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.

Suggestions on day trip from London to Peak District

Kentucky
Level Contributor
101 posts
Save Topic
Suggestions on day trip from London to Peak District

I'm planning a trip to London in late May. One of my traveling companions has requested a day in the Peak district. She has mentioned Castleton, but is not fussy on location. She has mentioned she would like to see the national forest.

Since we are based in London, I would like a trip that allows us to return to London rather than staying in Derbyshire.

Can anyone recommend a good city or way to explore the forest in a day trip? We will have a Britrail England pass, so traveling during rush hour is not a problem. We have been to England before and traveled mostly in the southeast. This trip will be similar and this is the farthest north we are going. Any suggestions would be welcome.

Mentioned in this post
London
London
England, UK
Castleton
Castleton
Hope Valley, UK
Derbyshire
Derbyshire
England, UK
England
England
United Kingdom
Sardinia, Italy
Destination Expert
for Sardinia
Level Contributor
1,734 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: Suggestions on day trip from London to Peak District

It will be quite tricky to do Castleton and the national Forest in a day trip; absolutely unfeasible to do them both in a day trip from London. Derby is the city that offers easisest access to both Castleton & the National Forest.

Castleton is fairly isolated in the Northern 'Dark Peak' and the National Forest is in the southern part of the Southern 'White Peak'; personally I would overnight somewhere like Hartington or do one or t'other.

For the National Forest you really need a car; for Castleton there are frequent bus connections from Sheffield which in turn has good express train connections from London.

Mentioned in this post
Castleton
Castleton
Hope Valley, UK
London
London
England, UK
Derby
Derby
Derbyshire, UK
Sheffield
Sheffield
South Yorkshire, UK
Kentucky
Level Contributor
101 posts
Save Reply
2. Re: Suggestions on day trip from London to Peak District

Perhaps I should clairfy. We would be doing one or the other. I admit I'm not fond of the Castleton idea as it would take about 3 1/2 hours to get there via train and several connections. My companion would like to see some of the scenery of the region. She has heard about the area and wanted to see some of the forest. I'm adventurous as well, my only request is an easy trip back to London. I recall in past trips nearly missing my train connection and just catching it by the skin of my teeth.

Would Buxley or Matlock have good views of the region? My companion is also a great Pride and Prejudice fan, which is part of her reason to want to view this area I think.

Mentioned in this post
London
London
England, UK
Matlock
Matlock
Derbyshire, UK
Sardinia, Italy
Destination Expert
for Sardinia
Level Contributor
1,734 posts
Save Reply
3. Re: Suggestions on day trip from London to Peak District

Pride and Prejudice? I assume you mean the Keira Knightley version. This was filmed mainly between Matlock & Hathersage near Castleton. Matlock Bath is quite pleasant but I wouldn't travel across country to go there.

A trip to Chatsworth House will tick most boxes. It was actually used in the above film, stunning House & gardens, set in wonderful Derbyshire countryside and just about achievable in a day trip from London via train/bus connections from Derby or Chesterfield. Definitely in my England top 10 to see/do etc.

ps Jane Austen's books are actually set in a completely different part of England.

Mentioned in this post
Matlock
Matlock
Derbyshire, UK
Castleton
Castleton
Hope Valley, UK
Matlock Bath
Matlock Bath
Matlock, UK
Chatsworth House
Chatsworth House
6,905 Reviews
Bakewell, UK
Derbyshire
Derbyshire
England, UK
London
London
England, UK
Derby
Derby
Derbyshire, UK
Chesterfield
Chesterfield
Derbyshire, UK
England
England
United Kingdom
Kentucky
Level Contributor
101 posts
Save Reply
4. Re: Suggestions on day trip from London to Peak District

She likes the Keira Knightley version, but her absolute favorite is the BBC minseries with Colin Firth. Yes, I realize P&P was in a different section hence the "We are not in Derbyshire any longer Mr. Darcy."

I will suggest Chatsworth House to her. My thanks! About how long is the trip from London? Would we need to transfer to a bus after the train?

Mentioned in this post
Derbyshire
Derbyshire
England, UK
Chatsworth House
Chatsworth House
6,905 Reviews
Bakewell, UK
London
London
England, UK
Sardinia, Italy
Destination Expert
for Sardinia
Level Contributor
1,734 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: Suggestions on day trip from London to Peak District

Can't help directly on precise train times and connections as I always have driven there, however their website is reasonably detailed:

chatsworth.org/planvisit/busestaxistrains.htm

www.chatsworth.org/planvisit/fromtheusa.htm

Once you know your dates, it is highly worthwhile reserving seats in advance on the London to Derby/Chesterfield/ Sheffield intercity trains - they can get quite busy.

