Browse through our blog posts to find out what life is like at Hoe Grange Holidays along with some great ideas for days out in the Peak District.
English Tourism Week is an annual event held that celebrates the rich cultural heritage, and stunning scenery across the UK. So we thought this the perfect opportunity to share the many wonderful things to do in the Peak District.
When we first started offering holidays on our farm in 2006 we didn’t fully appreciate the wealth and variety of things to do and see in our local area. Even to the extent that guests would arrive and marvel at the stunning views across the farm fields, whilst David who has lived here all his life just thought the view ordinary!
Having welcomed holiday guests for over 17 years we now fully appreciate all that the Peak District has to offer. We have explored more ourselves so we can help you find exciting things to so to make the most of your stay. From experience we know you will receive a warm welcome from the many wonderful local businesses and visitor attractions.
The Peak District was the first ever designated National Park and is best known for its wild moors, craggy peaks and wonderful hiking trails. However, there are many more hidden treasures to be discovered.
From beautiful underground caverns filled with rare minerals and precarious stalactites, to the magnificent gardens of the Chatsworth Estate and fascinating story of the Derwent Valley Mills where the industrial revolution began. You can witness many quirky, ancient traditions, such as well dressing and Ashbourne Shrovetide Royal Football which are as vibrant as ever.
There’s no shortage of incredible places to visit in the Peak District, and something to interest all ages. In fact there’s so much to do our holiday guests often return more than once to explore further!
We started this blog post to highlight some of the best the area has to offer but got carried away and have listed 72 things for you to do on your holiday here - why 72 I hear you ask?One for each year the Peak District National Park has been in existence.
Here’s a challenge, how many things to do in the Peak District on our list can you tick off?
The Great Outdoors
1. Explore the great outdoors of the UK’s first National Park – The Peak District National Park covers 555 square mile and is an area of natural beauty, with rolling hills, wild moorlands and dramatic dales, as well as many world renown historical sites. There is much to discover; caving, climbing, walking, cycling, sailing, hiking, canoeing, abseiling.
2. March up to Minninglow for a panoramic view – walk 2 miles along the High Peak trail from Hoe Grange and discover a Neolithic chambered tomb and two Bronze Age bowl barrows enclosed in a distinctive double ring of beech trees on the hill top. Take time to enjoy the views and reflect on the ancient people buried there.
3. See if you can spot the butterflies among the summer flowers at Hoe Grange Quarry – Walk just 1 mile from Hoe Grange to the disused quarry to discover the amazing variety flora and fauna in this wonderful nature reserve.
4. Explore Nine Ladies Circle on Stanton Moor, near Birchover - believed to be the remains of a Bronze Age fertility and harvest ritual site, the stone circle depicts nine ladies turned to stone as a penalty for dancing on a Sunday!
5. Reach new heights and go rock climbing – the weathered outcrop of Ashhover grit at Black Rocks near Cromford has some of the most extreme climbing routes. Although you can cheat and walk up a short but steep scree slope to take in the panoramic views over the Derwent Valley. If you don't fancy rock climbing you can go orienteering. Other incredible edges can be found at Curbar, Millstone, Stanage, Derwent and Baslow.
6. Stunning sunsets at Surprise View - described by William Wordsworth as one of the 'loveliest spots on earth' Surprise View will take your breath away with its stunning vista across the Hope Valley and beyond!
7. Marvel at the dark skies from the Wirksworth Stardisc – A unique 21stcentury stone circle, with a star chart depicting the northern hemisphere's night sky etched into the 12 meter diameter black granite disc. The stunning views over Wirksworth are worth the walk up the hill.
8. Trek along the Manifold Trail and climb up to Thor’s Cave for dramatic views of the Manifold Valley. Whilst admiring the view take the opportunity to capture a stunning photo through the 60ft cave entrance.
