A week in the Peaks: A perfect Peak District Itinerary

The Peak District is an area of England I hadn’t explored that much of until COVID travel restrictions forced me to explore more of England, and I’m so grateful to have had multiple trips there over the last couple of years. It’s such a beautiful part of the country for getting out in to nature and exploring, and even better it’s in the centre of the country so fairly easily accessible from anywhere. The Peaks is perfect for a weekend break, but if you have more than a few days then a week enables you to see all the main highlights of the area.

You can do these days in an order to suit you as they aren’t too far apart, and if you don’t have a full week – no problem, just pick the days you like!

The Itinerary

Day 1 -Arrival and Thor’s Cave

Assuming you’re arriving in to the Peak District late morning, it’s time to start your visit to the National Park with what it’s best for – a hike! Grab some lunch in Wetton, before heading to one of the area’s most famous sights, Thor’s Cave. After your hike, head the 40 minutes north-east to Matlock, which will be your overnight stop for 2 nights.

Optional: If you want to add a bit of extra luxury, stay the night before or after this day at Tawny Hotel– whilst not technically in the Peak District, it’s only 15 minutes from the Thor’s Cave walk and one of the most incredible England hotels I’ve ever stayed at. It would be sure to kick your week off in style.

You can read my guide to the walk at Thor’s Cave HERE

You can read my Tawny Hotel Review HERE

Day 2 – Matlock

Have a bit of a lie in today after your hike yesterday, and then enjoy a stroll around Matlock itself. Perhaps check out Hall Leys Park, enjoy brunch alongside the river and then spend your afternoon at one of the lovely local attractions. We headed to Cromford Mills, a super interesting World Heritage Site which is the site of Arkwright’s famous cotton mills. There’s an exhibition centre there, plus every Sunday is a beautiful market with local crafts for sale. If that doesn’t appeal, you could visit the Peak District Mining Museum, take a ride on the Peak Rail, or even visit Lumsdale waterfalls.

At the Mill

You can read my guide to Cromford Mill HERE.

Day 3 – Matlock

There are lots of lovely hikes in and around Matlock, so today it’s time for one of the best – a 6 mile hike starting in Matlock, up High Tor, continuing on to Matlock Bath and the Heights of Abraham before looping back round to your start point.

Matlock Bath

You can read my Matlock, High Tor and Heights of Abraham walk guide HERE

At the end of the day, head the short 20 minutes north to Bakewell, which will be your base for the next 2 nights.

Day 4 – Chatsworth House and Bakewell

From Bakewell, Chatsworth House is only a short drive away. I recommend going there for opening because it can get busy. Start the day there exploring the front of the house and taking some nice shots before the cars all start parking in front of it.

Incredible house

Then tour the house itself, marvelling at the incredible interior, before taking a walk up to the hunting tower, and then around the formal gardens, including the maze. Finish your visit off with a special afternoon tea for a touch of luxury.

After an afternoon tea, head back to Bakewell and explore the town. Strolling along the river is a must to see the ancient bridge, as well as sampling the local delicacy – Bakewell Tart/Pudding. Then visit the church and the beautiful almshouses, before finishing the day with a delicious dinner.

You can read my full guide to Bakewell (including Day 5’s walk) HERE.

Day 5 – Monsal Trail and Monsal Dale

After a day off from hiking yesterday, it’s time to get exercising again! Have a little lie in today to rest a bit, but then it’s time for another of the area’s most famous and beautiful walks, also close to Bakewell.

View from Monsal Head

The Monsal Trail route is a walking/cycling route constructed from an old railway line which connected Manchester and London on the Midland Railway from 1863 to 1968. Once closed, the old railway route was converted to a trail which is 8.5km in length. You could choose to walk the whole thing, but the area is also home to the Monsal Dale – beautiful rolling hills with stunning views you don’t get from the trail. We did a loop walk per the route shown HERE, which took us 3 hours to complete.

Atop Monsal Dale

You can read my full guide to 2 days in Bakewell (including Day 4’s activities) HERE.

Day 6 – Castleton

Drive north to Castleton first thing in the morning. As yesterday was a big hike, spend today enjoying a slightly less active day by visiting Peveril Castle for its wonderful views out across the hills, and be sure to take a trip in to one of the many caves Castleton is home to to learn about it’s mining history.

Also stroll around the town centre to enjoy the picture perfect cottages and have a pub lunch, which is a must when on holiday in England. And if you do fancy a walk head to Winnats Pass, an incredible view point.

