1 week itinerary: Peak District

1 week itinerary: Peak District

Note: Though I did this trip whilst pregnant, this itinerary is still suitable for everyone, including kids.

Being 19 weeks pregnant we didn’t want to risk traveling abroad, so we opted for a staycation. We wanted to get some fresh air in the country, before our typical British weather turns extremely wet, windy and cold.

We had 2 main considerations for this trip:

  1. Accessibility to toilets – being pregnant meant I continually needed to use the toilet
  2. Reasonable walk length & difficulty- making sure any of the routes we picked weren’t too difficult or too long. Pregnancy causes you to get tired easily

So with the above in mind, we planed out week trip in the Peak District. Squeezing in as many of the ‘must see’ places as we can.

Accommodation

We decided to stay in Hathersage at the “The Fox House” which is part of the Vintage Inn Group. They have a lovely restaurant on site, extremely large car park with free parking. We were in room 10, which is a lovely large double room with high ceilings. I have to say that I’ve stayed at many places before but this place has one of the best showers (in terms of pressure) that I’ve experienced in a long time.

About 10-15 mins drive from most of the destinations we planned and about 20 mins drive from central Sheffield which allowed us to venture into the city a couple of nights for dinner.

Day 1

Peak Cavern (Devil’s Arse) – Castleton

Our first destination was a tour of the Peak Cavern in Castleton. There are actually 3 cavern tours you can do in the Castleton area including Speedwell Cavern and Treak Cliff Cavern. We decided to book in advance for the Peak cavern tour, it cost us £16 per person.

Entrance to Peak Cavern

The tour was very entertaining and a really good insight into what the caverns were used for previously. Beware, there are sections of the tour where you will have to crouch down to the next section of the cave. It’s also quite wet and it does get cooler as you walk deeper into the cavern, so make sure you have some grippy shoes and a jacket.

Tip: at the start of the tour, there is a segment where it is explained how traditional rope making was completed, if you volunteer to help, you’ll get to keep the rope that is made.

Park in the designated car park which is about 1 min drive down the road from the main visitors centre car park. Remember to keep part of your parking ticket, you get £2.00 reimbursement by showing it at the Cavern reception desk.

Note there are no toilets at the caverns, so go to the free toilets at the visitors centre before you take the approx. 5-10 min walk from the carpark to the cavern.

We couldn’t find any information on their website, but in the leaflets on site, it does say if you book Peak Cavern and Speedwell cavern together you get a discount on the price of entry.

The duration of the tour was just over an hour. At the end we headed over to the visitors centre for a hot drink and the use the toilet facilities before carrying on to our second destination of the day.

Mam Tor

Onto our next destination of the day, Mam Tor. We parked at Mam Nick Car Park which is owned by National Trust. On their website they have outlined their recommended Mam Tor circular walk. Parking at the car park is £6.00 all day or if you’re a National Trust member, you get to part for free. Note the car park gets busy so it is advised you arrive early to get a space. We were lucky to find a space arriving around midday. There is a pop up coffee shop in the car park if you’d like a hot or cold drink before or after your walk. Note, there are no toilets in the area so make sure you go before you start the walk.

To start the walk, head up the steps/sloped area at the back of the car park. This will take you to the start of the path to the peak of Mam Tor. It’s a fairly short walk up steps to the top where you get some amazing views.

Steps leading up to the peak of Mam Tor

Past the peak, you can continue along the ridge as part of the National Trust Circular Walk, however we decided to take it easy and turn back at marker 5 on the map. Doing this at a slow pace and a couple of rests to admire the view, took us about 2.5 – 3 hours.

Day 2

Bamford Edge

As we had blue skies in the morning, we decided to head to Bamford edge. We heard there is limited parking so we headed there are 9am. We started the trail where the green icon is in the image below. I’ve highlighted the road side parking in red, parking is free. Though I can imagine if it gets busy this quickly fills up so get here early in high season.

parking areas

Its a gentle walk up and when you get to the top turn left and follow the path. You’ll eventually get to an area where you can go forwards or turn left. You want to keep left and keep following the path to get the most amazing views. Keep going along the patch until you see Ladybower Reservoir. When you see this then if you wish you can start heading back, but don’t turn back until you reach this point or you’ll miss the view.

