If you’re looking for a list of the best villages in the Peak District, you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, I share 9 of the most picturesque Peak District towns and villages that all deserve a place on your bucket list.
The Peak District National Park is one of the UK’s most beautiful and underrated regions. A combination of towering peaks, rolling green hills, dramatic ridges, and charming villages, there’s enough to keep you entertained for weeks or even months at a time.
While the epic walks in the Peak District are a highlight when visiting the national park, the picturesque Peak District villages are not to be underestimated. With their picturesque streets, quaint cafes, cosy pubs, and esteemed restaurants, they make for the perfect pitstop between hiking adventures.
In this guide, I will share 9 of what I consider to be the best villages in the Peak District. I’ll also share any other information that I think will be useful when planning your trip. Let’s get to it!
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The Best Villages in the Peak District
Okay, let’s jump into what you came here for. We ticked off all of these locations during our trip and can assure you that these are the best villages in the Peak District.
From popular villages and hidden gems to picture-perfect towns fit for a postcard, I hope you enjoy these 9 Peak District towns and villages.
I’ll kick off the list with what’s probably the most well-known village in the Peak District. Technically, Bakewell is a town, but it has all the feels of a village, so I figured it deserved a spot on this list.
Bakewell is famous for its traditional English pudding, ‘the Bakewell tart’, but there’s so much more to it than that. You could easily spend an entire day or afternoon here, wandering around and admiring its picture-perfect views.
Some of the best things to do in Bakewell include visiting All Saints Church, strolling along the River Wye, visiting the Love Lock Bridge, and wandering around the pretty Hebden Court.
One thing I will say about Bakewell is that it gets extremely busy. I recommend avoiding it during weekends and school holidays, or if that’s not possible, aim to arrive early before the crowds.
Edale is another gorgeous village in the Peak District whose scenic streets are fit for a postcard. Tucked away at the end of the Hope Valley, it’s a popular starting point for hikers since it provides easy access to the Pennine Way and other adventurous walking routes.
You can even walk to Kinder Scout from Edale. This is one of the most exciting routes to the tallest Peak District peak involving a gentle scramble up a waterfall and descending via the picturesque Jacobs Ladder.
There is little to do in Edale Village. It’s just nice to walk around admiring its beautiful stone buildings and pristine houses. There are also two pubs, two cafes, and a village shop where you can refuel after an exciting day on the trails.
You’ll likely need to pass by Castleton at one point or another during your visit to the Peak District. Home to some of the top things to do in the Peak District and the starting point for various hikes, this picturesque village is the perfect example of how diverse the national park can be.
Castleton itself is the epitome of Peak District villages. Picturesque streets, stone cottages, unique local stores, and lovely village pubs are the highlight. Then, of course, there are all the exciting things to see and do in Castleton, which make this village a staple of most Peak District itineraries.
From Castleton, you can hike Mam Tor – one of the most famous peaks in the Peak District. There’s also Cave Dale, Winnats Pass, Peveril Castle and a number of adventurous show caverns that are fun to explore by tour.
However, a small word of warning. Like Bakewell, Castleton can get extremely busy. I don’t know about you, but crowds can ruin the experience for me. So I recommend visiting outside of peak times like weekends and school holidays.
While often over-shadowed by its bustling neighbour Castleton, Hope is an idyllic Peak District village that’s well worth a visit. Especially during busier times, you may find Hope to be a bit more relaxed. It’s also perfect for those who prefer a less touristy destination.
Hope also has plenty to offer visitors. It has a great range of shops, cafes, and pubs, not to mention the most spectacular scenery surrounding it. Win Hill and Lose Hill are two notable peaks overlooking Hope, providing access to other popular hiking routes in the Hope Valley.
This next Peak District town sits just outside the national park borders, but the rolling hills of the peaks practically surround it, so it makes sense to combine a visit while you’re here.
Buxton ends up on Peak District itineraries for many reasons. Most interestingly, in my opinion, it’s known for its natural thermal springs, discovered in Roman times and believed to possess healing properties.
Unfortunately, the only way to experience the healing power of the springs now is to visit the spa at The Crescent Hotel, where the thermal pool is fed by mineral water from a nearby ancient spring. But there are many other reasons why you should visit Buxton.
For a start, Buxton is home to world-renowned Georgian and Victorian architecture, with the Buxton Opera House, Buxton Visitor Centre, and Buxton Museum being notable examples. There are also tons of excellent restaurants, pubs, and shops.
Another village that one might consider visiting while exploring the Hope Valley is Hathersage.
Hathersage seems relatively modern and atmospheric compared to other Peak District towns and villages. It’s always bustling with people enjoying its various restaurants, bars, and shops.
On the contrary, Hathersage boasts rich legendary and literary associations. There are various links to the legend of Robin Hood, with ‘Little John’ said to be buried at St Michael’s Church. The village also inspired Charlotte Bronte when writing ‘Jane Ayre’.
North of the village is Stanage Edge, a dramatic gritstone ridge boasting some of the best views in the Peak District. You’ll also find what’s believed to be Robin Hoods Cave here, supporting the local legends.
If visiting Thors Cave is on your list of things to do in the Peak District, which it should be, you’ll naturally end up in the beautiful village of Wetton. Most people start their Thors Cave walk from here and many other routes throughout the Manifold Valley.
Wetton has everything you would expect from your typical Peak District village: pretty stone cottages on picturesque streets, a historic church, a cosy English pub, and the most picture-perfect views.
If you go hiking in this area, I highly recommend Wolfscote Dale for an enchanting riverside walk with breathtaking views.
I will round off my list with a village that I don’t imagine gets visited very often. But if you ask me, that’s even more reason to visit.
I encountered this one when completing a circular walk around the Manifold Valley. It was the first village I visited in The Peak District, and I remember feeling so excited that I had three weeks to explore this beautiful part of the country.
Again, this is purely a village to be admired for its beauty, not because there’s tons of stuff to do. Most importantly, there’s a pub, which I recommend stopping at if you find yourself passing through. It’s called The George, and it’s also a hotel.
Hiking Essential Items
Here are some essential items I recommend you have in preparation for your walk:
- Sturdy worn-in hiking boots
- Twin Skin Socks
- A waterproof hiking backpack
- A refillable water bottle
- A waterproof jacket
- Life straw
- Hiking snacks
- Blister plasters
- First aid kit
- Power bank
Here are some other essential for your adventure:
Enjoy These Beautiful Peak District Towns & Villages
I hope you enjoy these picturesque Peak District Villages as much as we did. As I say, they provide the perfect rest bite in-between hikes where you can refuel and recharge.
If you’re visiting the area soon, you might find some of our Peak District articles interesting. They include the best Peak District Walks, the Best Viewpoints in the Peak District, and the Best Things to do in the Peak District.
Stay adventurous and Happy travels.