9. Recreate the epic scene from Pride & Prejudice at Stanage Edge – it has to be done! Recreate the moment and take in the breath-taking moorland views surveyed by Elizabeth Bennet, played by Keira Knightly, in the 2005 blockbuster film, Pride & Prejudice as she day-dreamed about Mr Darcy. This iconic ridge extending 6km over the Derwent Valley forms a significant section of the Long Causeway, an ancient highway that runs from Sheffield to Derbyshire.
10. Fearlessly hike along the “Dragon’s Back” at Chrome Hill – the rugged ridge of Chrome Hill is commonly known as the “Dragons’ Back2 as it resembles the plates along the spine of a Stegosaurus dinosaur. Worth the climb for the breath taking views from the top.
11. What a wonderful view from Monsal Head! Admire the contrast between the winding River Wye in the dale below and the magnificent Victorian via duct cutting through the countryside.
12. Stand on the Stonehenge of the North at Arbor Low - circular bank and ditch was constructed in the late Neolithic period, around 3,000 BC and includes a number of megaliths within the enclosure. Arbor Low is a Scheduled Ancient Monument and is considered to be one of the best preserved Neolithic monuments in England and has a central stone ‘cove’, a feature only found at major sacred sights.
13. Climb up to Buxton’s very own folly, Solomon’s Temple - follow the woodland trail footpaths from Poole's Cavern Visitor centre to the summit of Grin Low hill to discover Solomon's Temple and take in the magnificent views over the High Peak. For flower lovers the woodland glades are a delight with rare alpines and orchids.
14. Take a guided tour of Bleaklow Moor and the famous aircraft crash sites - Paul at My Guided Walks will guide you across the rugged terrain to several aircraft crash sites, helping you spot the wildlife along the way. If lucky you’ll spot a mountain hare.
15. Take on the challenge of climbing a crag at Harborough Rocks – the rock face is short but the dolomite limestone with jaggy pockets is a tough technical climb and the views across Carsington Water are superb. The site is also great for low-grade bouldering, or you can explore the cave.
16. Hike up Kinder Scout, the highest point in the Peak District – in 1932 hundreds of men and women defied the law to walk over the hills and moorlands to the plateau of Kinder Scout. The Kinder Mass Trespass was instrumental in securing access rights to open country for us all to enjoy and instigated the formation of the Peak District National Park.
17. Find fabulous fossils on the geo trail at the National Stone Centre, near Wirksworth – a fun family outing where you can go gem panning, find out how limestone is formed, learn about quarrying and peer down the disused lead mine shaft, before visiting the rock shop.
18. Stride across the stepping stones at Dovedale – wander along the riverbank and enjoy the stunning scenery of this beautiful dale, before crossing the river over the iconic stepping stones and climbing to the top of Thorpe Cloud to enjoy the wonderful panoramic view.
19. Cycle or ride round the 9th largest reservoir in the UK – Carsington Water is just 3 miles from Hoe Grange so you can ride your horses there or borrow our electric bikes and cycle. Children will love the large play area and exhibition all about water. Admire the views, go sailing, fishing or see if you can spot the Kingfishers, buzzards or grebes from the bird hide.
20. Take a scenic stroll along the riverside at Lathkil Dale - just three miles from Bakewell, Lathkil Dale is one of the prettiest and most peaceful of the Derbyshire dales. This beautiful nature reserve is home to red grouse and peregrine falcons. Quieter than Dovedale and with crystal clear water and rolling grassland it is home to a wide variety of flora and fauna.
21. Discover the dramatic wooded ravine at Padley Gorge – take a gentle stroll through the magical woodland glades listening to the sound of the babbling brooks and waterfalls. The challenging climbing routes are also a draw for keen rock climbers.
22. See what you can catch at Ladybower Reservoir – At Accessible Fishing everyone is welcome to give fishing a go with coached fishing support from an expert team. The wheelchair friendly boats are easily accessible and help is on hand to ensure people with a wide range of disabilities can get fully involved.
