Introducing guest blogger Jenny Lynn from Travelynn Family
Green rolling hills, dry stone walls, quaint country cottages and old pubs serving real ale in front of a roaring fire. This is the England that I love, a place I have been visiting since I was a young child, and since Summer 2018 it’s the place we call home.
With our hiking boots on and a flask of hot chocolate, we love nothing better than a long family walk amongst its open pastures, and we very much appreciate the open space on our doorstep for exploring and adventuring.
Sandwiched between the old-industrial northern towns of Sheffield, Manchester and Derby, the Peak District is the UK’s oldest and most visited National Park. Easily accessible by car, it makes for a lovely weekend getaway and you will find that there is so much to do in the Peak District with kids that you will want to return time and time again.
This post is part of our Explore My City series – come and visit cities & regions around the world through the eyes of local parents
What to do in the Peak District
The number one reason to visit the Peak District is to enjoy the open countryside. What better way to do this than on a family walk? Our favourites are the Nine Ladies Circle through Stanton Moor Peak or the walk along Curbar Edge near Baslow, with spectacular views across the Peak District. Mam Tor and Dove Dale are also popular walks, although arrive early to beat the crowds if visiting during the school holidays or a sunny weekend.
Check out our top family walks in the Peak District.
Alternatively, hire some bikes and ride along one of the many old railway tracks criss-crossing the National Park that have been transformed into gravel paths. These are all traffic-free! Our favourites are the Monsal Trail and Tissington Trail.
You may also want to head underground to explore one of the many limestone caves (such as Blue Johns Cavern) or visit one of the grand estates, such as Chatsworth House. If you’re visiting in spring, you won’t want to miss the lambing. Head to Blaze Farm to see lambs being born in their lambing shed. You can even hold them just after they’ve been born. A visit up to the Heights of Abraham is also a must, and thrill-seekers should head to the rides at Gullivers Kingdom or Alton Towers.
Check out our extensive list of things to do in the Peak District with kids.
What to wear in the Peak District
Like much of the UK, the weather is unpredictable. But this case is even more so in the open hills and it’s always a few degrees cooler than the cities. Layers are your friend and hiking boots are a must. Make sure you have a waterproof jacket. Don’t pack anything fancy, all pubs welcome muddy hiking boots. Although you may appreciate a spare set of dry clothes in your car before heading in for lunch.
Where to eat in the Peak District
One of the charms of the Peak District are the old pubs and cosy cafes. They are the perfect place to retreat after a long bike ride or family hike in the hills, to warm up by the fire and enjoy a hearty meal. But if you’ve got young kids in tow, it can be a big ask for them to stay seated whilst parents enjoy their meal, however many colouring and activity books you’re armed with. Having a play area just makes parenting life easier when eating out.
One of our favourite pubs with a playground is the Bull Head in Monyash, or the Travellers Rest in Hope Valley, although the food is better at the Bulls Head. For a café, head to Matlock Meadows (which has a small indoor play area perfect for toddlers and small pedal tractors to ride) or Hassop Station Café, right next to the Monsal Trail.
Where to stay in the Peak District
Booking a self-catering holiday cottage makes for a lovely break. Sykes Cottages is a good place to book these online. There are even somewhere you can stay on a farm. Before we moved to the Peak District, we used to love staying at Bluebird Cottage in Parwich with donkeys and goats to feed each day. However, these only work out cost-effective if you are staying for a week.
If you are staying just for a weekend and looking for budget accommodation, YHA hostels are a good option. There are a handful dotted around the National Park and they are perfectly geared to families with toys in common areas, family rooms, and breakfast served on site.
But if you are visiting in the warmer months, why not try one of these Peak District family campsites. Some even have playgrounds, and almost all of them are near to a pub.
How to get around the Peak District
The TransPennine Express connects Manchester to Sheffield with a few stops in the north of the Peak District, including Edale and Grindleford. This is a good option if doing a day trip from one of these cities.
There are buses, but these are extremely infrequent and never go where you want them to.
The best way to experience the Peak District is by car. This gives you the freedom to explore to your own schedule, as well as taking roads away from the main tourist areas of Matlock, Bakewell and Castleton.
About the Blogger
Jenny is a full-time award-nominated travel blogger and writer who has travelled the world extensively and blogs about her epic travels with her two young boys at travelynnfamily.com. As a family, they love travelling to off the beaten track destinations, dispelling the myth that adventure needs to wait until the kids are older.
When not travelling, the Peak District in the UK is home, and Jenny also runs a second blog, peakdistrictkids.co.uk, to help parents get the most out of their visit to this National Park. Furthermore, she is the founder of #mumsgohiking, encouraging mums to go out on a solo hike once per week to reconnect with nature and enjoy some precious alone time, and has been featured by Lonely Planet, BBC and Holidays with Kids.
With thanks to Jenny for her contribution to our guest series. You may also like to read about Jenny’s experience living in and exploring Bangalore, India with kids. You can also check out more from the UK with this Explore My City guide to York, and a great weekend exploring the Suffolk Coast.
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