Things to Do in the Peak District
Here's our list of attractions, experiences, activities, and places to visit in the Peak District National Park, Matlock, Buxton and Wirksworth, from our Summer in the Peaks and Dales visitor guide magazine.
Buxton Crescent Experience
In a town whose history is shaped by water, The Buxton Crescent Experience is a boutique attraction that reveals the story of a special spa town, the renowned water and recent restoration of the Crescent building. For centuries Buxton has been a place where people have sought the water cure and within this Grade I listed building you will encounter visitors from a period spanning more than 10,000 years who have travelled to the town to drink and bathe in our thermal mineral water.
You will take a virtual reality flight above the town during its Georgian heyday and rub shoulders with the regency high society at a glamorous ball before having your ailments cured by our 18th century apothecary.
Follow rainwater on a 5,000 year journey through the Peak District hills and find out why it emerges warm from the natural springs beneath the Crescent, you can even bottle some straight from source and take it home with you!
The Buxton Crescent Experience is the perfect choice for families, the interactive elements will keep children amused and educated while history buffs can dig deeper into the story of the town.
The Premium Tour is a 90-minute exclusive experience hosted by a knowledgeable and friendly guide to enhance your visit. Limited to a maximum of eight people, your host will answer questions as you delve into the history of the town and explore why this wonderful building came to stand here.
The tour finishes in the Grade II listed Pump Room where you will be given souvenir glass melandra bottle to ‘take the water’ from the historic Lion’s Head Well.
Call: 01298 214577 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.
The Crescent, Buxton SK17 6BH
Discover the Wonders of the Peak.
Tue – Sat: 10am – 5pm
Sundays & Bank Holidays (Easter – Sep): 12noon – 4pm
Terrace Road, Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 6DA
Buxton Opera House
Buxton Opera House is an exquisitely beautiful Edwardian theatre and one of the country's finest examples of Frank Matcham design.
As one of Britain's leading receiving theatres, we present around 450 performances each year including dance, comedy, family shows, drama, music concerts, pantomime and opera. The theatre is also home to the renowned Buxton International Festival.
The Pavilion Arts Centre is our second theatre venue and is housed in the Pavilion Gardens complex behind the Opera House. The Arts Centre is now mainly used as Buxton Cinema, showing all the latest blockbusters, live streamed theatre and accessible screenings, right on your doorstep.
Platform 3 is the new Learning & Engagement initiative managed by Buxton Opera House and Buxton International Festival. Platform 3 provides exciting new opportunities for young people, schools and communities to take part in performing arts activities and projects across Buxton, the High Peak and beyond.
In July 2022 we are delighted to present our second joint production with Buxton International Festival, the legendary musical Gypsy. With bitingly witty lyrics by Stephen Sondheim and iconic music by Jule Styne this is the perfect summer treat, directed by Buxton Opera House CEO Paul Kerryson.
Our 2022 Christmas pantomime is the magical story of Sleeping Beauty. Join our brilliant cast and the handsome Prince as they try to save the day and stop Sleeping Beauty's 100-year slumber!
Call our Box Office on 01298 72190.
Water St, Buxton SK17 6XN
5.5 miles of historic and idyllic canal to explore
Between Cromford Wharf and Ambergate, there are 5.5 miles of historic and idyllic canal to explore. The level and easy to access towpath also provides ideal conditions for walkers, buggies, wheelchairs or mobility scooters.
Wildlife is in abundance along the length of this once bustling industrial waterway, which opened in 1794.
Mill Road, Cromford, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 3RQ
Built in 1771 by Sir Richard Arkwright, Cromford Mills is the world’s first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill.
Explore the history of Cromford Mills and how the Derwent Valley and the cotton industry changed the world.
Walks, cafés, shops, tours and events.
Explore heritage, embrace nature and enjoy our hospitality!
Mill Rd, Cromford, Matlock DE4 3RQ
Luxury Lodge Holidays
Award-winning 5 star park
Spa lodges include private hot tubs
Onsite restaurant and takeaway
Stunning woodland location
Indoor pool, spa, gym and beauty rooms
Cycle hire, mini golf, tennis and woodland walks
Evolution Health and Fitness
Exclusive gym and swimming pool
Spa area with jacuzzi sauna and steam room
Fitness classes and personal training
Little Monkeys Play Centre
Huge indoor soft play area
Mini football pitch
Darwin Forest, Darley Moor, Two Dales, Matlock DE4 5PL
Derbyshire and Lancashire Gliding Club
See the High Peaks as you've never seen them before...
Take an introductory flight from £69
call 01298 871270 to book your experience of a lifetime.
