7 BEST THINGS TO DO & ACTIVITIES IN THE PEAK DISTRICT: Hiking, climbing, swimming, and more!
More articles at the bottom of the page: England Travel Guide & Tips for a Perfect Holiday! | Ultimate London City Guide | Best Hiking and Trekking trails in the UK |
The Peak District has some of the most stunning and picturesque views in England. Furthermore, it provides a variety of outdoor sports and activities. If you are a nature lover, an avid photographer, or simply looking for a city getaway, the Peak District has it all!
Keep reading to discover the best things to do and outdoor activities in the Peak District, from rock climbing to hiking, swimming, and horse riding!
Why visit the Peak District: White Peak and Dark Peak
The Peak District was the first national park to be established in 1951, and it covers more than 550 square miles. As well as offering miles of dramatic landscape and picturesque views, there is a huge variety of exciting outdoor activities.
This national park consists of two contrasting regions, the White Peak, and the Dark Peak – Yes, they really are as exciting as they sound.
The Dark Peak is characterized by a large and open landscape, forests, mountains, and granite outcrops. On the opposite side is the White Peak, with small medieval towns alongside limestone caves, and idyllic valleys.
Best time to visit the Peak District
England has the fortune of having four different seasons per year. Therefore, visiting the Peak District is a unique experience all year around.
Spring, from April to May, is particularly beautiful, with colorful and vibrant flowers and smells. Temperatures are cool but usually sunny, ideal for outdoor activities.
Summer, from June to August, is warm and sunny, therefore a very popular time to visit. Prices can be higher, therefore make sure you book in advance to find the best deals.
When autumn begins in September, you will find a bath of crispy leaves on the ground and a chilly breeze. Nevertheless, this can be a beautiful time to explore the Peak District and some of its best things to do.
A visit in winter, November to February, is only for the brave. The temperatures are low, with occasional snow. Nevertheless, this is a good time to explore the Peak District on a budget.
7 Things to do and activities in the Peak District
There’s a huge range of activities in the Peak District – something for every type of visitor to enjoy. From family walks to wild swimming, here are some of the best things to do in the Peak District.
This large national park is probably one of the most popular rock climbing areas in the UK. Rock climbing in the Peak District is enjoyable and accessible for all levels; there are taster sessions to get you started, as well as more advanced climbing courses available.
Some climbs are amongst the most challenging in Europe. A well-known area is Stanage Edge near Sheffield. This area has an impressive history with over 10,000 recorded climbs.
Before 1948, most of the climbing spots were on privately owned land and not accessible to the public. Luckily nowadays we have full access to these areas, meaning it’s our responsibility to protect it. A strong ethical code developed to look after the rock: climbers place gear by hand and remove it completely after the ascent (trad climbing) leaving the rock untouched.
Only in a few small areas (mainly Limestone), permanent fixtures have been drilled into the rock, making sport climbing possible.
Rock climbing remains one of the most exciting activities in the Peak District. Use this list of well-known providers to book your course or tester session: Beyond The Edge | Pure Outdoor | Head On Out
Walking and Hiking
Walking and hiking are enjoyable activities and ideal if you are on a budget. The diverse range of landscapes creates beautiful scenery along the way, whether it’s a leisurely stroll or a challenging hike.
Some of the most popular Peak District walks are the Monsal Trail, Hathersage to Stanage Edge, and The Roaches & Lud’s Church.
If you are interested in more challenging and long-distance walks read this Guide on the best 10 hiking trails and routes in the UK!
Whether you are an experienced cycler or an amateur, there are plenty of mesmerizing views to enjoy from the saddle of your bike.
Speed around the pretty villages and down the gentle hills at your own pace. Some of the most popular routes are the High Peak Trail, Tissington Trail, and the Monsal Trail. Bicycle hiring is also available.
Caving isn’t always as extreme and dark as you might first imagine. It’s actually one of the best things to do in the Peak District and will take you to some of the most interesting places. Throughout your adventure, you might abseil, climb, swim, and even crawl in tiny gaps.
The Peak District caves vary in shape and size, with the most popular being Titan Cave, the highest natural cavern in the UK.
On the other hand, the awesome Thor’s cave is one of the most photographed sights in the Peak District due to its beautiful rock formation. A Magnificent natural cave in the Staffordshire Peak District that creates a perfect frame to a picturesque landscape.
Caving is quickly becoming a popular activity, and the Peak District is the perfect place to start.
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Camping and Glamping
Sitting around a campsite and roasting marshmallows remains one of the best things to do in the Peak District.
Unfortunately, wild camping in the Peak District is not allowed, if you wish to wild camp you can only do so with permission from the landowner. Nevertheless, the national park offers many camping sites and unique places to stay.
Only a mile away from Hathersage and Stanage Edge there is a small but popular campsite called North Lees, ideal for small tents with budget-friendly options. Due to its location, this is a great spot for people looking to spend time rock climbing in Stanage Edge.
A popular option is to camp in designated farms, these often have large open spaces, animals, and organized daily activities. An ideal space when traveling to the Peak District with Children. Some of the most popular farms are: Fields Farm | Barn Farm |Upper Hurst Farm | Middlehills Farm
Finally, a great way to experience the national park is to book your stay in one of the many unique glamping sites, where stunning nature meets modern luxury.
This is not the cheapest option but definitely deserves a spot as one of the best activities in the Peak District. Scaldersitch Farm offers beautiful yurts and a luxury spa, on the other end Mulino Pods are eco-powered traditional pods whit a fantastic view. Lastly, one of the most popular and high-end places to stay in the Peak District is the Tawny, with wooden huts, treehouses, and romantic boathouses at the very edge of the Peak District.
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This is another activity that’s becoming more and more popular across the country. The Peak District is a hotspot for wild swimming with plenty of rivers to offer. Having a paddle in these waters could be a refreshing stop during the hot summer months, or a sharp wake-up in the cold season.
Some of the most popular places to swim are Slippery Stones, Three Shires Head, and Chatsworth.
It’s doesn’t come as a surprise that wild swimming in the Peak District caught the attention of the famous brand Red Bull: 6 awesome wild swimming spots in the Peak District
Canoeing and Kayaking
The main difference between these two great activities in the Peak District is in the paddles. When kayaking the paddler is seated and uses a double-bladed paddle alternating sides in the water, while in a canoe a single-bladed paddle is used.
Both activities are extremely fun and enjoyable on the many rivers, canals, and lakes of the Peak District. Guided tours are available, starting from short introductions to longer and more secluded trips. Experience is not required, making this one of the best things to do in the Peak District with children.
Some of the most popular locations are the River Derwent, Tittesworth Reservoir, and the Carsington Water.
These are only a few of the best things to do in the Peak District! Walk around beautiful villages, across deep gorges, and dramatic mountains. Take advantage of amazing photograph opportunities, discover medieval market towns and push your limits with some of these unique activities in the Peak District.