Things to do in the Peak District

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Church Farm Holiday Cottages at Alsop-en-le-Dale, in the stunning Peak District National Park and Derbyshire Dales countryside, is just minutes from Dovedale and the famous Stepping Stones. Half a mile off the A515 Ashbourne to Buxton road, Church Farm Cottages near Dovedale are the perfect gateway to explore this wonderful area.

From walking, cycling, climbing, visiting historic houses or experiencing nearby Theme Parks (Alton Towers is only a short drive away), to just wandering round the many picturesque villages, there are so many activities, things to do and places to go within a very short distance of Church Farm Peak District Holiday Cottages that it’s impossible to list them all! Here’s just a small sample of what’s available for all ages:

Tissington Hall is just a couple of miles down the road. Tissington, a chocolate-box, quintessential English village not only has the wonderful Jacobean Mansion, set in some 2400 acres where guided walks are on offer, but also a very pretty duck pond, excellent tea room and for those with a sweet tooth Edward and Vintage sweet shop.

Chatsworth House, is a short drive away and is not to be missed with its’ impressive house, extensive gardens featuring the famous Emperor Fountain, cascade and maze. For the youngsters there is a children’s farm and an adventure playground. Chatsworth also has an excellent farm shop and garden centre.

Haddon Hall, again close by, is a fortified medieval Manor House, dating from 12th century. Haddon has featured in many films and TV programmes, including Pride and Prejudice which starred Keira Knightly and Dame Judi Dench, and also BBC’s 2006 production of Jayne Eyre.

The National Trust’s Kedleston Hall, Sudbury Hall and Calke Abbey are also within easy reach, as is Sudbury Hall home to the outstanding Museum of Childhood – lots of activities for children of all ages. There is also a great adventure playground set in woods in the grounds of the hall.

ashbourne chatsworth-walking

sudbury-hall bakewell

The hills and dales of the White Peak are ideal for walkers, with fields outlined by dry stone walls and criss-crossed with footpaths. Cyclists too will find routes to suit all abilities from a gentle ride up the Tissington Trail to the challenging hills of the Cat and Fiddle route. Bicycles can be hired locally from the Cycle Hire Centres at Parsley Hay or Ashbourne.

The Dovedale and Manifold Valleys, close by, provide riverside walks at the foot of towering limestone gorges.

The Tissington Trail passes close by Church Farm Holiday Cottages. The trail, which is the old railway track from Ashbourne to Buxton, makes for easy walking through the spectacular scenery. Or, you can hire bikes and cover quite a distance through the countryside, joining up with the High Peak Trail which takes you west towards Wirksworth.

Carsington Water and visitor centre, just 5 miles away, is a great source of outdoor activities. Sailing, windsurfing, kayak and canoeing courses are run throughout the year. There’s also fishing, mountain biking and a newly built climbing wall – and great childrens’ playgrounds. You can hire cycles here too.

In stark contrast, Kinder Scout on the Dark Peak, or the rugged Staffordshire Moorlands offer more adventurous walking or climbing, both within half an hour’s drive. The cottages are stocked with local maps and guide books.

The Peak District is also the cradle of the Industrial Revolution, with the Derwent Valley Mills area (between Matlock and Belper) being designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The famous Arkwright Mill at Cromford was the world’s first successful water powered cotton spinning mill, opened in 1771 and is definitely worth a visit.

The Heights of Abraham, in Matlock Bath, are well worth a visit. Children will love the cable car ride to the Heights, exploring the underground caverns and the adventure playground. Since first opening to visitors in 1780, the Heights of Abraham has remained one of the Peak District’s most appealing destinations, with picnic spots, cafes and a summit bar all with stunning views in acres of beautiful woodland.

For steam train enthusiasts, there are several preserved railways not far away. Peak Rail at Matlock has a timetable of events through the summer months, as does the Churnet Valley Steam Railway at Froghall. The Midland Railway Centre at Butterley and the newly opened Ecclesbourne Valley Railway at Wirksworth are also within easy reach.

Also in Matlock Bath is Gulliver’s Kingdom, a very popular Theme Park for younger children.

Explore the local market towns of Ashbourne, Bakewell, Leek and Matlock. They all have a wealth of interesting buildings, churches and shops. There are factory shops and village craftsmen in abundance, with Ashbourne and Leek also being famed as antique centres.

Visit the Georgian Spa town of Buxton with its Crescent to rival to Bath’s. The Opera House and Pavilion Gardens have an extensive programme of events throughout the year. The surrounding villages of limestone cottages with pubs and village greens are charming, and keep a look out for the Well Dressings!

For the food enthusiast, there are numerous country pubs, award-winning restaurants and tearooms to enjoy. Alternatively, locally sourced ingredients can be found at the many farm shops and delis nearby – ideal for picnics or preparing meals in the Cottages’ well-equipped kitchens.

There are many excellent pubs and restaurants within easy reach together with delicatessens and farm shops selling locally produced products.

The northern part of the Peak District National Park becomes the Dark Peak, due to the gritstone rock deposits and moorland. Here you will find the ‘Derwent Dams’ namely Ladybower, Derwent and Howden. Two villages, Derwent and Ashopton, were lost when the valley was flooded after the construction of the Dams. The Derwent Dam became famous after being used by the Dambuster Squadron for bombing practice before their famous raid on the dams of the Ruhr during the Second World War.

Alsop-en-le-Dale, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 1QP

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