Calling all intrepid pups, we’re exploring England’s first national park! From rugged mountains to film-worthy stately homes, the dog-friendly Peak District is perfect for adventurous weekends away. It’s fantastically dog-friendly with plenty to see and do, and easy to get to with the area covering parts of Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, Cheshire, West Yorkshire and Derbyshire. Did someone say Mr Darcy?
For the uninitiated, the Peaks are separated into two: dark and white. The dark peak is full of remote moors and mountains while the white peak contains lovely villages, grassy hills and cosy pubs. There’s definitely something for everyone, with visitors tending to explore the Peak District National Park which is central and the most rural area. Many of the Peak’s well-known villages and towns lie just outside of the park, but whichever you opt to stay in, you’ll find endless charm and a warm, dog-friendly, muddy boot welcome.
If you’re coming to the Peak District for a long weekend, it’s a good idea to pick out a few trails in different areas so you experience a range of scenery. One of our favourite trails starts right in the north in the Goyt Valley and is great for dog walking as there’s plenty of off-lead routes and paths that cross open moorland through woods and even reservoirs. You could start at Errwood Hall car park and chase your pup up Shining Tor, which has some of the best views in the Peaks, then amble along to Foxlow Edge towards the old ruins of 19th century Errwood Hall. When exploring, make sure to keep an eye out for any unexpected drops, just as you would when adventuring anywhere new with your pup, you check out our helpful countryside walking guide if you’ve got any concerns. If you get hungry afterwards, which is likely, head to the dog-friendly Navigation Inn in nearby Buxworth, a traditional 200-year old canal-side inn that serves up great ales and hearty pub food.
Further south in the Peaks is the popular village of Bakewell, which may or may not be home to the classic Bakewell tart – a great Peak District debate. It would be rude not to try a fair few while you’re trying to get to the bottom of the mystery though! Otherwise, Bakewell is popular with visitors for a few reasons; it provides a great (buttery) base for putting up those paws at the end of a day’s walking, is ideally located for seeing a good stretch of the Peak’s best and quirkiest scenery and is full of cute cosy eateries.
Lathkill Dale is one of the quirkier places to see near Bakewell. Pack a few Bakewell tarts and head to what’s known as the ‘disappearing river’. This is an incredible geological feature that’s famed for its abundance of flora and fauna, which pup will love exploring. Lathkill Dale is ranked as one of the finest limestone dales and is an official area of outstanding natural beauty. Dogs will love diving in and out of the River Lathkill, which is crystal clear throughout the year. For a quick bite to eat head to Hobb’s Café, a very cute and wonderfully pup-friendly little café in Bakewell that serves up a lovely menu to weary walkers from Thursday to Sunday.
Thirty minutes from Bakewell is Peveril Castle, one of the UK’s oldest Norman buildings. If you and pooch are feeling adventurous, we suggest climbing to the top of the hill for spectacular views across Hope Valley. While it’s stunning, there aren’t too many amenities so it’s a good idea to pack a picnic and lots of water for your four-legged friend. Later, when it’s time for some rest, consider heading to The Peacock at Rowsley on Bakewell Road where you’ll find tastefully decorated rooms in a grand historic hotel. All of the hotel’s 15 rooms are dog-friendly and pups are also able to enjoy the gardens with you.
Just ten minutes from Bakewell is stately home, Chatsworth House. Oh, someone did say Mr Darcy! In Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mr Darcy’s grand Pemberley house is believed by some to be based on Chatsworth House. That’s good enough for us – packing bags now.
Known as the Palace of the Peak, Chatsworth House is located on the River Derwent surrounded by glorious parkland and is simply stunning all year. Throughout the Estate there are footpaths worth exploring in every direction and Chatsworth House welcomes dogs on leads throughout their majestic grounds. Take pup down one of the most scenic walks from Calton Lees up to Beeley where you’ll meander through Rabbit Warren and Stand Wood passing Swiss Cottage, Emperor Lake and Hunting Tower before arriving back at Chatsworth.
Situated on the Chatsworth Estate is the Devonshire Arms, a traditional stone-built pub with rooms, just over a mile (a little trot) from Chatsworth House. This is a delightful pub with charming, characterful rooms that have been individually designed by the Duchess of Devonshire. Pups are more than welcome to stay with you in the Farmhouse rooms.
If Chatsworth whets your appetite for stately homes, make a worthwhile pitstop at Elizabethan Hardwick Hall, about 40 minutes from Chatsworth, which has an amazing 900 acres of land and welcomes canines across their parkland and stables. Hardwick Hall is known for being an architecturally advanced 16th century country house and is home to many wonderful tapestries and needlework collections. As well as throughout the grounds, your pooch is welcome to join you for coffee and a snack at the South Terrace Café and the Gatehouse.
Matlock is another popular Peaks location, situated about 30 minutes south from Bakewell just outside of the national park. Matlock is perfect for those looking to explore the Peaks while also getting their fair share of foodie experiences as the area is packed with dog-friendly pubs. You can also check out the cute nearby village of Buxton for extra walkies opportunities, which is about 20 minutes’ drive from Bakewell. Halfway between Matlock and Buxton is the Rutland Arms, right on the edge of the Chatsworth Estate. This 19th century hotel is meant to be home of the first ever Bakewell pudding – so add it to the baked goods itinerary! Jane Austen is believed to have stayed here whilst writing Pride and Prejudice, which will excite literature and TV fans. Dog’s can join you in the bar.
The famous Nine Ladies stone circle is very near Matlock and is one of the highland’s must-see attractions. Located at Stanton Moor Peak, pup will love the trails as much as you’ll love the weird standing stones. When it’s time for a bite to eat head to the Matlock Bath, The Fish Pond, where pups are able to join you in all parts of the pub except for the upstairs ‘ballroom’ area. The food is tasty and there’s a great range of beers as well as a log fire which will be useful for drying off a potentially damp dog! You could also try the Sycamore Inn in Matlock which welcomes dogs throughout their charming space. This 15th century old coaching inn serves real ales and locally sourced home cooked food. There’s a pup and family friendly garden and even a boules court.
From the beautiful misty mountains in the northern peaks to the iconic limestone formations and walking paths in the south, grab pooch and pack your bags to experience the magnificent Peak District. Remember to take good walking shoes and plenty of dog treats to reward your dog for climbing all those hills. Enjoy!
Updated June 2019