23. Ilam Park is the perfect spot for a picturesque and peaceful picnic – situated on the banks of the River Manifold Ilam Park features a formal Italian Garden with views across to Thorpe Cloud and Bunster Hill. Enjoy walks through ravine woodlands and marvel at the wonderful waterfalls.
24. See where the daring Dambusters honed their skills at Derwent Valley Dam – Derwent, Howden and Ladybower reservoirs were used by the Dambusters RAF squadron in WWII as practice sites for the revolutionary bouncing bomb. The daring raid on the Ruhr Valley in Germany was a success and caused catastrophic flood damage. Stop at the Visitor Centre and enjoy walking, cycling and horse riding with stunning views.
25. Walk the Derwent Valley Heritage Way – follow the River Derwent from Ladybower Reservoir to its mouth near Shardlow. Admire the valley’s beautiful landscapes, and discover the legacy of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Sites.
26. Follow the tow path along the Cromford Canal – the first canal in Derbyshire built in 1793 by Sir Richard Arkwright to transport goods from the cotton mills at Cromford to the Erewash Canal. It was also the first to use a steam engine to pull boats through a tunnel. Today it is a haven for wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled for water vole, dragonflies, moorhens, coots and Swans. You can also take a ride on Birdswood the horse drawn canal boat
27. Discover the unique beauty of Blue John – deep underground at Castleton’s show caverns, you’ll discover glittering stalactites and stalagmites, as well as the unique and precious Blue John Stone. This rare mineral is believed to be 280 million years old and is used to create precious jewellery due to its unique and beautiful patterned bands formed from impurities.
28. Hear the music reverberate Up the Devil’s Arse at Peak Cavern! Attend a carol concert or a live band in the imposing entrance chamber to Peak Cavern, the largest natural cave system in Britain.
29. Have you ever been on an underground boat ride? Speedwell Cavern was first discovered by lead-miner, Jonathan Tyrrell, in 1758. Today you can journey through the flooded subterranean tunnels by boat to emerge in the underground lake known as The Bottomless Pit.
30. Explore the caves at Rowtor Rocks at Birchover - The carvings and cave systems date from the early 1700’s and were the handiwork of the local parson of the village, Reverend Thomas Eyre who was also a Druid. Search for the stone carvings and sit on the stone throne.
31. Step inside the Ice Age cave at Cresswell Crags – walk in the footsteps of Stone Age man and woolly mammoths through the dramatic limestone gorge. You will be spell bound by the incredible cave art still visible on the walls, and amazed at the flint tools and pottery unearthed on site. https://www.creswell-crags.org.uk/
32. Discover the most perfect house to survive from the Middle Ages - Haddon Hall is a precious jewel that has remained in the same family for over 900 years! It has it all, from remarkable tapestries, to a banqueting hall with original Dais table, rare frescos in the Medieval Chapel, and a Elizabethan walled garden resplendent with roses in the summer. Enjoy a guided walk through the open woodland parkland.
33. Take a tour of Tissington village –Tissington Hall has been owned and lived in by the Fitz-Herbert family for over 500 years and wandering through the village is like stepping back in time. Enjoy feeding the ducks on the village pond, stop for a bite to eat at the tea rooms , get creative at Craft Corner, visit the candle workshop and pick up a plant at the garden nursery.
34. Picnic on the lawn at Chatsworth House – often described as the “jewel in the Peak District’s crown” Chatsworth is the seat of the Duke of Devonshire and has been home to the Cavendish family since 1549. The house is renowned for its art collection, Capability Brown landscaping, and historic interiors. The 105 acre gardens are spectacular with modern sculptures and what we like best is that you can picnic on the lawn and may even spot the Dule or Duchess.
