So you're dreaming of wide open spaces, dramatic plateaus, green meadows and quaint villages to explore when lockdown lifts? It's time you visited the Peak District. England's oldest national park, sandwiched between Manchester and Sheffield, is famed for its gorgeous scenery and ancient stone villages. You could choose to explore the northern Dark Peak area, dominated by exposed moorland and offering killer views; or the lower, greener dales of the White Peak. Of course, you can experience both in a day if you walk along the Ecclesbourne Valley.
With all that walking, you'll want a comfortable and cosy place to lay your head – and Airbnb offers plenty of left-field options to suit any budget and group size. Below, you'll find a selection of our favourites.
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Photograph: Courtesy Airbnb
Where is it? Ashbourne For a perfect hideaway in the hilly Peak District National Park, this cute little cottage is ideal. Not only does it fulfil your rustic cottage dreams (think log burner, wooden shutters, exposed beams and a high-pitched roof over the king bed), it also sits within the walled grounds of Alstonefield Manor, meaning you've got full access to the landscaped gardens. Nature trails abound here, but it's also a short walk to the award-winning George Inn. What else could you need?
Where is it? Ilam There are numerous farm stay options amongst the rolling green hills of the Peak District, but only one (to our knowledge) that includes a hot tub, clouds painted on the ceiling and access to super-cute alpacas. Here, you'll be staying at Dovedale Animal Sanctuary, where alpacas, goats, geese, chickens and ducks call these 22 acres home. All proceeds from this Airbnb go towards supporting their work, making this a soul-enriching stay in more ways than one. Want to venture out of the farm? There are plenty of hiking opportunities through the countryside, and the market towns of Bakewell and Ashbourne are close by.
Where is it? Bakewell First thing's first: this place has a hot tub. But there are many, many more reasons why you'd want to make this cottage your base to explore the Peak District National Park. For a start, it's in the centre of the lovely historic market town of Bakewell, with fabulous views of the All Saints Church spire. Four bedrooms means that it's ideal for a group of mates or a large family (the max it can fit is nine); and it's kitted out with Wi-Fi, a fireplace, TV, and plenty of bike storage if that's your jam.
Where is it? Quarnford Get away from it all in this cleverly designed barn conversion, sitting pretty within the Peak District National Park, a good five miles from the nearest towns of Buxton and Leek. The space sleeps six and a car is recommended to make full use of the region's glorious scenery. That said, you'd be forgiven for whiling away the hours here in the barn; there's a wood burning stove and pizza oven and a spacious lounge room for relaxing.
Where is it? Brassington It's magical green countryside as far as the eye can see that surrounds this converted Grade II listed chapel, which was built in 1838. There's nothing stopping from you from walking out your door and venturing deep into nature, not seeing a soul for hours. But equally, it's conveniently close to two pubs in the nearby village; one of which, Ye Olde Gate, was awarded 'Most Unspoilt Pub in England' in the 2017 Good Pub Guide. The house suits a couple or family, and runs on renewable energy.
Where is it? Hathersage This converted Victorian mill, and its surrounding area, is steeped in fascinating history yet filled with all the modern luxuries you need after a big day's walking through the Peak District. Named after its music-themed furnishings, the space features a large open-plan living area, a cosy log burner, plus games consoles and television, making it perfect for families or a group of friends. It's nestled into the Derbyshire hills right by a stream at the edge of Hathersage Village, which is five minutes' walk away. Brontë fans will jump on the chance to visit the local church and vicarage, where Charlotte stayed and gained inspiration for 'Jane Eyre'.
Where is it? Bakewell You're close to just about everything in this chic Bakewell apartment, which also offers top-notch views of the high street and old town. It's situated within the Grade II-listed Welford House, which once served as the court house. The space has been furnished with a nod to its historical past as well as contemporary style; antiques sit alongside brand new kitchen appliances and there's also WiFi, a TV and a lovely big bath. From here, it's easy to explore the nearby Derbyshire Dales, famous country houses, and lots more.
Where is it? Chelmorton As far as romantic countryside retreats go, it doesn't get much cosier than this little stone barn in a small village near Buxton, Bakewell and Chatsworth. This open-plan space is completely self-contained, with oak beams, a bedroom with French doors that open out into the comfortable living area, and a private sunny patio. For the more adventurous types, there's a secure cycle shed for your bikes and plenty of maps and guidebooks to help you make the most of your time in the national park. Pubs are just a five-minute walk away, and one well-behaved dog is welcome, so you don't need to leave your four-legged friend at home.
Where is it? Leek This farm stay – which forms part of the larger Butterton Moor House – sleeps four or five, and is perfect for families or groups of friends. The big drawcard here is the indoor swimming pool, which is shared between two holiday cottages, as well as the pizza oven and billiards room. While you're not encouraged to feed the animals yourself, the hosts will be happy to introduce you to the horses, ponies and even the four dogs which call this place home. The home itself is clean and comfortable, with Sky TV and Wi-Fi.