Free Fun In The Peak District

1st June 2022
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Sometimes having fun doesn't have to cost the earth. We decided to put together a few things that can make for a fun day out...all for free!

Chatsworth Park

Take a walk in Chatsworth's vast 1000 acre park and spend the day walking, having a picnic and respectfully playing in the vast country landscape and Stand wood. If you are lucky you may even catch a glimpse of the red deer, sheep, cattle and other animals that call this special place home. You will even be able to see Chatsworth House from the Eastern side of the park as it overlooks the River Derwent. The perfect relaxing setting on a warm summer's day.

Codnor Castle Ruins

Photography Credit: ©

Wanting a more historic day out? Then Codnor Castle is the perfect place to start. The first mentions of Codnor start all the way back to the doomsday book of 1086, the castle has been through many Monarch owners even King Henry the VII purchased the Castle and manor for his son, Henry the VIII. The Castle's last family was the Master family who occupied it from 1692 until the 19th Century.

Not only that but there has been many a story told of ghostly sightings and strange unexplained happenings in and around Codnor Castle, so much so that it has been named the 11th most haunted location in the UK. So make sure you look out for the most well-known figure known as the 'Grey Lady'. With over 900 years of history, its a must see.

Chesterfield Greenways

If adventure is calling you take a look at the Chesterfield's Greenways. The Greenways are a developing network of multi-user trails, cycle routes and bridleways that link the historic market town of Chesterfield to this area's beautiful countryside. Much of the route is easy access for prams, wheelchair and mobility scooter users. With many different routes to follow, you can chose to go along the Chesterfield Canal, or the coast to coast route, even head west towards the Linacre Reservoirs. Take in the beauty of nature at its best.

While you are out and about, take a look at some of the other local attractions - you can easily get to Chesterfield's famous Crooked Spire and large open air market from the Greenways network. Renishaw Hall and Barrowhill Roundhouse are also in easy reach.

Lathkill River, Waterfall & Dale

The picturesque Lathkill Dale walk is perfect for those wanting to enjoy nature on a warm day, the walk will take you to the cave where the River Lathkill emerges and along the river to a gorgeous waterfall. Along the Lathkill Dale there are a number of caves and areas of old mine working throughout the walk. You can simply walk to the cave and turn back if you wish for a short walk.

Derwent Gardens

Derwent Gardens is the centre of many an attraction in the Matlock area. The gardens overlook the River Derwent with a main emphasis on water throughout, as several thermal springs emerge around the park and have been used to create water gardens and other magical pools. Grottos and alcoves also provide unique features within the grounds. There are many paths and trails to take you through the landscaped gardens to include, thermal pools, fishponds and the café. Some also incorporate other areas of Matlock, providing a great opportunity to explore the Matlock area further and see what excitements the bustling town holds.

Ladybower Reservoir

Ladybower Valley

Constructed due to the heavy demand for water from industrial towns, Ladybower was seen as the ideal location and so the village of Derwent and Ashopton were flooded, and work began on this large Y-shaped reservoir in 1935 and then officially opened by King George VI in 1945.

In the heart of the Peak District National Park, Ladybower is surrounded by stunning countryside, woodland and moorland, all with magnificent views of the water. With circular walking and cycling routes nearby.

Please note: There are parking bays along the side of the reservoir for free, or there is a car park at the Reservoir with a charge.

Lumsdale Valley

Hidden on the outskirts of Matlock, there are few obvious signposts so many visitors to the area pass without ever knowing what magic is hidden. Lumsdale Valley was once a hive of industrial activity, bustling watermills powered by the ever-flowing waters of Bentley Brook. Now left to ruin, nature has engulfed the remaining buildings to create a truly magical place. Waterfalls, pools and streams run through the ruins and alongside Lumsdale Valley, making it a magical walk from the centre of Matlock.

Lumsdale Valley and Falls Walking Route

It's asked that you respect the delicate nature of the area when you walk through.

The Cavendish Arcade in Buxton

A boutique shopping hall in the centre of Buxton. The arcade accommodates a small community of shops from clothes, local food and drinks, jewellery and other delights.

Photography Credit:, ©Colic C

What makes it spectacular is the building itself, it was the spa town's former Victorian thermal baths. Still retaining its brightly-coloured Minton tiles decorating the walls and hallways, and its spectacular stained glass vaulted ceiling which added in 1987 and remains the largest of its kind in Britain.

Some original features are still preserved, including the plunge pool and chair that was used to lower people into the healing waters!

National Stone Centre

National Stone Centre is a 40-acre site of special scientific interest (SSI) for its geological formations. Take a walk through these formations, and visit the outdoor and indoor activities for all, including the Rock shop and The Blue Lagoon Café within the discovery centre. The Stone Centre is nearby to High Peak Trail, a railway that opened in 1831 that stretched for 17.5 miles and was designed to carry minerals and goods between Cromford Canal and the Peak Forest Canal, it was one of the world’s first long-distance railway lines. After its closure, it was bought and turned into a traffic free trail for walkers and cyclists. Many important railway buildings and original features can be still seen throughout the trail and is simply a lovely walk.

Matlock War Memorials

Throughout Matlock there are five war memorials. All dedicated to the people of Matlock who lost their lives during World War One and World War Two. The most significant is at the summit of Pic Tor, a massive Celtic cross made from local quarries, unveiled in 1921 its a memorial visible for miles around. With many walks around the summit and up to the top of the memorial, there are also others that are more accessible such as the memorial at Hall Leys, and the Matlock Bath war memorial located in Derwent Gardens, near the River Derwent.

Photography Credit: ©Bill Boaden

If you are planning a visit to the Peak District, and are looking for somewhere to stay? Well we have a number of hotels, inns and holiday cottages in the Derbyshire area that are perfect for a countryside break. View our collection here.

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