Derbyshire and Lancashire Gliding Club at Great Hucklow in the Peak District National Park.
Camphill Farm, The Cottage, Great Hucklow, Buxton SK17 8RQ
Ecclesbourne Valley Railway
A Great Way to Spend a Day
With its headquarters in the fine old Peak District market town of Wirksworth, the Ecclesboume Valley line, at nine miles, is Derbyshire’s longest heritage railway. The line runs through some of the most pleasant scenery in the White Peak, from its joint station with the main line at Duffield to its northern terminus at Ravenstor, close to the High Peak Trail and the National Stone Centre.
The line provides services mainly operated by heritage diesel railcars, with four trains a day on summer weekends and on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays in the high summer.
The timetable is designed to connect with East Midlands Trains’ services to and from Derby and Nottingham. Steam hauled services are also operated at peak periods, please call us to check what is running.
If you would prefer to see the line from the driver’s cab or realise a childhood dream by taking the controls of one of our heritage steam or diesel locomotives, then you can book that day to remember direct on our website. We offer a range of experiences to suit any occasion and budget.
Wirksworth Station, Station Road, Wirksworth, Derbyshire DE4 4FB
Tel: 01629 823076
Wirksworth to Duffield in Derbyshire
Farmers' Market ~ Bakewell
The monthly Farmers' Market in the beautiful Derbyshire Dales town of Bakewell (home of the famous Bakewell Pudding!) is a massive success story.
Generally held on the last Saturday of every month from 8.30am to 1.30pm, the event, organised by Derbyshire Dales District Council, is mainly under cover at the Agricultural Business Centre (ABC) in the heart of the stunningly beautiful market town.
With plenty of parking and easy access, Bakewell Farmers' Market is dedicated to encouraging and maintaining environmental sustainability, so most stallholders come from within a 30 mile radius of Bakewell.
While there are some crafts, most of the stalls are dedicated to food and drink, with old favourites like real ales, ciders, wines, mushrooms and large vegetable stalls. A wide range of meats are available, and also stalls providing vegetarian and gluten-free options, plus chocolate, bread, jams and preserves. Look out too for fresh fish, Russian cuisine, game, honey, and a selection of cheeses. Since launching back in 2000, the Farmers' Markets in Bakewell has expanded gradually over the years and continues to thrive, with around 50 stalls today. This spectacular event is now firmly established on the Derbyshire Dales and Peak District calendar.
The atmosphere generated is first class and the spin-off is that local hotels and businesses in and around Bakewell reap the benefits of the trade generated by the Farmers' Markets.
If your visit to the area doesn't coincide with this particular market, please note that the District Council also organises a weekly stallmarket in Bakewell town centre every Monday, maintaining a remarkable tradition that dates back to 1330. For more details about the District Council's markets go online to www.derbyshiredales.gov.uk/markets, call the Agricultural Business Centre on 01629 813 777 or email email@example.com.
And why not follow us on Facebook @bakewellfarmersmarket to keep in touch with what's happening?
The Agricultural Business Centre, Agricultural Way, Bakewell DE45 1AH
Breathtaking views and big adventure. Climb, leap and zip through the tree tops to see amazing views of Buxton town and the countryside below.
Go Ape Buxton, Buxton Country Park Pooles Cavern, Green Ln, Buxton SK17 9DH
Great British Car Journey
A journey full of memories
150+ cars from 1902-2022
Children's interactive tour
Simply arrive and pay or book online
or call 01773 317243
Great British Car Journey
Derwent Works, Ambergate, Derbyshire DE56 2HE
Hassop Station is a handsome, stone, former railway station on the fabulous Monsal Trail. Incorporating Monsal Trail Cycle Hire and Cafe with a Gift & Bookshop.
Why not grab a hearty breakfast here before striking out on the Monsal Trail which runs from Bakewell to Wyedale for 8.5 miles through beauty spots galore. Hire a bike or why not try a tandem or electric bike!
The choice is vast from our award-winning menu, ranging from bagels to the Full English. Wholesome lunches like Hancock's Pork Pie with Ibbotson's Pickled Onions, a fabulous secret recipe burger or one of our daily specials and plenty of vegetarian options. Our cakes are truly tempting too! In the evening our freshly made stonebaked pizzas are delicious with a zingy salad and a bowl of skinny fries.
Open 7 days a week all year round. Sunday - Tuesday 9am-5pm and Wednesday - Saturday 9am-9pm. Lounge on the lovely sun terrace overlooking the trail, we have a large outdoor covered seating area and are fully licensed. Read the papers all day if you want, the little ones will love the wooden wendy houses, there’s even a trail lookout post and play towers with bridges and slides.
