Offering some of the best views and most picturesque villages in the country, Derbyshire's iconic Hope Valley is one of the best-loved parts of the Peak District National Park. In this itinerary, discover a Norman castle, spectacular show caverns, a master of modern design and one of England's longest gritstone edges.
Hope Valley is a place to visit with affordable half-term activities easily accessible by bus, and this half term you can make the most of the Government’s £2 price cap on bus fares. The campaign is supported by all of our local bus operators and several local businesses.
Visit the local visitor centre
The first stop for any visitor should always be the local visitor centre which are bursting with information and friendly staff to help make the most of your visit. Castleton visitor centre is recently underwent a major transformation to create a flagship centre for the Peak District National Park. The refurbished visitor centre features interpretation displays, a dedicated space for Castleton Historical Society’s museum, a great retail area, an area for activities and a cafe.
Be sure to pick up some information on Peveril Castle – your next stop!
Climb to the hilltop ruins of Peveril Castle
It’s a short walk from the visitor centre to the foot of the castle which gives Castleton its name. Mentioned in the Domesday survey, Peveril Castle is one of England's earliest Norman fortresses and the imposing ruins stand high above Castleton.
A climb to the castle at the top of the hill to enjoy the breathtaking views over the Hope Valley is a highlight of a family day out in Castleton. The keep was built by Henry II in 1176. Explore the remains of the keep including the garderobe (medieval lavatory)!
Discover the home of Blue John Stone
Castleton boasts not one, not two, but three show caverns, with another one a little further out of the town. Peak Cavern, known as the “Devil's Arse”, is right in the heart of the village, and actually goes underground below Peveril Castle. In Speedwell Cavern at the foot of the impressive Winnats Pass, embark on an incredible Underground Journey by boat. At Treak Cliff Cavern, visit one of the only places in the world you can find the semi-precious gemstone, Blue John, found nowhere else on earth other than Castleton!
Spend the night at Losehill House Hotel & Spa
Indulge in a bit of luxury and head just over the hills to Losehill House Hotel & Spa. Situated down a leafy lane, this luxury 4 star hotel is located within the heart of the Peak District National Park. The hotel occupies a secluded spot on the side of Losehill with stunning views overlooking picturesque Win Hill. Dine in the award-winning Orangery Restaurant for some of the finest views in the area, and relax in the Thalgo Spa which includes an outdoor hot tub with magnificent views, before spending the night in one of their beautiful rooms.
Explore the 'outdoor hub' of Hathersage
This charming village in the Hope Valley has a great selection of shops, pubs and restaurants. It’s famous for local literary links and legends; it inspired author Charlotte Bronte when writing ‘Jane Eyre’, and nearby North Lees Hall was visited several times by the author in 1845, becoming the main inspiration for Thornfield Hall. In and around the village are also sites associated with the legend of Robin Hood – his lieutenant, Little John is buried in the churchyard of St Michael’s. The village also has one of the UK’s few outdoor swimming pools. Heated and open year-round, it has panoramic views.
Visit David Mellor Design
Hathersage is also home of the David Mellor Design Museum, which includes a café and museum dedicated to the renowned cutlery designer (who also designed the modern traffic light!)
The museum shows the full historic collection of his work and that of his son, Corin Mellor, extending from examples of Mellor's handmade silver to the traffic lights we stop at every day. The ew-look café is the perfect place to enjoy coffee, cake or a delicious lunch, and you can also browse their kitchenware and tableware designs, cookware shop, and factory where you can see cutlery for some of the world’s best restaurants being made.
Have a late lunch at The George
At the heart of Hathersage, The George is bursting at the seams with history and provenance. The 6th Duke of Devonshire (of Chatsworth House) was its first registered owner and it provided regular visitor, Charlotte Bronte, with much inspiration for her masterpiece, Jane Eyre.
The George’s relaxed, contemporary guest rooms retain all the charm and character of a rustic retreat. The cosy restaurant and bar serves an à la carte menu including burgers, wood-fired pizzas and steaks.
Explore Derbyshire's 'Lake District'
Sometimes referred to as Derbyshire's Lake District, the Peak District's Upper Derwent Valley is known for its majestic reservoirs, spectacular scenery, peaceful forests and wild open spaces.
The area is home to three large dams, known as the Derwent Dams, which offer some of the area's most spectacular scenery. The dams are called Ladybower, Derwent and Howden, which form Ladybower Reservoir, Derwent Reservoir and Howden Reservoir respectively.
Surrounded by magnificent countryside and rugged edges, the Upper Derwent Valley boasts some of the area's most popular walks and cycle routes.
An ideal starting point for your visit to the area is the Peak District National Park's Visitor Centre at Fairholmes in Bamford (postcode: S33 0AQ). The centre is a great base from which to explore the Upper Derwent Valley and surrounding moorlands.
In World War II, the topographical similarity between the Upper Derwent Valley and the Ruhr Valley of Germany led to the dams being used for practice runs for the Lancaster bombers of 617 Squadron (the Dam Busters) before their attack on the Ruhr dams. The world-famous Dam Busters film was subsequently filmed here, and the area has seen various commemorative flypasts by the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight.
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