Located just 50 minutes from 42 The Calls lies Europe’s busiest National Park, the Peak District. 555 square miles offer visitors stunning natural landscapes to explore and a whole host of historic sites and entertaining attractions to visit. Framed by Manchester and Sheffield, whilst covering the northern section of Derbyshire, the Peak District is easily accessible from Leeds and can deliver a fun-filled day out for the whole family during a stay at 42 The Calls. Find out more about this vast stretch of countryside and its many must-see sights with our guide to the Peak District.
The Great Outdoors
Founded in 1951, the Peak District was the UK’s First National Park and boasts miles of unspoilt, rolling hills to explore. Take the opportunity to wander across Access Land - moors and dalesides open to the public to walk around freely – or follow the numerous trails on offer. Two of the most popular routes run along former rail lines; Monsal and Tissington. The 8.5 mile Monsal Trail stretches along a former Midland Railway line between Chee Dale to Bakewell, while Tissington offers a 13 mile traffic-free route from Ashbourne to Parsley Hay; following the path of former trackbed between Buxton to Ashbourne. However, those seeking a truly unique experience can opt for a tour through the peaks inside a 1929 Model A Ford vintage car.
The mostly southerly end of the Pennines can also be discovered via horseback and bike, with cycle hire centres dotted around the region. Though the area is jam-packed with breath-taking views from its many hills, including the park’s highest point on the gritstone plateau known as Kinder Scout… the more daring may fancy taking a hot air balloon or helicopter flight to capture the perfect shot. Those keen on water sports can enjoy trying kayaking, sailing and windsurfing, while climbing, fishing and golfing await back on land. With such stunning natural beauty on offer, there’ll be plenty to admire however you choose to explore it.
Towns & Villages
Hidden within the peaks and troughs of the local landscape lie some of the most picturesque towns and villages in the country. Known for its flowing mineral water and as England’s ‘leading spa town’, Buxton offers a variety of attractions to explore. From 23-acres of Pavilion Gardens and limestone caverns that boast crystal Stalactites and Stalagmites… to its Opera House, which offers in the vicinity of 450 performances per year. Meanwhile, Eyam is more famously known as the ‘plague village’ owing to its inhabitants choosing to quarantine themselves after a bale of cloth brought the plague there from London in 1665. Subsequently 260 villagers died and a museum has been opened to tell their story.
Bakewell is probably most famous for the Bakewell Pudding, which was apparently created at the Rutland Arms after a cook misunderstood a jam tart recipe in the 19th century. The world-famous Bakewell Tart is a version of this and may consist of a shortcrust pastry shell filled with jam, frangipane and flaked almonds. Alongside the chance to sample this delicious sweet treat, the market town also offers a variety of craft shops, superb fish and chips, as well as a large market and livestock market next to the River Wye.
The county town of Derbyshire, Matlock, and its surrounding area form one of the Peak District’s most popular destinations. Matlock Bath has remained a key tourist attraction since the Victorian era and offers a variety of family-friendly attractions such as arcades, an aquarium and Gulliver’s Theme Park, which boasts a log flume with a nail-biting altitude of 629 feet. It’s also home to the Heights of Abraham, which offers the chance to catch a ride on Britain’s first alpine style cable car system and enjoy a state-of-the-art light installation in an underground cavern system. Fashion fans should head to the historic John Smedley mill and factory shop; a brand that boasts the Royal Warrant from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. While book lovers will enjoy getting lost between the shelves and stacks of new, second-hand and antique offerings at Cromford’s Scarthin Books.
Other Key Sites & Attractions
History fans will be in for a treat as the region is also famous for being the birthplace of the industrial revolution, specifically Arkwright’s Cromford Mills. This was home to the first modern factory system and forms part of the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site along with Derby’s Silk Mill. The region also boasts a reputation as the brewing ‘capital’ of the UK and visitors can enjoy tours of breweries such as the award-winning Thornbridge, located just a 10 minute stroll from Bakewell. Take the opportunity to line your stomach beforehand in the many farm shops, gastro pubs, bistros and restaurants scattered across the park’s hillsides and villages.
The Peak District and Derbyshire itself are also home to many stately homes and castles including Chatsworth House. Built between 1687 and 1707, there are over 30 rooms to explore behind its grand façade of 24 floor-to-ceiling windows. Art fans will feel awe-inspired wandering through the Painted Hall, while the house's Devonshire Collection varies from the likes of Elizabethan needlework to 21st century art. Sat on the beautiful banks of the River Derwent, the house and its grounds have provided a scenic location for films such as The Duchess and Pride & Prejudice – the latter particularly fitting as Jane Austin wrote Pride & Prejudice just 15 minutes away in Bakewell.
With the chance to breathe in the fresh Derbyshire air, sample regional specialities and visit a vast range of local attractions, the Peak District can deliver the perfect day out for all ages during a stay at 42 The Calls.