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Beyond Manchester: where to go in the Peak District
One of Manchester’s greatest assets is its proximity to some of the best British countryside, including the beautiful Peak District to the east of the city. 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 out.
Follow in Darcy’s footsteps at 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 finest walking trails, from low-level ambles to more challenging hikes. Edale, a train journey from Manchester, is the start of many walks of varying difficulties, and home to the fascinating Moorland visitor centre, where interactive exhibits detail the importance of conserving the unique moorland habitat. Especially active types 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 thrill-seekers 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 around 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.
Written by Ruth Rosselson