BEST OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES IN THE PEAK DISTRICT: Hiking, climbing, swimming, and more!

Best outdoor activities in the peak district, peak district national park, Peak District guide, explore Peak District, when to visit the Peak District, things to do in the Peak District

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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 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 colourful and vibrant flowers and smells. Temperatures are cool but usually sunny, so ideal for outdoor activities.

Summer, from June to August, is warm and sunny, therefore a very popular time to visit. Prices can be higher, 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.

A visit in winter, November to February, is only for the brave. The temperatures are low, with occasional snow.

Best outdoor activities in the peak district, peak district national park, Peak District guide, explore Peak District, when to visit the Peak District, things to do in the Peak District
Best outdoor activities in the peak district, peak district national park, Peak District guide, explore Peak District, when to visit the Peak District, things to do in the Peak District
Best outdoor activities in the peak district, peak district national park, Peak District guide, explore Peak District, when to visit the Peak District, things to do in the Peak District
Best outdoor activities in the peak district, peak district national park, Peak District guide, explore Peak District, when to visit the Peak District, things to do in the Peak District
Best outdoor activities in the peak district, peak district national park, Peak District guide, explore Peak District, when to visit the Peak District, things to do in the Peak District

Best outdoor activities in the Peak District

There’s a huge range of Peak District activities – something for every type of visitor to enjoy. From family walks to wild swimming, here are some of the best outdoor activities in the Peak District. 

Rock climbing

This large national park is probably the most popular climbing area 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. Here, there have been over 10,000 recorded climbs, from professionals to locals, with an impressive history.

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 few small areas (mainly Limestone), permanent fixtures have been drilled into the rock, as seen in sport climbing. 

Walking

Walking and hiking is an enjoyable activity and ideal if you are on a budget.  The diverse range of landscapes creates a 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. 

Find out more about Trekking in the UK on: Best Hiking Trails in the UK: 10 Epic Routes!

Cycling

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.

Best outdoor activities in the peak district, peak district national park, Peak District guide, explore Peak District, when to visit the Peak District, things to do in the Peak District
Best outdoor activities in the peak district, peak district national park, Peak District guide, explore Peak District, when to visit the Peak District, things to do in the Peak District
Best outdoor activities in the peak district, peak district national park, Peak District guide, explore Peak District, when to visit the Peak District, things to do in the Peak District

Caving

Caving isn’t always as extreme and dark as you might first imagine. It’s actually one of the best outdoor activities 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.

Caving is quickly becoming a popular activity, and the Peak District is the perfect place to start.

Wild swimming

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.

More information on wild swimming in the Peak District here

In conclusion

A trip to the Peak District is definitely something you should be planning soon.  Walk around beautiful villages, across deep gorges, and dramatic mountains. Push your limits with some of these best outdoor activities in the Peak District. 

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