We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Caves, which one?

Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
3,536 posts
113 reviews
Save Topic
Caves, which one?

We've got a couple of days in the Peak District, the 1st day is set I think, we are going to Lyme Park to take a few photos, then to Chatsworth hopefully arriving when the gardens open at 10:30 and then if time permits a stop at Haddon Hall. We are overnighting in Sheffield (meeting friends for dinner) and anticipate that we will have a little time to do something else before the long drive to Newbury (Highclere the next morning).

I thought my poor husband would like a break from the historic houses and Mr. Darcy and thought stopping at one of the caves might be interesting but I can't seem to figure out which is the best option for us. At 1st I thought Speedwell because of the boat ride but then the TA reviews for it aren't all positive. Might Treak Cliff be a better option? Or Poole's? We have no mobility or claustrophobic issues which are some of the Speedwell complaints but it also seems a fair number of people just don't think it's worth the money.

After the cavern, we'll be hitting the road for Newbury and may drive through a little of the Cotswolds (Moreton in Marsh or Upper/Lower Slaughter?) unless there's something else up in the Peak District. This is all on a Saturday and Sunday in August so I am anticipating a little bit of traffic and crowds, can't be helped.

Level Contributor
3,505 posts
35 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Caves, which one?

If it's the weekend of 23/24 August it'll will be incredibly busy as Monday 25th is a bank holiday (a bit like the Labor Day weekend).

England, United...
Destination Expert
for Norfolk
Level Contributor
2,216 posts
179 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Caves, which one?

I have been to Speedwell Cavern twice - first as a child around 40 years ago, then again about 20 years ago.

As I recall its much more tunnel than cave, and you spend a lot of the time minding your head on the low rock ceiling. There are also a lot of steep steps, but its completely different from othe cave attractions.

Manchester, United...
Level Contributor
6,925 posts
83 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Caves, which one?

Like the previous poster it's been many years & IIRC it was the Blue John Mines (Castleton) that I've been round a couple of times.

www.bluejohn-cavern.co.uk/pages/location.php

tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction_Review-g499576-…

Personally, if you get good weather then I'd take whatever time you can spare to explore more above ground. Which weekend is this? Derbyshire (and areas close by) has a tradition of well-dressing and there are several on in August; there's usually a car park set up in a field if there isn't other parking handy and you just wander through the village; there's usually donation boxes and some places may have "teas" in a hall as an additional fund raiser. There's a calendar and photos from previous years at:

http://www.welldressing.com/calendar.php

There are some pretty villages, lots of short walks etc - depends on how much time you have to spare - it would be a shame to miss more of the area which is a big contrast to the Cotswolds.

Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
3,536 posts
113 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Caves, which one?

It's the weekend of Aug 15-17 that we will be in the Peak District, fortunately I found a good deal on our London hotel for the 22nd and 23rd, didn't realize it was a bank holiday weekend!

Chester
Level Contributor
2,644 posts
99 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Caves, which one?

Hi,

I have visited several of the caves and Speedwell is the one I would not go back to. I think the Blue John at Castleton was the best and you should see some vases at Chatsworth that are made to the stone from this mine.

You appear to want to pack so much in on the first day, we are thinking of going to Chatsworth and spending most of the day there. It is many years since we last visited Chatsworth but I think we spent at least 4 hours there. Hopefully someone will give you a realistic time to spend there.

Keith.

South Pole
Destination Expert
for Lesbos, Zagorohoria
Level Contributor
14,699 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Caves, which one?

Working backwards from arriving at Chatsworth at 10.30am, what time do you intend to arrive at Lyme Park? Where are you coming from that first morning to arrive at Lyme Park? What do you want to photograph? The park will be open early morning (ie 8am), but not the house & gardens until 11am. If you want the iconic view of the house & lake you will not be able to access it until late morning & will have to pay the garden entrance fee on top of the car park cost. The walk to the pond where Mr Darcy took a dip is accessible - allow about 50 minutes to walk there & back from the car park.

Lyme needs at least half a day to make a visit mean something. Chatsworth needs a day to appreciate the house, garden & grounds, otherwise it's all just ticking boxes.

