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Unmissable Peak District Attractions for Families

Going on a family trip to the Peak District? These attractions will keep everyone entertained

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A group of deer grazing grass below a tree at Chatsworth House, Peak District, England, UK

When you're looking for somewhere to tale the whole family, there's no need to look any further than The Peak District National Park. With rolling green hills, dramatic crags, underground caverns, and an endless array of exciting attractions, it’s a playground for all ages. There’s something for everyone here, whether that’s farms and railways for the youngsters, or museums and caves for the older ones among you. (There's no shame if that's the category you fall into, by the way. Caves are great.) Here at Plum Guide, we’re experts in all things travel, and as a result, we pride ourselves on curating the greatest destination guides. We’ve put together this list of some of the best spots in this beautiful corner of England just for you, so if you need help discovering the best Peak District attractions for families, then read on.

Chatsworth House

People walking on the green fields outside Chatsworth House, Peak District, England, UK

People walking on the green fields outside Chatsworth House, Peak District, England, UK

Some old buildings can be boring and stuffy, but Chatsworth House isn’t just 'some old building'. This magnificent stately home sits on the banks of the River Derwent, and is one of the most unmissable attractions in the Peak District. With over 30 rooms to explore, each one decked out in extravagant decor, you and the family can spend plenty of time roaming the halls and growing more and more jealous that this home doesn't belong to you. Perhaps your Plum Guide home is of similar ilk, though? See where guests would’ve been greeted in the Painted Hall, or check out the royal comforts in the lavish State Bedchamber.

Chatsworth House is home to one of Europe’s most significant art collections, with a huge range of artwork spanning 4,000 years. Feast your eyes on everything from Ancient Egyptian artefacts, to masterpieces by Rembrandt - maybe it will even inspire you to dig out the old easel. Set in over 1,000 acres of parkland and formal gardens, there’s plenty to do outside Chatsworth House as well. Known for its rich history, water features, Victorian rock garden, and sculptures, the grounds are a beautiful place to stroll around. Kids will love the farmyard and adventure playground where they can pet and feed the animals. There’s even a little explorers garden trail for the most adventurous ramblers.

Enigma Machine, Plum Guide home in Greater Manchester, UK

Enigma Machine, Plum Guide home in Greater Manchester, UK

Speedwell Cavern

Speedwell Cavern is one of the more unique Peak District attractions for families, located deep underneath the hills surrounding the village of Castleton. If you’re a Jules Verne fan, then this is a must, but we’ll warn you now that this attraction isn’t for anyone who’s claustrophobic. Take an incredible journey into the depths of the earth, where you can travel by boat along a captivating underground river. Glide through the workings of a 200 year old lead mine, as your tour guide sets the scene for what life was like for the miners who worked here every day. The tunnels eventually lead into natural caverns and a network of underground rivers, so there's a huge array of sights to catch your eye. Enter a vast cathedral-like cavern containing a subterranean lake, aptly named the Bottomless Pit - we’re not interested in finding out whether or not that's true.

Mandarin Orange, Plum Guide home in South Yorkshire, UK

Mandarin Orange, Plum Guide home in South Yorkshire, UK

Peak Rail

Journey back in time with a ride on the Peak Rail - originally opened way back in 1863. Running for four miles between the stations of Matlock and Rowsley South, this heritage railway has both steam and diesel locomotives. Feeling fancy? Upgrade your trip with luxury dining on the Palatine Restaurant Car which offers Sunday lunches, Christmas lunches, and afternoon or cream teas aboard beautifully restored carriages. There are also a range of events throughout the year, including the Santa Special train rides (definitely one for the kids, this). If you have a train enthusiast in the family, why not treat them to the Steam Experience driving course? They can get a taste of how it feels to drive a steam engine (a qualified crew member is on hand at all times to ensure there’s no runaway train situation).

Summer Wine, Plum Guide home in West Yorkshire, UK

Summer Wine, Plum Guide home in West Yorkshire, UK

Matlock Farm Park

A white, long-haired goat at Matlock Farm Park, Peak District, England, UK

A white, long-haired goat at Matlock Farm Park, Peak District, England, UK

If you’re looking for somewhere for the kids to let off some steam, Matlock Farm Park is the place to be. Meet a whole range of farm animals, from your regular goats and pigs, to the quirkier meerkats and wallabies. Kids can handle the animals, and even help feed them, so dive right in at this unmissable animal haven. If they’ve been extra good, you may want to treat the young ones to a pony ride around the scenic farmland. There’s plenty more fun to be had too, with attractions including a Go-Kart track, a jungle-themed indoor playground, an outdoor play area, and a huge inflatable jumping pillow. Be warned: this will make you wish you were three years old again.

The Crystal Palace, Plum Guide home in Derbyshire, UK

The Crystal Palace, Plum Guide home in Derbyshire, UK

The Peak District Mining Museum

A close up of black slate on the floor at the Peak District Mining Museum, England, UK

A close up of black slate on the floor at the Peak District Mining Museum, England, UK

With its rich mining heritage, a visit to the Peak District Mining Museum is a great way to learn about the area’s history in a fun and interactive way. Discover what life was like as a lead miner, while seeing the equipment they used as well as the thousands of relics and minerals on display. The museum is also home to three mock-mine tunnels, which visitors of all ages can have a go at climbing - don't get shown up by the kids. Just across from the museum is Temple Mine, a 20th-century lead and fluorspar mine. Grab a hard hat and follow your guide underground for insight into life in these darker parts. You can even have a go at panning for gold using traditional equipment - plus you get to take home what you find. Early retirement, anyone?

Peveril Castle

It wouldn’t be a list of Peak District attractions for families without at least one castle. Situated in the village of Castleton, Peveril Castle is one of England’s earliest Norman fortresses, built sometime between 1066 and 1086. As it’s perched on top of a hill, there’s a short (but steep) walk to the castle. It’s worth it once you reach the top though, as you’ll be rewarded with extensive views over the Hope Valley. You can explore the remains of the keep which was built by Henry II, and see the remains of the garderobe (laboratory) which budding scientists are sure to get excited about.

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