Our take-away kiosk serves delicious Hope Valley Ice Cream, hot and cold drinks and treats.
Browse the bookshop, our interesting train-related and local book section is popular, not to mention a fabulous Craft and Cookery book section, and hundreds of children’s books and toys.
Visit our gifts and craft shop. As well as work for sale by Peak District
artists and some beautiful cards, we source quirky, vintage inspired
home wares, scarves and jewellery.
Large car park, level access throughout, disabled toilet and baby changing facilities.
Hassop Station and Monsal Trail Cycle Hire, Bakewell DE45 1NW
01629 815668 for the café, or 01629 810588 for cycle hire.
One mile north of Bakewell on the roundabout of the B6001 and the A6020.
Hathersage Swimming Pool
Hathersage, Hope Valley
This hidden gem in Hathersage is a great place for a family outing or to stop off on a walk or bike ride.
An outdoor pleasure - it is the perfect way to enjoy a swim.
Hathersage swimming pool opened in 1936 as part of the King George V Memorial field and is located in the picturesque Peak District. The area includes 2 tennis courts, bandstand, playing field, skate park, bowling green and, of course, our fantastic 30m x 12m open air swimming pool, with water heated to 28C/82F there is not a better way to spend your day.
There’s plenty on offer throughout the season with Early morning swim sessions, Lane swimming sessions, Aqua Fit classes and many fund raising events like our monthly night swims to live music.
Oddfellows Road, Hathersage, Hope Valley S32 1DU
Tel/Fax: 01433 650843
Mainsail Restaurant at Carsington Water
Open from 10am every day.
Mainsail Restaurant with beautiful views
Watermark Cafe and Gift Shop
Splatz Ice Cream Parlour
Miles of walking routes
New children's play area and exhibition
Carsington Sports & Leisure Ltd, Carsington Water, Ashbourne, Derbyshire DE6 1ST
Matlock Farm Park
Come and hand feed and pet our wide range of animals.
Matlock farm Park is the ideal place to visit to enjoy the fresh air of the countryside, combined with fun indoor and outdoor interactive experiences with awide range of friendly animals. See sheep, donkeys and goats, alpacas and more and take part in dailywallaby and meerkat encounters. There are delightful furry friends to cuddle in our daily small animal handling sessions too. During weekends and school holidays, have free bet on our ferret and sheep races and there are short pony rides on too for the little ones! (2.5 years min).
Children can enjoy the indoor Rainforest play barn and outdoor play areas including the brand newamazing ‘Enchanted Village’, as well as the UK's largest Jumping Pillow* & go-karts to ride around on. There’s a delightful cosy cafe to visit and shop to browse. A Riding School is also open all year round and offers lessons for all abilities and hacks for more experienced riders.
Jaggers Lane, Near Two Dales, Matlock DE4 5LH
Matlock Meadows has been a family-run dairy farm for generations and has been producing delicious Italian-style gelato since 2011. Our working dairy farm is open to the public and has a dedicated coffee shop and ice cream parlour, the building and equipment for which has been part-funded by a DEFRA / RDPE grant.
All of Matlock Meadow’s gelato is lovingly handmade in small batches using the fresh, Red Tractor Farm Assured Quality milk from our herd of Holstein Friesian cows.
Visitors can choose from 15 delicious flavours of our freshly churned ice cream and sorbet, within our modern, purpose-built coffee shop and ice cream parlour.
Our friendly staff also serve a selection of award-winning loose-leaf teas, fairtrade coffees and speciality hot chocolates. Also available are breakfast cobs, snacks, light lunches and a range of ice cream, cakes and thick shakes. For those who like to shop, we also have a range of giftware including books, candles, canvas prints, Tractor Ted items, Wrendale homeware, greetings cards and Cottage Delight jams, chutneys and preserves.
We have a large function room available to hire for meetings, birthday parties and private functions. We have an indoor seating area and a new outdoor seating area, including a small play area, coin operated tractor track and digger.
Open Wednesday-Sunday 11am-4.30pm
Snitterton Road, Matlock, Derbyshire DE4 2JG
National Stone Centre
We are an educational charity run by a small group of volunteers and set within six former limestone quarries in the heart of the Derbyshire Dales, on the edge of the Peak District National Park.
The National Stone Centre is also a 40 acre Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), for its geological formations, offering outdoor and indoor activities for all.
