Land of dramatic rocks, moorlands…and quaint, charming villages. Check out the 10 best villages in the Peak District that you really need to visit.
Outdoor and nature lovers will be delighted with the diversity and beauty that the UK’s Peak District has to offer. This is not only known as the first national park to be named in the UK, but it is also so vast that it spans a total of five counties. From moorlands to hiking trails, there is beauty in all shapes and forms at the Peak District.
Why Visit the Peak District?
The Peak District is a popular tourist attraction in England, thanks to its never-ending options for natural landscapes and scenic sights. It is known as the first ever national park to be established in the UK. This unique distinction alone should be enough to pique your curiosity. But the Peak District is not just any other national park.
It is home to the most varied landscapes in the UK. It is made up of rock formations (from limestone to graphite), moorlands, riversides, and rolling hills. There are actually two general areas that form the Peak District: the Dark Peak and the White Peak. The Dark Peak consists mostly of moorlands and is not as populated as the White Peak. The latter, on the other hand, is called as such because of the abundant limestone in the area.
The diversity of the landscape is equally matched with scenic views. Many tourists who have come here have said that it was difficult to pick the best spot for viewing as the scenery is beautiful at every vantage point. For the best views, though, you can head up to Chrome Hill, Derwent Edge, or Winnat’s Pass.
Aside from the peaks and the hiking trails, The Peak District has so much more to offer. The natural structures are worth noting. Some of these natural structures include dramatic rocks, limestone formations, and other mysterious landscapes you won’t find elsewhere.
Finally, the quaint villages are one of the best attractions in The Peak District. In fact, many visitors who have come here state that these are some of the most picturesque villages in England. In these villages, you will find small dwellings, traditional pubs, and old stone buildings make it seem as though the villages are frozen in time.
The best way to enjoy this region is by staying in a cosy Peak District cottage, go for a pint to the local pub, and take some lazy drives up and down the hills, or better yet, hiking to the top for some breathtaking views.
Best villages in the Peak District
Whether you are looking for small or large villages to explore, they each have a unique flair to them. Check out the 10 best villages in the Peak District.
Castleton is one of the villages that are a must-see in the Peak District. This village sits at the base of the valleys, hills, and dales in the High Peak region. It is therefore a mecca for walking, hiking, and cycling enthusiasts. But even for those who are not into any of those activities, there are plenty to see and do in Castleton.
The beautiful scenery and sights alone would be enough to get you occupied for one full day. You can walk around the village and find jewelry shops, cafes, inns, and other traditional buildings. The Blue John Jewellery is a specialty shop that you can drop by in, if you are in search of unique souvenirs to bring home from Castleton. Do not miss the chance to see the ruined Peveril Castle in the village, too. For unique attractions, take a tour at the caverns in town, which is a popular tourist attraction for many generations now.
Referred to as the heart of the Peak District, Bakewell is your quintessential riverside English village. It is known for its heritage sites, history, and romantic riverside walks. It is home to the Old House Museum, the All Saints’ Church, and many other well-preserved buildings. You can also find quaint cafes, art galleries, hotels, and independent shops within the village.
When you visit, do not miss out on the chance to sample the Bakewell Pudding – a delicacy that single-handedly put Bakewell in the map. You can also stop by the tourism information centre in the village to find an impressive gallery of work from photographers showcasing landscapes, scenery, and other attractions in the village. Another noteworthy attraction for those seeking out historical sites would be the Haldon Hall, which is a medieval manor house.
Ashford-in-the-Water is a picturesque village in the Peak District, which looks like it is taken off a page from a fairy tale book. It is situated close to the River Wye and is home to a 13th century church, charming village inns, and old stone houses. A notable attraction in this village is the Sheepwash Bridge, which is called as such because this is where the sheep are dipped before they are sheared.
