This meandering, family-friendly road trip through the Derbyshire Dales takes in all the must-visits your list will have and for a small area, Derbyshire certainly delivers on outdoor adventure, history & fine food! This post is all about how you can have a 1, 2, 4, 5 & 7-day itinerary for a family-friendly road trip around the Derbyshire Dales.
What To Expect From This Kid-Friendly Trip To The Peak District
Divided into seven days, this route will take you from south to north, visiting the beautiful towns of Matlock, Matlock Bath, Bakewell & Castleton whilst visiting quaint villages along the route. You’ll be glamping & staying in a yurt, resting your weary legs in a number of beautifully restored pubs, eating in gastro inns & visiting a huge number of stately homes. I hope you’ve packed your energy and your walking shoes because you’ll certainly need it.
This road trip around Derbyshire incorporates famous peaks, rock formations, caves, parks, dales, reservoirs and gardens on this massive journey through the Peak District. You’ll be exploring the depths of the darkest caves, hopping over stepping stones, admiring waterfalls and clambering around viaducts on this active trip to Derbyshire’s National Park.
But don’t worry because if it’s history you’re after, you can also take a ride of a steam train, visit old pump houses and mills, stomp around centuries-old castles & halls, be impressed by the magnitude of the architecture and wind yourself around the elegant towns full of stone bridges and bustling tea shops that showcase some of England’s finest desserts.
How To Use This Itinerary
This road trip is incredibly flexible. You could use it to plan single days out in Derbyshire, use it as a means of planning things to do in the peak district, use it as a 2-7 day road trip itinerary and do as little or as much as you want to.
If you’re looking for things to do Derbyshire, places to visit in the Peak District, stately homes in Derbyshire or searching for tips on how to spend a long weekend in Derbyshire, then have a look at the ideas below and see if you can incorporate them into your plans or road trip.
Peak Your Interest Road Trip Itinerary: Places to visit in Derbyshire
You’ll be starting this road trip off in the south of the Dales near Ashbourne.
What to see: Thor’s Cave, the Dovedale stepping stones, Reynards Cave & Kedleston Hall. You could easily turn this area into a two-night road trip and take your time visiting these natural beauties and stately hall.
Where to eat: The Saracen’s Head in Shirley is a quaint but modern pub in a small village and it serves divine food. You must book ahead.
Where to stay: If you want to book a weekend or week’s long stay and drive every day to the other locations, we recommend Secret Cloud House Holidays, if you’re looking for a B&B stay at Holly Meadow Farm or if you’re wanting self-catering, Nether Farm Barns.
Start off by driving to the Matlock Dale area and visit the quaint, stone-built towns of Matlock Bath & Matlock. You could spend between one and three days here depending on how much you wanted to see.
What to see: The towns of Matlock & Matlock Bath. You can also visit Taylor-Wilde Chocolatier, the Heights of Abraham, Riber Castle, Leawood pump house, Black rocks, Cromford Mills, The Great Masson Cavern, Peak Rail and Lumsdale Falls.
If you’re visiting with teenagers you might want to visit Gulliver’s Kingdom and use this as leverage!
Where to eat in Matlock Bath: Sin Carne Cantina.
Where to stay: The Red Lion Restaurant & Accommodation
The drive to Bakewell is a delight and Bakewell is yet another bustling, market town with a big history.
Where to visit: Bakewell Bridge, Bakewell Love Locks Bridge, Chatsworth House, Haddon Hall and the Monsal Trail Headstone Viaduct.
Where to eat: The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop serves freshly baked bread, snacks, desserts, meals and coffees.
Your next stop will be in the heart of the Peak District and cave central, Castleton. You could drive here directly from Bakewell but if you fancied a detour on some hair-raising roads, you could drive on the ‘Cat & the Fiddle’. This road was made famous by motorbike enthusiasts due to its many steep bends and severe drops and culminates in the pub of the same name.
Castleton is another area with a lot to see. Be charmed by the array of castles and stately homes near here and you can visit over four caves too. You could spend two nights here if you wanted to.
What to see: Hope Show & Sheepdog Trials (held every August Bank Holiday), Cave Dale, Peveril Castle, Peak Cavern, Speedwell Cavern, Treak Cliff Cavern, Blue John Cavern, Dark Peak & Mam Tor.
Where to stay: Samuel Fox Country Inn
Today you’ll be heading to the east of the Dales and the famous Ladybower dam and reservoir
What to see: Bamford Edge, Ladybower Dam & Reservoir, Derwent Dam Viewpoint, Heatherdene, Hordron Edge stone circle, Coach and Horses Rock Formation
Where to eat: Ladybower Inn
Finish this epic road trip with a hike. The Derbyshire Dales are not short of good walks and you have a choice as to which you end with. Which one will you choose? Alport Castles (see our guide on scrambling), Kinder Scout, Woolpacks or Jacob’s Ladder? They all have merits.
Take your time to explore the area around the Ladybower Reservoir too which is perfect for a picnic and access to Alport Castles.
Today you will cross the legendary, Pennine Snake Pass heading towards Glossop. Thomas Telford engineered and opened the road in 1821. Its highest point is 1679 feet above sea level and it features a winding twisty road with lots of elevation changes.
The Pass is surrounded by green hills and circumnavigates the River Ashop. In the summer months, the roadsides boast wildflower patches making it a haven for wildlife. The Snake Pass was even listed as one of the best driving roads by Auto Trader magazine in 2009.
A Map Of Derbyshire Road Trip
A full map containing all of the stop-offs and points of interest.
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