The Peaks north of Bakewell are an area of incredible scenery with rolling hills, creased by lovely river valleys, as the land rises gradually towards the high moorlands of the Kinder Plateau.
Just to the north of Bakewell you will find picturesque villages like Ashford-in-the-Water, Gt. Longstone and Taddington as well as glorious valleys such as Monsal Dale and Millers Dale.
Further into the hills discover other interesting places like the ‘plague’ village of Eyam, Castleton with the Blue John Caverns and Tideswell which is a true Peak District town centred around the ‘Cathedral of the Peak’.
Up in the real ‘wilds’ of the Peak it is just heart-stopping scenery with the Derwent Valley Dams, of Dambusters fame, leading up onto the heather clad Kinder moorlands.
The Western Dales stretch from Buxton in the north, which is famous for its Victorian Crescent and world renowned Opera House, to Ashbourne in the south which is perhaps the nicest of Derbyshire’s market towns.
There is something almost magical as you turn off the Ashbourne to Buxton road and drop down into Dove Dale and then across to Manifold Dale. This is the ‘real’ Peak District with magnificent dales and lovely sparkling rivers.
A wander along any of the footpaths will take you to super villages like Crowdecote with its Bankside Pottery, Hartington famous for its duck pond and cheese shop and Alstonefield to enjoy a pint in The George pub.
If you feel more energetic then its got to be a bike on the High Peak or Tissington Trails. Stop if you find yourself pedalling past Tissington. This is a really lovely ‘estate’ village clustered around Tissington Hall.
The Derwent Valley is the most popular but also the busiest part of Derbyshire, studded with lots and lots of holiday attractions and brilliant villages like Monyash, Youlgreave and Winster.
Bakewell to the north is a mellow market town with a range of interesting shops, pubs and restaurants but its real claim to fame is that it was where Bakewell Puddings were first created.
Close by you will come across incredible Chatsworth House and Haddon Hall as well as other attractions like Peak Rail’s steam trains and Cauldwell’s water powered flour mill and craft centre.
Matlock Bath’s little Switzerland gorge, with its high cliffs, is another ‘must’ for your travels as it leads into the industrial revolution village of Cromford, now part of the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site.
In the hills around Matlock don’t forget that there are other superb attractions like the National Tramway Museum in Crich and the National Stone Centre between Cromford and Wirksworth.
The Peak District Fringes in eastern and southern Derbyshire are the county’s best kept secret. You are still in wonderful countryside with lots of attractions to visit but also just off the real tourist trail.
Chesterfield in north eastern Derbyshire, with its colourful market square and fantastic range of shops, or Bolsover with its ‘storm the battlements’ castle are well worth a visit.
Travelling further south you could spend many a day exploring the beautiful Amber Valley before visiting the Midland Railway Centre or the American Adventure theme park near Ripley.
Wirksworth is a super old leadmining town with a brilliant heritage trail whilst Carsington Water, Derbyshire’s inland sea, has everything from sailing and cycling to a craft centre and fantastic adventure playground.
Other things we mustn’t miss off the list are Alton Towers, Sudbury Hall and Childhood Museum close to Ashbourne, Melbourne with its Hall and nearby Calke Abbey, or Kedleston Hall close to the interesting city of Derby.
Here are brief details of the main attractions in each of the different areas.