The Ultimate Guide to the Peak District

Reaching into 5 counties across the heart of England, the Peak District is an incredible place with miles of walks, campsites, and attractions – making it the perfect destination for your next staycation.

Reaching into 5 counties across the heart of England, the Peak District is an incredible place with miles of walks, campsites, and attractions – making it the perfect destination for your next staycation.

Don’t believe us? Keep reading our guide to find out more about this fantastic area and why you should add it to your list of the best places to explore in the UK.

Exploring the Peak District

Exploring the Peak District

Of course, in the UK, we’re incredibly fortunate to have a wealth of national parks and amazing green landscapes practically on our doorstep. But how much do you actually know about the Peak District, and what makes it so special? Let’s take a look at what we know about this part of England.

First of all, where is it?

The Peak District is nestled in the centre of England at the southern part of the Pennines. Whilst the National Park is mostly in northern Derbyshire, parts venture into Greater Manchester, Cheshire, Staffordshire, and Yorkshire. This means it’s actually one of the most well-connected national parks in the UK, with an extensive network of public transport links from major cities in these counties. Or you could drive – but be prepared for narrow roads, sharp bends, and winding inclines.

Did you know? The Peak District was the first of 15 designated National Parks in Britain, gaining this protected landscape status in 1951.

The Peak District National Park is actually divided into two main areas, called the Dark Peak and the White Peak. The Dark Peak spans the north, east, and west of the park, and is largely uninhabited moorland. To the centre and south, the White Peak is primarily limestone, with plenty of valleys and gorges to explore with the family.

Did you know? The Peak District has been inhabited by humans since the Bronze Age, some 4,000 years ago!

Spanning a rough total of 555 miles, or 1,438 km2, the Peak District National Park boasts plenty of areas for you to explore over a day, weekend, or even longer. Considering this area in context is around the size of Greater London, we think there’s certainly enough room for everyone to enjoy the scenery.

Peak District walks

Speaking of scenery, one of the best ways to explore the Peak District is by foot. The National Park offers outdoor enthusiasts the opportunity to explore incredible woodland areas and vast landscapes, including hills, valleys, and caves. Plus, there are dozens of beautiful walks for all levels and abilities.

Top tip: we think a well-deserved Bakewell pudding, the famous local dessert, will go down a treat after a long walk!

We’ve picked out just a small sample of some of our favourites to give you a headstart when it comes to planning your next adventure.

Curbar Edge, White Edge and Froggatt Edge

If you’re looking to test yourself, one of the best walks in the Peak District is Curbar Edge and Froggatt Edge. This is the perfect challenge for seasoned walkers. But, don’t be put off if you’re a beginner – simply take it at your own pace.

Key information

Distance: 6 miles

Time: 3 hours

Difficulty: moderate

The Curbar Edge and Froggatt Edge is a circular trail, known for leaving visitors speechless.  Walkers will be welcomed with spectacular panoramic views of the Peak District, and if you’re planning to go in the autumn season, you may be lucky enough to hear the clack of antlers as the wild deer compete for mates.

Whilst the trail does contain an uphill stretch, the rest of the walk will take place on relatively flat terrain. The entire experience should take you no longer than three hours to complete, depending on your walking pace. 

If you love walking trails that meander through scenic woodlands and clifftops, you’ll love exploring this trail. Simply grab a comfy pair of walking boots and head for the hills!

Ladybower Reservoir

Next up, we have the superb Ladybower Reservoir walk. This is the perfect lakeside route for walkers who love to be surrounded by all types of untouched natural scenery. Consisting of a circular trail around the stunning reservoir lake, accompanied by mature woodland and views of the surrounding valleys that stretch for miles, this is one of the best walks in the Peak District for everyone to enjoy.

Key information

Distance: 5.74 miles

Time: 2 to 2.5 hours

Difficulty: easy


If you’re looking for a relaxed walk that is enjoyable yet not overly strenuous, the Ladybower Reservoir walk is perfect, as you’ll be welcomed with gentle and flat terrain throughout. 

It’s one of the best walks in the Peak District for families with young children, as it has accessible and well-kept walking trails throughout. The entire experience should take no more than two hours to complete, with a distance of approximately five miles long.

Additionally, there are multiple resting spots throughout the trail, such as benches, scenic lunch spots, and even the famous Ladybower Inn – a charming and welcoming bed and breakfast that offers dining facilities to walkers that’s popular with those passing through.

Three Shires Head

The scenic Three Shires Head walking trail is an absolute essential to visit if you find yourself in the Peak District. This is a lovely circular walk that will show you some of the most spectacular views of the parkland.

Fun fact: this area gained the name ‘Three Shires Head’ because this is where three counties have boundaries that meet – namely Derbyshire, Staffordshire, and Chesire.

