In the winter months following Christmas, it’s all to easy to hibernate in the close to zero temperatures and stay home but there’s really no need and there are plenty of days out and activities to be had in the Peak District and Derbyshire – from real ale pub tours in a 4×4 to snowboarding and half term farmyard fun for the kids at Chatsworth and lots more…
Here’s our pick of 8 things to do and places to go in the colder months:
If you either want to get some practice in for an upcoming ski or snowboarding holiday or you just fancy having some fun on slopes, there’s lots to offer here with lots of facilities to ski, board, tobogganing and tubing. If you’re a total beginner and want a new year challenge there’s lessons too. About 1.5hr drive from Buxton so within easy reach heading out along the A515 towards Sudbury.
Certainly it’s a good idea to choose your day carefully when you walk here but the views north towards the Kinder Scout plateau (scene of the historic Mass Trespass on April 24th, 1932) and east over the Vale of Edale can be a photographer’s dream, especially if it’s had a dusting of snow or frost. Edale itself marks the southern end of the Pennine Way and the Hope Valley railway drops you conveniently back in Chinley and one of the finest gastropubs in the Peak District. The following link has a number of suggestions for walks across the Peak District:
Dolomite Training based in Bakewell offer a range of caving courses from beginners to those who are more experienced, and this makes for a great winter activity to get you moving in the cold weather and see some of the areas most stunning underground caves in the area. They also offer a varied range of other outdoor activities and courses from mountain biking, rock climbing, abseiling and more and there’s a number of course dates starting this month onwards.
Hassop Station is open 362 days per year and all facilities within are available during this time. The converted former railway station houses a lovely cafe, superb book and gift shop and cycle hire and cycle repairs. Located along the Monsal Trail, not far from Bakewell, if you’re feeling fit, you could drive to Bakewell, park up in the car park right next to the trail and walk down to Hassop Station where you can hire a bike. In the winter months the Monsal Trail is less busy which does offer a more intimate experience of the fascinating industrial heritage (eg. lime kilns and old railways tunnels) wildlife and beautiful vistas along the trail. You’ll still see plenty of wildlife if you look carefully such as Red grouse, short eared owls, birds and Mountain hares, to name a few.
If you want to see some of the best views and scenery of the Peak District, or visit some award winning real ale pubs – in the comfort of a warm 4×4, without having to worry about driving it – Live For the Hills offers a brilliant day out. And don’t think it’s just for visitors either – this is a great activity if you’re local and want do something different on your day off. You can choose from a range of tours – from photography tours, Peak District scenic tours, real ale pub tours and more. An ideal day out in the depths of winter and you could even drink ale along the way, couldn’t be better.
One of England’s finest historic houses, Bolsover Castle is open at weekends, 10am – 4pm until 12th February when opening times change. Many other stately homes and houses are closed completely during the winter months and this makes for an ideal weekend day out for all the family. The 17th century castle is a fascinating place once you start roaming about inside and around the grounds.
To give your little ones a great place to spend their half term, the farmyard and adventure playground at Chatsworth will be open for the February school holidays. Join in the Wild West themed fun on their trailer ride, dare to handle the spiders and snakes, take a shot in Tin Can Alley, let off steam in the adventure playground and meet all the animals in the farmyard. Alternatively – for grown ups, there are a series of Winter Talks happening during January with expert speakers covering topics such as Modern forestry on a Historic Estate and Managing a modern garden and more.
Chesterfield holds its famous flea market every Thursday – and in winter there’s no exception. From 9am – 4pm, you can peruse antiques and obscure vintage finds, and the good thing is, there’s plenty of coffee shops right on your doorstep in and around the market area if you need to get warm from the cold.
Go Beneath the earth and explore the vast limestone caverns and see how the spectacular crystal stalactites and stalagmites have lined the chambers over millions of years. With new LED lighting, the caverns look spectacular along the effectively illuminated walk ways, so don’t forget your camera. A day out at Poole’s Cavern can be enjoyed by everyone and the Cafe in the Cavern serves a varied, tasty menu, with light meals or if you just fancy a coffee somewhere warm. Guided tours are every 15-20 minutes. The walk through Grin Low Country Park opposite the cavern entrance up to Solomon’s Temple offers breathtaking views of Buxton. Open all year round, it’s an ideal winters day out.