35. Have you ever seen a duck fountain? follow the trail through the formal gardens, a vision of 1,000 shades of green, at Thornbridge Hall to the Quackers café and children’s play area. Inspired by the beautiful gardens, you can pick your own blooms to take home. For something a little different why not enjoy a beer-Friday house tour? https://www.thornbridgehall.co.uk/
36. Admire the treasures of Lord Curzon’s “Eastern Collection” at Kedleston Hall - built in 1759 by the architect Robert Adam, as a show palace and temple of the arts. The Hall is considered one of the finest examples of Neo-Classical architecture in Britain and you can wander over the picturesque parkland.
37. See for yourself why “Hardwick Hall, is more glass than wall” – the striking red brick hall with its enormous windows was built by Bess of Hardwick to reinforce her status as one of the most rich and powerful women in Elizabethan England.
38. Have you ever seen a crinkle crankle wall? If not pop along to Hopton Hall walled gardens, resplendent in summer with beautifully scented roses. Winter in the gardens is just as beautiful. With views over Carsington Water the snowdrop walk in February is also worth a visit.
39. Take a tour of Renishaw Hall and gardens – lived in by the Sitwell family for nearly 400 years this historic house is still very much a family home, which adds to its unique atmosphere. Don’t miss the carefully landscaped Italianate gardens. Enjoy a vineyard tour with wine
40. Promenade through the Pavilion Gardens at Buxton – these Victorian gardens are a delight at any time of year with colourful floral displays. Take a train ride on the miniature railway, stop off at the swings, or feed the ducks by the pond.
Family fun days
41. Ride a cable car up to the Heights of Abraham – travel to the summit in style and enjoy the stunning views over the steep limestone gorge. Climb up Victoria Prospect Tower to get a 360 view, follow the willow sculpture trail, go underground on a guided tour of the impressive show caves, picnic in woodland corner, or have fun on the adventure playgrounds. A full, fun-packed family day out.
42. Pay a penny for a tram ride at Crich Tramway Village – step back in time and walk along the period street with old style sweet shop and traditional pub, wander through the tram sheds, before taking a ride on a vintage tram or exploring the woodland walk and sculpture trail. Wheelchair friendly trams are often in use. If you're planning to visit we have discounted tickets for guests.
43. Meet Sir Richard Arkwright himself in the world’s first water powered mill - Built in 1771 Sir Richard Arkwright's Cromford Mills used waterpower to mechanise cotton spinning, transforming the production process and revolutionising the textile industry. Take a walking tour of Cromford village to see the historic millworkers’ cottages, and understand how important the mills were to the local people. This site is part of the UNESCO Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, stretching from Cromford to Derby. https://www.cromfordmills.org.uk/
44. Drive the car your dad owned at the Great British Car Journey at Ambergate - Trace the history of the British motor industry from the humble beginnings of the Austin 7, the glory days of the 50/60’s - the Mini and the Moggy minor, through the industrial unrest of British Leyland in the 70s, right up to this century with the racy McLaren. You can even drive selected models from a Robin Reliant to a Rolls Royce.
45. Be transported to a lost age of aristocratic extravagance at Bolsover Castle! Discover lavishly decorated rooms of the Little Castle, the astonishingly ornate riding school where highly trained Spanish horses still perform and enjoy the beautifully recreated garden. Hear tales from the past from costumed storytellers, roam the ruined Terrace Range and admire the stunning countryside views from the restored wall walk. https://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/bolsover-castle/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=search&utm_campaign=aka_bolsover_castle_22
46. Get creative on the potter’s wheel at Denby Pottery – roll up your sleeves and create your own pot with expert tuition or go behind the scenes and take a factory tour to see the skilled craftsmen at work. Don’t forget to visit the factory shop to pick up a bargain or two.
47. Feed the animals at Matlock Farm Park – a fun-filled family day out where you can watch sheep racing, ride a pony, feed the Alpacas, play in the enchanted hamlet or jump for joy on the UK’s largest bouncy pillow.
