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The Peak District became Britain’s first National Park in 1951 and has been one of the most popular ever since. Despite its popularity, however, it is usually easy to get away from the crowds.

The name is misleading as this is not a land of mountains or peaks and the White Peak area, to the south of the National Park, is actually an inviting area of gentle hills and valleys, pretty limestone villages and some impressive stately homes.

The highlights of the far south are its charming villages and inviting dales, particularly picture-perfect Dovedale. The area is perfect for gentle walking and family friendly bike rides along disused railway lines in beautiful country.

In the central area you will find the Peaks’ largest settlements – the Regency spa town of Buxton and pretty Bakewell, famed for its tasty desert, the Bakewell Pudding – and the most well-known sights.

The Peak District’s most famous sight is undoubtedly Chatsworth House, which ranks amongst the most impressive stately homes in the country. Dating back to the sixteenth century, the house sits in a stunning location at the heart of 35,000 acre estate. Other interesting houses in the area include the classic medieval manor house of Haddon Hall, regularly used in Hollywood films, and stunning Lyme Park, used as Pemberley in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. 

Image © VisitBritain / Daniel Bosworth

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