Key information

Distance: 7km

Time: 2.5 – 3 hours

Difficulty: moderate

Whilst the terrain is mostly smooth throughout the walk, there are some parts that will require uphill hiking. If you’re looking for more from your Peak District walks, during the summer months outdoor enthusiasts have been known to head through the Three Shire Heads to enjoy wild swimming in the natural pools that cascade by the miniature waterfalls.

What you can expect whilst taking a stroll through the Three Shire Heads trail is the feeling of total seclusion and serenity, surrounded by sections of stunning river valleys, beautiful natural waterfalls and mature woodlands, with breathtaking panoramic views of the glorious British countryside. We think that’s a pretty good deal!

Kinder Scout

Kinder Scout, known for its challenging terrain and rewarding ascent, is located in Derbyshire. This is the highest point not only in the whole of the Peak District but in the whole of the East Midlands – taking walkers 636 metres above sea level!

There are a variety of different walking routes, however, the most common starting point is via Edale Park. From there, walkers should expect a nearly 14km route, which will take approximately 5 hours to complete. 

Key information

Distance: 13.7km

Time: 4.5 – 5 hours

Difficulty: hard

If you’re a keen outdoor hiker, Kinder Scout is definitely the best walk in the Peak District to challenge yourself. Remember, this walking route is rated by other walking enthusiasts as difficult, so it’s important to arrive with the correct outdoor equipment. The ascent is known for being pretty wet and muddy on a good day – so it’s essential that you have sturdy boots and waterproofs to keep you comfortable and dry.

There’s no question that the ascent to the top of Kinder Scout is physically demanding; walkers can expect deep gorges, steep and muddy terrain in places, whilst also passing by dramatic edges and sheer drops. Because of this, we would recommend this walk for seasoned hikers who are looking for their next adventure.

Top tip – have you considered investing in a sturdy pair of walking poles to help you navigate steeper, uphill areas?

Once you make it to the top, you’ll be blown away by the panoramic views of vast greenery, which will appear to stretch endlessly in every direction.

Mam Tor

Last, but certainly not least, we couldn’t talk about the best walks in the Peak District without mentioning the superb Mam Tor circular walk. A very popular walking trail amongst families, this dog-friendly route has a lot to offer in terms of ease and reward.

The Mam Tor circular route is the perfect place for children to enjoy nature, and there are plenty of places to settle down for a picnic if desired. With dedicated ascent and descent trails, you can enjoy this relaxed Peak District walk without worrying about overcrowding.

Key information

Distance: 4.5km

Time:  1 – 2 hours

Difficulty: easy

Mam Tor is a well-known walking area, with plenty of different trails to choose from – so if you prefer to partake in longer walking routes, there are also 8 – 10km route options that explore a larger portion of the area. It’s important to note that although a shorter route, this circular trail option will still allow walkers to experience a large portion of what Mam Tor has to offer – whilst still granting walkers access to spectacular viewpoints.

Expect to see sensational views of the surrounding landscapes, along with a panoramic view of the glorious British countryside from the Mam Tor viewpoint. Plus, Mam Tor is home to many animals, including wild sheep. Although, this is their home, so we recommend keeping your distance so as not to disturb them.

Not seeing your favourite Peak District walk here? Tag us on socials with the hashtag #WalkWithUs to show off more of this amazing part of the UK.

Peak District campsites

Peak District campsites

Making the most of your visit to this beautiful area means finding the best place to stay. Fortunately, there are dozens of fantastic campsites in the Peak District for you to choose from. Scattered across the landscape, we’ve picked out a short selection of campsites that offer you access to a multitude of trails and attractions.

Top tip – don’t forget to explore our excellent range of tents here at Winfields to make sure you’re prepared for your trip!

Alder Carr Farm

If you prefer seclusion and privacy, Alder Carr Farm is the perfect Peak District campsite for you. Tucked away into a working farm close to the town of Ashbourne, when you rent this pitch, you rent the whole pitch; perfect for a weekend getting back to nature in the best way.

With simple amenities, get close to a wild camping experience but still have access to toilets and drinking water at this fantastic campsite. Plus, explore the small home farmers market on a Saturday to pick up some delicious goodies for the rest of your trip.

White Peak Camping

Looking for a Peak District campsite that’s a little more connected? The White Peak Camping site is midway between Bakewell and Buxton, and within a 15 minute drive of Chatsworth House – perfect for exploring some of the attractions this national park has to offer.

Don’t worry though, as you can still get your fix of the outdoors. Roughly a mile out from the Monsal Trail, there are plenty of opportunities for you to get a feel for some of the best Peak District walks from your home base.

Burrs Manor Wild Camping

Wild camping is a fantastic way to disconnect from the hustle and bustle of the world, and appreciate the simple things. At Burrs Manor, you can get the most of your wild camping experience – but still have access to some home comforts, like a flushing toilet and hot shower.

