Discover the natural beauty of the heart of England and Peak District National Park on foot, bike, horseback, via the water or by car, as well as visiting quaint spa villages, market towns and cosmopolitan cities.
The Peak District National Park is an oasis of tranquillity situated in the heart of England. It was the first of 15 national parks to be established in Britain and has been an outdoor paradise for visitors and residents since 1951.
It is estimated that over 20 million people live within one hour of the park’s boundaries. If you stay at the Radisson Blu Hotel, East Midlands Airport, you will also be able to enjoy this pleasure. With over 1600 miles of public footpaths, bridleways and tracks on your doorstep, as well as over 200 square miles of open access land, the options for exploration are endless. Here are five ways to create your own adventure in the Peak District National Park.
1. On foot
Whether you are visiting with a group of friends and family or prefer the solitude of walking alone, there are numerous trails to follow within the park’s boundaries. The highest peak is Kinder Scout at 2087ft. What it doesn’t have in altitude, it makes up for in stunning geology and vistas. Along the way you will be rewarded with rugged outcrops and crags and a landscape shaped by the Kinder River, which flows off the plateau creating a stunning waterfall. There are so many trails here from high moorlands, valleys, and limestone dales to short walks. You can also walk part of the Pennine Way that snakes its way through the park.
The terrain in the peak district is perfect for fell running, a sport that is becoming increasingly popular. In response to demand, there is a large events calendar of races. Classic events include the High Peak Marathon, a gruelling 42 mile endurance challenge that takes place in the evening. If you fancy something less demanding there are plenty of smaller local events taking place during weekends and evenings such as Hope Fell Race or Hathersage Fell Race.
This national park is also a paradise for those with a passion for climbing and bouldering with some of the most challenging rock faces in Europe. There are over 850 sports and trad climbing pitches or bouldering routes. Many climbers learn or train on these routes and hone their skills before advancing to larger walls across Europe. The highlights include Stanage Edge and the Roaches (pictured above).
2. On two wheels
One of the fastest ways to cover ground in the national park is on bike. There are trails for all abilities, and plenty of flat family-friendly tracks that are suitable for younger kids, as well challenging off road tracks for the more daring. Peak District Cycleways make cycling here easy with routes and maps for whatever type of bike you choose. It also has a list of hubs, bike-friendly villages where you can pick up or hire bikes if you don’t have your own with you. You can even book a local guide and take a guided tour of the park, learning of its highlights as you go.
3. On horseback
From one saddle to another, horseback is also a fantastic way to venture through the park at your own pace. Stirrup up at one of several riding centres and walk, trot or canter along the dedicated bridle trails and country lanes. There are over 65 miles of off road trails. All you have to do is sit back and enjoy the view while the horse does the work for you.
4. Take to the water
If you prefer to get your feet wet, the park is alive with activities based around the rivers that flow through the national park and the beautiful reservoirs. River fishing on the Wye, Derwent and Dove is popular for catching rainbow or wild brown trout and grayling. Course fishing on the reservoirs at Rudyard, Ladybower and Carsington is also popular. Boat hire, permits and fishing rods are available at various points in the park.
Sailing, windsurfing and canoeing are also popular pastimes on the lakes and are great activities for adults and kids. Tuition is available by expert instructors or you can hire the equipment and make your own family adventure.
5. Drive through quaint villages
It is easy to drive between the villages in the Peak District. Discover beautiful spa towns such as Buxton, located in the heart of the park, market towns such as Bakewell, situated on the River Wye, and larger hubs such as the cosmopolitan city of Derby. From historic, cultural and gateway towns, there is much to explore.
A trip to the Peak District National Park can be as relaxing or as active as you make it. For more information about facilities, equipment hire, fishing permits and services visit the Peak District website. Whether you want to visit cafes and shops in the charming villages, or climb rock faces, the park is there to be enjoyed by all. You can reach the Peak District National Park within approximately 30 minutes from the Radisson Blu Hotel, East Midlands Airport, making it the perfect day out for exploring the charming rural parts of England.