Visiting the Dales

Picturesque villages and bustling market towns with historic buildings, speciality shops and local produce ...wooded valleys overlooked by spectacular crags and cut by sparking rivers. The Derbyshire Dales has all of this - a perfect choice for a day out, a weekend break or a longer holiday.

Walkers and cyclists enjoy an unrivalled choice of waymarked paths – offering routes to suit every ability, from gentle riverside paths to challenging long-distance routes. But many people visit the area simply to enjoy a gentle stroll around one of the many unspoilt villages.

The market towns of Bakewell, Ashbourne and Wirksworth are all unique in style and character. Browse around the Georgian streets, cobbled yards and antique shops of Ashbourne, lean over the ancient stone bridge spanning the River Wye in Bakewell and delight in the arts and crafts of historic Wirksworth. Or stop awhile in Matlock or Matlock Bath , developed as Victorian spas.

With a wealth of historic houses, including splendid Chatsworth, medieval Haddon Hall and the National Trust's stately Sudbury Hall, plus a World Heritage Site in the Derwent Valley, there is plenty to interest the history enthusiast.  And with well dressings, festivals, shows and other events throughout the year you'll be spoilt for choice when visiting the Derbyshire Dales.

A wide range of publications are available to help you plan a visit

A range of publications are available to help you plan a visit:    

Cycle the Dales
fan of four cycle maps 200 pxls wideA set of four cycle guides covering the Hope Valley, Bakewell, Matlock and Ashbourne areas.   Each cycle guide has five routes, complete with OS mapping and route descriptions.  

To order a copy online click here  and choose 'Other Payments' then Tourism Publications, then 'Cycle the Dales' (cost £1.10 inc p&p, per pack of four guides)

Limestone Way front cover 200 pxls wideThe Limestone Way walkers guide - all you need to walk this superb
46-mile route across the superb landscape of the White Peak.  Directions, maps and photos. 

To order a copy online click here and choose 'Other Payments' then 'Tourism Publications' then 'Limestone Way' (Cost:  £3.50 inc p&p). 

Camping and Caravanning 2017 cover resized 65 pixels wide
Camping & Caravanning
in and around the Derbyshire Dales 2020 - (free) - including sites for tents, caravans, motorhomes and trailer tents. 
Download here.



Visitor guide front cover 250 pxls wideDerbyshire Dales Visitor Guide 2020 - including events, places to visit, attractions and towns and villages. 

Download   or order a free copy T: 01629 761103




Bakewell front cover 2019 250 pxls wideBakewell miniguide  - includes an informative map of the town with walking routes, history and heritage, shopping, events and places to visit.  

Download or order a free copy T:01629 816558





Ashbourne front cover 2019 250 pxls wideAshbourne Mini-guide  - includes an informative map of the town with heritage trail, shopping, events and places to visit. 


Download or order a free copy:  T:01335 343 666 or E:





Matlock front cover 2019 250 pxls wideMatlock and Matlock Bath Mini-guide   - an informative guide to Matlock and Matlock Bath, including a map, history, events and places to visit.

Download  or order a free copy
T: 01629 761103 or email 




Walks in the MatlocksWalks in the Matlocks (£1.50 inc p&p) - six walks around Matlock and Matlock Bath taking in some of the most dramatic views in Derbyshire. 

To order a copy online (£1.50 inc p&p) click here and choose 'Other Payments' then 'Tourism' then 'Walks in the Matlocks'

Individual walks can be downloaded here. 


Matlock Town Trails Matlock Town Trails -
two walking routes around Matlock and Old Matlock.
Available to purchase at the Visitor Information Point (Peak Rail), Manor pharmacy (Bank Road) and Matlock Library


Matlock Hydro Heritage Trails Matlock Bank Trails - two walking trails exploring the hydro heritage of Matlock Bank.
Available to purchase at the Visitor Information Point (Peak Rail), Manor pharmacy (Bank Road) and Matlock Library








Derbyshire Dales market towns and villages are always a pleasure to visit

Attractive towns, pretty villages....

The market towns and villages of the Derbyshire Dales are always a pleasure to visit.  In the attractive towns of Bakewell, Ashbourne, Matlock and Wirksworth a wide range of independent shops offer everything from speciality foods and crafts to outdoor clothing.   Pretty villages nestle in superb countryside - stone cottages, fine manor houses and interesting churches - perfect places to relax and unwind.  


Don't miss Bakewell in its lovely setting on the banks of the Wye.   Mellow stone buildings, a medieval arched bridge and little courtyards create a sense of timelessness, with colourful gardens and riverside walks all adding to the scene.  High quality shops sell many local specialities, including the famous 'Bakewell Pudding' and there are lots of pubs, cafes and restaurants.  The Monday market is popular, as is the monthly Farmers Market on the last Saturday of the month.  

Download our free Bakewell mini-guide [PDF 2.18MB] or pick one up from the Visitor Centre.