If you visit the village during early summer, you can also partake in numerous exhibits that display local art. The Thornbridge Hall is another favorite destination for tourists during the summer because of its unique garden. And don’t forget to go to the Taddington Moor to find the highest megalithic tomb in England.
Edale is a charming town in the Peak District. It signals the start or end of the famous Pennine Way walking path. The name of the village is derived from the valley that it is located in. There are two conical peaks that frame the entrance to the village, which creates for spell-binding views. These peaks also ensure that the village is quietly tucked away, making it one of the most peaceful valleys in the region.
Due to the beautiful and natural scenery offered by the formations that surround Edale, hiking is a popular activity for its visitors. Some of the most notable walking paths include the Ringing Roger and Grindslow Knoll, Jacob’s Ladder and Kinder Reservoir, and the Kinder Downfall.
Tissington is an idyllic village that is a favorite among those who have seen its beauty. Tissington Hall, an unspoilt estate, is undeniably the most popular attraction in this village. It is also conveniently located right next to the Tissington Trail – a walking and cycling route.
This picture-perfect village is home to many businesses including tea rooms, B&Bs, antique shops, and a trekking centre. You can also witness the local tradition of dressing the village wells with colorful petals and ornaments. The quaint limestone cottages also boast of gardens that are beautifully manicured. Feast your eyes on these picturesque beauty available only from a rural and idyllic village such as Tissington.
Hartington is a village located at the center of the Peak District’s Dove Valley. This picturesque village has drawn many visitors from all over the world, which includes famous anglers Charles Cotton and Izaak Walton.
A youth hostel known as Hartington Hall is the preferred choice of accommodation for most tourists that come here. But you can also find many inns and hostels sprinkled all over the village. The village is also a haven for cheese lovers; if you are one, don’t forget to stop by the world-famous Stilton cheese shop. As with any other villages in the Peak District, there are a ton of walking trails you can explore to be rewarded with breathtaking scenic views and natural formations.
Eyam is a charming village known not only for its beauty but also for its history. During the time of the bubonic plague, the village isolated itself from the rest of England. This is also part of the reason why the village has remained relatively unspoilt. It is beautifully preserved and exploring the village seemed like walking into a time machine into the past.
Exploring the various trails in Eyam feels like an interactive history lesson. You will get the chance to pass by a medieval parish church, old school house with a museum, and the Eyam Hall. All of these buildings had been around since the late 17th century.
Tideswell is a unique village in the Peak District as it is closed in by limestone mountains in every direction. A 14th century church known as The Cathedral of the Peak is one of the most popular attractions in this village. This church is also a museum wherein you can find several monuments and wood carvings on display.
Visitors who wish to explore the village for a few days can stay in one of the quaint accommodations. You can stay in a cottage or any one of the campsites to take full advantage of the picturesque scenery.
Hathersage is popular in the Peak District not just for its natural beauty and picturesque views. It is also noted for its literary associations. When popular literary author Charlotte Bronte visited the village, she immortalized the Eyre family in one of her novels. Little John’s grave is also buried in one of the churchyards in the village – he is tied to the Robin Hood legend.
In addition to these notable attractions, Hathersage has more to offer including the David Mellor’s Roundhouse. This is a one-stop attraction in Hathersage that includes a design museum, cutlery factory, café, and country shop.
Alstonefield is a picturesque village located in the White Peak region of the Peak District. Albeit small, this village will spoil your eyes with views of rich and verdant green. This rolling countryside is surrounded by valleys and rivers. You can explore the dramatic and rocky outcrops of Dovedale and Wolfscote Dale while you are in town.
The central part of the village is known as “The George”. This area is surrounded by trees and all attractions are within close distance to each other, making it easy to explore on foot. Some of the notable stop-off points include the old lead mining sites, the old hall, and the St. Peter’s Church.
These are the most known villages in the Peak District, and it’s certainly for a reason. But if you hop on a car and wander around, you’ll find some other ones as beautiful as these, so who’s up for a roadtrip?
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