Introducing Peak District
Rolling across the southernmost hills of the Pennines, the Peak District is one of the most beautiful parts of the country. Ancient stone villages are folded into creases in the landscape and the hillsides are littered with famous stately homes and rocky outcrops that attract hordes of walkers, climbers and cavers. No one knows how the Peak District got its name – certainly not from the landscape, which has hills and valleys, gorges and lakes, wild moorland and gritstone escarpments, but no peaks. The most popular theory is that the region was named for the Pecsaetan, the Anglo-Saxon tribe who once populated this part of England.
Founded in 1951, the Peak District National Park was England's first national park and is Europe's busiest. But escaping the crowds is easy if you avoid summer weekends. Even at the busiest times, there are 555 sq miles of open English countryside in which to find your own viewpoint to soak up the glorious scenery.
Locals divide the Peak District into the Dark Peak – dominated by exposed moorland and gritstone 'edges' – and the White Peak, made up of the limestone dales to the south.
Although there are several YHA hostels in the Peak District, they're often booked out in advance by groups, so contact them before turning up.
Need to know
Peak District destination guides
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Private Tour: 2-Night Peak District Canal Boat Trip from Manchester
Combine the north of England's serene countryside with the city lights of Manchester on this 2-night private canal boat tour! With a back-to-basics (yet comfortable) narrowboat for transport and accommodation, the tour passes along the Peak Forest Canal, through scenic locks, limestone villages and along the 200-year-old Marple Aqueduct, before switching onto the Ashton Canal .
Private Tour: 2-Night Peak District Canal Boat Tour from Manchester to Congleton
Spend two nights skirting England's Peak District National Park by canal on a private narrowboat tour that starts from Manchester and ends in Congleton! Take in the serene scenery of the Pennines while cruising by day, and spend two nights sleeping aboard your narrowboat – in a back-to-basics (yet comfortable) bunk-room bed.