Mentioned in this post
Derby
Derby
Derbyshire, UK
Chesterfield
Chesterfield
Derbyshire, UK
Sheffield
Sheffield
South Yorkshire, UK
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
2,788 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Suggestions on day trip from London to Peak District

I'm not sure what you've heard about the National Forest but it's not anywhere near Castleton nor the rest of the Peak District - it's not in the White Peak either. It covers and area of SE Staffordshire, S Derbyshire and NW Leicestershire and is part of a grand regeneration scheme for a former coal-mining scheme which will take some years to come to frution. If you're expecting thousands of acres of mature woodland, you'd be in for a disappointment. Personally I wouldn't bother, although I'm quite fond of the area (my brother lives in it, in Ashby de la Zouch)

The Peak District is lovely, but in a windswept moors and beautiful valley way, rather than a forested way; there's not much in the way of woodland there, either. Castleton's great and has a lot to offer (castle, lovely village, caves and low mountains), but not as a day trip from London; it's just too difficult to get to

Chatsworth is probably the best bet. You could combine it with a trip to Matlock which has a rail connection, but it's probably easiest reached from Chesterfield which is on the main line from London to Sheffield. Could maybe do a round trip, but Matlock itself is a pleasant Victorian town rather than a must see

Mentioned in this post
Castleton
Castleton
Hope Valley, UK
Staffordshire
Staffordshire
England, UK
Derbyshire
Derbyshire
England, UK
Leicestershire
Leicestershire
England, UK
London
London
England, UK
Matlock
Matlock
Derbyshire, UK
Chesterfield
Chesterfield
Derbyshire, UK
Sheffield
Sheffield
South Yorkshire, UK
Essex
Level Contributor
31,159 posts
69 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Suggestions on day trip from London to Peak District

Everyone has given you very good advice about the Peak District and no-forest National Forest! I agree that Chatsworth is the ideal place for you to visit reasonably easily.

IF you want to see some ancient forest near London, go to Epping Forest, or a bit further afield is the New Forest in Hampshire (but it has lots of 'open' areas too).

Mentioned in this post
London
London
England, UK
Epping Forest
Epping Forest
85 Reviews
Epping, UK
The New Forest
The New Forest
338 Reviews
Ashurst, UK
Hampshire
Hampshire
England, UK
Manchester, UK
Level Contributor
583 posts
79 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Suggestions on day trip from London to Peak District

As others have suggested, trying to see anything of the Peak District on a day trip from London will leave you travel-weary and probably disappointed, as you simply won't be able to get a good idea of the true beauty of the area in such a limited time. Please do rethink this and try to make time to spend at least one night there (preferably more - but then again, I'm probably biased as I live on the doorstep!) Bakewell would be my suggestion for a good 'base' - you can get there by bus from Chesterfield or Sheffield; it's surrounded by lovely countryside, and if the weather is iffy (which it certainly can be) it's stuffed full of very nice pubs, eating places and proper (traditional) shops. If you do make it there, you absolutely must try the original Bakewell pudding - there are at least three bakers' shops claiming to have the true original recipe; whatever - it's highly calorific, but utterly delicious!

By the way, by restricting yourself to the south of England you are missing some of the very best bits of the country!

Mentioned in this post
London
London
England, UK
Bakewell
Bakewell
Peak District National Park, UK
Chesterfield
Chesterfield
Derbyshire, UK
Sheffield
Sheffield
South Yorkshire, UK
England
England
United Kingdom
Kentucky
Level Contributor
101 posts
Save Reply
9. Re: Suggestions on day trip from London to Peak District

Funny you should mention Bakewell, I was just about to ask if it was doable as an alternative to Chatsworth. I do realize I am missing out on a great deal of the scenery. However, with the exchange rate the way it is and the amount of time we have, an overnight stay is just not in the cards.

Could you give me an idea of the time it would take to arrive at Bakewell from London? And how good is the bus connection?

Mentioned in this post
Bakewell
Bakewell
Peak District National Park, UK
London
London
England, UK
Kentucky
Level Contributor
101 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: Suggestions on day trip from London to Peak District

Thanks for the New Forest suggestion. We are actually going to one of the villages there as a day trip. I stumbled over one of the villages my last trip and am determined to see the ponies wandering the streets again.