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Free Trips Out!
There are so many things to do in the Peak District that don’t cost a penny (we’ve also included some that are under a fiver) – so pack a picnic and enjoy!
Buxton Pavilion & Gardens – there are some lovely gardens at Buxton and, if it is wet, there is also an inside conservatory garden. There are also lots of events that take place as Buxton Pavilion such as the Great Peak District Fair in October which are free of charge to enter (some do charge a small fee). There is a free playground here for the kids.
In the summer on weekend afternoons there is often a band playing at the bandstand in Buxton Pavilion Gardens.
The Crescent, Buxton (photo: Visit Peak District & Derbyshire)
The National Memorial Arboretum near Lichfield is free to enter (After your trip to the National Memorial Arboretum why not also visit Lichfield Cathedral? A fabulous piece if architecture with many interesting things to see inside).
One of the many memorials at The National Memorial Arboretum
If you fancy something a bit more energetic, there is nothing to beat summer bouldering and walking on The Roaches at Upper Hulme. This is an amazing rock formation with fantastic views for miles. It’s a great place to take the kids. Even those most reluctant to walk love the idea of scrambling over the rocks, so before they know it, you have a great walk with no complaints!
The Roaches, Upper Hulme (photo: Visit Peak District & Derbyshire)
For more interesting things to discover in the countryside have alook at the Countryside Access site.
In the summer, most weekends there is a village in the Peak District celebrating with well dressings. If you have never seen this – you must go and admire the incredible skill involved (in the week before the wells are dressed and blessed it is normally possible to watch the well dressings being made with thousands of tiny flower petals).
If you are a fan of wildlife there are hides free of charge at Tittesworth Water, Meerbrook and also you can visit the RSPB’s Coombes Valley Nature Reserve near Bradnop.
Bridgemere Garden World on the A51 south of Nantwich, CW5 7QB has the largest selection in Europe of plants for inside your home and your garden! There are other shops here too such as Hobbycraft. www.bridgemere.co.uk. Close by is Stapley Water Gardens , Stapley, CW5 7LH - another enormous garden centre with an Angling Superstore. www.stapleywg.com
Tittesworth Water also has free interactive displays where children can find out all about water. Then they can feed the birds and enjoy the free childrens playground. There is also a birdwatcing hide here for everyone's use.
For those who love bargains visit the famous factory shops of the Potteries. Wedgwood, Portmerian and other famous brands sell seconds and older designs at incredible prices. The shops are dotted all around Stoke on Trent – just half an hour from Party Houses.
There are also numerous farmers markets in the Peak District where you can buy delicious and quality food but also personally meet the producers and sample some of their wares before buying.
The local towns all have lots to offer and many have guided walks which show you the history and the ‘town behind the town’. For example in Leek these cost less than a fiver for a couple of hour’s entertainment. For more information call the local Tourist Information Centres. Or take one of the many ghost walks (call the local Tourist Information Centre for more information).
In September visit Matlock in the evening to view the Matlock Illuminations. The town and river is lit up with a myriad of lights and on Saturday nights boats float down the river, also beautifully illuminated.
Matlock Bath (photo: Visit Peak District & Derbyshire)
There are some fabulous churches in the local area including the world famous Pugin gem in Cheadle, all are free to enter.
Longnor Church set in the pretty Peak District village of Longnor (there is also a lovely cafe and craft shop here)
For those of you who love art there are galleries and museums in Derby and Buxton.
Leek and Ashbourne also have commercial art galleries where you can buy art and crafts.
In the Potteries, the Dudson Museum at Hope Street, Hanley, ST1 5DD is housed in a traditional bottle kiln and shows the history of 200 years of the oldest surviving family business in the seramic tableware industry (01782 285286). The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery at Bethesda Street, Hanley, ST1 3DW has everything from a real Spitfire to fatastic arts and crafts. There is a very good and reasonably priced cafe here too! (01782 232323). Entry to both museums is free of charge.
Ancient archaeological sites such as Arbor Low and more recent places such as Magpie Mine are all viewable at little or no cost.
But of course the real joy of the Peak District is its miles and miles of stunning countryside which is free for you to enjoy at any time of the year! Click here to view Derbyshire's SSSI's (Sites of Special Scientific Interest). Click here to view Peak District Bird and Wildfowl Reserves (many of which are free to enter - but not all). Click here to view Peak District National Nature Reserves.
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