Weekends in the Peak District // Winnats Pass, Castleton, Bakewell [2023]

Exploring the Peak District is one of my favourite ways to spend a staycation, and last month I ventured back up to this region for another weekend of adventures.

With stunning landscapes, challenging peaks and beautiful villages, a weekend in the Peak District is like no other.

It’s 1,437 square kilometres of diverse, wild and wondrous terrain and scenery and I love nothing better than getting out into its fresh air, no matter what the weather!

In case you are also looking to head off on the same adventure, I have pulled together a 3-day itinerary for the Peak District. Our stops included Mam Tor, Winnats Pass, Bakewell, Castleton and more. 

Looking for hikes in the Peak District?

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When is the best time to visit the Peak District

The Peaks are an incredible place to visit anytime of the year, but I would suggest visiting the Peak District between June and September if you can. 

Of course good weather cannot be guaranteed as it is England after all, but you have the best chance of sunshine.

You could also visit during the last two weeks of August when the Peak District is transformed with swathes of purple heather covering hills and the moors.


How to get to the Peak District

We drove from Milton Keynes to the Peak District by car, and the route took around 2 hours 30 minutes, with a stop. However you could also get the train from London to the Peak District, by heading to Macclesfield or Derby and then taking a bus or taxi.

I would however recommend having a car, as it means you can really explore the region better.

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Where to stay in the Peak District

ACCOMMODATION:Rivendale Lodge Retreat

For our weekend in the Peak District, we decided to stay at the gorgeous Rivendale Lodge Retreat near Ashbourne. Offering luxurious lodges and treehouse accommodation in the heart of the Peak District, it is the perfect place for a break away in the countryside.

Rivendale Lodge Retreat is the perfect secluded, country getaway with outstanding surroundings, a wonderful local area and lots of places nearby to explore.

The accommodation offers beautifully decorated interiors and everything you need for a self-catering break away, and it was the perfect base for us to explore.

The lodges come with a fully equipped kitchen for you to cook up a storm, an open plan living space for family get-togethers and a private decking, where we also had a gorgeous hot tub.

With views overlooking the Alsop Dale, Rivendale Lodge Retreat is just stunning and we were so impressed with our lodge, a Hulme End Premier Lodge.

Rivendale’s four bed premier lodge, with two double rooms with en-suite and a further two twin rooms, this place is massive and sleeps eight people. There are all the comforts from home too, with Wi-Fi, flat screen TV’s and gorgeous bedrooms.

 darwin escapes peak district

ITINERARY: Peak District



Drive to Rivendale Lodge Retreat – average time from London is 3 hours, average time from Birmingham is 1 hour and average time from Bristol is four hours.

Check in: 4pm

Dinner: Cook in the lodge

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For our first day in the Peak District we wanted to go on a big hike, so jumped in the car and headed out to Winnats Pass near Castleton. We parked up and headed over to the viewpoint, before making our way towards Mam Tor. The walk was amazing, and despite the windy weather, we could still see all across the Peaks. Once we scaled Mam Tor the weather descended and we got soaked. But it didn’t matter as we were having the best time!

Mam Tor and Castleton Circular Walk – MORE HERE

Distance: 5.5 miles

Time: 3-4 hours

Start and End Point: Postcode S33 8WN

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In the afternoon you can head back down to the village of Castleton for a wander around, and stop by Peveril Castle, a ruined 11th-century castle overlooking the village. Or if you want to go slightly further afield, you could head up Derwent Valley and the home of the Dambusters.

We also headed on to Bakewell in the late afternoon to grab ourselves a Bakewell Pudding before heading back to our accommodation.

  • Winnats Pass
  • Bakewell
  • Jacob’s Ladder
  • Derwent Dam Viewpoint
  • Peveril Castle

Dinner: We opted for dinner in the restaurant at Rivendale Lodge Retreat, and we dined to some incredible food, a bottle of wine and watched the rain outside. There are an array of local pubs nearby if you’d rather head out, or you could cook dinner at your accommodation. 

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Our plan was to get outdoors as much as possible, so on Sunday morning we chose another walk close by to the lodge.

Dovedale is a valley in the Peak District of England, owned by the National Trust, and is where the valley was cut by the River Dove. The river runs for just over 3 miles between Milldale in the north and a wooded ravine near Thorpe Cloud and Bunster Hill in the south.

This walk was a lovely Sunday morning stroll from the car park, up to the stones and beyond, before we turned around and headed back through the valley.

Dovedale Stepping Stones – MORE HERE

  • Distance: 5km approx. TBC
  • Time: 2-3 hours with coffee stop
  • Start and End Point Postcode: DE6 2AY

castleton peak district


In the afternoon, after we had checked out of our accommodation we drove about half an hour to the small town of Matlock Bath. We had planned to take the spectacular cable car flight to the 60-acre Heights of Abraham estate, but due to the weather we opted out and decided to come back another time.

Then we grabbed some lunch in Matlock Bath, before jumping in the car and starting our drive back to Milton Keynes.


We had the best time exploring the Peak District, and loved doing some more walks we hadn’t done before. 

Other walks in the Peak District

peak district 

If you on a bigger trip exploring more of Europe check out my guides to France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, Spain and United Kingdom.

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Thank you for reading and as always happy adventuring! If you have any questions about the destination please leave these in the comments below.

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Sophie X

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