One of Manchester’s greatest assets is its proximity to some of the best British countryside, including the beautiful Peak District which became the country's first national park in 1951. You'll find that many of the best day trips are easily accessible by public transport from the city centre, so here are our top five suggestions for a brilliant Peak District day trip.
Follow Darcy’s footsteps in Lyme Park
The Peak District has been the star of many books, films and TV adaptations, but one of the most famous is just a stone’s throw from Manchester. Lyme Park, on the edge of the Peak District, was the location for one of Colin Firth’s most famous shots, emerging from a lake as Mr Darcy in BBC’s Pride and Prejudice. Once a sporting estate, Lyme Park now offers a great day out – whether you want to visit the house, the lovely Victorian gardens or just wander around the 1,300 acre estate spotting deer. Lyme Park is a short drive from Manchester or a short walk from Disley train station.
Get active in Edale
The Peak District has some of the UK’s best walks, from low-level ambles to more challenging hikes. Edale, a train journey from Manchester, is the start of many walks of varying difficulties, and the home to the fascinating Moorland visitor centre where interactive exhibits detail the importance of conserving the unique moorland habitat. Fit visitors might like to spend their day climbing up to the highest terrain in the Peaks, the moorland plateau of Kinder Scout – site of a famous mass trespass in 1932 when 500 walkers demanded the right to ramble.
Matlock Bath was one of the UK’s first tourist destinations and is still very much worth including on any peak district itinerary with plenty to do for visitors of all ages. Young thrillseekers might want to visit Gulliver’s Theme Park, just 15 minutes walk from the town. For something a little more sedate, take the cable car up to the hilltop park of the Heights of Abraham with its stunning views and visitor attractions, including underground caverns, exhibitions and acres of beautiful woodland. Buses from Manchester to Derby stop at Matlock Bath and take around 2 ½ hours.
Go underground at Castleton
More spectacular Peaks scenery can be found around the village of Castleton, known as the ‘Gem of the Peaks’. Visit the 1080-built Peveril Castle, hike up the imposing Mam Tor with its bronze/iron age hill fort, or go under the mountain into the famous Blue John Caverns.
Try the original Bakewell Pudding
Found in the heart of the Peaks, the pretty market town of Bakewell gave its name to both a pudding and a tart. The pudding consists of a pastry base, topped with a layer of jam and an egg and almond paste filling. Take your time to wander round the town and enjoy its independent shops and cafes, its market (on a Monday only) and try the pudding for yourself at the famous Bakewell Pudding Shop. Bakewell is easily accessible from Manchester by bus.
Header photo of the Edale Valley from Mam Tor © Simon Harrod
Have you been to the Peak District? What are your favourite views and things to do? Share your tips below.
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About the author: RuthRosselsonRuth Rosselson
Ruth Rosselson is a writer, researcher and community facilitator based in Manchester. A city-lover through and through, Ruth loves going to gigs and eating out at her favourite Manchester restaurants and cafes. A keen scuba-diver, she’s still in search of the elusive (but very large) whale shark, and also loves country breaks in the UK. Her favourite UK spots include Grasmere in the Lake District and Harris in the Outer Hebrides. http://ruthrosselson.net