Explore a beautiful side of Britain that is beyond London with my 24 hour guide to The Peak District
I’d like to dare you all. Dare you to explore Britain beyond London’s pageantry. Beyond London’s fiercely active cultural scene. Beyond London’s effervescent cosmopolitan culture. Yes, I know. London is incredible and you can never tire of it. But, Britain has a lot more to offer that London cannot solely. And for me, that is the countryside bliss that is absolutely sublime and incomparable to any city experience.
Last month, I was invited by Visit Britain on a surprise adventure. The only information I received from them was that it will be an unforgettable trip to an unexplored part of Britain! After making my way there, a postcard was sent to my London address with further instructions to reach Birmingham and The Peak District! I’ve travelled a lot and to many exciting places, but the mystery made it SO much more exciting!
In this hyper social (and very unsocial in the real sense) world, I genuinely seek some alone time. Some time where I can truly be with myself, in physicality and in my thoughts. I like to seek solace to ponder about my life, the world and where we all are going with this. I find my life far too fast paced. And while I understand there is no rest for the wicked, it’s so important to just relax sometimes! Let’s all take a moment to write this down as a reminder! Escaping bustling streets, strong wifi connections and people help me do this.
While traversing through the Peak District of England, I felt truly connected with myself. I still have 99 problems, but one of them isn’t not owning the power to switch off after this trip. The Peak District is an incredibly beautiful and lush national park in the Great Britain that expands far across. Dramatic landscapes, majestic country houses and a laid-back quintessential British pub culture – the Peak District pleases all!
My trip to the Peak District was a well-balanced cocktail of adventure, culture and fun! I’m going to share with you my ultimate guide for spending 24 hours in this gem of natural beauty and serenity! Although you might want to stagger this over longer because I promise you, a one day itinerary will just not be enough to fill your soul.
The Peak District is quietly nestled in to the centre of England which makes it easy to access by public transport from several different cities, Manchester perhaps being the most convenient. I instead ventured out in to Birmingham for a couple of nights before driving down to my very quaint lodge in the countryside, The East Lodge Hotel. The advantage of having a car gave me free mobility to access many of the picturesque locations along the route.
I started my weekend trip with a stop at The Chatsworth House. The Chatsworth House is a stately home; home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Renowned for its art, landscape and hospitality, the House manages to evolve consistently with the succeeding generations. There are over 30 rooms to explore that house prized pieces of art, books that are thousands of years old and other things that give you a glimpse in to a time that was rich in art and culture. It’s more recent claim to fame is its appearance in the 2005 film adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. The Chatsworth House is definitely worth a visit to immerse yourself in British history and culture!
Next up, I relished a meal in one of Derbyshire’s many pubs. With a thriving pub culture, one can be really spoiled for choice but I settled on The Devonshire Arms, Baslow. A very cozy, pet-friendly pub with an extensive gin list (but, of course) and some delicious food, it made for the perfect choice. I also had a bite (or two, or few) of a scrumptious and pleasingly unctuous Bakewell tart. Something you can’t leave the Peak District without trying. And of course, not to be confused with the Bakewell pudding, which I saved for sampling at The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop.
Talking about the story of the Bakewell Pudding and its origin, the original pudding was first made by accident in the kitchen of a local inn where the mistress of the inn asked her cook to bake a strawberry tart for some visiting noblemen, but the cook accidentally spread the egg mixture on top of the jam instead of mixing it into the pastry. Ooops! The resulting pastry was, however, an unexpected success, so much so that a local woman purchased the recipe and set up a business of her own, selling the puddings from her home, now known as the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop.
After all this carnage, it only felt fitting to engage in some form of physical activity. If you love the outdoors, the lush green patches of The Peak District will thrill you to the point you become giddy! I hired a bicycle and decided to get lost on the Monsal Trail which is a traffic-free cycling route where you’re sure to feel at one with nature. This was a nice, breezy cycle-through. If you’d rather get that adrenaline pumping higher and faster, there are tougher trails to help accomplish this!
After some hours spent cycling and stopping for the occasional picture, I had somehow managed to work up an appetite again. Which worked in my favour, because I had one of the most delicious meals ever at The Cavendish Hotel, Baslow. I still can’t get over how beautiful the property is and how impeccable my entire dining experience was, right from the ambience to the service, and of course, the food. I had a three course meal that was very vegetable focussed without being boring. Being a vegetarian, I’m mostly just presented with plates of starchy carbs where people really don’t know what to do with vegetables and consider it nothing more than a side! This was delightfully refreshing, tantalising and unforgettable.
After a long but thrilling autumnal day spent in the green, slowly turning brown Peak District, it felt comforting to tuck myself in to a majestic four poster bed at my hotel, The East Lodge Hotel. Only to wake up to a view of grazing sheep and endless fields. A silent morning stroll around the estate, and I soon found myself making my way back with a heart full of gratitude and a sense of calm. If reconnecting with yourself is what you are craving (and let me tell you that you are, even if you aren’t) an escapade to the British countryside is calling your name! I hope you get out of the box and pick up!