A Summer’s Day Out at the Peak District National Park

One of the aspects of living in Sheffield (and England in general) that I love the most is the stunning countryside that’s equally as beautiful from one season to the next. Just down the road from me is the Peak District National Park, which stretches out to areas like north Derbyshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire and Cheshire. And in this luscious August weather, I can’t think of anything better than spending the day in the Yorkshire countryside. Whatever your interests and preferences, there really is something for everyone to see and do in the Peak District, and I’m about to tell you all of them.

Visiting Peak District National Park

What is the Peak District?

The Peak District is the UK’s first national park and was founded in 1951. It forms the southern part of the Pennines, with most of the area being upland above 1,000 feet. It stretches out across many of England’s counties including Derbyshire and South Yorkshire, as well as Cheshire and Staffordshire. The term “national park” basically means that there are planning restrictions that protect the area from development, and the area itself has a Park Authority which works hard to maintain its natural beauty.

Visiting Peak District National Park: Stairway to Heaven?
Stairway to Heaven?: Photo Richard Walker / CC BY 2.0

How can I get there?

The neighbouring cities of the Peak District all have regular rail services to and from other major cities in the country. From Manchester, visitors can catch a Northern Rail train on the Hope Valley Line which stops at villages in the Derwent, Hope and Edale valleys. Check here for more details on train journeys into the heart of the Peak District. If you’re travelling from London, catch the National Express Service 440 to Manchester which stops at Bakewell, Buxton and Matlock. If you’re travelling by car, there are many car parks situated throughout the Peak District with a reasonably-priced pay & display policy.

Peak District National Park: Bakewell Side Street England,United Kingdom
Seen on a side street in Bakewell: Photo on Flickr by JR P / CC BY-NC 2.0

What can I do there?

The better question to ask would be, what can’t I do there? The Peak District is fun for all the family and has something that even the fussiest of visitors will be able to enjoy.

Enjoy one of the trails

What were once railway lines were converted into trails in the 70s, 80s and 90s, and all of them provide amazing views throughout the Peak District National Park. The Thornhill Trail stretches out for 2 miles, deeming it ideal for inexperienced hikers, whereas the Tissington Trail goes on for 13 miles, making it more suitable for cyclists and people training for marathons!

Visiting Peak District National Park: Chee Tunnels England, United Kingdom
Chee Tunnels in the Peak District: Photo on Flickr by Smabs Sputzer / CC BY 2.0

Head to a visitor centre

Visitor centres in the Peak District include the Bakewell visitor centre which includes the Peak District Photography Gallery, the Castleton visitor centre which is home to the local museum, the Derwent visitor centre which includes a refreshment kiosk, and the Edale visitor centre where visitors can enjoy interactive exhibitions.

Castleton Village Peak District National Park England United Kingdom
Castleton Village in the Peak District: Photo on Flickr by Stephen Bowler / CC BY 2.0

Visit the villages

The Peak District National Park is home to the quiet English villages that you could only imagine as being brought to life straight out of a fairytale book. Hathersage includes a Jane Eyre trail, whereas Hartington is a village full of interest and things to do.

Peak District National Park: Hathersage Village Straw Horse England United Kingdom
Hathersage Village Straw Horse: Photo on Flickr by Stephen Colebourne / CC BY 2.0

About Lauren Davidson

Since 2013, Lauren has been writing for various travel and lifestyle websites. Her first piece of writing was a travel guide on the Algarve region of Portugal, where she lived for over a year. Currently residing in Sheffield, England, she is studying Journalism and has a blog at www.natteringblonde.com. You can follow her on Twitter at @Lozikinz.

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