It is very hard for me to find a new place everytime. Most of the cities are already covered so we try to find remote country sides. Everyone is already aware of the fascinating English country sides. The old small houses in the villages are beautiful. They have their own pattern and unlike the towns or cities they are mostly empty, which means very few people live there and ofcourse you wont get any Indian restaurant here. So you can get a taste of traditional things.
After a lot of research I decided to visit Peak District and Moors National Park during Christmas. Peak district is one of the first national park in the UK. The majority of economy is tourism here. Its is mostly a moorland with few peaks which are round in shape. Peak district is very close to Manchester. Moors national park also is a moorland, it has the largest expanses of heather moorland. Moors has cliffs and sea on the right side. We included Moors so that we could get to see some beaches and cliffs too along with the country side.
We get a long weekend this time every year which must not be wasted at any cost. However holidays in Christmas has one major problem - most of the shops/eateries remains closed. If not in a city then most of the pubs and other eateries only allows people who have prebooked.
Without any delay we booked rooms in the nearest towns of Peak district and Moors a week before the Christmas. There was very less staying places in both the places and both being remote areas we didn't take risk. The nearest towns were Sheffield and Peterborough.
Day 1- We started on Christmas morning. Our plan was to visit Peak district first as it was nearer than the other. December is usually very cold in the UK. But this years Christmas was the warmest recorded followed by chilly and windy and almost sub zero temperature for 2 days. Our travel plan was something like this-
I will try and describe each places this time instead of writing what we did on the entire 3 days trip.
DoveDale - This was the first place we visited in Peak District. Our rented car which was a Toyota Avensis had a weird sat nav. The navigation always worked correctly but it used to take us on the road less traveled by motorists. The roads were mostly empty and I doubt someone ever take them once in a while. But they were beautiful and we could just stop anywhere to click photos. Dovedale is a small valley with the river Dove flowing in between. People usually treks to the top of the valley to get a nice view of the river.
We trekked a little bit to see the river from top. But the wind at this time of year didnt let us to be on the top for long. We could only manage few snaps and then had to come back.
Our travel plan was extensive but due to no availability of food it became a pain. After Dovedale we stopped at Bakewell and looked for food everywhere. Most of the pubs were closed and the opened ones were not allowing us. Hopelessly we took some chips and cold drinks and waited to go to Sheffield. But how can anyone not enjoy the beauty knowing that we might not come here again. So we decided to cover as much as we could with our empty stomachs,
Solomon's Temple - Its an old landmark tower build in 18th century. Most of the tower is broken. What makes it special is the view of the surrounding landscapes from the top. When we reached the temple we could hardly stand. Being on a flat area with no obstacle around the wind was worse here.
Time was running out and we decided to visit one last place which would be on our way to hotel. Thus we visited Chatsworth House. Its a stately home of Derbyshire. It is the seat of Duke of Devonshire and has been home to Cavendish family since 15th century. With a lot of grounds around and river Derwent just flowing in front this house the place was more than beautiful. If someone ever dreamt about owing a large house in the country side I am sure this would be the house to dream about. The palace has its own golf court and river, and not to mention sheeps and ducks roaming around. The backside was a small hill. More about Chatsworth House is here.
In the evening there were no energy left in our body to go anywhere else other than the Hotel. Fortunately the Sheffield Metropolitan Hotel was just in town center and there were lots of restaurant open that time. As soon as we reached we checked in and went for food. We ate like horses.
Day 2- We had an amazing English breakfastat the hotel before we started at 10 am. It was pretty late to start considering it was winter and the daylight doesnt remain long. We ate as much as possible because we were afraid that we might not find anything again and it was also boxing day which is another holiday here.
Monsal Dale- The first place was Monsal Dale. It was a valley with a river flowing. Monsal Dale also had a viaduct and a tunnel. The Headstone viaduct was again built in 18th century. This was a railway bridge to connect 2 places, also a tunnel was built. Later both of them was closed to preserve the environment and the valley. Someone wrote - 'There was a rocky valley between Buxton and Bakewell, once upon a time, divine as the Vale of Tempe... You Enterprised a Railroad through the valley – you blasted its rocks away, heaped thousands of tons of shale into its lovely stream. The valley is gone, and the Gods with it; and now, every fool in Buxton can be in Bakewell in half an hour, and every fool in Bakewell at Buxton; which you think a lucrative process of exchange – you Fools everywhere'.
The place was extremely beautiful. A pinch of a rainbow made the drive worthwhile.
A lot of time was spend at Monsal Dale and Moors was quite far from Peak District, so we decided to head towards Moors. On the way we stopped to look at the Stanage Edge cliffs.
In winter the sun hardly stays awake after 3:30 pm so you can imagine the little time we got. The last spot was a small village at Runswick Bay which is on the northern right part of Moors. Its a very small village but surprisingly we didnt see any other people there. It was already dusk so that could be the reason. I personally like all the English villages and this one is not an exception.
Day 3 - This was supposedly the last day of the trip. We started at 9am from Hotel towards a small village named Staithes. When I was researching about Moors this place attracted me.
Staithes- Staithes is a sea side village in North Yorkshire. Once it was a large fishing fishing centre but now it has transformed into a tourists attractions. The village has beautiful small houses with painted doors in different color. Half of the house has either turned into a cafe or shop or a cottage.
The beach is good for surfing but not bathing. Anyways this time we couldnt find many people at the beach. Even Staithes was almost empty like other places. I loved this place and hoped I could someday come back and stay here for a day. May be during summer because winter isnt the time to roam around 😶 I am guessing in Summer the place would be a little more cheerful.
At first we thought 3 days was enough to cover both the places but it isnt. Everyday we did miss a place. The list on the last day was the longest and we have spend most of our time at Staithes. Driving fast isnt an option in England. The speed limits are terrific and I have already been fined twice last time. So I couldn't take that chance. For the rest of the day we could only visit one more place - Scarborough Castle. Scarborough castle has 5 pounds entry free because it is being looked by National Heritage team. We were late at Rievaulx abbey which is another national heritage and a nice place to visit.
With one last picture I am winding up this article. Both Peak District and Moors national park are very good places to visit. I would suggest not to stay in a city like Sheffield, instead stay in Caravans. Both the places offers caravan park where ready made caravans are available. Staying in a caravan in a middle of a national park would be an awesome experience. We couldn't do that because of Christmas.
Rest of the pictures are available in Facebook