Covering a beautiful inland area of England, the Peak District spans the five counties of Derbyshire (containing the largest area of the National Parkland), Cheshire, Staffordshire, Yorkshire and Greater Manchester. It’s therefore easily accessible from almost anywhere in mainland UK. Picturesque villages, dramatic waterfalls, verdant green valleys, historic towns and of course the peaks, are found in the rolling countryside of the district. Popular for walking, mountain biking, climbing and wild swimming, it’s also home to the refined spa town of Buxton, and Bakewell, famed for its namesake tart.
Buxton Crescent Hotel, Buxton
This incredible Grade I-listed, Georgian building is the jewel in Buxton’s crown. Built by the fifth Duke of Devonshire in the 1780s, it fell into disrepair at the end of the 20th century. Under more recent ownership by the Ensana brand, Buxton Crescent reopened at the end of 2020, after undergoing a lavish renovation spanning almost two decades. As a result, everything here is in mint, brand new condition, sensitively retaining the original features, while adding sophisticated and on-trend elements. Drawing on the natural thermal waters of its environs, the spa here is a dream, with several indoor hydro experiences, relaxation rooms and a salt grotto. Guests have unlimited access and can swim from indoors to out, in the rooftop infinity pool. The dining offer is top class too, with service to match.
Grantley Hall, Ripon
A 47 bedroom hotel in Yorkshire, Grantley Hall’s main building dates back to the 17th century, with newer wings having been added to accommodate further spaces. The Royal Suite is at the top end of the accommodation options, with a mezzanine space, Emperor sized bed and far-reaching views. Grantley Hall is surrounded by formal gardens, with a flowing fountain and close proximity to the River Skell. It has a particularly excellent restaurant; Shaun Rankin at Grantley Hall has a Michelin star, and there are three further eateries from which to choose, as well as five bars. Its Three Graces Spa incorporates a large pool, a thermal suite and an outdoor cedar hot tub.
The Peacock at Rowsley
Formerly a dower house, The Peacock is now a chic boutique hotel. Antiques from across the ages mingle with stylish modern pieces, upholstered in rich fabrics. Guests can enjoy more casual dining in the firelit bar, or take a table in the formal restaurant surrounded by oil paintings and heavy drapes – either way, the delicious menu translates across to both venues. Younger children aren’t permitted to stay at weekends and overall it does suit adults better, especially those seeking a break with a more grown-up vibe.
Cavendish Hotel, Baslow
Right at the centre of the Peak District, is the Cavendish Hotel. It used to be a coaching inn and is now part of the Chatsworth estate – the Duchess of Devonshire herself had a hand in the interior design. It has a definite country house feel, with the Cavendish family’s stamp across the property – quite literally on the bedroom carpets – including some of their personal art collection. The Gallery restaurant creates seasonal menus and there’s the Garden Room for relaxed all-day dining. The Cavendish has 23 guest rooms in total, including a two-bedroom suite.
Biggin Hall, Buxton
Take the road from Buxton toward Ashbourne and you’ll pass the gateway to this characterful property. Biggin Hall is a 17th-century limestone building, containing centuries-old hearths, beamed ceilings, antiques and York stone floors. But these historic elements are offset by contemporary artworks (look out for the sculpture trail in the gardens) and it has the feel of an aristocratic home. Room bookings can only be made for groups where all parties are aged 12 and over, so it’s not an option for younger families. With sophisticated candlelit dining accompanied by live classical music, it’s definitely better suited to those preferring a refined atmosphere.
Losehill House Hotel & Spa, Hope Valley
Lauded by the Sunday Times as one of the best country stays and with two AA Rosettes for its culinary offer, this hotel is highly regarded. Built in an arts and crafts style in 1914, Losehill House is intimate with 23 guest rooms, yet boasts a full spa with an indoor pool and an outdoor hot tub. Losehill House’s Grafene Restaurant was named one of the ’20 best wild places to eat in Britain’ by The Times and prepares homemade seasonal meals with tempting vegetarian options, using ingredients harvested from the hotel’s own garden.