Castleton will be heaving with wall to wall cars & people on an August Sunday. Unless it's raining, when it will be wall to wall wet people & crowded cafes. Give the caves a miss, unless you like crowds & queuing, & head up out of the town to Mam Nick car park & take a walk up to MamTor summit for the fabulous views which really are what the Peak District is about.

Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
3,536 posts
113 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Caves, which one?

Thanks Keith, I will have a look at Blue John as well.

I know we are trying to cram a lot into day 1 and why we decided to stay up in the area in case we didn't do all of it. If we miss Haddon Hall, it will be OK since I'm seeing a lot of houses and castles on this trip or I thought we could do that after seeing one of the caves on day 2 since it's on the way to Newbury on Sunday (Highclere tickets Monday morning already booked). We are coming from Manchester airport, my husband is flying in to meet me that morning so a lot is dependent on how jet lagged he is. I think we can add a 2nd driver at no cost and I rented an automatic, I may actually drive this time in case he needs to nap :-) This is what my tentative schedule for day 1 looks like, I anticipated that we would spend most of the day at Chatsworth, trying to get there about when it opens

Manchester airport arrival 7:30 (approx. 33 minutes drive to Lyme)

Lyme Park photo op park open at 8am (approx. 45 minutes to Chatsworth)

Chatsworth gardens open 10:30, house at 11 (approx. 15 minutes to Haddon Hall)

Haddon Hall 12-5 if we have time

Staying in Sheffield, meeting friends for dinner

Day 2- a lot of driving

Leave Sheffield

Castleton area for the caves (approx. 38 minutes drive)

Haddon Hall if we miss on day 1, open at 12 (approx. 32 minutes)

drive through Cotswolds, stop at either Moreton in Marsh or Upper or Lower Slaughter (approx. 2 1/4 hours)

Newbury overnight (approx. 1 1/2 hours)

I threw in the stops in the Cotswolds just for a break to the driving, if there's something else we should see up in the Peak District, I'm OK with driving straight from the Peak District to Newbury although the diversion to the Cotswolds doesn't add much time (or at least not on paper, perhaps on a summer Sunday afternoon traffic will not be so pleasant.)

Chicago, IL
Level Contributor
3,536 posts
113 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Caves, which one?

Tsipouro, I saw your post after I posted my last response, I thought someone told me that the access to the lake and house would be available at 8am, that might change the itinerary as Lyme Park was one of the things I wanted to see but not necessarily go inside. Need to rethink it....

Do you think even at 10am that the caves will be heaving? You could buy online tickets for Speedwell at a discount for the 10-10:45 tours so I figured maybe we could get in and out before the major crowds starting descending.

South Pole
Destination Expert
for Lesbos, Zagorohoria
Level Contributor
14,699 posts
22 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Caves, which one?

The house & gardens (which gives access to the lakeside) open at 11am. The park is open to wander around at will - covers a vast area - but I was guessing you wanted those special views! Those of us who live locally can enter the park 24/7 by walking from various access paths, but the car park entrance officially opens 8am.

If your flight lands at 7.30am then 33 minutes to Lyme Park is a bit optimistic. Of course if this is a Saturday it won't be too bad, but normally it can take a long time to negotiate Stockport & it's strung out suburbs once you exit the motorway from the airport at the town. The A6 is notorious for speed traps (30MPH limits) so do take care not to get caught. The entrance to Lyme Park is on a busy blind bend & you will turn right into the park across oncoming traffic - as you will be on the "wrong" side of the road do be vigilant.

Speedwell? Long time since I've been there but would not be my choice as it is just mainly a boat ride through a tunnel. Blue John was more interesting to me even as a teenager. These days I would go for the cave accessed from the village centre - Peak Cavern - as the least commercial one with an attractive riverside walk to it taking you into a deep entrance below Peveril Castle. But it is a long time since I went in any of them.

Oakham, United...
Level Contributor
2,911 posts
25 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Caves, which one?

You could just go for a walk? The best of the Peak District is free - walk in the hills or along a river.

Get answers to your questions about Peak District National...