The Peak District is full of attractions, caves, walks, villages, towns and more and you can easily see a lot on a Peak District day out!
In this Peak District travel blog, I’m going to give you lots of ideas for things to do in the Peak District which you can create the perfect day trip to the Peak District out of.
Whether you want to take the family hiking for the first time, you want to see pretty villages, towns and tearooms, keep the kids entertained by visiting caves, or see Polar Bears (yes really!), you can do this on a Peak District day trip!
Peak District Day Out
Some of these ideas of things to do in the Peak District will take you a full day, others will only take an hour or so, so I have advised the rough length of each and you can then add more things onto your one day Peak District itinerary depending on how long you want your day out to be.
I have also given you ideas of how to pair things together like visiting Speedwell Cavern and the village of Castleton on the same day as hiking Mam Tor because they are all really close together and altogether these things will make a full day out in the Peak District!
You can also use this post if you are spending the weekend in the Peak District or a multiple days because there are so many best places to visit in the Peak District in this list!
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Map of Peak District Days Out
Here is a map and I have detailed all the below ideas for a day out in the Peak District so you can plan your day.
Although the Peak District is relatively small, the roads are very small and windy in places which means it takes awhile to cross the Peak District.
Therefore, I’d recommend picking a particular area of the Peak District to see and visit a few places within that area with one day in the Peak District rather than going back and forth.
Peak District Day Tours
Organised day tours to the Peak District are quite limited unfortunately but there are some options from Manchester if you want to do a day trip to the Peak District with organised transport and a guide:
Peak District Day Trip Ideas
So let’s get into how to spend a day in the Peak District.
1. Mam Tor Hike, Nearby Caves & Castleton Village
Time Needed: From 1 hour to 6 hours
Mam Tor is easily the most famous walk and point in the Peak District. Many people think it’s the highest point in the Peak District which isn’t actually true but at 517m this is one of the highest hills and a great hike to do.
Mam Tor Hike
Whether you’re into hiking or not, a walk up Mam Tor can be enjoyed and actually, it’s a perfect walk if you want to get into hiking.
We took my stepsons on a hike in the summer and they really enjoyed it, they found the step incline to the top tough but it’s very do-able for most people.
What I love about hiking Mam Tor is that there are lots of options. We parked at Speedwell Cavern Car Park, walked up the steep hill to the side, across the fields and then up Mam Tor, but you can park in this car park very close to the summit and just take the short (but steep-ish) path to the top.
From here you can continue the walk all the way to the ridge doing a circular walk of Mam Tor like this or you can enjoy the view and head back down the short way you came up.
Caves close to Mam Tor
One of the big reasons Mam Tor is such a great day out in the Peak District is because of the nearby caves and caverns that you can visit.
Things to do in Castleton
Castleton Village is the closest village to Mam Tor and they are connected by the very impressed Winnets Pass road. Driving this road is a must!
Castleton is small but it’s a good place to get some nice food. I recommend Peveril Tearooms, and you can visit Peveril Castle which will entertain the kids more than the villages pretty buildings.
If you’ve been to the popular show caverns mentioned like Speedwell Cavern and Blue Johns Cavern before, check out Peak Cavern in Castleton Village and Cave Dale.
2. Buxton Town, Pooles Cavern & Solomon’s Temple
Time Needed: 4-6 hours
Buxton is the main and biggest town in the Peak District with lots going on. It’s not as pretty as the villages but the amenities it offers makes up for it and once you are near the Pavilion and park you will be impressed with the Victorian buildings and the park on offer.
Things to do in Buxton
During the school holidays, Buxton puts on lots of events in the park, great for families and days out with the kids in the Peak District.
To add to your day in Buxton, I’d recommend visiting Pooles Cavern just outside the town centre. I took my stepsons here in the summer with my mum and we really enjoyed entering inside the cave, hearing how it was created and looking at the unique features.
Once in the carpark for Pooles Cavern you can walk through the woodland to Solomon’s Temple, this is one of the easy walks in the Peak District I recommend because its a small incline and then opens up into a lovely meadow with Soloman’s Temple at the top which offers views all over Buxton.
