As a protected area of natural beauty and home to the United Kingdom’s first national park, there is something truly special about the captivating scenery and charming character of The Peak District and Derbyshire. Breathtaking views and picturesque villages are around every corner in this part of England, offering any traveler the very definition of sublime English countryside. The epic landscape is an experience in and of itself with a mix of rich greenery cascading across rolling hills, the soft purple glow of heather moorland and the grey of unusual rock formations. The whole region is truly beautiful and one can easily see why this has become such a tremendously popular spot amongst locals and international visitors alike. When you visit the Peak District and Derbyshire you will discover epic views, manicured gardens, quaint villages, and plenty of gourmet food with this inspirational itinerary that will make the most of your visit to the Peak District and Derbyshire.
Start off your day in the Peak District with a hearty breakfast before you hop on your hired bikes to embark on an exploration of the glorious Monsal Trail. This picturesque stretch of disused railway line and tunnels runs for eight-and-a-half miles and follows the valley of the River Wye. Dotted along the way you will come across several points of interest, such as the Monsal Dale, Monsal Viaduct and Monsal Head, one of the most photographed viewpoints in the area.
A particular highlight is taking a moment to admire both the River Wye running through limestone dales and the historic viaduct in all their glory. With such breathtaking scenery and plenty of places for the most perfect picnic spots, stop for some light refreshments and take in the epic views. If a picnic is not your preference, at the Station Cafe for a very well-deserved lunch. A former railway station, this building has been transformed into an elegant café overlooking the Monsal Trail.
This evening why not visit the nearby Orangery Restaurant where you can enjoy the restaurant’s award-winning menu. Here the food is fresh and seasonal as they are continually sourcing local ingredients wherever possible, offering an authentic taste of England and its fantastic produce. The Orangery has also been named one of the 20 Best Wild Places to eat in Britain by The Times. Meals here are bold, colorful, and full of flavor. After an unforgettable three-course meal (or seven-course meal if you are especially hungry) savor a quick night-cap at the bar and enjoy your well-deserved good night’s sleep.
Leaving the Hope Valley, head to the quintessential English market town of Bakewell. The town enjoys a picturesque location set along the banks of the River Wye, quaint stone buildings and courtyards decorate the landscape, creating the most idyllic scenery. Just two miles south of Bakewell, you will find the enchanting Haddon Hall, a medieval manor house nestled in terraced gardens overlooking the River Wye. As you get your first glimpse of this beautiful place, you will be hard pressed to believe that this elegant estate was once abandoned and stood neglected for over two centuries before being rescued and restored by the 9th Duke and Duchess of Rutland in the 1920s. It should, however, come as no surprise that this estate has been the filming location for many well-known films including The Other Boleyn Girl, Jane Eyre, and Pride & Prejudice. Thanks to the expert restoration and continuous care, Haddon Hall has reemerged from obscurity to be the elegant stately home that you see today and is ready to be explored and admired by all. As you walk through the estate you will learn about the immersive history, be captivated by the Tudor architecture, and will marvel at the original 17th century kitchen. Take time to wander the immaculate courtyard and the gorgeous gardens as you imagine a time gone by that is being lovingly kept alive by the generous custodians.
After your visit to Haddon Hall, be sure you head to The Square in the village and find The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop for a taste of the town’s namesake and world-famous treat. After all, you simply cannot visit Bakewell without trying a Bakewell Pudding! There is a shop with a selection of lovely treats and souvenirs, and you can even buy an Original Bakewell Pudding to take home with you (if you can possibly wait that long to tuck into your treat).
From here, Chatsworth House, seat of the Dukes of Devonshire, is a short drive away. You are sure to recognize Chatsworth as Mr. Darcy’s home Pemberley in two adaptations of Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, and as it is also one of only ten Treasure Houses of England, Chatsworth truly is an extraordinary place to visit. The garden alone is over 100 acres and it sits in the middle of a thousand acres of parkland designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown. The house itself has over 30 rooms open to the public and you can enjoy 4,000 years of art from paintings to ancient sculpture, fine furniture, and so much more. Wander through the extensive parklands and follow the trails to the nearby village where you can enjoy a meal at the country pub owned by the Cavendish family which serves food from a nearby farm shop alongside local ales, meaning your meal will be a charming and authentic local experience. If you find yourself a bit weary from all this exploring and eating, stay the night in one of the four poster farmhouse rooms. These rooms were designed by the Duchess of Devonshire herself, and are delightfully traditional while featuring beautiful views across the countryside.
Your next stop in the area should be the lovely Thornbridge Hall & Gardens. The house itself is a Grade II listed Jacobean country house, with 12 acres of quintessentially English gardens. The garden is divided into specific areas, the Water garden, Koi Lake, and the Italian garden, all set in amongst three temples, various statues and two grottos. Most significant of these gardens is the immaculate terraced lawns. Standing from the house and looking out across the perfectly preened gardens to the countryside beyond is a truly special experience. In addition to these beautiful gardens, there is a brewery located within the grounds of Thornbridge Hall and to be sure, you cannot miss the earthy smell of fermented hops! The first craft beers were produced in 2005 right here in the grounds of Thornbridge Hall, and you can also take a guided tour of the brewery to see exactly how these fine ales are brewed.
After your visit to the house and brewery, you might find yourself a bit peckish and be looking for a spot of
lunch. Not far away, in the town of Baslow, you can stop at Fischer’s for lunch. Once upon a time, Fischer’s at Baslow Hall used to be a charming little manor house on the outskirts of town, right in the heart of the Peak District. Today, it is still just as charming as ever and is a boutique hotel that makes for the perfect lunch stop. Their award-winning chef creates spectacular dishes using the finest local ingredients. Food here in this Michelin star restaurant has a flair of classic French with all the heartiness of fresh Derbyshire produce. It is worth noting that many of the vegetables are gathered from their own kitchen garden. The place is relaxed and friendly, so take your time, unwind, and savor the atmosphere and a hearty meal with a glass of crisp wine. Any good meal deserves a long, refreshing stroll afterwards. Fortunately, from here you are just a stone’s throw from many iconic walks, which are an absolute must for any visitor and the perfect way to round off your day. So, there you have it – several wonderful days in and around the Peak District and Derbyshire. Where to from here? Want to spend more time and really dive deep into everything this beautiful region has to offer? It is all up to you! Click here to contact us today to plan your trip to the area where we can either follow this itinerary or craft a completely custom one, just for you. No matter what, when you visit this region you will be sure to get your fill of good, wholesome food, local delicacies, an abundance of history and culture, plus plenty of good beer and wine. Of course, there is so much more to explore and experience in the Peak District, but for that, you will need a longer trip.