The Peak District: a Day in Castleton

There are three things I look for in a trip – history, great walks and a bit of nature. Castleton, in the heart of England’s Peak District, has it all. I can’t believe this amazing place was only 2.5 hours away from where I live and I’d never been! Visiting The Peak District was also really special because it was our first trip staying in a hotel since August 2020! I was giddy with excitement at the prospect as we set off for our trip. We stayed in Bakewell (post HERE), but the first stop on our itinerary was beautiful Castleton.


History of Castleton

Castleton was recorded as early as 1086 in the Doomsday Book, as home to William Peverel’s castle. Castleton’s main industry from the 1100s was lead mining, and this mining created and enlarged local caverns, four of which are now open to the public. One is even called ‘Devil’s Arse’ in reference to the horrible smells it produced, though it was renamed ‘Peak Cavern’ when Queen Victoria visited to save offending her! Today Castleton is a village well catered to tourism; the castle still stands, it’s surrounded by beautiful walks and the village itself is picturesque.

Enjoying the views out over the area

Things to do in Castleton

1. Hike Mam Tor

Mam Tor is one of the most famous Peaks in the Peak District. It’s known as the ‘mother hill’ as there have been multiple land slides, meaning lots of mini peaks all around it. It’s broadly considered one of the most beautiful ridge walks in England, and I can see why. It provides stunning views out across the surrounding landscape including Edale, Castleton and Hope Valley.

For this walk, we decided to follow in my parent’s footsteps – we did a 5 mile route from a book they bought in 1986. My dad had annotated it in pencil very clearly and apart from a stile now being a gate – nothing had changed! We had a beautiful walk from Castleton, up to Hollins Cross, across to Mam Tor, and down through Winnats Pass back to Castleton. In total the walk took us 2.5 hours, and you can find the route we did HERE (though the 1986 book did the job for us!). If 5 miles is too long for you, then you could do the shorter, more direct route HERE.

2. Drive or walk through Winnat’s Pass

We walked through Winnat’s Pass on our walk (and actually drove through it getting lost trying to park whilst having an argument), and it is STUNNING. It’s one of the most beautiful roads in the country and if you really want the best photos you can hike up either side. We didn’t do this as it was really steep and we already had 5 miles in our legs, but there were plenty of people scrambling up and standing on high rocks for photos.

3. Explore Castleton village

Castleton is pretty touristy – it’s full of shops, restaurants and pubs. But it’s well worth a stroll and is the perfect place for lunch. We ate at Rose Cottage, which served tasty meals and we were able to sit outside. At the end of our walk we also went for a drink in the beer garden behind The George pub at the foot of the castle. There is also a lovely little river running through the village so we took a walk along that and found lots of beautiful cottages too.

4. Visit Peveril Castle

Peveril Castle is a ruined Norman fort which was originally built in the 1000s! Multiple Kings of England have visited here, but from the late 1300s the castle started to decline as it was deemed less important than some of the others nearby which were prioritised. It’s a real shame as Peveril Castle is stunning – the views out over Castleton and beyond are breathtaking.

Oh my word though, the walk up is steeeeeep. I had to stop on a bench half way for a short breather – just as a couple in their sixties in full bikers’ leather swept past me like gazelles. It was a sweltering day so I asked them how they were coping in leathers and the woman said ‘Oh this is nothing love, we used to live in Gibraltar and bike to Spain and hike in the 30 degree heat. I have cotton trousers underneath if I get too hot’. Well….that told me!

At the castles and views out

5. See the caves

As I mentioned above, the caves created or enlarged due to mining activity are still around today and 4 are open to the public – Peak Cavern (Devil’s Arse), Speedwell Cavern, Treak Cliff Cavern and Blue John Cavern. All are broadly the same, so we opted for the least commercialised and least busy and went for Treak Cliff. It was actually fun to head in to the passages and see the rock formations inside.