Derwent Dam

After our morning walk at Bamford edge, we headed to Derwent Dam. By the time we arrived, the car park was very busy. However we did manage to find a space luckily. They have a small visitors centre on site with toilets and a sort of cafe/tuck shop where you can buy hot food and drinks. Round the back of the visitors centre there is a bike hire shop too.

There are a couple of suggested walking routes here so as we had an “easy” morning we decided to do the black route. It is a steep hike, so be prepared. It was a nice and peaceful route to walk surrounded by a lot of woodlands. At one point it does open up to see a view of a cottage and cows. However we were a bit disappointed we didn’t get to see a view from above of the Dam after the hard work we put in to walk up. The only view we got was about 3/4 of the way round through some trees.

It was only when we were near the bottom again that we got to see the part of the reservoir. At the bottom and nearing the end of the walk is where we actually got to see the dam, in hind sight we could have walked 10 mins from the car park to see the view we wanted without spending 2 hrs on a steep hike.

Derwent Dam

Day 3

Monsal Trail

On the way to the bike hire shop

As the good weather continued to stay, we decided it was time to head to the Monsal Trail. We were deciding between hiring some bikes and riding along the Monsal Trail verses stopping at the mid point and doing a walk though one of the tunnels and the Monsal Head Bridge.

In the end we decided to hire the bikes and ride along the trail. We hired our bikes from Peak Blackwell Cycle Hire. We didn’t pre-book, but I strongly advise you do (especially if you want an electric bike). You park at the Wyedale car park and walk about 10 mins to the bike hire location which sits just off the beginning of the Monsal Trail. Note the car park is a reasonable size but I can imagine in high season it gets pretty busy, so get there early to get a space. We arrived around 9:30am as this is when the bike hire shop opens.

You are provided a map highlighting a lot of places to stop and explore. Note there isn’t a toilet at the hire shop, you’ll need to cycle for about 10-15 mins before you get to the closest public toilets.

Though we decided to do the bike ride, we still got to visit the Monsal Head Bridge where you can lock up your bike and walk down to get a great view of the bridge itself, then carry on your ride to Bakewell.

Throughout the whole route, you pass a number of tunnels (beware these get very dark, so remember to ring your bike bell for pedestrians) and a number of cafes to take breaks if you want. Our favourite was the Hassop Station Cafe, lots of indoor and outdoor space and a lovely gift shop selling unique items.

Individual Bakewell Pudding with custard

When you hit Bakewell station, lock up your bike again and walk about 10 mins down the hill into Bakewell Town. (Walk through the car park and keep left down the hill). Our main aim was to try the famous Bakewell pudding, we did this at the Original Bakewell Pudding Shop. Head upstairs to get a table, have some lunch and enjoy a pudding. We did spend some time exploring the town for a little bit before heading back up the hill where we parked out bikes and headed back to the Bike hire shop. The travel back to the bike shop is on the incline, this is where the electric bike comes in very handy.

Once we finished the day riding, we headed up to Monsal Head. Weve heard this is the place to get a good view of the Monsal Head Bridge and the surrounding area and we weren’t disappointed.

View from Monsal Head viewpoint

Day 4

Stanage Edge

After the previous days of walks and bike rides, we decided to give ourselves an “easy” day. We headed up to Stanage Edge. It was an easy drive up and we parked at the Hooks Car Park which sits at the bottom of the start of the walk to Stanage Edge.

This is a very popular destination for climbers so on your way up you’ll see a lot of brave people up and down the edge preparing to climb or abseil down.

The walk up is a little more difficult than Bamford edge. I would strongly bring a windproof jacket, if you go on a windy day like we did you’ll 100% need it. However its all worth it in the end, the views as amazing.

