We have included tourist attractions and activities not only from the Peak District but also from the surrounding areas, Staffordshire, Cheshire, Yorkshire and Amber Valley. As well as being for tourists, for Peak District locals, these experiences make for unique birthday gifts and anniversary gifts for your nearest and dearest. After all, you generally don't usually visit attractions on your doorstep do you?

The Attractions ...

Tourist information centres in the Peak District

Amongst the tourist attractions in the Peak District are stately homes, theme parks, museums, working museums, visitor centres, pony trekking, outdoor activities, golf and loads more. The only thing we lack is a coastline but Matlock Bath tries to make up for that - it is a seaside resort about as far from the sea as you can get in England! If you go there, you will see what I mean.

Visitors to the region will find that there is something for almost everyone, regardless of age, ability or interests. For the Kids, there is Gullivers Kingdom at Matlock Bath, a miniature world with gentle rides to suit the little ones. Also at Matlock Bath, you could take the kids for a spectacular cable car ride high above the river Derwent and the A6, ending up at the Heights of Abraham. You can see perfectly why the Victorians nicknamed it 'Little Switzerland'. At the Heights of Abraham, there is plenty to keep them occupied, including guided tours into the show caves. I don't know if they still do it but when I went, they switched the lights off showing you what complete darkness really is. Also geared up for the kids is the Matlock Farm Park attraction, with regular activities and special events. Perfect for the youngsters to lean about the countryside whilst having immense fun.

I know it is a bit of a stereotype but for Gran and Grandad, there are plenty of pretty towns and villages to visit. Also, the older generation might like to visit some of the stately homes and halls of the Peak District. The best known is Chatsworth - there is access to the house, gardens and surrounding parkland and it is easy to make a complete day out here. Other well known and much visited Stately homes are Eyam Hall and Haddon Hall, the latter being close to Bakewell. A visit to Bakewell combined with a visit to Haddon Hall is another of the Peak District's classic days out. Further south, outside of the Peak District, Calke Abbey is worth a day's pottering around and the attraction of Kedleston Hall is a strong pull for those interested in seeing an often used film and TV location. To the south west of the Peak District, there is Shugbrough Hall where they have developed some great interactive days where kids and adults alike can find out about life in a bygone age. To the West, in Cheshire, Gawsworth Hall is often visited and could be combined with a visit to Jodrell Bank radio telescope. In summer, Gawsworth organised open air theatre events.

For those interested in gardens, the main attractions are Haddon Hall, Dunge Valley and Lea rhododendron gardens, with Hopton Hall briefly early in the year for its celebrated snowdrop display.

There are a number of Heritage centres in and near to the Peak District. In south Derbyshire, there is the Shardlow Heritage centre. This gives a fascinating insight into 18th century Shardlow when the village, already a river port, became also a port on the Trent and Mersey Canal. On the southern edge of the Peak District, the Wirksworth Heritage centre in the Crown Yard gives a similar insight into the lead mining industry in the region and has a decent tea room attached! In Cheshire, the Knutsford Heritage Centre is housed in a former smithy dating back to the 17th century. It covers all things Knutsfordian and the volunteers make a major effort with the walled gardens and container displays. I guess that the National Stone Centre could be regarded as a heritage centre, it has a cafe, gift shop, interpretation trails, displays and runs activities for kids. The Millenium wall, built at the storne centre, shows off the dry stone walling skills of the different regions of the UK in one single length of wall.

Possibly the largest heritage 'centre' is the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Corridor, a 30 mile long stretch of the Derwent along which some of the seminal mills of the Industrial revolution were built. Belper Mill, Cromford Mill and Masson Mills have visitor centres and other facilities. For anyone interested in the Industrial Revolution, a trip along this attraction is essential. It makes a decent bike ride for those of yopu who prefer to cycle on road rather than off road.

Another major tourist attraction of the region are the show caves. In the south, these are situated at the Heights of Abraham. Further north, there are 4 show caves in the vicinity of Castleton and at Buxton, there is Poole's Cavern.

For railway enthusiasts, Peak Rail runs steam trains from Matlock, there is the Butterley railway centre which runs a variety of different trains, including specials like Thomas the Tank Engine. At Wirksworth there is Wyvern Rail, and at Rudyard Lake, Staffordshire, there is the miniature Rudyard Lake steam railway. Related to this theme, there is the tramway museum at Crich.

Restaurants and other places to eat out.

Overview of the different areas

Stunning scenery and interesting towns

Outdoor and adventure activities in the White and Dark Peak

Stately homes and gardens

Industrial heritage, former railways and other archaeology

Art/Museums/Natural History

Railways and disused railways

Caves and show caverns

Kidís stuff and theme parks


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Contact A Taste of the Peak District by email or by phone 0114 360 1004 (business hours 8 am to 4 pm weekdays)

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