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- 08 Dec 2019, 3 nights
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The Peak District spans five counties in England and was the country’s first National Park. Its magnificent natural landscape comprises moody moorlands, rocky outcrops, gorges and lakes interspersed with charming stone villages. It's a favourite with hikers, climbers and fell runners, but you can also enjoy the scenery from the comfort of one of the many local village pubs. Whether you’re starting the challenging 429km Pennine Way or looking for a countryside stroll, the Peak District will help you get back to nature.
You can stay at a Peak District hostel that's in a historic National Trust property, with a Victorian Gothic manor house and 84 acres of parkland and manicured gardens. Or stay right on the cusp of a famous hiking ridge with simple amenities including bunk beds, an outdoor barbecue and a communal living area with a log fire. Some Peak District hostels have an on-site bar and restaurant for hearty comfort meals or cook your own in a fully equipped kitchen.
Bakewell is the best-known village in the Peak District thanks to its famous export: Bakewell Pudding, a delicious jam and almond pastry. Buxton is a thermal spa town with stunning Georgian and Victorian buildings. Considered the gateway to the Peak District, it's a bustling market village with traditional tearooms, cafés and pubs. Tideswell is 10km further east. It's home to the Cathedral of the Peak, a huge 14th-century church, and cute cafés.
The Peak District has numerous stately homes such as Chatsworth House, a historic mansion with an expansive landscaped garden and working farmyard. Haddon Hall dates back to the 12th century and is regularly used as a filming location for period dramas like Jane Eyre, Elizabeth and The Princess Bride. Walking is a big draw in the Peak District, and Kinder Scout is one of the most popular hikes. It's the highest point in the area at 636 metres above sea level. Mam Tor, near Castleton, has a viewpoint looking over the Edale Valley to the Derwent Moors.
You’ll need a car to get around the more remote parts of the Peak District, but the High Peak buses connect between some major towns. From London, you can catch a direct train from London St Pancras International to Derby in 90 minutes, where trains and buses connect to the Peak District. The Hope Valley Line train runs between Manchester and Sheffield, with village stops along the way. The closest airport is Manchester Airport, 55km away, while Doncaster-Sheffield Airport is 70km away.