Nothing beats a weekend away, especially when the destination is only a 2 hour drive! We often use our limited annual leave, lack of funds and busy schedule as an excuse to stay in the UK but there’s plenty of reasons why British weekend getaways should definitely make it onto your bucket list! The British Isles are beautiful and there’s so much diversity across the countries, from the hustle and bustle of London, to the traditional roots of Edinburgh, to the rolling hills of the Welsh Valleys. There is something for everyone.
Our most recent getaway saw us visit the stunning Peak District, in Derbyshire. The Peaks are filled with amazing scenery, fun activities and quaint and cosy pubs. We spent our weekend exploring the caves and rolling hills, and enjoying good food and drink at some of the lovely eateries across the national park.
After visiting several times when I was a child, I was so excited to return as a couple – especially as Marcus had never been to the Peak District before! This blog will provide you with an insight to the best ways to get around, places to stay and things to do.
Located pretty centrally in England, you can access various areas of the Peak District by car or public transport (although this may be slightly more limited). The drive to the Peaks from London is just over three hours and around half that from Manchester. The closest airport is Manchester, where there are lots of trains and buses to various locations in the Peak District. We travelled by car and would definitely recommend this as the most suitable mode of transport due to the secluded locations and limited public transport routes.
There’s loads of accommodation options across the entire national park. We opted to stay in the well known town of Buxton. It was perfect for us – providing us with everything we needed whilst being closely located to all the must-see sights!
We stayed in the Best Western Plus Buxton Lee Wood and it was exactly what we were after. The decor is slightly dated but the rooms are clean and spacious. There is a restaurant / bar in the hotel that serves breakfast – quite pricey if it’s not included in the room rate but for convenience it’s worthwhile. The hotel was about a 5 minute walk from the town centre where you can find lots of shops and restaurants. We would definitely recommend staying here as the value for money is excellent, and it isn’t too secluded.
Things to do
There seems to be a never ending list of things to do in the Peak District, from caving to cable cars – there’s something for everyone. Here’s a few of the things we got up to in the short time we were there:
- Caverns / Caving
- The Heights of Abraham
- Buy a Bakewell Tart from Bakewell
- Buxton Brewery Tap House
- Walks in Castleton
- Solomon’s Temple
- Lunch at the Merchants Yard
Caving / Caverns
The Peak District is one of the best places in England to go caving / explore the caverns. With several located across the national park, there’s plenty of opportunity to try it!. In the two days we were there, we visited two caverns – One by foot and the other by boat!
Peak cavern (the Devil’s Arse) is located in Castleton and is the home of one of the rope making industries in Derbyshire. The tour takes around an hour and the guides are very knowledgable (and funny) making it a great bit of history to explore.
The other cavern we visited was Speedwell Cavern. This is also located in Castleton and you access the main part of the cave by boat. The tour takes you through very narrow tunnels on a boat and you have to wear a hardhat incase you hit your head on the low ceilings!! The experience is suitable for all ages but be warned the tunnels are only dimly lit so visibility is not the best… Again the tour is very informative and you are able to get out of the boat to explore the largest part of the cave! Out of the two tours, this was definitely my favourite!!
You are able to get a joint ticket for both these caves which costs £18 for an adult if purchased on the day. It’s great value for money and definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area.
The Heights of Abraham
Located just outside the national park boundary, the Heights of Abraham is a park accessible by a long winding path or cable car. At the top you will find play parks, two caverns, a restaurant and a view point tower that you’re able to climb to the top. We didn’t spend a huge amount of time here as it was SO busy but it was lovely to see the amazing views from the top and experience the cable car – something I hadn’t done since I was a little girl!
Well you can’t go to Bakewell and not buy a Bakewell tart! We brought ours from the Bakewell Tart Shop (of course) and it was delicious. A must if you’re close by!
Buxton Brewery Tap House
The brewery tap house is located in the centre of Buxton and is the perfect spot for a bite to eat or to taste some of the many local beers they serve. Ranging from pale ales to lager mixed with ice cream – there is something for all tastes! We spent our first evening here enjoying their pub style menus which were paired nicely with some local beers. They also have live music at the weekends which creates a great vibe!
The Peak District is famous for its lovely rollings hills and walks / hikes. We went for a short walk in Castleton after caving and the settings were absolutely stunning.
We also took a trip to Solomon’s Temple. From the top you can see the whole of Buxton, including the town centre and the opera house. The views were amazing and there are lots of lovely little walks close by! We took the opportunity to send the drone up and got some epic shots of the surrounding area.
There’s obviously a lot more to do in the Peaks than we’ve listed above but we only had two days so were limited with how much we could fit in. I guess it gives us the perfect excuse to head back!
Whilst we’re absolutely loving our British Getaways, we can’t wait to head back to Europe for our next trip at the end of March. Can you guess where we’re going?
Adios for now,
Love Char & Mar xxx