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Peaks Power: Hiking, History and High Adventure in Britain’s Original National Park

The Peak District was the UK’s first national park. And it’s where the country’s first long-distance walking route, the Pennine Way, begins its journey north – 431km, to be precise, finishing at Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. The Pennine Way gets off to a spectacular start. Rising from the idyllic village of Edale, it immediately makes its second-longest ascent of the whole route, and immediately brushes up against Kinder Scout, the infamous plateau where, in 1932, around 500 walkers mass trespassed to secure access rights to open country, an act that lead to the national park’s subsequent creation.

This is also an area of split personalities, where the dramatic Dark Peak (gritstone edges, wild moors) and gentler White Peak (rolling limestone dales, endless dry stone walls) collide. You can be wind-blustered on high ridges or test your nerve, climbing up gnarly crags. But you can also walk along the winsome streets of pretty villages and market towns, amble alongside burbling streams and mingle with aristocrats at one of the most magnificent houses in the country. And you can finish each day with a cosy room, a great meal and a real ale or two.

Tour Overview

The icons below highlight the distance, difficulty and theme of this itinerary.

Days

3

Distance

Walks from 9km to 14km

Difficulty

Easy / Moderate

Landscape

High Hills & Moorland / Rolling Countryside / Connecting Villages & Towns

Theme

History / Food & Drink

Activities & Experiences

Walking / Cycling / Extreme / Heritage / Hands On

Peaks Power: Hiking, History and High Adventure in Britain’s Original National Park

Here’s everything you need to help you plan your very own walking and exploring break in the Peak District National Park. Click on the blue arrow tabs below for more information. To save this itinerary to view later, use the Save to My Rucksack button at the top of the page.

Itinerary

This three-day trip explores the dramatic ridges, rugged moorland and rolling dales of the Peak District, at the end of the Pennine Way. Hike along dry-stone walls, descend into caverns, scramble over crags, stroll around magnificent mansions and learn to bake your own iconic pudding, in one action-packed long weekend.

Day 1 Edale: Along the Pennine Way

Begin at the beginning. Edale, handily accessible by train, is the start-point of the Pennine Way, and was voted ‘Britain’s Favourite Place to Start a Walk’ by Ordnance Survey in 2019. It’s also a lovely little village, with cosy pubs, a Moorlands Visitor Centre and great hills billowing all around.

Boot up and head out along the Pennine Way, which opens with a bang, climbing Jacob’s Ladder and gazing down on the Vale of Edale from Edale Rocks. From here you can ascend revolution-kickstarting Kinder Scout – topping out at 631m, this moorland plateau is the highest point in the Peak District National Park.

Return to Edale for sustenance at the Old Nag’s Head – a walkers’ institution – then head onward to Hope (six minutes by train). Pootle around this river-tickled village, with its 13th-century church, independent shops and cafes. Then treat yourself at the Losehill House Hotel & Spa, where you can dine on the freshest seasonal produce while gazing out across the Hope Valley.

Overnight in Edale, Hope or the surrounding countryside. There are many options – see Accommodation, left.

Day 2 Bakewell: Puddings & Palaces

Today, head for Bakewell, a cluster of honey-stone cottages, courtyards and coffee shops on the banks of the river Wye. Buses do run between Hope and Bakewell, though it’s handy to have a car for greater freedom.

You’ll need a car (or taxi) to reach Curbar Gap, start-point for this morning’s adventure. The glorious gritstone edges of Curbar and Froggatt are striking striding country – an easy walk along their length provides a huge Peaks panorama; look out for rock-climbers and paragliders, who love this spot too. Jolly’s vintage snack van will be waiting back at the car park when you’re finished.

For the grandest afternoon, continue to one of England’s finest stately homes, Chatsworth (which can be reached by bus or on foot from Bakewell). More than 25 rooms are open to explore, from the regal State Rooms to the Sculpture Gallery, with its artworks spanning 4,000 years. Then gallivant around the gardens, 105 acres of woodland, ponds, manicured lawns, glasshouses and water features.

Add extra glamour with an exquisite afternoon tea at Chatsworth’s Flying Childers cafe, in the converted 18th-century stables. Or head for a charming old country inn like the nearby Devonshire Arms at Beeley, which uses produce sourced from the Chatsworth Estate.

Alternatively, spend the afternoon back in Bakewell, strolling by the riverbank, wandering the pretty streets and squares, and getting hands-on in the kitchen. Bakewell pudding – a sticky, jammy, almond-y flakey pastry – was invented here, by accident, in the 1860s; at The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop you can buy one, or spend a few hours learning how to bake your own.

Overnight in Edale, Hope or the surrounding countryside. There are many options – see Accommodation, left.

Day 3 Castleton: Caves & Climbs

Head back north, by car or bus, to Castleton, This picture-perfect village is tucked in the lee of Mam Tor, the ‘Shivering Mountain’; follow the trail along the windswept ridge from Mam Tor to Lose Hill, for a 360-degree lookout over the Vale of Edale, Kinder Scout and Hope Valley.

After your exertions, tuck into a tasty pub lunch back in Castleton at The George, which sits in the shadow of Peveril Castle – make the short, steep hike up to these Norman ruins for more big views.

Then get creative. Castleton is the only place on earth where the rare, semi-precious mineral Blue John is found. Delve underground into Treak Cliff Cavern to see Blue John shimmering amid the stalactites and stalagmites. Then polish your own piece, and fashion it into jewellery to take home.

Alternatively, if you still have energy to burn, get a different perspective on the Peak District. The local experts at Peak Mountaineering lead climbing, abseiling and scrambling trips across the area’s gritstone crags, and can open up this vertical playground to adventurers of all abilities.

Celebrate your bravery with a final serving of Derbyshire hospitality at the Yorkshire Bridge Inn, just a short stroll from Ladybower Reservoir and a fine place to toast a fantastic three days.

Overnight in Edale, Hope or the surrounding countryside. There are many options – see Accommodation, left.

Accommodation

The Peak District and surrounding countryside have a variety of options, from hotels to family-run B&Bs.

Edale and the Hope Valley
Beyond

Food & Drink

Many of the pubs and hotels listed under the Accommodation section also offer food, from classics to fine dining. Additionally, seek out some of the region’s characterful cafes.

Edale and the Hope Valley
Beyond

Activities

There’s a lot of adventure potential in the Peak District and around the Pennine Way, from dramatic walks to cycling and climbing.

Walks
Other

For further walking inspiration visit The Outdoor Guide.

Experiences

Try a bit of everything in the Peak District, from exploring caves to making your own classic pudding.

Cycling

The Peak District offers the best of both worlds for cyclists. There are rugged off-road routes for those who dare but also flat, traffic-free trails for those who prefer a gentler ride.

Travel

Trains serve Edale, the best access point for Kinder Scout and circular walks in the Hope Valley. There’s a regular bus service from Sheffield to Castleton. When running, the Hope Valley Explorer Bus serves hotspots including Edale, Castleton, Bamford and Hope Valley. The easiest way to explore is by car.

Advice

No specialist walking equipment is necessary. Kinder Scout is best enjoyed in dry weather with good visibility. The other walks suggested in this itinerary are fairly gentle and suitable for all abilities.

We advise that you check opening times and booking restrictions before travelling.

Please check out these links for latest advice when in the countryside

Countryside Code

COVID-19 Guidance

Interactive Map

Click here to access the interactive map

Maps, Guidebooks & Merchandise

The official guidebook and map for the Trail are available from the National Trails Shop along with a wide range of gifts and other merchandise.