Living in England means that I get to explore the country at my own pace. There are so many things to see and do here- not only for the locals but also the international traveller. In the months to come , I will be writing a small series on my blog on various weekend/short breaks in the UK.
First up – The Peak District.
After a busy few weeks at work and a dreary winter , we really wanted to go away for the weekend and recharge our batteries. So I opened a map and pored over it – we wanted to go somewhere within 2 hours driving distance, a place where we could go on long walks and spend time together as a family. The Peak district is only an hour away from us and when I found a great deal on Airbnb for the Elton guest house , I knew this was it.
Located in the tiny village of Elton , the guest house provides bed and breakfast accomodation in a beautiful stone cottage. A wonderful full English vegetarian breakfast is offered everyday and it is served in a dining room decorated with vintage metal signs, vintage advertising posters.. and shiny vintage motorcycles!
Situated just minutes away from Sheffield and Manchester , the Peak district was the first national park to be founded in the UK in 1951. Rolling hills , limestone gorges and farmlands dot its landscape. Its the perfect place for a walking or cycling holiday.
Peak District Day 1:
On our first day here, we decided to rent bikes and ride along the Monsal trail. This is a 8.5 mile traffic free route for walkers and cyclists , running along a disused railway line between Blackwell Mill in Chee Dale to Coombs Viaduct near Bakewell. Hassop station is a good place to rent bikes, with a good variety of bikes at reasonable cost . It was a sunny day and with A on his balance bike , we set off along the trail.
We then decided to head to one of the 4 tunnels along Monsal trail. Walking along the length of the tunnel was great fun for our son A. With echoes bouncing off the old stone walls and water dripping from the ceiling, it was spooky ! We ended the day with a fabulous vegetarian dinner at a local pub – The Old Bowling Green in the village of Winster. It never ceases to amaze me how even small village pubs cater to vegetarians and vegans in England.
Peak district Day 2:
On our second and last day here , we decided to make use of our National Trust membership and made our way to Ilam Park and Dovedale. Ilam park itself is a country house which now functions as a YHA hostel . There is a National Trust car park and a tea room here. We wanted to make our way to the famous Stepping Stones in Dovedale and followed the signs for this from the car park. The trail was a scenic one , though we ended up taking a very long route in an attempt to avoid cattle.
After a long trek , we reached the limestone gorge with the River Dove flowing along serenely . Strolling along its banks, we reached the iconic Stepping stones , which were first laid in the 19th century. Hop across them to the other side and enjoy a picnic on the banks of the river. Or , like us, choose to have some ice cream before making your way back. After our ice cream break, we took the shorter route back , walking just feet away from sheep who were more interested in the grass than us!
We enjoyed our short weekend away in the Peak District and found it to be the perfect place to get away from it all. There are hikes both difficult and easy, stately homes like Chatsworth house, cycling trails, quaint villages and amazing caverns. You can choose to do a lot or nothing at all!
Stay: Elton guest house in the tiny village of Elton. Doubles from 75 pounds a night.
Eat : The Old Bowling Green in Winster. Reservations recommended as the pub can get quite busy! Closed on Mon, Tue and Wed.
Drink : Cask ales at any local pub! A pot of tea with warm scones at Wyes Waters Tearooms in Bakewell.
See and do :
- Cycle or walk along the 8.5 mile long Monsal Trail – traffic free , family friendly. For a longer route, try the 17 mile long High Peak trail.
- See Chatsworth House. This stately house is widely believed to be the inspiration for Mr Darcy’s Pemberly House in Jane Austen’s ‘Pride and Prejudice’.
- Visit Poole’s Cavern near Buxton – a natural limestone cave with stalactites/stalagmites.
- Stroll through the pretty villages of Ashford-in-water, Castleton and Bakewell.