If you enjoy nature, stately homes, famous filming locations, hiking and quaint towns, then this 3 day Peak District weekend itinerary is for you!
Even if you’re short on time, there’s still plenty of hours in the day to make the most of everything the Peak District is most renowned for.
It’s a truly stunning part of the country with wild terrain, uninterrupted views across the landscape and opulent estates one could only imagine living in.
Sound good? Go ahead and grab a cuppa, put your feet up and read on to see exactly how we spent a weekend in the Peak District – and how you can follow in our footsteps if you wish.
3 Days in the Peak District Itinerary For First Time Visitors
This 3 day Peak District itinerary assumes you’ll have access to a car during your stay.
It also assumes you’ll have less than a 4 or 5-hour commute to and from the Peak District and your home (otherwise, you won’t be able to fit as much in).
We hope you find it helpful and inspiring for your own trip planning!
Day 1: Settling in
You’ll likely spend the first day of your weekend in the Peak District driving there and settling in. But you might also be able to find time to fit in a short walk or hike.
After all, a trip to the Peak District won’t be complete without time spent outdoors!
During our trip, we were staying near Hartington village.
There’s a lovely circular route you can follow from the village, which will take you across fields, farming land, by the side of a river, over bridges and to many viewpoints up in the hills.
Here’s the route we followed, which took us about 2 hours in total.
But this is just an example! I’m sure, wherever you’re staying, you’ll find a short hiking route you can follow – to help you stretch your legs and start your weekend as you mean to go on.
Day 2: Lyme Park or Chatsworth (or both!)
One of the Peak District’s biggest claims to fame is how much this region appears within both the 1996 Pride & Prejudice TV series and the 2005 movie with Keira Knightley.
Each of these grand stately homes appeared within the Pride & Prejudice productions mentioned above as Pemberley (Darcy’s estate).
As such, one (or both!) of them are a must-see on any first timer’s itinerary for the Peak District.
Lyme Park and Chatsworth are less than an hour’s drive from each other, but you will need at least 2-3 hours for each.
We visited both during our trip as we didn’t want to miss out on either of them, but it did mean we had to plan our routes around each place carefully. I don’t think anything could have prepared us for just how extensive the grounds are!
Here’s how we did it…
We started our day at Lyme Park. The grounds open from about 9 am, while the garden and house open at 10.30 and 11 am respectively.
If you start early, you can see much of the wider estate in the morning, followed by the more intimate garden setting and the house itself later on.
We started our walk at Drinkwater Meadow, followed by Knightslow Wood. We then followed a trail towards Lantern Wood where we saw a real live stag en route. Incredible!
We walked through Lantern Wood, checking out The Lantern on our way, before walking by the side of the Red Deer Sanctuary where, surprisingly, we couldn’t see any deer. We didn’t have our binoculars with us though!
After that, we clambered up a sloping hill to see The Cage and the views from up there.
We then followed the route down towards Lyme Hall, so we could first wander around the house. It looks splendid inside and is also home to the world’s very first printed manuscript!
After that, we wandered around the surrounding gardens, which include walled gardens, an Italianate garden, lake, waterfall, orangery and more.
You can see some lovely views of the house from across the lake in front of it, which also mirrors how the house looks within the Pride & Prejudice TV series.
We did all this in about 3 hours, but we walk fairly quickly anyway, and we certainly didn’t see absolutely everything in the estate. That would surely take a full day or perhaps even longer!
As we’re outdoorsy people, we decided to stay within the grounds (or garden) at Chatsworth, which are incredible.
We spent about 2 hours exploring the garden. Here’s the route we took…
We first walked the length of the Broad Walk towards the Blanche Vase and Emperor Fountain.
From the bottom of Canal Pond is where you can see an iconic view of Chatsworth House (which is also the first time we see Pemberley in the Pride & Prejudice movie).
From there, we wandered through the Ravine, Pinetum, Grotto, Arboretum and towards the top of The Cascade.
After that, we headed for the 100 Steps, down towards the maze and around the maze.
It must’ve been at least 20 or 30 minutes before we managed to find the middle!
After we conquered the maze, we wandered through the Rock Garden and Coal Tunnel, checked out the Willow Tree Fountain and Ring Pond, before following the paths towards the house, Rose Garden and exit gates.
Although we didn’t see inside the house ourselves, we imagine you’d need at least an hour to do that justice, so you’re looking at a total visit of 3 hours for Chatsworth as well.
Day 3: Bakewell & Bamford Edge
Bakewell is a charming town in the southeastern part of the Peak District.
It’s most known for being the birthplace of Bakewell pudding and Bakewell tarts, but the town itself is lovely to wander through.
Head here in the morning (before most tourists have arrived) and enjoy wandering through the old-fashioned streets, picturesque archways, by the side of the river and across Bakewell Bridge.
Don’t forget to pick up some Bakewell pudding or tarts for later!
Next up: a hike around the infamous Bamford Edge and Stanage Edge region.
If you have it in you to go on a longer hike, then you might like the look of this Bamford Edge and Stanage Edge Circular route, which is just shy of 5 and a half miles.
Or, if you don’t have as long to spare and still want to take in some incredible views, then this Bamford Edge Circular route is much shorter (it’s less than 2 miles).
If you start your day early enough, then even with a longer hike later in the day, you may still be able to drive home on the same day (obviously depending on where you live).
For us here in Bristol, we had a 4-hour drive south after enjoying all the activities you’ve seen in this itinerary.
Where To Stay in the Peak District for a Weekend
There are lots of lovely places to stay in the Peak District.
But our advice would be to find somewhere that has breakfast and evening meals available, as well as one that’s on or close to a main road while still being in a scenic area of the countryside.
The reason we say all this is because the Peak District is not built up at all, so you could end up driving for miles before finding somewhere worth eating at.
Plus, as there are lots of places to visit all over the national park, you’ll find it especially convenient to stay on a main road to ease getting around.
We stayed at The Jug & Glass Inn near Buxton and we loved it!
Our room was spacious and lovingly decorated with a large ensuite and bath, while a delicious breakfast was included each morning.
You also had the option to book a table downstairs for dinner where the food was lovely and really good value. We’d highly recommend staying here!
And there you have it – our tried and tested 3 day Peak District weekend itinerary. We hope you found it helpful and inspiring ahead of your own trip to this oh-so-charming part of the country. Where are you most excited to see first? Let us know in the comments below…
Was this helpful for your own weekend in the Peak District? Share it around now!