• Circular Walks
• Gem Panning
• Discovery Centre
• Free Exhibition
• Café & Rock Shop
• Dogs Welcome
• Children’s Play Area
and activity packs
• Dry Stone Walling and
Stone Carving courses
Open every day from 10am
Porter Lane, Wirksworth, Derbyshire DE4 4LS
(for sat nav: National Stone Centre then postcode) (for sat nav: National Stone Centre then postcode)
01629 824833 (office)
01629 825537 (café)
Peak District Lead Mining Museum
Guided tours of Temple Mine available
The Peak District Lead Mining Museum in Matlock Bath has been open to visitors since 1978. The Museum cares for a collection of thousands of items relating to the history of the lead mining industry in Derbyshire, which has been vital to the local economy since the Roman period. The largest item in the collection and the centrepiece of the Museum is a unique 1819 water pressure engine, designed by Richard Trevithick. The engine was used to remove water from Wills Founder Mine near Winster, and was rescued from the mine by volunteers from the Peak District Mines Historical Society in the 1970s.
To find out more about these sites and other PDMHS projects visit www.pdmhs.com, or ask at the Peak District Lead Mining Museum.
The Grand Pavilion, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire DE4 3NR
Darley Dale, Matlock
Steam trains operate throughout the year
Sunday Lunches, afternoon and cream teas on the train
Group and Coach Tour Discounts
Cafe and Shop
All train services have an on-board buffet coach serving a selection of cold refreshments and snacks, and a specially adapted coach for wheelchair users.
Various special events are held throughout the year, perfect for the family or enthusiast to enjoy, or why not get your hands on the controls of a steam locomotive and participate in one of our hugely popular steam experience courses.
For further information and to request a copy of our Visitor Guide and Timetable, please telephone 01629 580381 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
So why not visit us during 2016 and discover within the Derbyshire Dales the magical bygone era of the steam train.
Peak Rail, Matlock Station, Matlock, Derbyshire
Telephone 01629 580381
Poole's Cavern is open every day. Rain or shine, underground it's always fine!
For centuries, curious visitors have explored and marvelled at the natural subterranean world that is Poole’s Cavern. Found deep in the limestone hills close to the historic spa town of Buxton, the cavern once gave shelter to prehistoric cave dwellers.
Legend tells of a medieval robber’s treasure hidden deep underground. Known as the ‘First Wonder of the Peak’ after an early travel guide published in 1681, Poole’s Cavern became a popular attraction for wealthy visitors and even royalty. In 1853 the cavern was improved for Victorian visitors by the Duke of Devonshire with paved walkways and gas lighting.
Explore Poole’s Cavern today, with our expert guides, and journey through the beautifully illuminated chambers, incredible stalactites and stalagmites and vast limestone caverns to discover for yourself the magnificent underground scenery of the Peak District.
T: 01298 26978
Poole’s Cavern and Buxton Country, Park Green Lane, Buxton, Derbyshire SK17 9DH
Guided Tours Cafe & Shop Picnic & Play Area
A natural wonder of the Peak District
The Heights of Abraham
A unique place, something for everyone!
At the summit there are two famous show caverns with regular guided tours, plus films and exhibitions where you can see and hear all about the estate. Panoramic views can be seen if you climb the Victoria Prospect Tower.
The excellent Vista restaurant and Terrace Cafe not only offer great food but have floor to ceiling windows and terraces looking south over the valley below.
The estate first opened in 1787 and has been welcoming visitors ever since. This year the 60-acre estate is open daily until the 6th of November.
The Heights has many fascinating stories to tell, with links to the industrial revolution, tales of visits from royalty and a rich mining history. The new self-guided audio tour or heritage trail is a perfect place to start, revealing history at your own pace, whilst enjoying stunning views across the Derwent Valley as the narrations play through your own smart phone.
Begin your day at the Heights of Abraham by taking a flight in one of the famous cable cars. Travel across the picturesque Derwent Valley in style and enjoy the views of Matlock Bath below. The journey takes you over 554ft upwards to the summit, 1000ft above sea level.
It's not just the views from the cable car, there's a new view around every corner once you reach the summit.
Take a tour underground in the two famous show caverns. Follow one of the professional cavern guides deep into the hillside and learn tales of mining, history, geology, and tourism from those who know it best. After that, take a stroll across the landscaped gardens that portray both the dark and light Peak District to the new film theatre to learn more about the formation of the caverns and enjoy a newly updated film about the construction of the cable cars back in 1984.
The Long View Exhibition takes a deeper dive into the estate’s history with interactive features and audio-visual displays that bring the story to life. You can even snap a picture of yourself dangling high above Matlock Bath in this entertaining exhibition space.
The Vista Restaurant and Terrace Café at the Heights of Abraham are almost 1000ft above sea level. The exclusive Vista balcony gives views for miles across the valley, a great place to soak up the surroundings while enjoying a freshly made meal, accompanied by a local ale or gin. Or take a light lunch with friends in the downstairs café, with far-reaching views to enjoy with a hot drink and a delicious cake.