3. Buxton Go Ape and Nearby Caves
If you are looking for one of the Peak District activities, there is a Go Ape in Buxton!
I love including an activity like Go Ape in my day out ideas because it gives the day some structure and as the organiser you can let the activity entertain everyone for a few hours instead of you!
If you want a cheaper day out in the Peak District, after Go Ape instead of spending money on another set of tickets for the Cavern, you could take the walk up to Solomon’s Temple through the woodland next to Go Ape!
Go Ape is just a few minutes from Buxton town where you can play in their park, have a meal and look around the shops.
4. The Heights of Abraham
Time Needed: 4-7 hours
For a full day out in the Peak District full of activities and attractions in one place, head to the The Heights of Abraham.
The Heights of Abraham is a 60-acre Hilltop Estate which you access via a cable car from the car park! Once at the top there are showcases to visit on guided tours, theatre and exhibition rooms to learn about the past of this area, play areas, walking paths and picnic areas. Dogs are welcome too.
This is one of the family days out in the Peak District I highly recommend and being located in Matlock Bath in the very south of the Peak District it is easily accessible from Birmingham, Leicester, Nottingham and Derby as well as Manchester.
5. Peak Wildlife Farm & Thor’s Cave
Time Needed: 4-6 hours
I recently visited Peak Wildlife Farm with my stepsons and mum and we really enjoyed it and recommend it for a Peak District day out.
The best way to describe it is being in-between a zoo and a petting farm. It’s a unique wildlife attraction that combines conservation, education, and entertainment.
This is another one of the great family days out in the Peak District especially if your children like animals as you can get close to many of them here with petting opportunities too.
One of the most unique things about Peak Wildlife Park right now though is that they have Polar Bears! Seeing Polar Bears within the Peak District is a bit strange I admit but you can read here what the initiative is for them and the reason for their relocation.
It was raining when we visited so we visited pretty quickly and the boys were a bit too old to enjoy the play area but for younger children on a nice day, you could easily spend a few hours here and tickets are quite pricey so you want to stay for awhile to get your monies worth!
Places near Peak Wildlife Park
Thor Cave is one of the top places to visit in the Peak District and another one of my recommended easy walks in the Peak District,
Thor Cave is just a 20 minute drive from Peak Wildlife Park so they are great to visit together in one day in the Peak District.
Here’s how to visit Thor’s Cave including where to park and how to do the walk.
6. Chatsworth House & Bakewell
Time Needed: 3-5 hours
Many of these suggestion for Peak District days out have been centred around families with children but this idea is a good one for couples, friends and even on your own.
Visit a stately home and pretty village in one day in the Peak District by visiting Chatsworth House and Bakewell.
Chatsworth House is a stately home in the heart of the Peak District and is open for visitors to see its house, gardens, farmyard and playground.
What I like is that Chatsworth offers different ticket options so if you don’t have much time you can buy the gardens only ticket which is cheaper than the ticket that includes house entry.
Chatsworth is great if you want a typically English day out and to live out your Pride and Prejudice moments as it was the filming location of the 2005 production of Pride and Prejudice!
Things to do in Bakewell
15 minutes away from Chatsworth House is the pretty market town of Bakewell. Here you’ll find lots of independent shops and bakeries selling, yes, Bakewell Tart!
Bakewell is small so there are only a few things to do in Bakewell, it’s mostly enjoyed at a slow pace wandering around. if you haven’t had enough of stately homes after visiting Chatsworth House, Haddon Hall is another one of the places you can visit.
Looking for a Peak District day tour from Manchester? Here are some options:
7. Stanage Edge, Bamford Edge & Hathersage Village
Time Needed: 3-8 hours
Stanage Edge and Bamford Edge are 2 of the iconic places to visit in the Peak District because they offer great photo opportunities and views of the hills and Ladybower Reservoir below.
There’s a perfect 11 mile circular route than takes you up to Bamford Edge and Stanage Edge starting and ending ay Cutthroat Bridge Car Park (what a name, I know!). Here’s a great blog post on how to do the walk!