Treak Cliff Cavern

And that brings a close to a little tour around Castleton. What do you think? The Peak District, and the whole of Derbyshire, is such an underrated part of England. As I mentioned, we stayed in the Bakewell area when visiting, and you can also read my post detailing 2 days there HERE. Stay safe and happy travelling!

32 Comments

  1. I am in love with Castleton village and the rolling peaks of the Peak District. I would love to explore its rugged landscapes that provide an ideal territory for visitors looking for challenging walks and outdoor experiences. I can only imagine how beautiful the stargazing must be there due to minimal light pollution. Thanks for sharing and have a nice day πŸ™‚ Aiva

    Like

  2. The Peak District looks beautiful Hannah. I’ve still not visited there yet but my husband walked the Pennine Way when he was a student starting from Edale. I think I’ll stick to shorter hikes though!

    Like

    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting – yes it’s definitely a beautiful part of the country which I think goes under the radar a bit! I don’t blame you – the hike we did nearly finished us off as it was so steep. Have a lovely weekend πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Kat! I’m not sure about in the cottages, but there are definitely a lot of pubs you can stay at; which are housed in similar types of buildings. Thanks for reading and have a lovely weekend πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Castleton and the rolling peaks look vaguely like the lush, dramatic landscapes in New Zealand, for some reason to me. The 5-mile hike sounds like my kind of jam, especially with such beautiful landscape everywhere! You’re lucky to be close to home there, and I thoroughly enjoy your posts on the hikes you’ve done around the UK. πŸ™‚

    Like

    1. Well that is a big compliment as New Zealand is epically stunning! It really is such a beautiful spot; I am enjoying exploring more of England and showcasing a few lesser known areas like this – I’m so glad you’re enjoying following my various ‘staycations’ πŸ™‚ Have a great Friday!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I love the view you had in that first few photo’s … a steep climb is always worth it with such a view! And the cottages in Castleton is really pretty. Now remember, next time on a hot day, you make sure to have those cotton trousers on underneath your leathers … wow, they must really be used to some extreme heat 😲.

    Like

    1. The views were incredibleeee; such a wonderful climb and Castleton itself so picturesque too. Lol that did make me laugh – they really must be, definitely put me to shame! Have a wonderful Friday and thanks for reading πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Aaah this was the right post at the right time, cheers Hannah. It is possible… touch wood… that in January Sladja and I might be spending four months in a village called Tean just outside Stoke on Trent. If this goes through, it’ll see us perfectly placed for some exploring around The Peak District. Castleton would surely be high on our list, thanks for fuelling my wanderlust.

    Like

    1. Oh amazingggg, I really hope you and Sladja do come and spend that time in Tean. You will get to see lots of lovely parts of the Peak District from there. I have a few more posts from the area coming up as well, so hopefully can give you a few ideas of nice things to do. I’ve really enjoyed exploring more of England over the last year or so, it’s crazy how little I’d seen! πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Castleton looks like a wonderful place to explore with a variety of attractions and activities. That’s so neat that you followed in your parents’ footsteps and hiked on a trail using your dad’s annotated notes. Peveril Castle looks beautiful. I couldn’t help but giggle at the cave named Devil’s Arse. I would have opted for the least busy one too. The rock formations look incredible!

    Like

    1. Ah thank you so much, it really is a lovely place. I know, it was special to be able to do that and retrace in their footsteps. The castle was something else as well, such an amazing vantage point. Thanks so much for reading and have a great Friday πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Love the history 😍 and the Mam Tor ridge walk certainly offers marvelous, expansive views. The Castleton Village cottages look inviting, also. And, it’s amazing that the Peveril Castle is still standing after 700 years. It seems like you stuck it rich, dear Hannah, to have all of these sights to see within 2.5 hours πŸ‘πŸ‘πŸ‘ Have a wonderful week, my friend 😊🌹

    Like

    1. Ahh thanks so much Phil – I am indeed so lucky to have it all close enough by to visit for the weekend πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for reading and commenting and you have a wonderful week too Phil πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s