Views from Peveril Castle

You can read my guide to Castleton HERE.

Day 7 -Mam Tor

Before you leave Castleton, it’s time for one final hike. Probably the most famous in the Peak District – Mam Tor. 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!

You can read my full write up of the Mam Tor walk HERE.

And after all that exploring, it’s time to head home after a great week in the Peaks.

So what do you think of the Peak District? Would you want to explore this beautiful area of England? I think it’s the perfect balance of getting out in to nature, and at a slow (ish) pace to enjoy the pubs, stately homes and pretty villages of the area too. Stay safe and happy travelling everyone!


  1. I love visiting the Peak District whatever the time of year both for its scenery, walking trails and characterful towns and villages. I’ve not yet explored Matlock Bath or taken the Heights of Abraham cable car so these will be something to look forward to on a future visit. You look to have had gorgeous weather for your stay and the Tawny Hotel looks superb Hannah.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s an amazing area of the country isn’t it Marion, I love it too. We’ve been so lucky with the weather on our visits – speaking of which, I hope the Easter weekend sun is shining for you as it is for me right now 🙂

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  2. If I ever get the pleasure of visiting this area of England, I will want to follow your great itinerary to the letter. Your post covers everything so nicely, and I would love to stay at the Tawny Hotel – it looks amazing. Mike and I love hiking too, so don’t you think it would be a perfect vacation for us? I sure do.

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    1. Oh it really would be, I think you’d love the balance of hiking and scenery but also with beautiful English villages, lots of great pubs, amazing hotels like The Tawny plus some of the most famous stately homes/castles in the country. It’s a really off the beaten track destination that offers a bit of everything so thank you for following along 🙂

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  3. Love all of the greenery in the Peak District…and Castleton certainly caught my eye with its dramatic ruins! Honestly, I hadn’t known much about the Peak District until I read some posts on it from UK-based bloggers (including yours)– if anything, I’d been itching to visit the Lake District for the longest time. Looks like I’ll need to add on the Peak District during a return visit to the UK!

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    1. There is so much to come back for – I do still prefer the Lakes to the Peaks, but the Peaks is much easier to get to for me so I’ve seen more of it on weekend trips. Thanks for reading and have a lovely weekend.

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  4. If we visit England again we will definitely go to the Peak District, it’s so beautiful. I love the gentle, rolling hills, and it’s so green! The Tawny Hotel looks fabulous. And following your dad’s notes about the hike must have been extra special. Lovely post and photos!

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    1. It’s a great choice and really off the beaten track and offers a bit of everything in my experience. Hehe yes it was lovely to have my Dad’s old book – definitely special. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment – have a great weekend 🙂

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  5. It’s kind of funny how the pandemic forced many of us to explore more of what’s in our own backyard. The scenery in the Peak District area looks beautiful, which is always great for hiking. Looks like there’s a lot to do to keep you busy here for several days.

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  6. I have fond memories of the Peak District (and some not-so-fond ones of trying to cycle up those massively steep hills). We are having our 3rd snowiest winter on record here in Minnesota (including waking up to 8.5 inches of wet, heavy snow on April 1 and flurries yesterday!!) so these pictures of green, rolling pastures are making me swoon.

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    1. hahaha oh yeah cycling is not enjoyable there – I much prefer walking when it’s that hilly!! Oh my goodness that sounds absolutely horrendous!! We have broken the back of it now and are 14c (60F) today with some nice sunshine so I was able to spend the day pottering in the garden. I reeeeally hope the snow stops for you soon.

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  7. Thanks for sharing a peak of the Peaks District, Hannah. Such a beautiful landscape to appreciate, as well as waterways, historical structures & passageways, and comfortable accommodations. You must have walked quite a bit to see it all. Have a happy Easter, my friend. 🙂

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  8. Nicely compiled Hannah and another reminder that we need to try and see more of The Peak District the next time we’re back in The UK. Although god knows when that’ll be. We got so damn close last time, but it just wasn’t meant to be. Lovely photography throughout, as always.

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  9. What an absolutely dreamy itinerary! I would not hesitate to bookmark this for a trip to England. Your photos capture the beauty of this area just perfectly. 💞😊

    Liked by 1 person

  10. That seems like the ideal itinerary, with the perfect balance between activities! If I am ever in the Peak District (and I hope it will be sooner rather than later), I will for sure use this! Thanks for sharing!

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