Explore the hidden alleys and cobbled marketplace of Ashbourne, a vibrant market town with historic Georgian buildings of mellow brick.  Noted in particular for the antique shops, there are also a wide choice of delicatessens, designer boutiques and art galleries.  Visit on a Thursday or Saturday to catch the market or on Shrove Tuesday to see the annual Shrovetide Football match (with goals 3 miles apart!). 

Download our free Ashbourne mini-guide [PDF 1.22MB] or pick one up from the Tourist Information Centre.


Matlock and Matlock Bath

The dramatic gorge of the River Derwent connects Matlock and Matlock Bath and you can explore the five historic parks which follow the river (pick up a leaflet at Peak Rail or the Peak District Mining Museum).  Don't miss a ride on the cable car at Matlock Bath to the clifftop visitor centre at the Heights of Abraham.  Or a ride on a steam railway from Peak Rail at Matlock.  

Matlock Bath Illuminations take place during September and October.  



Wirksworth is an unspoilt gem, a historic town with a strong heritage in the lead mining industry.  A visit here should not be hurried - you need time to wander round the narrow lanes and hidden corners.  Don't miss the beautiful Church of St Mary, standing in its cathedral-like setting at the heart of the town, or a visit to Wirksworth Heritage Centre.

The two-week art festival in September receives many accolades - a lively showcase for the many artists who exhibit their work. 

There's a huge variety of visitor attractions to edify, exhilarate or simply entertain you

Great attractions

From the splendour of Chatsworth to the thrill of a cable car ride, there is a wealth of places to visit in the area.   All of England's rich tapestry is here including historic houses, beautiful gardens, steam railways and a family theme park. 

Start here to plan your visit.

derbyshire dales visitor guide map
Derbyshire Dales has excellent transport links by road, rail, coach and air

The Derbyshire Dales, situated right at the heart of England, has excellent transport links  by road, rail, coach or air.  


DerbyMatlock line  (stations at  Cromford, Matlock  Bath and Matlock)

SheffieldManchester line passing through the Hope Valley (stations at Grindleford, Hathersage, Bamford, Hope and Edale)

ManchesterBuxton line then by Transpeak bus into the Dales.

Visit the National Rail website for rail services and timetables.

National Express coaches

The main service for the area is the 440 between London and Manchester, which  follows the A6 through the Derbyshire Dales stopping at Matlock, Matlock Bath, Bakewell and Buxton.  

Visit the National Express website for timetables and bookings.

Local buses

There are frequent links from the neighbouring towns and cities into the Derbyshire Dales.  The best source of advice is the Peak District Bus Timetables published in March and October every year by Derbyshire County Council.

The timetable costs £2.50 each and are available from any Visitor Information Centre in the area.


A half hourly bus service runs from Manchester Airport to Buxton, from where buses run to many of the towns and villages in the Derbyshire Dales.  East Midlands Airport is also convenient - buses run from the airport into Derby city, from where a train or bus can be caught into the Derbyshire Dales.   

Car hire is available from both airports. 

Horse riding in the Derbyshire Dales
Horse riding in the Derbyshire Dales

Horse Riding in the Derbyshire Dales and beyond....

signpost for Pennine Bridleway 200 wideThe quiet lanes and traffic-free trails of the Derbyshire Dales are perfect for horse riding, combining with an expanding network of bridleways.  It's therefore no surprise that the first long distance National Trail suitable for horses, the Pennine Bridleway, starts here.  A good place to access the start of the trail is at Hartington station (on a former railway line now know as the High Peak Trail) where there is parking available for horseboxes. 

Peak Horsepower provides information on the Kinder Loop - a 55 mile circular route in the Dark Peak area of Derbyshire. 

You can also download a map of horse riding routes in Derbyshire. 

Explore the beatiful  Dales on a short circular walk.
Explore the beautiful Dales on a short circular walk.

On Two Feet....

Walking 1 200 wideExplore the very best of the Derbyshire Dales on one of these circular walking routes, carefully researched to ensure you see fascinating places and get great views. 

Whether you prefer rambling along riverside paths or striding along rocky edges, these tried and tested routes guarantee a superb walk. 

The OS maps are OL1 (Dark Peak) and OL24 (White Peak).

Birchen Edge & Chatsworth 
A circular 7 mile walk combining superb walking along two spectacular gritstone 'edges' with a visit to Chatsworth.  Download route.

On the Edge at Stanage
An 9 mile walk from the village of Hathersage up onto Stanage Edge and back, with superb views of the Derwent and Hope Valleys, Mam Tor and Kinder Scout.   Download route.

Palace of the Peak
An interesting 6 or 8 mile walk through woods and fields to visit Chatsworth House in its setting beside the River Derwent.  Download route.

Rural Ramble to a Romantic Hall
An lovely 6 mile walk from Bakewell starting along the Monsal Trail and following the River Wye,  with time to visit Haddon Hall on route.  Download route.