Car-free cycle routes, stately homes, fishing, rock-climbing, mountain biking, paragliding, lidos, rivers…. All are within a quick drive or train ride from The Gathering. Whatever the weather, there is plenty to do.
THE LIDO, HATHERSAGE
20 minutes’ drive or 10 minutes on the train from Edale to Hathersage. Opened originally in 1936 and now a fabulous 33m lido heated to 29 degrees. With a large shallow end plus areas to sunbathe, hot showers and changing rooms. There are no lockers so do not take valuables (although it’s such a friendly place we can’t imagine much theft!).
Our Verdict: A great pool for kids and grown-ups (lane swimming down one side) with a fabulous grassy area for lounging. Access to the café from the pool for endless supplies of hot drinks, icecreams and chips! Check the public swimming times with us before heading over.
35 minutes away, Chatsworth is one of England’s finest stately homes and a top visitor attraction in the area. Visit the house and grounds (ticketed) or simply stroll through the park for free (parking £3). There is always something on – evening events and concerts, the art festival in September, and Christmas Fair and incredible Christmas lights. The children’s farmyard and playground is magical.
Our Verdict: A visit to Derbyshire without dropping into Chatsworth would be remiss. The children’s play area is incredible with an enormous sandpit and diggers and huge climbing areas. The farmyard allows you to interact with a wide variety of animals and if you are lucky you might catch lambing or the arrival of new piglets! You can pay just for the children’s area without having to buy tickets for the main house.
One of England’s finest manufacturers and designers of modern cutlery, kitchen knives, tableware and kitchenware. Visit the extraordinary factory, exquisite kitchen shop and very good café. http://www.davidmellordesign.com/
THE CHESTNUT CENTRE
10 minutes’ drive up over Mam Tor, The Chestnut Centre is filled with otters, deer, owls and other wildlife.
Our Verdict: A good place to while away a couple of hours walking around the park on the trails. Good for all the family (babies can be pushed around the park). Mostly outdoors so if raining dress appropriately as very little indoor activities.
THE PLAGUE VILLAGE, EYAM
30 minutes’ drive. In 1665 a tailor from Eyam ordered a bale of cloth from London to make up into clothes for the villagers, unwittingly triggering a chain of events that led to 260 Eyam villagers dying from bubonic plague – more than double the mortality rate suffered by the citizens of London in the Great Plague. Between the first death and the last, the villagers set an extraordinary and enduring example of self-sacrifice by sealing off the village from the surrounding areas to prevent the disease spreading. Visit the museum, National Trust’s Eyam Hall and the cemetery.
Our Verdict: Eyam is a fascinating place to visit and well-worth the 30 minutes’ drive – the small museum is filled with facts that will keep the kids intrigued.
THE MONSAL TRAIL
30 minutes away. The Monsal Trail is a traffic free route for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and wheelchair users through some of the Peak District’s most spectacular limestone dales. The trail runs along the former Midland Railway line and through old railway tunnels, each about 400 metres long, making it a great trip out for kids. Hire bikes (£10 per adult for 2 hours; £6 for children’s bikes) from Hassop Bike Hire at Hassop Café.
Our Verdict: A great day out cycling through tunnels and across spectacular gorges on viaducts. Pull over and have a picnic.
Ladybower reservoir is a large Y shaped reservoir and is the lowest of three in the Upper Derwent Valley. The Derwent valley also played an important role in the Second World War. It saw the development of the ‘bouncing bomb’ which was deployed by 617 squadron using Lancaster Bombers. The squadron was formed for the specific task of attacking three major dams on the Ruhr in Germany: the Möhne, Eder and Sorpe. The museum can be seen explaining all the history of the squadron and their war efforts in Derwent Dam wall, situated above Ladybower Reservoir. The building of the reservoir resulted in the ‘drowning’ of the villages of Ashopton and Derwent. Lovely walks around Ladybower and cycle trails (see below). Also a good mountain bike / walk from Edale over to Ladybower for the more hardy.
40 minutes away, just beyond Bakewell and 2 miles from Chatsworth – Described by Simon Jenkins in “1000 Best Houses” as “the most perfect house to survive from the middle ages”. Set in the heart of the beautiful Peak District National Park, parts of the house date from the 12th Century, sitting like a jewel in its Elizabethan terraced gardens, and overlooking the River Wye. Film-makers flock to Haddon Hall to use it as a location. The house and grounds have played host to no less than three versions of “Jane Eyre”. Screen credits also include “Elizabeth”, “Pride & Prejudice” and “The Other Boleyn Girl” and “The Princess Bride”, the cult classic movie in which Haddon Hall becomes Prince Humperdinck’s Castle and village.
Our Verdict: A magical place to visit for grown-ups – although older children will be fascinated by the history of the place and incredible old kitchens!
35 minutes – A tourist destination and filled with tea shops claiming pride of place for the first Bakewell tart or pudding. Some nice shops to wander around and home to a variety of wonderful shows and festival – Eroica Bike Festival, the British Baking Festival and the
Our Verdict: If you like a Bakewell tart or pudding then drop by – but don’t make it a day out in itself… worth a nod if you are heading to Haddon Hall or Chatsworth.
THE LONGSHAW ESTATE, BURBAGE AND EASTERN MOORS
Just beyond Hathersage, the National Trust looks after the Longshaw Estate and surrounding landscape. Regularly running fun activities for the family throughout the holidays it is worth a visit to their website for days’ out. http://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/longshaw-burbage-and-the-eastern-moors/visitor-information/
About 20 minutes’ drive away is the spa town of Buxton. It has the highest elevation of any market town in England and is home to the renowned Buxton Opera House, which hosts several music and theatre festivals each year. Buxton is home to Poole’s Cavern, an extensive limestone cavern open to the public, and St Ann’s Well, fed by the geothermal spring bottled and sold internationally by Buxton Mineral Water Company. Enjoy tea in the Pavilion Gardens and glass-house.
Go Ape, in Buxton, is two to three hours of tree top fun. It’s a great way to get outdoors, have some fun and unleash your Inner Ape. The Go Ape experience involves fun and adventure up in the trees. You will fly down zip-wires, leap off Tarzan Swings and tackle obstacles whilst enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Peak District National Park. http://goape.co.uk/