Derbyshire’s Peak District is one of the most thrilling areas of the UK with its amazing range of days out and challenges for people who like to be active, interested and amazed. The area has wonderful areas for walking, cycling and climbing, amazing show caves, pretty towns like Bakewell and Ashbourne and numerous unique attractions.
One of the oldest draws is The Heights of Abraham, a hilltop park at Matlock Bath reached by cable car or a steep climb. At the top visitors are guided around two spectacular caverns with networks of tunnels left by lead mining, the Masson and the Rutland, the latter recreating what life would have been like for a 17th century mining family. There’s lots more to enjoy too, including adventure playgrounds, picnic areas, and a fossil shop telling the story of local dinosaurs and their contemporaries.
Nearby, people can step again into the industrial past by courtesy of the Derwent Mills World Heritage Site. Together, the River Derwent and Sir Richard Arkwright’s showpiece cotton spinning factory, Masson Mills. started a textile revolution. The trail starts here, where visitors experience the sights, smells and sounds of the Industrial Revolution, together with a shopping village, restaurant and more.
The Pottery Flat
The Pottery Flat is a rarity among self catering properties, a 3 Star Gold treasure on the edge of the Peak District in the chic Chatsworth Road area of Chesterfield, up and coming for its boutique shops and eateries.
The flat sits above the JMJ pottery run by one of Peak District Artisans, Janine Mannion-Jones, and is filled and furnished in welcoming style to provide not only a cosy base for exploring this extraordinary area but also to provide interest and recreation inbetween. You’ll find quality artwork, films, books, games, music and a kitchen where keen cooks can enjoy their craft with all the equipment they’d wish, including a food processor.
“People can use anything that is in the flat, move things around and treat it as their own home,” says Janine. “I have ‘please do’ rules, not ‘please don’t’ rules.”
The flat sleeps five for as little as £85 a night and is only 10 minutes’ walk from Chesterfield town centre, famous for the church with the crooked spire and a bustling market of up to 250 stalls. This is fabulous country for walking and cycling, of course, but it is also within an easy drive of iconic attractions including the amazing Heights of Abraham, assorted show caves and Chatsworth House, one of the stateliest of stately homes.
Qaklands Country Lodge
Oaklands Country Lodges set the scene for romance, mini-breaks and luxury family holidays with fabulous levels of comfort, idyllic and their very own private hot tubs on the edge of the stunningly beautiful Derbyshire Peak District.
Rated 4 Star Gold self-catering accommodation, the three eco-friendly timber lodges sit within an acre of landscaped gardens and grounds next to a working farm run by the owners, Daniel & Claire Redfern. They are exceptionally well furnished and equipped, sleep four to eight people each and are wheelchair accessible with their own wetroom showers and separate bathrooms. The lodges have countryside views, log burners and air source heating for year-round cosiness, verandas overlooking a scenic pond or meadow and attract an ever-changing variety of visiting wildlife.
Scenic walks and cycle rides abound within this area between Hilton and Hatton in Dove Valley and welcoming pubs are found within a mile or two. Local attractions include Alton Towers theme park, Uttoxeter Racecourse, Ilam Park, Tutbury Castle and one of Britain’s finest stately homes, Chatsworth House. Shoppers find pleasure in nearby Burton upon Trent – home of the National Brewery Centre museum – and Derby offers the buzz of a big city.
“Our Hideaway lodge is pet friendly and if people book all three lodges together up to 18 people can enjoy a Peak District holiday together,” says Claire.
Privacy and pretty views are among the many attractions of Quarry House Moneystone, an extremely dog friendly, beautifully renovated self catering property rated 4 Star with Visit England in the Churnet Valley, on the edge of the Peak District National Park.
Guests of this two bedroomed Staffordshire hide-away enjoy relaxing downtime in the lovely secure garden and three-quarter acre paddock. Adjoining is a 100+ acre woodland inviting them for idyllic walks all year round. Dogs stay free of charge, while humans particularly like features including the two bathrooms, the super-comfy beds, the underfloor heating and character features including quarry tile floors, exposed beams and log burner in the living area. Facebook reveals more than 630 ‘likes’. Owners Jan and Nick Cresswell plan to add a shepherd’s hut to the paddock in the future.
The attractive nearby villages of Oakamoor, Foxt and Ipstones offer food and drink. Churnet Valley Railway runs nostalgic trips by steam train, with services including a dining car and December Santa & Steam days and the valley is also home to Hawkesmoor Nature Reserve and areas graded Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs).
Further afield the Peak District and surrounding areas are brimful of exciting things to do, from visiting impressively grand Chatsworth House to thrill seeking on the big rides at Alton Towers.
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