Preveril Castle

After spending a few hours at Stanage Edge and grabbing some lunch, we decided to head back to Castleton and take an easy afternoon exploring Preveril Castle. The Castle is part of English Heritage so if you’re a member, you go free. Otherwise its £7.70 per Adult (correct as of Sept 2021).

Be warned there is a very steep climb to get to the castle but there are many benches for you to take a rest and enjoy the amazing view of Castleton (though the best views are at the top).

Note there isn’t much of the castle to view, but I think the view that looks out to Mam Tor, Lose Hill, Win Hill and more is definitely worth the climb.

Day 5

Lady Bower / Win Hill

We found a blog online and it mentioned a “kids doable” walk that covers Ladybower and Win Hill. We parked at the Heatherdene Car Park. Lots of parking spaces with public toilets to use before you start the hike.

We stopped at Ladybower Dam first and saw the famous overflow holes. Unfortunately the water levels were low so we couldn’t see them in action.

The way we went up it was a steady incline through a lot of the woodland then opening out to see Win Hill. Beware it can be extremely windy at the top (on a windy day) to hold on to everything!

The walk down start off gently, when you get back to the wooded area the trail gets steep and technical. I highly recommend you get some hiking poles to support you on your way down or turn back and go back the way you walked up. Due to the windy weather, we didn’t stop to take in the view for very long and the round trip took us around 2-3 hours.

Longshaw Estate

We decided to take it easy for the afternoon and headed back to the area we were staying to Longshaw Estate which is part of National Trust. There are toilets and a lovely cafe on site where we had our lunch.

We decided to do a walk from Longshaw to Owler Tor and back. We followed the marked pink trail and then took a detor to Owler Tor. You can download the map from the National Trust Site. Maps are also offered on site at the National Trust cabin which is one of the first things you see when you reach the car park. Parking is £6.00 all day or free if you are a National Trust member.

Day 6

Bolsover Castle

We decided to visit a few sites out of the Peak District and headed to Bolsover Castle. This site is also part of English Heritage (entrance fee of £13.90 per adult). Surprisingly for us, parking is free all over the town. The designated car park is by Weatherspoon’s, but we parked in the centre (by Morrisons) and got to the site with a 5 min walk.

A lovely site to explore, we couldn’t use their audio guides due to covid restrictions but looking around the castle and reading the signs we got a feel of the place. We spent about 1-2 hours here before we headed of to our next location.

Hardwick Hall

Hardwick hall is part of National Trust, there is an entrance fee of £16.00 per adult. There are plenty of parking spaces available and its free to park. There are cafes and toilets on site to use too.

Note, the Hardwick Hall Building closes early in comparison to the gardens so make sure you make enough time to do a tour of the house. The house is large and beautiful, with much to explore. There are many volunteers within the building to tell you all about the history of the house and the particular room you are in. It’s very luxurious.

The gardens are well maintained and a joy to explore, unfortunately when we went the old Hardwick Hall was closed for renovation so we didn’t get to explore this part. We spent around 2-3 hours in total here.

Day 7

Ilam Park & Dovedale – Stepping Stones

Our last “half” day (as this is the day we head home), we decided to make a quick stop at Ilam Park. Ilam Park is part of National Trust, parking on site is £5.00 all day or free for members. There are toilets and a cafe on site.

From Ilam Park, we headed straight for Dovedale. Walking out of the park you hit a picturesque village followed by fields of live stock. Though there are 2 routes to take, you can either go around the wall to avoid any cattle or sheep. Or you can choose to go through the fields, you’ll reach the same point either way. We decided to through the fields as it was more of a direct route. However, beware there is a lot of “poop” to avoid so watch your step.

You’ll soon reach Dovedale Car Park which is another National Trust area so there are toilets on site. You could park where and explore the area then drive over to Ilam Park instead of walking through the fields. At the car park, we walked along the path (along side the River Manifold) until we reached the stepping stones. As it was a Saturday, it quite busy. Therefore there was a bit of a queue to get across the stepping stones and back. We decided to head back to Ilam park to explore a little just before we head home.