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Family days out at Ilam Park and the White Peak

Visitors taking in the view of Thorpe Cloud at Ilam Park, Dovedale and the White Peak, Derbyshire
Visitors taking in the view of Thorpe Cloud at Ilam Park, Dovedale and the White Peak | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

Ilam Park and the White Peak is a great place for families and dog walkers. There are plenty of gentle riverside walks, as well as opportunities for picnics, adventures and exploring. You can relax in our deckchairs and enjoy the far-reaching views across the Italian Gardens towards Dovedale or take part in any of our seasonal activities.

Join us for Autumn Adventures

Ilam Hall Gardens offers a stunning view of autumnal colour throughout the season. Look out across the landscape or get a closer look by following the zig-zag garden path down to the River Manifold.

Keep an eye out for the wide variety of fungi on the ground, such as bright waxcaps that glisten in the grass. A popular activity for families visiting Ilam Park is playing Pooh sticks on the huge stone bridge on the River Manifold. There's plenty of space nearby to sit down with a picnic and spot birds on the river while you have your lunch.

Walk from Ilam Park to Dovedale to discover fossils in the limestone rock or be a nature detective and see if you can spot dippers and herons on the River Dove and the wide variety of birds in the woodlands such as robins, chaffinches and wrens.

At Dovedale use our autumn themed spotter sheet for families, to help you look for the wonderful wildlife in the National Nature Reserve.

Autumn half term activities

There’s also plenty to do over half term this year. Be inspired by local legends and stories and create your own frightful folklore as you explore Ilam Park this October. You can also get creative and make a Green Man clay tile to take home. Look for leaves and other natural pieces to decorate it.

Find out more about our autumn activities here.

Children climbing trees at Ilam Park, Dovedale and the White Peak, Derbyshire
Climbing trees at Ilam Park, Dovedale and the White Peak, Derbyshire | © National Trust Images/Chris Lacey

50 things to do before you’re 113/4

From playing pooh sticks to den building and fossil hunting, there are plenty of opportunities to complete some of your 50 things at Ilam Park and Dovedale. Find out more here.

Find the perfect place for a picnic

The park is a great place for a picnic with plenty of picturesque places to choose from to eat outdoors. The popular Manifold Tea-room offers plenty of choice for hungry and thirsty explorers too.

Ten top tips for things to do with the family in the White Peak

  1. Spot fossils in the stone steps in Dovedale valley
  2. Cycle the route of the former railway track in the Manifold valley
  3. Spot the old chimney pots in the Italian Garden at Ilam Park
  4. See the 'money trees' beside the path in Dovedale
  5. See Viator’s Bridge at Milldale - an ancient packhorse bridge
  6. Listen to the water bubbling in the boil holes in Ilam Park
  7. Explore caves in Dovedale valley
  8. Walk across the ridge and furrow in Ilam Park
  9. Look out for wildlife in and around the National Nature Reserve at Dovedale
  10. Find a far reaching view from the top of Thorpe Cloud or the other peaks in the White Peaks

Wonderful Wildlife

Take the time to notice all the wonderful ways of wildlife when you explore Ilam Park, Dovedale and the White Peak. Tune in your senses to reconnect with nature that is all around you - crouch down and take a closer look at the bugs on the ground or stand close to a tree and listen to all the different birdsongs in the tree canopy above you. Will you spot dippers diving across the river, buzzards soaring high above or yellow wagtails bobbing about?

A dipper, which has chocolate-brown feathers on its back and a white breast, is perched on a lichen covered rock beside rippling water.
A dipper perched on a rock at the water's edge | © National Trust Images/Richard Bradshaw