Despite all of our international travel, I still love a UK staycation. The place that we go back to most often either for day trips or for weeks away is the Peak District. In this post we share our love for the Peak District and have created for you our perfect week in the Peak District itinerary!
Best Time Of Year to Visit the Peak District
In my opinion there is no bad time to visit the Peak District! Winter is personally my least favourite season to visit in but then winter is my least favourite season anywhere! The nice thing about visiting the Peak District in Winter is that there are lots of cosy pubs and lodges with roaring fires where you can settle in for the night! Also Christmas in the Peaks is a lovely time especially at some of the historic homes, when they decorate the houses for Christmas!
Last year we visited in Spring and what we loved most was visiting the many farm yard attractions during lambing time! The peaks are also a great place to see some spring blooms!
Autumn is great because the Peaks is one of the best places in England to see fall colours.
But my favourite time is of course summer, when you are likely to get the best weather and have longer days to experience more of the wonderful Peak District attractions! The only downside to visiting in the Summer is that this is peak season and will be more crowded!
Whenever you decide to visit, I am sure you will have a great time!
Where to Stay in the Peak District
The Peak District has some beautiful properties to stay in. When we stay in the Peak District our preferred place to stay is a Peak District Lodge with a hot tub! We have in the past stayed at:
Darwin Forest Country Lodge – Located at the Matlock end of the Peak District with very easy access to Chatsworth House, Hardwick Hall and Matlock Farm to name a few!
And most recently we stay at
Sandybrook Country Lodge – run by the same company as the above but this property is closer to Ashbourne, Bakewell and Dovedale! Please note we were guests at Sandybrook Lodge during our stay however we paid for our own stay at its sister property Darwin Forest and would happily pay to return tomorrow!
Both of these properties are great with children as they have pools, and other family friendly amenities on site!
If you prefer a hotel then my in-laws make an annual visit to Biggin Hall Hotel. This is perhaps more suited to couples than families.
And finally if you want to stay in a more historic property, Chatsworth House Estate offers a variety of property from pub lodgings to on estate cottages. To find more information click here!
Our Perfect Peak District Itinerary including Best Things to Do in the Peak District
Note about itinerary: This itinerary is designed so that it can be done at any time of year however as mentioned above the best weather for the Peak District is in the summer months!
Although I have allocated days to the itinerary it is designed to be done in any order, however if you would like to see the Market at Bakewell you will need to make this your Monday activity!
If you only have 2 days in peak district etc. then do not worry, just pick the days you fancy doing most!
Please note: Although there is public transport in the Peak District, this itinerary is designed for those that have access to their own vehicle so is a Peak District driving itinerary.
Day One – Chatsworth House
Day one of our perfect week in the Peak District starts at my favourite historic home in England – Chatsworth House. This is a must for any UK bucket list and it is great whatever type of traveller you are.
The insides of the house are fascinating and you will get a real into the Devonshire family who own the property!
Outside however is my favourite part of the estate. There are beautiful gardens to stroll in from formal gardens, walled gardens, kitchen gardens – you have them all at Chatsworth and it is very easy to spend a whole afternoon in the gardens! The last time we visited there was an outdoor art installation which added an extra dimension to the visit! In the summer you will find plenty of lawn games and even a champagne van in the gardens! It is a very English afternoon out!
The gardens also lead to some fantastic trails for those that enjoy walking! Some walks are doable without paying admission into the house and gardens but I would recommend getting entrance!
For those that don’t like walking, you can see the gardens by train or horse drawn carriage to, which is great for those with accessibility issues. Children also love this!
Speaking of children, for families travelling to the Peak District the House also has an amazing outdoor adventure playground and a working farmyard (this is very special in spring time with all the new lambs)
For more things to do in the Peak District with kids check out this post!
One of the things I love about visiting Chatsworth is that the entrance tickets are really flexible so you only choose which of the following you want admittance for
- House and Gardens
- Playground and Farmyard
which is great as you don’t have to pay for experiences you won’t use! I love all of them so always get the full ticket! For current prices click here!
Chatsworth is well worth allocating a whole day of your Peak District itinerary to!
Day Two – Dovedale, Ashbourne and Tissington
Today is about more outdoor endeavours! Your first stop is
Dovedale is actually the first place I visited in the Peak District when I went on a school trip! Dovedale is a beautiful valley in the Peak District that offers some really easy walks that are even suitable for those who have strollers with them!
One of the highlights of the walk in Dovedale is the iconic Dovedale Stepping Stones that go across the River Dove! Please note: given the ease of this walk and the iconicness of the stepping stones means that the stepping stones get very busy especially during the summer and at weekends. If you can do this day during the Week it would be preferable but not essential.
If you are a more competent hiker or looking to go further, there are extensions to the Stepping Stone Walk!
Once you have completed your morning at Dovedale head to the nearby town of
Ok, I know Asbourne itself is not technically in the Peak District but it is known as the gateway to Dovedale but is a lovely town itself! It is a great place to go shopping with lots of family run businesses, antique shops and has its own market!
Bonus Alternative for Day Two: If you are a cycling enthusiast heading to the Peak District then you should head to the beautiful Tissington Trail! The trail runs for 13 miles from Ashbourne to Parsley Hay and the Trail is actually the site of the old railway! It is a really easy but picturesque cycle to do for all the family!
