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Best hotels in the Peak District 2023: Where to stay for nature walks and contemporary cool

If you’re headed for an adventure in the UK’s first national park, choose the right place to lay your head at the end of a long day, and try some great food while you’re at it

Helen Moat
Tuesday 02 May 2023 15:44 BST
Explore all that the Peak District has to offer
Explore all that the Peak District has to offer (Zhi Xuan Hew on Unsplash)

The beautiful Peak District sits in the very heart of England, and is replete with screensaver scenery, from limestone gorges and sprawling wildflower grasslands, to thundering river valleys and ancient broadleaf woodland. It’s no wonder it became Britain’s very first national park back in 1951.

The Peak District covers an area about the size of Greater London, and although its mostly in the county of Derbyshire, it also reaches into areas of Staffordshire, Cheshire, Greater Manchester and South and West Yorkshire. Fortuitously, this exceptionally pretty part of the planet can be easily explored on foot. Plus, there are plenty of safe, traffic-free cycling trails, including former railway lines, such as the Monsal.

But there’s a whole more to the park than breath-taking scenery and the picture-postcard villages and bustling market towns that are scattered hither and thither. There’s also a wealth of historic buildings to visit, including one of England’s finest, Chatsworth, and the medieval Haddon Hall.

For those after a buzzier break, the vibrant cities of Manchester, Sheffield and Nottingham sit on the park’s fringes – perfect hunting grounds for shoppers, foodies and night-life lovers alike.

And when it comes to booking your accommodation, you’ll find being in the thick of wild moorlands and secluded dales doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice city-standard style and comfort. The Peak District offers grand spa hotels, characterful inns and elegant country houses a-plenty. So kick off those boots at the end of a day’s hike and luxuriate in the park’s finest hotels.

Best hotel for walkers: Losehill House Hotel and Spa

Neighbourhood: Edale

Be at one with nature while enjoying the luxury of LoseHill House (Losehill House)

Eden or Edale? Both claim paradise. Losehill House is tucked into a tranquil corner of the dale fronted by wildflower meadows and backed by Win Hill. This is superb rambling county, with the Great Ridge flanking one side of the dale and Kinder Massif the other.

After a day of strenuous walking, relax aching muscles in the indoor swimming pool, sauna and outdoor hot tub. Then finish the day with a meal in the award-winning restaurant overlooking England’s green and pleasant land – fuel for the body, food for the soul.

Best for village charm: The Red Lion

Neighbourhood: Litton near Tideswell

The best place for that classic B&B experience (The Red Lion)

Is there a Peak District village more lovely or a country pub more charming? In an area of steep-sided dales, ancient woodlands and flower-rich meadows, The Red Lion sits at the heart of Litton village, an upland settlement of limestone cottages straddling long leafy greens.

Inside the atmospheric 18th-century inn, small rooms with low beams, thick stone walls and roaring log fires offer old-world charm and an intimate dining experience. Upstairs, there are two comfortable double rooms.

Before turning in for the night, enjoy one of the inn’s quality roasts and sample its fine ales. But don’t over-indulge – the village stocks are just outside.

Price: Doubles from £105

Book now

Best spa hotel: Ensana Buxton Crescent

Neighbourhood: Buxton

Bathe in the luxury at the Buxton Crescent’s spa (Ensana Buxton Crescent)

Prefer culture to rambling? Georgian splendour to countryside pub? Look no further than this Ensana wellness and spa hotel. The elegant crescent-shaped building – Buxton’s answer to the Circus in Bath – boasts 81 rooms and suites, some with four-poster beds and free-standing baths.

But it’s the wellness facilities that make The Crescent special – basement thermal pool, a heated indoor-outdoor roof-top pool, jacuzzi and sauna zones, salt cave, beauty therapies, wellness and holistic treatments.

After a day of pure relaxation, you’ll be ready for a night at Britain’s highest opera house, an opulent Edwardian Frank Matcham creation.

Best hotel for foodies: Fischer’s Baslow Hall

Neighbourhood: Baslow

Lose yourself in foodie heaven with the tasting menu (Fischer's Baslow Hall)

The Grade II-listed stone-built manor house and romantic gardens shout pedigree. How could it be otherwise – Baslow fringes Chatsworth House, one of England’s most sensational stately homes. So you can look forward to luxuriating in style and comfort in one of the sumptuous 11 bedrooms.

