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The Peak District

Places to go

A trip to the Peak District wouldn't be complete without a visit to one or more of these places that give a real flavour of the area.

Blue John Cavern

Nestled in a spectacular limestone gorge in the Peak District is the Blue John Cavern. It's steeped in history, and its past is made evident with old mining equipment on view inside the dark chambers. Guided tours are conducted through the cave system at short regular intervals, each tour lasting 45 minutes to 1 hour - during which time a series of magnificent natural water-worn caverns are seen. 

Blue John can be seen in its natural state along with stalactites, stalagmites and huge caverns, making the trip a great educational experience for young and old alike.

Visitors can see the Waterfall Cavern and the Grand Crystallised Cavern with its multi-coloured dome. Visit Lord Mulgraves Dining Room where his Lordship entertained miners, and where fine veins of Blue John can be seen in their natural state in the limestone. Stand in the Variegated Cavern that is approximatley 200ft high and 30ft wide.

The traditional methods of turning Blue John are still used, and the skill of craftsmen working in the Original Blue John craft shop in the village of Castleton enables the visitor to view this unique stone at its best.

Address: Blue John Cavern, Winnats Pass, Castleton

The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop

This shop is in Bakewell, in the heart of the Peak District. As the name of the town may give away, it was at a local inn that the delicious puddings were made by accident - or so the story goes.

The result was so successful that a Mrs Wilson, wife of a Tallow Chandler who lived in the cottage now known as the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop, saw the possibility of making the puddings for sale and obtained the recipe and started a business of her own.

As well as sampling a Bakewell pudding from the shop, visitors can learn the secrets of the Bakewell bakehouse with special tours. Watch the pudding maker's art in action, and have a go at making one yourself! While your pudding is baking, sit down in the restaurant and enjoy a two-course meal. Once finished, your pudding will be baked and ready to take home! This costs £13.50 per head and is for parties of 20 or more, and commences after 6pm. 

Address: The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop, The Square, Bakewell

Buxton Museum

Visit the award-winning Wonders of the Peak gallery, which charts the history of the district through time from the Big Bang to the Victorians. Here visitors will find evidence of many wonderful creatures – trilobites and dragonflies, sharks and sabre tooth cats, a growling bear and evidence of many people who previously walked over the hills of the Peak District. Children especially will love crawling inside a burial chamber and meeting a mermaid. The audio tour Time Moves On will provide another dimension to your visit.

The collections also include the regionally important, carboniferous limestone fossil record of the Peak District collected between 1900 and 1950, and items related principally to Buxton from the 17th century to the present day. Of particular importance are souvenirs of the town and relics of local industry, social history, objects relating to local government, law and order and toys.

There are also items from the Buxton Opera House, and the Douglas collection of ephemera from the 1930s including specific material relating to Houdini.

There is a changing programme of exhibitions of art, craft, local history and photography and visitors can step into a Victorian scientist's study.

Address: Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, Terrace Road, Buxton

Chatsworth House

This stunning house is known as "the Palace of the Peak". Visitors can see grand rooms filled with examples of superb craftsmanship and treasures collected over five centuries, including paintings, furniture, silver, tapestries, porcelain and a gallery of neo-classical sculptures. Famous curiosities include four royal thrones, a giant ancient Greek marble foot, a lace cravat carved from wood, the fan of a Rolls-Royce jet engine and the unique illusionistic painting of a violin hanging on a door.

The renowned garden contains spectacular waterworks and you are welcome to walk, picnic and play there and in the surrounding park. The farmyard and adventure playground welcomes young visitors and families and has special activities throughout the season.

Address: Chatsworth House, Bakewell

Eyam Museum

The amazing story of the people of Eyam during the Great Plague is told at this museum. The disease entered London in the 17th century and came to Eyam by the most unfortunate of mishaps – carried by fleas festering in a box of cloth brought from the capital for the village tailor.

William Mompesson was the newly appointed rector of Eyam and, with his predecessor, Thomas Stanley, he persuaded the villagers to enter voluntary quarantine, bury their own dead and even worship outdoors to limit the spread of the disease. People in the surrounding area sent provisions to the people of Eyam which were left on the village boundary.

The death toll was terrible – between September 1665 and October 1666, 76 families were stricken and 260 people (a third of the population) met an awful, pained death.

In three interconnecting display areas, the museum shows the pre-history of human life in the area, the Roman roots of the settlement, the Saxon roots of its name, the nature, history and movement of Bubonic Plague, some popular "quack" remedies people turned to in their desperation, the new industries that later nurtured the village, and the geological significance of the area.

Eyam museum offers a simple, easily understood presentation of historic facts. It shows how the human spirit is capable of overcoming even the most dreadful of natural catastrophes.

Address: Eyam Museum, Hawkhill Road, Eyam