The Peak District is my all-time favourite place in the UK. As I said in a previous post, I prefer nature over big cities. So when I visited the UK (I did it several times in the past couple of years), I was naturally attracted by this place.
How to get there?
The Peak District is one of the most popular national parks in the UK. I read online articles naming The Lake District as the most popular park in the UK. I visited both, however, the place which has stolen my heart is the Peak District. It’s a matter of personal preferences, and I prefer the Peak District over the Lake District.
You can reach The Peak District very easily. Wherever you travel from, you need to catch a train, a plane or get a lift to Sheffield or Manchester. When I visited the park, I chose to stay in Sheffield. Trains can be very expensive in the UK. So avoid buying the ticket on the day. My advice is to buy it in advance (if you can). The train network in the UK offers quite a few discount cards, which you can check out here. I purchased one of these cards when I travelled in England, and I must say I got really good train ticket deals. It made a difference because I travelled in summer when train tickets are much more expensive anyway. Sometimes, I managed to purchase train tickets at half the price on a weekend day, so ended up saving some money by using the discount card.
Click here to purchase your train ticket to either Sheffield or Manchester
Check out if there are any flights into Manchester or Sheffield from your destination here
If you hire a car, you can always use google maps to direct you
Plan your trip to the Peak District
When I booked my accommodation in Sheffield, I tried to stay somewhere as close as possible to the train station. I didn’t want to walk too much in the morning to catch my train. So I advise you to do the same. To reach the Peak District from Sheffield, you must take The Hope Valley Line between Manchester and Sheffield (Northern Railway). The train stops at Grindleford, Hathersage, Bamford, Hope and Edale. I personally got off at Edale and Bamford and hiked around those areas.
Keep reading to learn about my detailed hikes in Edale and Bamford. There are quite a few trains during the day (especially at peak time). However, be aware that if you travel on Sunday the trains don’t run as often as they do during weekdays. So make sure you do check when is your last train from the Peak District back to Sheffield. You definitely don’t want to spend the night at the park.
If you travel to the Peak District by car, then you will obviously have more freedom in terms of places you can stop at and how much time you spend at the park. The Peak District is a massive area, and unfortunately, the train doesn’t stop everywhere. However, there is a bus service which serves the park pretty well. There is more information on the bus service operating within the Peak District area here.
Hiking routes and practical advice
If you need inspiration with the hiking route, I recommend checking out these suggestions only after you’ve checked out my suggested itineraries below, of course. My suggested itineraries are easy and only sometimes moderate. The ones suggested by Komoot cover difficult ones too, so it depends on your fitness level which one you decide to complete.
The hiking trails are marked, so once I got off the train I simply followed the signs. It also helps to use one of those offline map apps. I always use Maps.Me. There are some areas where you might have troubles getting a phone signal. However, the park is busy, especially in summer, so you will always bump into other hikers or locals who went out for a stroll. Therefore, you are never alone, and I never felt anxious about getting lost (although I have the worst orientation skills).
My Edale Itinerary
I like my hiking adventures to be spontaneous, this is why I never plan it too much. Since I travelled by train at that time, I knew I had to plan my starting points considering the train stops. On my first day in the Peak District, I started my hike at Edale. I knew I had to get back to the same point, so I looked for a circular walk because I had to go back to Edale and catch the train back to Sheffield at the end of the day.
The hike I came up with is highlighted in the picture below. The hike was easy to maybe medium when I started claiming up to Mam Tor, but nothing impossible. The terrain was mostly flat, it only got a bit hilly when you get closer to Mam Tor. The landscape was gorgeous: I walked through open fields, passed by a flock of sheep and a river. After that, I started my accession to Mam Tor which is only 517 m high. You get to see a gorgeous view once you get on the top. Later I learnt that Mam Tor is 320 million years old. I was amazed to discover how old that hill actually was.
Below is my first day in the park in pictures. I absolutely adored it. The only downside was the wind which was unusually strong for that time of the year.
My Bamford Itinerary:
For my second day of hiking in the Peak District, I chose to get off at Bamford. This hike also took almost the entire day to complete. Like previously, I had to come up with a circular walk itinerary because I had to return to the same spot for my train back to Sheffield. Similar to my hike in Edale, the hike in Bamford was nothing less than breathtaking. The main highlights were walking through the idyllic village of Bamford, stopping by the Ladybower Reservoir Dam, continuing through the enchanted forest and finishing off at Great Tor (Bamford Moor) and then back to the train station.
What I enjoyed the most during my second day in the Peak District was definitely the enchanted forest. I’m not even sure if it’s called this way. But this part of the hike felt like an animated movie to me. The difficulty of my second-day hiking was easy to moderate, similar to my previous hiking day. Below is a screenshot of my map itinerary and pictures with the main highlights of this itinerary.
And now I prepared some pictures which I hope you will enjoy as much as I do.
Village view Ladybower Reservoir Dam Ladybower Reservoir Dam The enchanted forest Hiking trail Plant The enchanted forest Hiking Trail Ladybower Reservoir Dam Bamford Moor Bamford Moor Bamford Moor Bamford Moor Bamford Moor View over the village
A few practical things I wished I knew before heading to the park:
– The sun can be quite strong in summer, and you can easily get a sunburn (it happened to me), so make sure you bring some sunscreen with you.
-The weather can change very quickly, it can be really sunny and warm in the morning, but it can get very windy and wet by the time you finished your hike, so make sure you bring some waterproof and windproof clothing with you
-Bring plenty of water and snacks as you will be in the middle of nowhere. So, it’s important to keep hydrated and keep your energy levels up. If you are planning on doing a big hike, you don’t want to end up feeling extremely hungry or thirsty. Bear in mind there few shops around! Usually, they are located at the entry points (the park has quite a few depending on which way you enter the park). However, these shops can be quite limited in terms of options, and sometimes are quite expensive too. So it’s better if you buy things from Sheffield before you head to the park.
-I visited the Peak District when no coronavirus restrictions were in place. If you rely on public transport but still want to visit the park, make sure you check their website so that you are up to date with transport limitations or any other rules which have come into force since the pandemic started.
Start planning your hikes in the Peak District!
Finally, if you visit the Peak District any time soon, you might want to consider some of my hiking routes. They are relatively easy to complete and offer some spectacular views of the park. The Peak District is an extremely beautiful place to be. I loved everything about the park, and I cannot wait to get back there someday.
Below are some more of the pictures I took while hiking in the park. There is also a little video I made which I invite you to check out.
The Peak District
If you liked this post, you might want to check out my other posts on travelling in the UK here.
Have you hiked in the Peak District? Which hiking trail did you enjoy the most?