The Royal Hotel is the perfect base from which to explore the Peak District and nearby Cheshire. Here are just a few suggestions to help inspire you.
Walking and other outdoor activities
With its numerous trails and footpaths, Hayfield is a popular destination for walkers, fell runners, cyclists and horse riders. The pretty 2.5-mile Sett Valley Trail is an easy route following the old railway line and linking Hayfield with New Mills. The more challenging Pennine Way national trail passes close by the village making it a good stopping off point whether just out for a day or two in the hills or undertaking the whole 268-mile route from Edale in Derbyshire to Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders. The Pennine Bridleway offers a variety of terrain and technical difficulty whether on two legs, four legs or two wheels.
Stately homes and historic houses
Chatsworth House and Gardens is perhaps the jewel in the crown of stately homes in the Peak District, but others not to be missed include Eyam Hall and Haddon Hall. Whilst just over the border in Cheshire you will find Lyme Park (Mr Darcy’s Pemberley in the BBC’s Pride & Prejudice), Bramall Hall and Tatton Hall, famous for its annual RHS flower show, to name just a few.
Towns and villages
The Georgian spa town of Buxton is just 10 miles from Hayfield. Its Opera House has a packed programme throughout the year including dance, comedy, children’s shows, drama, musical concerts, pantomime and opera. The theatre is also home to the prestigious Buxton Festival and The International Gilbert & Sullivan Festival. The town will see new state-of-the-art spa facilities opening in 2018. Also worth visiting are the market towns of Ashbourne, Bakewell and Matlock.
Castleton is a lovely village set in the Hope Valley. Here are caverns galore, gift shops selling rare Blue John jewellery, Peveril Castle, the magnificent Winnatts Pass and the Peakland Ridge Walk to Mam Tor. Eyam, known as the ‘Plague Village’, is well worth a visit too. It was here in 1665 that flea-infested cloth from London, where the plague was raging, was delivered to the village tailor. Plague broke out killing a third of the village inhabitants and the entire village quarantined itself to prevent the disease from spreading.
Derbyshire is famed for its limestone caves. There’s the vast Poole’s Cavern in Buxton with its spectacular stalactites and stalagmites. Cave central, however, has to be Castleton. There are several show caves to be found here, including Speedwell Cavern, a former lead mine visited by boat, Peak Cavern, Treak Cliff Cavern and Blue John Cavern, famous for the gemstone of the same name found nowhere else in the world!
Go Ape in Buxton Country Park is an award-winning high wire forest adventure set 40 feet up in the tree tops. There is also The Chestnut Centre, an otter, owl and wildlife park near Chapel-en-le-Frith. The Heights of Abraham near Matlock features caverns, cable cars, woodland walks and an adventure playground. Step back in time in a recreated street with its period shops, pub and restaurant and take a ride on a vintage tram rides at Crich Tramway Village, also near Matlock.
For more information on the Peak District: www.visitpeakdistrict.com
For more information on Cheshire: www.visitchester.com