Sometimes I think it’s time to switch off, to retreat, disappear: my favourite place to do that is in the Peak District, to a tiny family owned cottage at the bottom of a valley. There is no phone signal, no TV and no wifi. When I brought a friend from London for the first time she came complete with extra jumpers and a torch in case there was no electricity. “Can I drink the water?” She’d asked, clearly baffled by the way things worked north of the Watford Gap. It is the perfect place to hide, tucked away in front of the fire reading a good book. There’s plenty to do outdoors- you know, if you can drag yourself out the door!
Chatsworth- yes it’s pricey, but it is wonderfully beautiful and the ideal place to while away the hours if it’s raining. If you don’t fancy the £20 ticket price, park the car and take a wander up into the woodland behind the House, and over the fields back towards Bakewell. The gift shop and cafe are worth visiting, and the nearby FarmShop is ace, with well priced meat, an amazing crayfish salad and excellent chocolate brownies.
The Monsal Trail- at the very least everyone who visits should stand and gawk at the beauty of the Monsal Viaduct, nestled in the valley. You can walk (or hire bikes from Hassop) and enjoy the length of the trail after the tunnels along the route were recently opened up. The flat paved track makes it easy going and full of friendly walkers.
Eyam- I have a bit of a morbid fascination with Eyam, an infamous plague village in Derbyshire and like to take everyone there. The plaques on the front of the houses notate the deaths, almost sacrificial as the townspeople kept themselves in quarantine to prevent the deadly disease from spreading the neighbouring villages. Perversely fascinating.
Walk- Mam Tor, Froggett Edge, Ladybower, Kinderscout, Dovedale, The Tissington Trail, The Pennine Way. Put on your boots and walk. There are enough pubs and tea rooms in every village to ensure you’ll never be thirsty. Go outside, breath in the fresh air, wear yourself out and earn that extra slice of Bakewell Pudding.