Plan your half-term day out...
Derbyshire, the centre of the Peak District National Park and Derbyshire Dales, well known for its place in nature with luscious landscapes and rolling hills aplenty. Whilst it has always been a hot spot with visitors, the place is booming with more tourists visiting the area than ever.
The county features well-known towns and villages such as Bakewell and Castleton, home of the world-famous Jane Austen book ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Peaks such as Kinder Scout sit above some of the area’s quaintest towns, and prestigious heritage estates provide a spot to admire historic landmarks and well-kept gardens.
We’ve put together a few suggestions of days out to be had across the region. The scenery is not all that’s available in Derbyshire, with plenty of great pubs to stop at for a great food and drinks - you’ll be spoilt for choice.
One of the Peak District’s most popular spots amongst walkers, cyclists, country road enthusiasts, and underground explorers. If you’re arriving to Castleton by road, there is a high chance you’ll drive through Winnats Pass, an extremely picturesque limestone gorge with a long and fairly steep descent into the village. Worth a picture or two! The village sits in a valley surrounded by mountains with part of the Edale and Hope skyline to one side and the remains of Peveril Castle to the other.
Head from the back of the village up the stepping-stone staircase to explore Peveril Castle. Apparently one of the first Roman fortresses built in England dating back to the early 1000s. The site is now owned and looked after by English Heritage. If you’re keen to explore more, check out their website for opening times and to save 10% on ticket prices. If tickets aren’t your thing, you can still head up to the site to admire the building part-built by Henry II from the outside.
There is plenty of choice in Castleton if exploring underground mines is your thing. If you’re wanting to take your underground experience a little further the popular Speedwell Cavern has an underwater canal. You can take a boat trip along this canal to the ‘bottomless pit’. A rather dubiously named space, where it’s so high, you simply cannot see the top. If fossils and precious stones are more interesting take your fancy, Blue John mine contains lots of interesting minerals and stalagmites.
Bulls Head pub
If you’re looking for a spot to watch the sun go down behind the village’s peaks, or to shelter from a rain shower whilst you’re out exploring, grab a bite to eat at Bull’s Head Castleton. A family-friendly pub with a great central location and a large car park makes it a great meeting point for your group. The menu at the Bull’s Head is family friendly with something for everyone. The well stocked bar features some of Robinson’s most popular beers and a delicious wine list too.
If you're around the area, visit Great Longstone!
The Crispin pub
A traditional pub filled with character and warmth. The Crispin is a step back in time, the cosy and inviting feeling you’d have experienced in pubs years ago. The pub has a great selection of real ales and a diverse spirits and liquors range. The food isn’t something to be missed either, expect indulgent British pub favourites you used to see on a menu alongside newer creations to bring something a little different too. Everyone is welcome at The Crispin, from local farmers to family holidaymakers, you’ll be greeted like you’re family.
This old rail line trail is suitable for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and wheelchair users and takes in the landscapes of some of the Peak District’s most spectacular limestone dales. The total route spans 8.5 miles long from Bakewell to Chee Dale, passing many villages and stop-off points along the way. Amongst the route there are lots of long tunnels, some spanning more than 400m! (they are lit during daylight hours, but beware if you’re a night rider/walker!) For taking in the sights, Monsal Viaduct is a historic feature to spot, with lots of controversial history in tow too.
White Lion pub
A premium neighbourhood pub for everyone. With a pub menu featuring the staple British pub dishes such as Fish and Chips, alongside all-day adventurous sandwiches, and a selection of great experimental pizzas. They are great at catering for dietary requirements too, with gluten free and dairy free pizza options. Sunday Roasts are a popular choice here too, with many from the surrounding areas travelling to enjoy their home-cooked meals. Rushing? No problem, the pub does take-aways too. Usually open from Wednesday-Sunday, but check the opening hours first!
Bulls Head, Ashford-in-the-Water (a 5-min drive from the White Lion)
This pub has been awarded Trip Advisor’s number one place to eat in The Peak District. The old farmhouse-style pub features two roaring fires for chilly days, making it the perfect place to wander in after a big walk or at the end of a day’s adventure. The Bull’s Head supports local producers and creates their menu using locally farmed and grown food. One thing not to miss when you’re visiting it the Bakewell Pudding – a local classic. It’s a busy spot so reservations are recommended.
And a 12-min drive from the Bulls Head, you'll find Chatsworth...
The Chatsworth estate is a place where you can easily pass the whole day. With 105 acres of gardens featuring sculptures, water features and a maze, an impressive house and spaces for children to enjoy (including a playground and a farmyard) there is plenty to visit. If you enjoy art and elegant interiors, the 25 rooms of Chatsworth House contain one of Europe’s most significant art collections. History is also plentiful here, with stories of the 16 generations of the Devonshire family who’ve owned the estate. There is always plenty of events you can book. From floristry workshops and willow weaving masterclasses to historic tours and family nature walks. Visit from November to experience Christmas at Chatsworth where you’ll find Christmas markets amongst other things. Visiting during this period does require pre-booking, so be sure to plan in advance. Plus, if you book online before you go (at any time of year), you can save money on your parking too.
Visit Bakewell (a 10-min drive from Chatsworth)
Home of the famous Bakewell Pudding. Bakewell is the largest town within the Peak District National Park and is a popular place to visit for artists and photographers. Sitting on the river Wye, the town adorns pretty courtyards and medieval stone buildings. The town also has one of England’s best farmers markets where you can find locally made produce and specialist shops from fashion to food.
The Manners, Bakewell
The Manners in Bakewell is a must-visit pub for its charming atmosphere and friendly welcome. Their pub menu offers classics such as Gloucestershire sausage and buttery mash, or beer battered fish and chips. With comfortable rooms to stay the night, a lovely beer garden, and also proudly dog-friendly, it offers the perfect blend of comfort and relaxation, making it an ideal spot for travelers seeking an all-round delightful experience in the heart of Bakewell.
Heading back towards Manchester from Bakewell?
Why not stop at Anchor Inn, Tideswell...
A great way point on your way to or from the Eastern Peak District. The Anchor is a popular place with people travelling a distance just to visit for lunch. With a big local farming community, you’ll often see a tractor parked in one of its designated tractor bays. The pub supports its local businesses with a menu created with local ingredients. As well as a wide variety of pub dishes, the Anchor offers a separate vegetarian and vegan menu and a great children’s menu. If you know you’re heading that way, call ahead – but they’ll likely find you a table by chance too.