Day Three – Bakewell and Haddon Hall
Top Tip: If possible I would schedule to do this day on a Monday to coincide with the Bakewell Market!
When you think about quintessential Peak District Town you think of Bakewell! On a Monday you can enjoy the market that is on in the centre of town and partake in a bit of shopping. While in town you simply must stop and eat a Bakewell Tart at the Original Bakewell Tart Shoppe! It is simply sublime!
For your afternoon head to the nearby historic home – Haddon Hall!
Haddon Hall dates back to the Tudor Period and the house frequently appears in period film and television programmes.
Please note: check the websiteThe house closes from October until Spring so please for current opening times!
Day Four – Hardwick Hall and Bolsover Castle
Today is another day of historic homes and castles. Start your day off at one of my favourite historic homes in the country
At Hardwick Hall you get two historic homes for the price of one in effect as both New and Old Hardwick on site! The home belonged to the infamous Bess of Hardwick. When new Hardwick was built, it was famed for having the most glass in England and is simply breathtaking and is in my opinion one of the best things to do in the Peak District in the rain.
There are also extensive gardens, trails and a great playground for kids to explore!
The house is frequently used in film and television programmes and eagle eyed Harry Potter fans will recognise it as Malfoy Manor from the film franchise!
The house is run by the National Trust and I don’t know about you, I always have to stop in a National Trust Cafe for a spot of tea and cake!
Once finished take a quick 15 minute drive to your second stop of the day
Bolsover Castle is run by English Heritage and dates from the Stuart Period! It is a spectacular property but my favourite attributes are all on the outside including the Fountain Garden and the Wall Walk! But what will impress most children and adults alike is the Horsemanship displays! Bolsover was originally built by the Cavendish Family and William Cavendish was once the Royal Horse Master and is known as the Father of Dressage! The shows only run in peak season and has a limited capacity so be sure to check the schedule and book online in advance!
Day Five – Castleton And Eyam
Start your day in the pretty town of Castleton! Castleton is
One of the most unique features of the town of Castleton is its caves that are home to deposits of the semi-precious Blue-John! One of the caves – Blue John Cavern is open for prebooked tours and all tours must have a minimum of two paying adults!
Another alternative is to take a cave boat tour through the Speedwell Cavern that leads to a subterranean lake known as the Bottomless Pit! The town of Castleton is also a great place to stop for a traditional English pub lunch!
After lunch you are heading to the small village of
Eyam is famously known as ‘The Plague Village’ as in the 17th Century the villagers decided to cut themselves out from the outside world when villagers started contracting the plague to stop the spread! In the centre of the village is the National Trust run Eyam Hall, a Jacobite Manor House which is also worth a visit!
Bonus: For serious hikers you can add hiking the nearby Mam Tor to your itinerary instead!
Day 6 – Heights of Abraham and Matlock
The first stop of the day is the family friendly Heights of Abraham! The Heights of Abraham is one of the most well known family attractions in the whole fo the Peak District as you will fly over the Peak District countryside by Cable Car!
Once you reach the top there are caves to explore, a playground and some trails!
For your afternoon head to the nearby Matlock Farm which is especially good in Spring during Lambing Season!
Day 7 – Crich Tramway Museum and Home
For your final day head to the Crich Tramway Museum! We love a transport museum and Crich sort of combines transport museum with a living history museum! Here you will find a reconstructed village, sculpture trail and also loads of tram rides!
And after, your perfect one week Peak District Itinerary has come to an end!
For those travelling with young families why not check out the theme park aimed at the younger child audience – Gullivers Kingdom!
Peak District Packing List
While always beautiful the Peak District weather can be unpredictable – we have had blazing sunshine in spring and downpours in Summer. When packing for the peak district layers and waterproofs are always an essential.
Our essentials on our Peak District Packing List always include:
- Hiking Boots
There are loads of great walks through out the Peak District for all abilities from the easy trails at Dovedale to the more difficult Mam Tor! Be sure yo pack your hiking boots for a Peak District Holiday no matter what time of year you go!
- Trainers or Hiking Sandals
Not all walks in the Peaks require hiking boots, and if the weather is nice you will definitely want trainers or hiking sandals with you!
- Rain jacket
The Peak District is known for its unpredictable weather! A light weight and easy to fold rain jacket is an essential for a Peak District Holiday!
- Windbreaker or Coat
- Lightweight Fleece
- T Shirts –
- Zip Off Walking Trousers (quantity – 2)
I always bring walking trousers as they are most adaptable depending on what the weather is like for your hikes! They also dry easily if you get walk!
If you are stopping at a lodge with pool and hot tub facilities as we recommend this is an essential!
- Hiking socks (7 pairs)
- Reuseable Water Bottle
- Back Pack with Rain Cover
- Sun Screen
FAQS about our Perfect peak district itinerary
What should I do if I only have one day in peak district?
If you only have one day in pea district then just pick the day from the above that appeals to you the best.
Is peak district worth visiting?
In our opinion the peak district is absolutely worth visiting as it has something on offer whether you like outdoor pursuits, stately home or something else – the peak district has plenty on offer for everyone.
Have you been to the Peak District? What did your Peak District Itinerary Look Like? What did you Pack for the Peak District?