48. Walk with red squirrels and feed the penguins at Peak Wildlife Park near Leek – If you love animals this is the place to be! Get up close to endangered animals for an entertaining, exciting and educational day out. Meet the meerkats, lemurs, wallabies, and reindeer, as well as birds, reptiles, and amphibians, before exploring the themed gardens and play areas.
Railways and trains
50. What a vista as you travel along the track bed of the old High Peak Railway – One of the first railways built in 1831 the High Peak Railway was used to transport minerals between Cromford Canal and the Peak Forest Canal. The high limestone embankments are an incredible example of pre-Victorian civil engineering. It is now a traffic free path for walkers, cyclists and horse riders and you can access the trail from Hoe Grange farm fields.
51. Witness the world’s oldest beam engine of its type in action at Middleton Top Engine House - discover how the winding engine built in 1829 hauled wagons up and down steep incline on one of the world’s first long distance railways, the Cromford & High Peak Railway. The engine was in use until 1963 hauling wagons on cables up the 708 yards of the 1 in 8¾ Middleton Incline.
A taste of the Peak District
52. No visit to the Peak District would be complete without tasting a Bakewell pudding! The recipe was a result of a misunderstanding between the mistress of The White Horse Inn and her cook, but quickly became a firm favourite. It is a sweet pastry dish, covered with a layer of raspberry jam and topped with a frangipane filling. You can enjoy a Bakewell pudding making experience at The Old Bakewell Pudding Shop, but the exact original recipe remains a highly guarded secret!
53. Cool down on a hot day with delicious gelato – get a real taste of the Peak District with Italian ice cream churned to perfection. Meet the cows that produce the milk at either Tagg Lane Dairy or Matlock Meadows Ice Cream. Or relax on your decking and enjoy delicious Coldeaton Jersey Ice Cream from our little onsite shop.
54. Do you love artisan ales? – get a real taste of the Peak District with lovingly crafted beers from Aldwark Artisan Ales. Brewed just 2 miles from Hoe Grange, you can even have it delivered to your cabin for your holiday!
55. The Peak District is a Gin lovers’ paradise! The fresh spring waters of the Peak District combine with natural botanicals to create gins with unique character. Take a tour of White Peak Distillery at The Wire Works, Ambergate, taste summer in a bottle created from flowers from the hillside by Shivering Mountain Gins at Hope Valley, or head to Forest Gin at Macclesfield Forest, for a foraging walk to gather wild botanicals, before flavouring your own bespoke gin to take home.
56. Experience fine dining at Fischer’s at Baslow Hall – the award-winning hotel has held a Michelin -star for over 25 years and prides itself on using the finest, seasonal ingredients to create inspiring cuisine. Take a tour of the beautiful garden where much of the food is grown, or for an extra special experience take a seat at the kitchen bench to watch the chefs as they cook.
57. Enjoy a pie and a pint at The Olde Gate Inn at Brassington – walk or cycle from Hoe Grange to sit by a roaring fire and soak up the atmosphere of the 400-year-old pub – dogs are welcome too.
58. Pick up some cutlery from David Mellor Design in Hathersage – for over 60 years David Mellor has designed and crafted beautiful cutlery in its unique circular -shaped factory. Although specialising in cutlery, being based so close to Sheffield, the heartland of steel making, David Mellor also designed traffic lights and bus shelters which are on display in the museum. Enjoy delicious food in the café.
59. Experience a taste of India at Thornbridge Brewery – visit the taproom and discover how Thornbridge beer is carefully crafted before enjoying a tutored tasting including the award winning Jaipur.
60. Stop off for a pint of Birchover best amber ale at the Red Lion – a warm welcome awaits in this traditional pub with ancient oak beams and stone flagged floors. As well as brewing artisan ales on site they produce delicious Bircher Blue Cheese. The pub grub uses fresh, local ingredients and is influenced by recipes from owner Mateo’s Sardinian homeland.
