Earlier this summer we spent two weeks exploring the English countryside – something that had been on my bucket list for years. Perhaps its the fact that many of my favorite books and films have been set in England (Jane Eyre anyone?) or perhaps it’s the countless photos I have seen of rolling hillsides dotted with towns that rival the charm of Provence and Tuscany, but an English summer has always been a dream of mine and I’m happy to share that, although my expectations were high, it was even more magical than I could have hoped for.
We flew into Manchester, rented a car (our first time driving on the opposite side of the road – what an experience!), and headed to the famed Peak District National Park for three days of hiking, picnics, and sightseeing. As accommodations were fairly limited and we really wanted to lose ourselves in the quiet splendor of the country, we chose to rent a little stone cottage, nestled in the hamlet of Grindon, where we awoke every morning to the sound of cowbells and fell asleep every night, cozied up by the fire in our little garden oasis.
The other highlight of our time in the Peak District was visiting the charming town of Bakewell and the stunning Chatsworth House – better known as Mr. Darcy’s Pemberly in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and the real-life home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. This stunning estate, complete with 105-acres of gardens and miles of rolling hills, truly takes your breath away and would be the absolute perfect location for a luxurious destination wedding in the English countryside.
Considering a getaway to the Peak District and Chatsworth House? Be sure to read about my favorite places to eat, shop, and explore below.
Interested in a destination wedding at the iconic Chatsworth House? For more information about Chatsworth House wedding photography or the best destination wedding venues in England, contact me!
- Harington: This lovely village is the perfect place to spend an afternoon, starting with a classic pub lunch at the Devonshire Arms. After, stop at the charming Village Stores to pick up everything you may need for a picnic and don’t forget to visit the Harington Cheese Shop for some of the best selections of local cheeses in the region.
- Tissington: The start of several great hikes, this village is home to the incredible Herbert’s Fine English Tea Room – a perfect place to enjoy a post-walk scone or high tea.
- Longnor: A beautiful stone village that served as one of the filming locations for ‘Pride & Prejudice’, Longnor has a quaint square that is lined with some of the most photogenic shops and restaurants in the region.
- Bakewell: One of the larger towns in the Peak District, Bakewell is a bustling village that served as one of the prominent filming locations in ‘Pride & Prejudice’. Be sure to try a famous Bakewell Tart while you’re there!
- The George at Alstonefield: Nestled in the quiet village of Alstonefield, this pub offers ample charm (and delicious British cuisine) whether you dine outside on the terrace or you choose to eat inside by the roaring fire.
- The Old Dog: A lovely restaurant with great outdoor dining, the Old Dog is the quintessential English pub.
- Chatsworth Estate Farm Shop: This amazing gourmet grocery feels like the perfect mix between a farmer’s market and Dean & Deluca – and more than half of the products sold are either produced or prepared within a few miles. Every picnic supply you could ever dream of (and more) can be found here! Once you have created the perfect British picnic, head out to the massive Chatsworth estate to find your perfect place to have a leisurely meal al fresco.
- The Peacock at Rowsley: For fine dining, this restaurant is the absolute best in the Peak District. Start with drinks in the garden and then head into the main dining room (reservations are a must) and be prepared to enjoy British cuisine unlike you have ever experienced before. Make sure to pack a change of clothes as the Peacock has a decidedly formal atmosphere.
- Manifold Valley: One of the most beautiful areas in the Peak District, the Wetton Mill Tearoom is the perfect place to begin one of countless hikes. After grab a scoop of ice cream, sit by the babbling brook, and enjoy the English sunshine.
- Thor’s Cave: This hike, while most certainly challenging, offers one of the most beautiful views of the region.
- Dovedale & Thorpe Cloud: Our favorite hike of the trip, this hike starts in the village of Ilam and continues through rolling meadows filled with friendly sheep and cows, through the beautiful river in Dovedale, and finally up to the top of Thorpe Cloud. Hiking boots are a must and if you visit in the spring or early summer be prepared to see lots of adorable baby sheep.
- Chrome Hill: Another amazing hike in the Peak District, we decided to shorten ours and instead enjoy a scenic picnic overlooking the majestic Chrome Hill which framed the entire, golden landscape.