However, it’s the eclectic and innovative dishes created in the bespoke kitchen that makes a stay at Fischers an exceptional experience. Grab a front-row seat at a “Kitchen Bench” session and watch the masters at work, then lose yourself in foodie heaven with the tasting menu.

Best boutique hotel: The H Boutique Hotel

Neighbourhood: Bakewell

This trendy spot is perfect for a couples’ city break (The H Boutique Hotel)

Farmers may roll off the hills in their Land Rovers and tractors for the Monday Agricultural Market, but in the centre of this rural market town you’ll discover a city-chic boutique hotel.

Behind the traditional stone-faced exterior, 10 H-themed rooms are decorated in neutral shades, with local artwork and photographs celebrating nearby Peak District beauty spots, from Hassop to Hathersage.

Downstairs, however, the H Bar is more Boston than Bakewell. This is the place to find contemporary cool – somewhere to chill in the heart of the busy tourist town.

Best luxury hotel: The Peacock at Rowsley

Neighbourhood: Rowsley, Bakewell

Feel like you’re in a period drama at this 16th-century manor house (The Peacock at Rowsley)

You too can be Lord and Lady of the Manor at The Peacock, a boutique hotel owned by Lord and Lady Manners of Haddon Hall. The 15 bedrooms and luxury suite feel intimate in this 16th-century manor house of low ceilings and leaded windows. Comfortable armchairs, soft lighting and tasteful furnishings enhance the cosy atmosphere.

The restaurant has a reputation for quality, locally sourced food, or go catch your own at Haddon Hall Fisheries, which offers day passes for the nearby Wye and Derwent rivers.

For lovers of period dramas and stately homes, Haddon Hall and Chatsworth House are just a few miles away, and are surrounded by the natural beauty of the National Park.

Price: Doubles from £235, B&B

Book now

Best hotel for the ‘compleat’ angler: Charles Cotton Hotel

Neighbourhood: Hartington

Get a proper Peak District experience at the Charles Cotton Hotel (Charles Cotton Hotel)

Dedicated fishermen will know who Charles Cotton is – angler, poet, gambler and co-author of the 17th-century angling bible, The Compleat Angler. But you don’t have to be an enthusiast to appreciate the nod to the angling guru in the paintings, maps and fishing paraphernalia dotted around this quirky but stylish hotel.

Guests can enjoy exclusive fishing on the River Dove, courtesy of Beresford Fishery. Non-anglers can step out of the hotel and enjoy a circular ramble through three stunning dales. Alternatively, potter around the quintessential White Peak settlement, with its limestone cottages, tearooms and cheese shop set around the village duckpond and green.

Best hotel for couples: Biggin Hall Country House Hotel

Neighbourhood: Biggin-by-Hartington

The perfect setting for a romantic weekend away (Biggin Hall)

There is something Brontë-esque about this rambling 17th-century hotel, with the big skies of the White Peak plateau overhead and the criss-cross of dry-stone walls chequering rolling countryside.

For the ultimate romantic weekend, choose a room with a four-poster bed; enjoy afternoon tea under a parasol on the lawns; and lock eyes over a candlelit dinner before relaxing with a glass of red wine by the fire.

If you can tear yourself away from this most loved-up of settings, you can hire a tandem at Parsley Hay on the High Peak Trail and ride the roof of the White Peak.

Best for wellness in nature: Wildhive Callow Hall

Neighbourhood: Mappleton, Ashbourne

Be at one with nature in a luxury treehouse or opt for glamour in the elegant Victorian house (Wildhive Callow Hall)

Callow Hall implores you to reconnect with your wild side, and with 35 acres of gardens, meadows and woodland, it isn’t hard to do. Surround yourself with nature, courtesy of the luxury treehouses and hives hidden under a canopy of trees. More traditional glamour is offered in the elegant Victorian house, with restful colours and chic furnishings all adding to the sense of wellbeing.

Pamper yourself with a facial, manicure, pedicure or massage at the coach house, before relaxing in the sauna. Too sedate? Hire a bike to explore the spectacular Tissington Trail.

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