Looking for inspiration for the school holidays – and beyond? It's not always easy to choose days out that are suitable for the whole family but luckily, we're spoilt for choice in the Peak District and Derbyshire with a variety of attractions for all ages, ranging from show caverns and farm parks to castles and stately homes. Here's our pick of 11 family-friendly ways to spend a day in the Peak District and Derbyshire...

Bolsover Castle

Bolsover Castle

Nothing says adventure quite like a castle – and children will love role-playing as medieval knights and princesses at the English Heritage’s impressive Bolsover Castle near Chesterfield. This fairy-tale Stuart mansion has lavish rooms, a romantic ruined terrace range, a wall walk with breathtaking views, interesting exhibitions, extensive grounds and a play area – plus family-friendly events which this summer include Castle Attack! and Cavendish's Horses. 

The Heights of Abraham

The Heights of Abraham

Start your visit with a spectacular journey by cable car across a magnificent limestone gorge in Matlock Bath, before alighting at the Heights of Abraham hilltop country park where, amongst acres of beautiful hilltop woodland, you'll find adventure playgrounds, heritage walks, places to eat, drink and shop and two show caverns with guided tours available.

Denby Pottery Village

Denby Pottery Village

A purpose-built beach - where events include magic shows - and a 9-hole mini golf course are amongst the great summer offering at Denby Pottery Village near Ripley until September. Set in a cobbled courtyard next to the working pottery, with home, garden, cookery and gift shops, the visitor centre also offers daily pottery tours – where visitors old and young can paint a plate or make a frog – a museum, restaurant and outdoor play area.

Treak Cliff Cavern

Castleton Show Caverns

With amazing rock formations, rare stones and stunning stalactites and stalagmites, Castleton’s show caves are famous throughout the world and are sure to impress visitors of all ages. Embark on a magnificent underground boat journey at Speedwell Cavern, unravel the mysteries of the Devil’s Arse at Peak Cavern and discover the home of the famous Blue John stone – found nowhere else on earth - at Treak Cliff Cavern and Blue John Cavern.

Crich Tramway Village

Crich Tramway Village

Young visitors will love making the most of the unlimited tram rides in a recreated village street at Crich Tramway Village, home of the National Tramway Museum, near Matlock. Alongside vintage tram rides, there are play areas, tearooms, workshops and galleries where you can learn more about this magnificent mode of transport. Craft activities are held throughout the summer, and there are regular, exciting events such as Horse Tram Days. The popular WWII Home Front event in August allows visitors to step back in time to the 1940s - with vintage trams, military vehicles, re-enactors, wartime fayre and music.

Matlock Farm Park

Matlock Farm Park

Young visitors will love the hands-on experience at this family-friendly Farm Park near Matlock. There are plenty of animals to see and feed including sheep, llamas, goats, fallow deer, meerkats and peacocks, smaller cuddly animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs to pet in the barn and short pony rides available most days. There’s also a fantastic indoor play area called The Rainforest plus a variety of play equipment, go-carts, a café and a shop.

Alton Towers

Thrilling Theme Parks

Struggling to find a theme park that will entertain your teenager as well as your toddler? Gulliver’s Kingdom at Matlock Bath has been specially designed for families with children aged between the years of 2 and 13, with rides and attractions including the Western World and pirates play area, log flume and Drop Tower. Meanwhile, thrill-seekers of all ages will delight in a visit to Alton Towers Resort (pictured above), which boasts over 50 world-leading rides and attractions including the UK's first rollercoaster restaurant, CBeebies Land and a waterpark.

Tropical Butterfly HouseTropical Butterfly House

If you dream of escaping to a tropical climate, where exotic birds and butterflies fly freely over your head in a rainforest-like setting, then the Tropical Butterfly House is for you. Getting immersed in nature is what this wildlife and falconry centre is all about. Whether it’s brightly coloured winged creatures flying around your head, walking through Meerkat Mansion, handling a bird of prey or, for the bravest, facing snakes, crocodiles and spiders!

Poole's Cavern

Poole’s Cavern and Buxton Country Park

Take a journey beneath the earth at Poole’s Cavern and explore the vast limestone caverns, before strolling through the beautiful country park woodland. Complete your day with a walk to Grin Low and Solomon’s Temple – a magnificent viewpoint with great views of the Peak District – or, for a more extreme adventure, try out the Go Ape high-wire tree top adventure.

World of Wedgwood

World of Wedgwood

The fascinating story of the world-renowned ceramics manufacturer is brought to life in an experience fit for the whole family at the World of Wedgwood. Alongside a brilliant museum tracing 250 years of history, it features a V&A museum collection, a tea room, restaurant and retail store. You can even tour the factory, throw your own pot or design a plate!

Chatsworth House

Stunning Stately Homes

No visit to Derbyshire and the Peak District would be complete without a trip to a stately home. The National Trust’s Calke Abbey at Ticknall, Hardwick Hall near Chesterfield and Kedleston Hall near Derby are all geared up for younger visitors with trails and seasonal activities, whilst Sudbury Hall is also home to the National Trust Museum of Childhood – a delight for adults and children alike.

Haddon Hall at Bakewell has been described as ‘the most perfect house to survive from the Middle Ages’, Renishaw Hall near Sheffield has award-winning Italianate gardens, Tissington Hall near Ashbourne has been home to the FitzHerbert family since 1609, and Chatsworth House, home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, is regarded as ‘the jewel in the Peak District’s crown’ – with 105 acres of gardens and a fantastic Farmyard and Adventure Playground for children.

Where will you be heading? Share your tips in the comments below




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