61. If you loved the bread in your welcome pack visit Caudwell’s Mill at Rowsley – take a tour of the preserved water turbine powered flour mill, dating back to 1874. Pick up some malted flake flour (our favourite), lunch in the vegetarian café and browse the gift shop and artisan workshops.
62. Witness crazy football through the streets at Ashbourne Royal Shrovetide Football – An age old tradition on Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday where the streets of Ashbourne become a football pitch. There are hundreds of people and few rules, so teams Up’ards and Down’ards can kick, throw, or carry the ball to stone goals set 3 miles apart. Often you only know where the ball is by the steam rising above the players in the hug!
63. Matlock Bath illuminations are a spectacle to behold! – brightly lit rowing boats float merrily down the River Derwent lighting up the dark September and October skies. A family fun evening out with fireworks on selected nights. Started in 1887 by the Lumiere Brothers, who had an engineering shop in Matlock Bath, it has become a much-loved tradition.
64. Admire the art of well dressing – throughout the summer over 80 Derbyshire villages adorn their wells with beautiful flowers and natural materials pressed into clay clad boards in thanksgiving for the water. The designs are often Biblical but the tradition dates back further to Pagan times. Tissington Well Dressings is the nearest to Hoe Grange with 7 wells around the village, stunningly decorated at Ascension tide.
Take the waters
65. Follow in the footsteps of the Romans at the famous spa town of Buxton – The Romans were the first to discover the springs around Buxton and called the town ‘Aquae Amemetiae’ or spa town of the Sacred Groves. Fill your water bottle with pure mineral water from St Anne’s Well and take in the resplendent Georgian Crescent, now a world class spa hotel.
66. Plunge into the outdoor swimming pool at Hathersage - Take a year-round dip whilst soaking up views of surrounding hills, Stanage Edge and Hathersage Church. We found it to be very invigorating in February! There are also many wild swimming opportunities. If that's too much of a challenge enjoy a log-fired hot tub back at Hoe Grange!
Towns and villages
67. Stop off at Little Switzerland – with its Alpine-style landscape Matlock Bath developed as one of the country’s first tourist attractions as a spa town with spectacular show caves. Wander along the riverside walks, take to the water on a rowing boat, or canoe, try your luck in the amusement arcades, and finish the day with fish and chips on the promenade. .
68. Visit Bakewell the largest town in the Peak District - a picturesque town situated on the banks of the river Wye, with a medieval five-arched stone bridge, quaint courtyards with independent shops and a vibrant farmer’s market showcasing local produce.
69. Do you know how the villagers of Eyam saved thousands of people? – visit Eyam museum to learn how villagers voluntarily placed themselves in quarantine to prevent the spread of the plague to neighbouring villages. Through their heroic actions, the plague of 1665 was contained and the village of Eyam was saved.
70. Look skywards to the tallest church spire in the Peak District – St John the Baptist Church in the lead-mining village of Tideswell, aka as the Cathedral of the Peak, was built in the 15th Century. Admire the impressive Gothic architecture including the very tall tower, four bay aisles and remarkable stained-glass windows.
71. Admire the views from the lofty heights of Heage Windmill - Built in 1797 Heage Windmill is the only working stone-towered, six-sailed windmill in England, and is now a Grade II listed building. Enjoy the spectacular views before buying a bag of freshly milled flour to take home. Open only at weekends but worth a visit.
72. Tread the boards at Buxton Opera House - Built in 1903 Buxton Opera House is one of the finest examples of Frank Matcham theatre design offering a year-round programme of entertainment. Take a tour behind the scenes or enjoy a traditional panto, a beautiful ballet, stand up comedy or a classical opera in this stunningly ornate theatre. Everyone catered for with a range of accessible performances.
There you have it! 72 exciting things to do in the Peak District - how many did you manage to tick off?
There's so much to do and still quite a few amazing things we've missed out so tell us your favourites! Why not take the opportunity to explore the Peak District during English Tourism Week and experience all that it has to offer?
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