Enjoy the wide-open space and relaxing atmosphere of the summit. Feel the Derbyshire air fill your lungs as you breathe the spectacular scenery in. Walk the woodland paths and heritage trails of those from the past, with the first trees of the pleasure garden planted in the 18th Century. The adventure playgrounds also provide a welcome space for children to let off steam, with picnic benches nearby.
Derbyshire's oldest visitor attraction... much more than just a cable car.
Matlock Bath, Derbyshire
Join us for a paddle, a delicious lunch and a leisurely stroll around 12 acres of Victorian style gardens this summer. Thornbridge Estate is open for its first full spring and summer – 7 days a week, 10am till 4pm!
If you’re looking for a vibrant, quirky, family and dog friendly place to spend the day, then look no further. There is something for everyone on the estate, whether the plant lover, the art enthusiast, the architect or the coffee connoisseur – come and find out what Thornbridge has for you!
Underlying everything that happens at Thornbridge Estate is our vision; Thornbridge For Everyone, Forever. It is the reason £20 million has been invested in the place in 20 years. It is the reason that every penny of profit made goes back into restoring and securing the future of Thornbridge. It is also the reason that people come once, and can’t help but come again.
We are now, thanks to our new café and road, able to open to the public 7 days a week, from 10am until 4pm. We have loved welcoming you all over the past year. The gardens, the café and the fountains look their best with people in them!
Quackers Café is just a step off the Monsal Trail and, with beautiful views of the garden and a newly refurbished decking area, getting a coffee and a cake never tasted so good… The cake served in Quackers is handmade in the on site, award-winning bakery – The Bakehouse. The now famous sausage rolls are made from meat which is reared and looked after by the Thornbridge Smallholding.
You will find The Thornbridge Emporium just next to Quackers Café. Filled to the brim with a wide variety of plants to take home as well as lots of other lovely things such as toys, clothes, jewellery and books – all locally sourced or made by small, unique businesses. The Emporium also houses the brand new Quack n’ Go, an express version of Quackers Café so you can skip the queue and grab a snack!
There will be something different to discover every time you visit this ever-developing place of warmth and weirdness… we hope to see
Thornbridge Hall, Baslow Road, Ashford-in-the-Water, Derbyshire DE45 1NZ
Treak Cliff Cavern
Castleton, Hope Valley
Treak Cliff Cavern is a genuine wonder in the heart of the Peak District. Treak Cliff Hill is the only place in the world where Blue John Stone naturally occurs. The mineral Blue John Stone is a unique banded form of Fluorspar. It is believed it was originally given its name from the French “bleu et jaune” – the “blue and yellow” stone. It was mined in the eighteenth century with the Derbyshire folk coining the name. Treak Cliff Cavern continues to mine, process and manufacture ornamental items and jewellery from Blue John Stone today. We also have some of the finest stalactites in the Peak District.
Dogs are welcome at Treak Cliff Cavern at all times.
Telephone 01433 621487
Castleton, Hope Valley S33 8WP
Wirksworth Heritage Centre
The fascinating town of Wirksworth on the southern edge of the Peak District, where geology and landscape have shaped its character and people for generations.
Lead was mined here by the Romans, and the area became one of the most important centres for lead ore in England. Limestone quarrying gave new work for the town’s inhabitants in the 19th century. Wirksworth also became the biggest producer of red tape for Whitehall, its annual output equalling the circumference of the earth.
George Eliot based part of her novel Adam Bede on Wirksworth, and D.H. Lawrence lived with his wife Frieda in nearby Middleton. Wirksworth is now known for its independent shops and cafes, its heritage railways, annual arts festival, bustling music scene and for the dozens of artists and creative people who live and work in the town.
The new museum brings to life the stories of this amazing place, its famous characters, industries and long-established customs and celebrations. A monthly programme of events offers lots to do for visiting groups, children and families, and includes walks, talks, workshops
The fully accessible Heritage Centre is open *daily from 9am to 5pm (except Monday and Wednesdays). The centre’s in-house Webster’s Café is open from 9am to 4.30pm, offering a selection of cakes, snacks and delicious home-made meals, including vegetarian options. Walkers and cyclists are very welcome, as are dog owners, whose pets can enjoy the outdoor café courtyard.
Free entry to Heritage Centre. Museum admission – Adults: £5*, Children: £1 (aged 13-15), Children: free (12 and under)
*FREE RETURN – pay once and come back free for a year.
*please check our website as opening times may change.
31 St Johns St, Wirksworth, Matlock DE4 4DS