16 Reasons we love Christmas in the Peak District…
Christmas in the Peak District is always beautiful and the landscape looks stunning in winter, as the frost settles on fields and pretty villages and towns decorate their streets. The smell of open fires in cosy pubs, streets lined with sparkly Christmas trees, pantomime fun, grand stately homes, scenic walks, to name but a few things we love about the festive season here…
But Christmas is probably a bit different for us country folk compared to those who live in bigger towns and cities…and here’s why we love it so much here:
If you’re visiting the Peak District during the festive season, don’t miss Castleton what ever you do. This pretty Derbyshire village, characterised by its limestone cottages and the dramatic scenic entrance to the village on the north side – known as Winnats Pass (the ‘Shivering Mountain’ or Mam Tor can be seen to the left , famous for it crumbling road which closed due to safety in 1982). And there is of course the large, brightly (always coloured) lit Christmas trees, which line the main street of Castleton every year and have become synominous with the village – it wouldnt be Christmas without them basically.
Regarded as one of Frank Matchams finest creations, this is one of England’s most beautiful theatres. So to go and watch any show, especially the annual Christmas ‘panto’ is an absolute must – because you defintely get two for the price of one here.
Every year Chatsworth House transforms itself into a magical wonderland with decorations – and each year the theme is different, often taken from classic children’s stories. Each room is traditionally decorated to reflect the theme, which, usually depicting the story through each room as you wander round so visitors and particularly children, can really immerse themselves in the experience. This years theme is Dickens and the house looks fantastic.
Having eaten as much Christmas food as physically possible, nothing beats a walk in the countryside on Boxing Day to perk you up again. Chrome and Parkhouse hills are a lovely scenic spot to take in the vistas of the Pack District..and as we’re lucky enough to have beautiful walks right on our doorstep, make the most of it to walk off that Christmas pudd.
Located in Blithbury, Staffordshire England’s largest working reindeer herd. Ok, so we know this isn’t in the Peak District – or, even in Derbyshire, but it’s close to Derbyshire’s border and not a huge drive from these parts either – about 1hr and 15 mins heading along the A52/A53 towards Alton Towers then Uttoxeter. And this place is something quite special too, so we couldn’t resist giving it a mention. The owner simply known as ‘The Reindeer Man’ has worked with reindeer for over 25 years and the farm opens during various times during the year including Christmas. Keep up to date with their latest events online.
Christmas shopping in the countryside is very different to Christmas shopping in a city – but in a good way. The Peak District has a large number of indepenent shops across its towns and villages and you might be suprised what you find, because there are some places definitely worth having a look at before resigning yourself that you need to head over to Manchester or Sheffield. Hot spots for great indie shopping are Bakewell, Leek,, Buxton (Cavendish Arcade in particular) and Ashbourne where you can find homewares, antique and vintage, locally produced cosmetics, hand made jewellery, paintings and of course locally made products, only available right here in the Peak District such as the famous Bakewell Pudding.
It’s true that we don’t seem to get as much snow in the Peaks in the run up to and around Christmas but then, you just never know up here, do you? And it always looks so pretty when the landscape has been dusted with the white stuff.
This Tudor and Medieval manor house is one of the finest stately homes in the Peak District and England. Every Christmas the house is beautifully and tastefully decorated to compliment its interior. An absolute must visit if you get the chance. They are currently offering candlelit tour of the house and chapel – very christmassy.
Forest Gin – an award winning spirit distilled next to Macclesfield Forest with key ingredients from the Peak District such as forest spring water, moss and fern, wild flowers and bark. The bottle is pretty nice too – an intricate papercut design created by Suzy Taylor. The Peak District finally has its own gin, so we can’t think of a better time to have a tipple. Makes a great gift too.
Oastcakes – a Derbyshire institition. Drizzled with butter, they’re delicious but add in grated cheese, tomatoes, bacon, mushrooms..the list could go on. Wye Waters Tea Room in Bakewell is brilliant – it’s located just across from the main carpark down a side street and this is a great spot for simple but good tasty food and cups of tea after a walk along the river. Derbyshire Oatcakes rule, ok.
We always love Christmas fairs in the local church hall with fellow villagers buying handmade gifts, homemade cakes and celebrating Christmas with cups of tea, mince pies and a Christmas carol sing song. A great event this year is Hognaston Winter Festival with a display of 30 illuminated trees in St. Batholomew’s Church, open daily from 11th December 2017 to 1st January 2018, as well the fantastic Village Advent Calendar which features displays in 24 windows around the village.
We all love the sound of a brass band up north… And you get that warm, cosy feeling when you start to hear the faint tones of ‘Noel’ or ‘Silent Night’ as you step outside early Christmas morning to take in a breath of crisp wintery air – the bands playing, the dinner is on, you’re home for Christmas 🙂
Yes. Door-to-door carol singing is still a thing in the countryside. Come mid-December be prepared to have a knock on the door interrupting your Christmas film with a crowd of people singing ‘Ding Dong Merrily on High’.
A few hours down the road in your local pub with neighbours never goes a miss – for those of us who have decided to resurface from our warm wood burning stoved living rooms and come together to drink mulled wine, eat minced pies and let the lunch go down. Saying that, most men are banned from the kitchen on Christmas Day (no, we’re not being sexist, just realistic) and so there’s always the pre-lunch pint.
This cafe has become quite legendary being a favourite stop off for cyclists and walkers. The Village Green prides itself on homemade, good food with local ingredients and they’re also really keen on catering for food allergies too. And so its reputation has grown – we’ve visited from Buxton especially to go there because we know it’s so good. The bread is amazing – and now you can order bread, pasties, cakes and even homemade ready meals online (to collect). It’s well worth the drive over as it’s a pretty part of the Peak District and Eyam is a fascinating little place – ideal for a pre or post Christmas / New Year jaunt with the family.
Hassop Station, along the Monsal Trail, located near Bakewell is open on New Years Eve and New Years Day. It’s closed on 24th, 25th and 26th December which gives you plenty of opportunity to visit over Christmas. But the cafe is fully licensed so if you fancy walking there and having a cheeky tipple then you can do. Or a cycle down the Monsal Trail on New Years Day followed by a light lunch in their superb cafe with a cuppa – because it probably wont be busy along the trail and the views across the Peak District from the trail are lovely in winter.