If you want a bit of a shorter walk in the Peak District (although still long at about 9 miles) starting and ending in a pretty village, I recommend visiting Stanage Edge from Hathersage Village.
I’m a bit biased as my auntie lives in Hathersage but it is one of the prettiest villages in the Peak District and a great base to take a walk from. Here’s a guide on how to do the Hathersage to Stanage Edge Walk.
Things to do in Hathersage
Hathersage is a great village to fuel up for a walk or relax after a walk as it has many restaurants and cafes. Just outside the village is David Mellor Design Cafe which is one of my favourites, as is Hathersage Kitchen.
Hathersage is very unique as it has an outdoor swimming pool open to the public as well as members. If you want to do something different whether it’s a summer swim to cool down or a hot winter outdoor swim, this makes a great day out in the Peak District, especially for children!
Tickets for swimming do go fast and the tickets go on sale every Friday morning for the following week so this is one of the Peak District activities you’ll need to plan in advance.
For a nice walk around Hathersage you can walk by their outdoor swimming pool and then across the village up to the Grave of Little John.
8. Ilam Park National Trust
Time Needed: 2-4 hours
The Peak District is home to a few National Trust sites and these always offer great days out, especially if you have younger children or people who cannot walk as far because they have designated parking, toilets and cafe facilities in most and this is true for Ilam Park.
Ilam Park is a National Trust site in the Peak District located close to Derby, Stoke on Trent and Nottingham making it one of the perfect Peak District day trips from these cities where you can enjoy its gardens and woodlands as well as being in walking distance to the popular areas of Dovedale and the White Peak.
I recommend Ilam Park as one of my easy Peak District walks and although the easiest walk you can do will be around the Italian Gardens and Woodland at Ilam Park, it’s worth going a bit further and visiting the famous Dovedale Stepping Stones from Ilam Park.
Here is a step-by-step guide provided by the National Trust, it is an easy route to follow as it follows one main path from the National Trust site to the Stepping Stones and back the same way taking about 30 minutes each way.
9. Lyme Park National Trust
Time Needed: 2-6 hours
On the edge of the Peak District closest to Stockport and Manchester is Lyme Park National Trust.
This is one of the good day trips in the Peak District to make if you want to visit an old Stately home and pretty gardens, as well as go on a good woodland and nature walk all whilst having the facilities of a cafe, shop and designated car park.
Lyme Park offer family friendly activities during the school holidays making it one of the good day trips for families to the Peak District.
I recommend going inside the house but also taking a walk up to the ‘Cage’ on the hill. The kids will love the free-reign of running up there!
After a few hours of exploring the outdoors, you can easily head to one of the nearby villages like Whaley Bridge and Chapel-en-le-Frith for a nice warm meal!
If you live in Manchester check out the National Trust sites in Manchester that we’re lucky to have!
10. Dovestone Reservoir & The Trinnacle
Time Needed: 2-5 hours
Another one of the perfect walks in the Peak District is Dovestone Reservoir and if you want to go further you can add on hiking up to The Trinnacle too,
This is one of my easy Peak District walks because the Reservoir is not too big and it’s a flat, circular walk easy on the legs with minimal navigation required.
Another reason this is a great Peak District day trip is because of its location on the North Western side of the Peak District National Park. Dovestone Reservoir is close to Oldham and North Manchester if you are travelling from this way.
I hope this post has helped you plan your Peak District Day Out with ideas for Peak District Day Trips!
- For more of my Peak District and Northern England posts see:
- 10 EASY Peak District Walks! Short, Flat, Beginner & Child Friendly!
- How To Do Dovestone Reservoir Walk, Easy Circular Walk in Peak District.
- 23+ Fun Family Days Out NEAR Manchester
- 25+ FUN Family Days Out IN Manchester
- 19 BEST Day Trips From Liverpool & Day Tours From Liverpool!
- Full Lake District Day Trip! How to Spend 1 Day in the Lake District!
- 20 TOP Day Trips From Birmingham By Train, Car & Coach!