Things to see and do

Exploring caves in the Peak District

Explore the great outdoors this summer, from a challenging walk to a relaxing cream tea, there are lots of options for you. Families can take part in orienteering, find the perfect picnic spot or spot fossils in the limestone.

Ilam Park

Open all year, explore Ilam Park with the family and take in the far reaching views, discover paths through the woodlands and look out for wildlife by the river.

There are plenty of spaces to play, sit or walk the dog, whatever the season you can explore outdoors with the family.
The Manifold Tea-Room in the old stableblock at Ilam Park offers home-made lunches, cakes and drinks, with stunning views of Thorpe Cloud. Open every day (except 24/25 December). There is indoor seating aswell as a large garden area with seating. Dogs on leads are welcome in the garden area, where there are water bowls available.

The shop at Ilam Park has a wide range of local maps and walking guides, as well as seasonal gifts, toys, postcards and picnic blankets. The team are always happy to suggest a walking route for you. Well behaved dogs are welcome inside the shop too.
If you want to stay longer than a day and explore the area further, accommodation at Ilam Park includes a bunkhouse sleeping 16 and a family friendly friendly YHA youth hostel.

Ilam Park is a popular destination for school groups learning about habitats, comparing rural landscapes to cities, and having a go at orienteering and map reading.


A favourite with families and walkers, you will find the famous Stepping Stones in Dovedale. Dovedale is a National Nature Reserve, with wonderful trees, wildlife and views.

Spot the fossils at Lover's Leap and explore the limestone caves. Dovedale is an ideal spot for a picnic by the clear water of the River Dove, you may even spot a trout.
You can walk across the fields between Ilam Park and Dovedale and enjoy both places in a day. There are sheep, lambs and cows in some of the fields. Please keep your dog on a lead to help minimise disturbance to the farm animals. It is 1.5 miles from Ilam Park to the Stepping Stones in Dovedale.
There is a surfaced path beside the River Dove from the car park (not NT) to the stepping stones. To avoid crossing the stepping stones, there is a rough and uneven route on the opposite side of the river accessible by small wooden bridge.
You'll find a friendly face at the mobile Dovedale Barn (March to September) who will gladly recommend walking options, you can also buy a range of maps, postcards, walking poles and guides.

Please remember, this valley has areas of loose rock and uneven ground. Suitable footwear is advised for walking in Dovedale.

Manifold Valley

Explore the Manifold Valley and its lush green grasslands, thick woodlands and limestone crags. Climb up high for far reaching views or to discover Ecton Engine House on Ecton Hill. It was built in 1788 when large amounts of copper were mined here by the Duke of Devonshire. 
There are day tours of Ecton Mine and Engine House available in the summer months, these are popular and advance booking is essential - find out more here.

The valley is a popular destination for cyclists and is ideal for families or those new to cycling. Along the way listen out for birds including buzzard and owl.
There are two lovely holiday cottages by Wetton Mill, available all year round. Ideal for a quiet weekend away, or a base for cycling, climbing and walking in the Peak District.
50 things to do before you're 11¾
Play pooh sticks in Ilam Park, hunt for fossils in Dovedale, or go birdwatching in the Manifold valley.
There are loads of places to tick off some of the 50 things activities in the Peak District. Pick up your free scrapbook from the visitor centre at Ilam Park or Dovedale Barn.

Explore other great spots in the Peak District