If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you may have picked up on a few Jane Austen references or my penchant for the Peak District. Of course, thanks to Austen’s iconic Pride and Prejudice, it is a truth universally acknowledged that all things Derbyshire are associated with Mr Darcy…(see what I did there!). But there is so much more to these pretty places than what Lizzy and Darcy got up to!
The Peak District, Derbyshire and the neighbouring counties really are a beautiful part of the world, providing a stunning backdrop with awe-inspiring examples of England’s natural history.
While most people venture to this corner of the country in milder summer months, it is equally stunning all year round, especially during crisp autumns and cosy winters.
If you’re after a luxury break, you can rent a traditional stone cottage or book a boutique hotel. However, if you really want to make the most of your holiday budget and explore all the best spots, you’d be just as well booking a comfortable but low priced hotel near Derbyand using it as a base – picking a central point with good transport links makes for easy day trips!
Speaking of day trips, you will be spoiled for choice. For now, I’ve rounded up a few examples to suit history buffs, outdoorsy types and retail therapy fans alike.
- Cromford, Matlock
This sweet riverside village was established in the 11th centuryand built up around the mill in the 18th century. As well as some stunning walking trails, full of unspoiled spots, there’s also the old mill and museum as well as sights like Willersley Castle and the canal – a lovely day out.
- Elvaston Castle Country Park
A great place for a wander, this country park is home to a Grade II listed gothic revival house and 350 acres, including parks and gardens. You can walk, cycle and explore to your heart’s content while looking out for the various architectural and horticultural hotspots on the estate.
- Sherwood Forest
If you believe the legends, this forest was once home to the man and the myth that was Robin Hood. Nowadays though it is a beautiful, serene and sprawling forest ready to be enjoyed. From the 800-year-oldoak in the heart of the park to an adrenaline boost at Go Ape in the trees – this is a superb place to explore.
- Wollaton Hall, Gardens and Deer Park
One of the most beautiful Elizabethan homes in England, this is somewhere you want to give yourself a whole day in. The extensive grounds offer everything from botanical gardens and lakes, to cosy cafes for a quick break. You can also explore the grandeur inside the house with the guided tours that run throughout the day, so you certainly won’t be bored.
- Attenborough Nature Centre
If you’re a fan of nature and the great outdoors, you’ll enjoy the Attenborough Nature Centre in Nottinghamshire. Nature trails, bird and wildlife walks and events for all ages – you’ll be able to take it all in. The walking routes are especially great this time of year, where the colours change and you can relax as you get lost in the tranquil and stunning surroundings.
- Intu Derby Shopping Centre
So, for those who have a soft spot for shopping, you are in luck. If you can sandwich yourself between Nottingham and Derby, you’ll have the Intu Shopping Centres on your doorstep. Derby’s has everything from adventure golf and a cinema to a food courtand three levels of stores! Retail therapy goes a long way to making a good holiday even better.
- The Exchange, Nottingham
Another great spot for some retail therapy is the exclusive but beautiful Exchange. It is especially stunning in the evening and even better at Christmas! Of course, there are plenty of other shopping centres and independent stores in the city, so you’re spoiled for choice. You can break up all that browsing with lots of other activities; coffee lovers should be sure to check out 200 Degreescoffee where you can even take a class in Barista skills or Latte art.
How’s that for a week’s worth of day trips? You can see and experience something different every day, and if you pick your accommodation wisely, you don’t run the risk of being cooped up all week. So treat yourself to the Peak District and surrounding areas – I’m sure you’ll fall in love!