Great things to do in the Peak District in winter
The main attractions may be closed but there are still things to do in the Peak District in winter.
Castles, caverns and churches
Bolsover and Peveril Castles are open to visitors at the weekends during the winter. The keep at Peveril Castle is closed for maintenance but the views from the castle walls make the walk up worthwhile. Bolsover Castle was built by Sir William Cavendish in the 17th century as an entertainment venue rather than a defensive castle. You’ll hear stories of lavish parties fit for a king rather than of daring escapades.
The caverns in Castleton and Buxton could be a great place to go to in the winter. With an even temperature all year round, it may even be warmer to be below ground. If you’d like to see some caves close up and not like the traditional tourist, call on Dolomite training for an introductory course on caving.
Churches are normally always open and we have wonderful churches to visit. All Saints Church in Bakewell has a wealth of Saxon carved stones and a pair of Saxon crosses. St Edmund’s Church in Castleton was begun by William Peveril, the illegitimate son of William the Conqueror and has a 12th century chancel arch. Tideswell has the ‘Catherdral of the Peak’. Of course, we should also mention St Mary and All Saints Church in Chesterfield, famous for its 13th century crooked spire (and which you take a tour into)
Trails, tours and museums
The ground underfoot may be a bit boggy for a walk across open fields but there is nothing more exhilarating than being outside on a cold and crisp day. The trails are quiet at this time of year and the walking easy. If you are feeling energetic, head to Hassop Station and hire a bike for the day. Cycling from one end of the trail to the other (and back) will warm you up!
Live for the Hills offer a unique way of seeing the Peak District National Park – in the comfort and warmth of your own Caravelle minivan. Choose one of the tours on offer or create your own. A tour will normally involve a pub lunch stop too – what’s not to love!
Buxton Museum had a £1.5m makeover 18 months ago. It’s now a super place to spend half a day or more exploring the art, social, archaeological and geological history of the area. Exhibitions change regularly.
Finally, whatever you choose to do, there is nothing nicer than coming back to a toasty warm cottage, lighting the fire and putting your feet up!
It’s Valentine’s Day week so we are getting all lovey-dovey this week. We’ve picked just a few ideas for romantic things to do locally, to set hearts swooning.
Lover’s Leap in Dovedale and the stepping stones.
There are several Lover’s Leaps around the county, and indeed, the country. Probably the most famous in Derbyshire is Lover’s Leap in Dovedale where, the story goes, a young woman threw herself from the promontory believing that her lover had been killed in the Napoleonic Wars. Her skirts caught a branch and saved her. All ended well when it was discovered that her lover had not been killed after all. For all that, it’s not a particularly romantic spot so we’d recommend heading toward the stepping stones that cross the river Dove just a short distance away. You may need to get there reasonably early if you are also keen to avoid a crowd (which, let’s face it, is not very romantic either).
Be your own Mr Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet
Lyme Park has been used as Pemberley in a film version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and makes wonderfully romantic backdrops. We wouldn’t recommend going into the lake, however, you may upset the gardener! (Note: Lyme Park will be reopening on the 16th February 2019)
The film version of Pride & Prejudice that Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen starred in also had a memorable scene set on the top of Stanage Edge, which is also a fabulous spot! Not a great place to be if the wind is howling though!
Love Locked in Bakewell
Bakewell has its very own ‘love lock’ bridge, across the River Wye, close to the town centre. Come prepared or visit the local locksmith on the high street to leave a special memory
Picnic by the river
Talking of rivers, we are not very blessed with rivers in the Peak District and Derbyshire. With so much limestone, most of the water disappears invisibly into the ground but there are some options! The River Wye through Bakewell is very pretty and there are several spots that you could stop for a lovely picnic within a short walk of the town centre. There are several delicatessens and bakeries in Bakewell that would sell you the makings of a delicious picnic – don’t forget the Bakewell Pudding!
On a beautiful day what could be more indulgent than having afternoon tea on the terrace of a lovely country house hotel overlooking their beautiful gardens. Scrummy! Try East Lodge in Rowsley
Our favourite and probably coolest option (no pun intended) would be to grab a blanket or two, a flask with a hot drink inside, go out after dark, look up and count the stars! We’re blessed here in Flagg with really dark night skies but there are other official ‘dark skies’ spots around the county; Parsley Hay, Minninglow and Surprise View, near Hathersage. Give us some notice and we can lay on the blankets and flask for you.
Eyam Hall is a small Jacobean style manor built and lived in by the Wright family for nine generations. After the owners decision to retire three years ago the National Trust have leased and run this fascinating property.
Eyam is famous for its role in the late 17th-century plague where the villagers quarantined themselves in order to stop the deadly disease spreading. The Hall was built just a few years later so you’ll find no mention of the plague in the Hall. The Hall has been adapted, modernised and renovated over the years to accommodate the families needs. The underlying spirit of the Hall remains undiminished, however, and it requires little imagination to transport yourself back across the years.
Some of the Hall’s residents and visitors could not resist leaving their marks by way of etching poetry on the window panes. I’m not sure what we would make of such “graffiti” today!
On a guided tour you will hear the stories of the etchings, how the Hall almost left the family and how, by chance, it came back to the right lineage. You will see a fabulous collection of furniture, family portraits and artifacts, all of which seem to have a story attached.
The Hall is open from 2nd December until the 20th December and is beautifully decorated with Christmas decorations from different eras. The Hall will then be closed for winter maintenance and re-opened in mid-February 2016
(note: all the links have been removed as they are no longer valid – we’ll update in 2018)
With Easter fast approaching here are some ideas for family fun over the holiday period. Most events have a chocolate theme or reward – happy hunting!
Ilam Park, Eyam Hall & Craft Centre, Longshaw Estate and Lyme Park,
3rd – 6th April: Some eggcellent fun to be had in association with Cadbury’s chocolate
Linacre Reservoirs, Cutthorpe (near Chesterfield)
6th April: Self-led trail quiz leading to an egg-citing end! (sorry!)
28th March – 12 April: Easter bunny, egg hunts, crafts, face painting, the Eggspress trailer ride through the park
Orienteering at Curbar Gap
3rd April: Learn some basic orienteering skills and enjoy a chocolate reward
Peak Shopping Village
5th April: Balloon modelling and face painting
5th April: Pin the tail on the bunny, egg and spoon races
3rd – 6th April: Discover the different places where Arkwright the Duck is hiding
Ecclesbourne Valley Railway
3rd – 6th April: Easter egg hunt, circus tricks and face painting
8th April: Two family treasure hunts starting from the visitors centre
Pavilion Gardens, Buxton
3rd – 6th April: entertainment, shopping, children’s rides
There is so much going on in the Peak District in the run up to and over Christmas – take a look at the latest events listing;
What’s on in the Peak District at Christmas (updated for 2018 events)
We would like to take this opportunity to wish all our friends and guests a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year.