acres of Staffordshire countryside, you’ll find that there’s plenty here to entertain you.
It’s a perfect day out for all ages, with more than 40 rides to choose from, including the water park and great family favourites such as CBeebies Land and Extraordinary Golf, to name but a few.
This hasn’t always been a theme park, though; the beautiful building was founded on the site of an Iron Age settlement, and was once home to the Earls of Shrewsbury – you can find out more about its history from attractions such as the Dungeon.
At the heart of the Peak District, Bakewell is known for its bustling streets and alleyways, as well, of course, as the renowned (and very delicious) Bakewell Pudding.
Take a stroll around this thriving market town and you’ll quickly get a real taste of Peak District life.
Located on the banks of the beautiful River Wye, there’s just so much to see here. There are some pleasant, level walks, plus you can join the Monsal Trail, an 8.5-mile traffic-free path that now runs along the route of the former Midland Railway.
The town itself has a huge selection of independent shops, good cafes and galleries to explore as well as a visitor centre in the 17th-century Old Market Hall, where you can learn more about the local history.
If you are a connoisseur of locally brewed ales, you can enjoy a tasting experience at Thornbridge Brewery, producer of fine craft beers, including Jaipur, Halcyon and Green Mountain.
On the very edge of the Peak District, Bolsover Castle is a most impressive fairytale mansion, built by the Peverel family in the 12th century.
Gaze out over the Vale of Scarsdale from the newly restored wall walk, explore the lavish interiors of Little Castle, stroll around the extensive grounds and gardens, or reimagine stately rooms in the Terrace Range, once the castle’s grand entrance and now, sadly, just a roofless shell.
There’s also the indoor riding school to visit, which is one of the finest in the country and hosts regular Cavalier Horsemanship displays at weekends from April to September.
Peak Wildlife Park
On the southern edge of the Peak District is this exciting animal park, with large walk-through exhibits that allow you to get close to exotic and endangered animals, including lemurs, penguins, wallabies and many more, and learn all about them.
The South American and African Village walk-throughs house several species in a near approximation of their natural environments, so that you can find out about where these animals originated.
This year, the park opened a new area that is home to red squirrels, one of the UK’s most endangered species. There’s also a pleasant on-site café, so you can relax and make a day of it.
- Web www.visitpeakdistrict.com
- Stay at Laneside Caravan Park
With some of the most stunning and well-known views of the Peak District, Hope Valley has plenty of walking and hiking trails, photo spots and charming villages to explore.
Walks include Mam Tor, Great Ridge and Winnats Pass, while the Castleton route offers attractions such as Eyam ‘plague village’, show caverns and a hilltop Norman fort, as well as plenty of traditional pubs.
The village of Hathersage is home to the David Mellor Visitor Centre, a design museum, factory, shop, café and general homage to the renowned ‘cutlery king’. For a less strenuous, still scenic, tour, take the Hope Valley Line from Sheffield to Manchester.
Poole’s Cavern & Buxton Country Park
You can discover even more about the Peak District’s awe-inspiring geological features at these amazing show caves, with guided tours that take you on a 45-minute journey underground.
This limestone cave system was first explored in the 16th century, so there’s plenty of history and legends to learn about from expert guides, as well as stalactites and stalagmites to admire.
While you’re here, stroll through the woods of Buxton Country Park to Grin Low viewpoint, stop at the café, or try out the on-suite Go Ape treetop course.
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