The Peak District’s extensive range of activities, from hill walks to museum visits, is all well and good for people of a certain age and above- but what about the little holidaymakers? It’s difficult to imagine them being placated for long climbing up Mam Tor – or being blown away by the medieval architecture of Haddon Hall. Luckily, the Peak District plays host to a wide range of attractions for children-orientated days out – each guaranteed to keep young tourists occupied.
As varied as the grown-up attractions are, young adventurers too have several activities to choose from. If you’ve got young thrill-seekers to entertain, the Peak District has some of the best theme parks in the country, from Alton Towers, which plays host to famed, extreme rides such as the Smiler, Oblivion, and Wicker Man, which is sure to cater for the whole family. However, if you’ve got children of a slightly younger age, Gulliver’s Kingdom is an option, which is aimed more to children aged 3-13.
Hillwalking doesn’t need to be boring, and if your child is a keen adventurer, the Peak District has several fascinating caverns and caves to explore while hiking. Tours can be arranged at Poole’s Cavern and Country Park, and with its two-million-year-old limestone cavern to explore, this excursion is sure to keep both children and parents’ awe-inspired for the full day. The Treak Cliff Cavern, where mineral mining still occurs today, is another attraction that has similar offerings. This cavern is located atop a hill so will require a bit of hiking beforehand, but the payoff is well worth it!
Some of the Peak District’s museums have even been noted to be particularly engaging for young holidaymakers, most notably the Crich Tramway Village, which allows for the whole family to be transported back to the age of steam. Not only does this outdoor museum showcase some fascinating trams, visitors can also partake in the novelty of riding them through a Victorian-era village recreation, complete with a vintage sweet shop and tearoom.
The Peak District can also accommodate for animal lovers of all ages, with a selection of safari and farm days out available in the area. Most notably, the Peak Wildlife Park offers visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with animals often left out from traditional zoos and safaris. Llama trekking is offered at Peak Llamas, for those families seeking a totally new animal experience all together.
With all that in mind, here is a more specific rundown of the best options for family days out in the Peak District:
Alton Towers Resort – Located in Staffordshire, near the village of Alton, Alton Towers Resort is not only the biggest, but also the most popular theme park in the whole of Britain. Located just south of the Peak District itself, Alton Towers has a wide range of rides to suit all, including rollercoasters, water rides, dark rides, children’s rides (ages 3-11), and flat rides. The Alton Towers Hotel offers comfortable over-night stay, with themed rooms and a fun monorail that transports you from the hotel to the theme park. Wind down after a busy day with the family at the resorts Secret Garden Restaurant, or the Dragon’s Bar. The hotel and restaurant tend to stay open the whole year round, while the theme park’s season lasts from March to November.
Gulliver’s Kingdom – Located in in the town of Matlock Bath, Derbyshire, Gulliver’s Kingdom is a theme park catering to young children aged 3-13. However, with the slogan ‘Giant Adventures for Families’, you can rest assured Gulliver’s will even cater for those members of the family out of the age-bracket. A plethora of eateries can be found on site, including the Happy Haddock, Tamu Feast, and the Canyon Grill, alongside a Costa Coffee. This resort’s season runs from Easter to the end of Summer, 7-days a week, and then on weekends through September and October.
Caverns & Caves
Poole’s Cavern & Country Park – Located in Buxton, Poole’s country park delivers in more ways than one. The park itself not only offers the chance to walk through amazing woodlands -teaming with wild birds and mammals, but also features lofty hillsides to climb, such as Grin Hill -complete with a viewing tower, offering spectacular views of Derby within a 15-mile radius. Poole’s Cavern is a second-to-none educational excursion, rich with history spanning from as early as the Bronze age. Open all year round, tours can easily be booked for all ages.
The Treak Cliff Cavern – Located in Castleton, Derbyshire, the Treak Cliff Cavern is famous for being one of the last places where the mineral, Blue John, is still mined for today. Open to all ages, the Cavern has been used for mining for over 300 years, so a tour rich in history is to be expected. The multi-coloured flowstone that makes up the cavern’s walls makes for a stunning visual experience.
Crich Tramway Village – Located in the village of Crich, Derbyshire, the Tramway Village offers a unique time-travelling experience, sure to maintain the whole family’s interest. The museum showcases trams collected from various British cities that were in use during the early 20th Century. Visitors get the opportunity to ride out to the country and back again on one of these historic trams, passing through a Victorian Village recreation, which is sure to excite the imaginations of all ages. In terms of novel days out, Crich Tramway Village is one of the best the Peak District has to offer!
Safaris and Farms
The Peak Wildlife Park – Located in Winkhill, Staffordshire, the Peak Wildlife park offers a wide range of unusual animals that visitors can get up close and personal with. With a focus on exotic birds, the safari also features meerkats, wallabies, zebras, and penguins. The park’s experienced zookeepers offer a one-on-one experience and demonstrate how each animal is taken care of. Feed penguins by hand, pet meerkats, or simply sit with ring-tailed lemurs in their enclosure, there is certainly plenty to keep all ages happy at the Peak Wildlife Park.