Whether you want to scramble up a rock climb at Stanage Edge, hike up Kinder Scout, or simply enjoy a leisurely walk with no particular direction in mind, this Peak District campsite offers you the perfect opportunity to explore the outdoors in a way that suits you. 

Camping at The Hollies

Need a dog-friendly pitch? Then you should try camping at The Hollies. This is one of the best Peak District campsites for the whole family, providing access to a varied range of activities for everyone to enjoy.

With plenty of room in the field, and no set pitches, you can pick the perfect spot to set up camp for your holiday. This freedom means that wherever you choose to pitch your tent, you’ll have an incredible view of the landscape, including different perspectives of the gritstone ridge of The Roaches. From here, it’s easy to go on a wander and explore the natural lands you’re surrounded by.

White House Farm Campsite

The White House Farm campsite is one of the most well connected Peak District camping spots. Within 20 minutes of Bakewell, Tideswell, Castleton, and Chatsworth, there are plenty of quaint local spots for you to explore – and pick up tasty treats for an evening around the fire.

Or, head out rambling from your home base, with plenty of circular trails and hikes to choose from. Plus, there are several activity centres within driving distance that offer horse riding, climbing, caving, and abseiling experiences to make this a fantastic staycation.

Can you wild camp in the Peak District?

Aside from Dartmoor and Scotland, wild camping is largely illegal in the UK. However, it is tolerated as long as you seek the landowners permission beforehand. You should also make sure to leave the area as you found it, and take any litter with you when you go.

Peak District attractions

With centuries of human (and animal) habitation, there are plenty of amazing family attractions you can visit in between exploring the landscape. So, if the weather decides to take a turn, or you want to give your feet a break, why not explore some of the many attractions the Peak District has to offer?

Top tip – whatever your plans, make sure you pack durable waterproofs to keep the whole family dry during your visit!

Haddon Hall

Step back in time in Haddon Hall to see one of the best examples of Tudor and Elizabethan architectural style in the UK. With over 900 years of history, Haddon Hall is home to an incredible collection of historical art, tapestries, furniture and more – making it one of the best attractions in the Peak District.

Explore the history of this site, and take part in their seasonal events throughout the summer months to make the most of your visit. With a repertoire of incredible local produce and delicious meals and snacks, this is a great place to wile away a sunny, spring day in between hikes.

Chatsworth House

Perhaps made most famous by the movie Pride and Prejudice, Chatsworth House is a beautiful grade-I listed building nestled in the heart of the Peak District. With more than 1800 acres of parkland and woodland to explore, as well as a 105-acre garden, this is a fantastic place to explore on a relaxed afternoon.

Or, if the heavens open and you want to stay in the dry, there are 25 rooms for you to discover – each filled with paintings, sculptures and furniture across the ages. Don’t forget to explore the gift shop or farm shop either to pick up the perfect souvenir of your trip!

Blue John Cavern

Explore the depths of the Blue John Cavern to see how these natural wonders are formed over millions of years. This fantastic Peak District attraction is the perfect first foray into caving – it’s well-lit, with handrails and easy to navigate pathways, so you can bring the whole family.

Fun fact – Blue John is a type of calcium fluorite made distinct by its unique purple, blue, yellow and white banding. It’s considered one of Britain’s rarest minerals, and was first discovered in the Peak District by the Romans!

Heights of Abraham

Feeling a little more daring? Then you should definitely consider a trip over the Derwent Valley via cable car to the Heights of Abraham. Take a break from walking the Peak District and discover incredible panoramic views over the Derbyshire countryside as you travel 169m (or 554ft) upwards to Masson Hill.

Of course, the adventure doesn’t end once you’ve reached the summit. Take a tour through amazing caverns and mines, or explore the Masson Pavillion to journey through centuries of historical fashion. Walk the Willow Sculpture trail, meander along various heritage walks, and then top off your day with a delicious lunch at the Vista Restaurant.

Peak Wildlife Park

If there’s one thing the Peak District is known for, it’s amazing walking trails. But why not take a walk on the wild side with a trip to the Peak Wildlife Park? Get up close and personal with amazing wildlife when you take a walk through with wallabies, penguins, or lemurs – and even get to feed them!

Located on the Staffordshire edge of the national park, the Peak Wildlife Park is an excellent addition to any Peak District camping holiday.

Discover the Peak District with Winfields Outdoors

Known as a walkers paradise, the Peak District is one of the most diverse locations to visit in the UK when it comes to incredible walks, caves, and other attractions. If all this sounds like something you’d enjoy, why not spend your next long weekend or holiday discovering more about the area? 

However you decide to visit, make sure you’re stocked up on all the outdoor essentials with Winfields Outdoors. From fantastic family tents to useful camping accessories, you can find what you need at fantastic prices when you shop online today.

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