Forget Center Parcs: Have a Wild Adventure In The Peak District

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The first of a series of articles on fantastic family holidays. Instead of chlorinated water parks we have wild swimming in plunge pools beneath waterfalls. Drag them away from Minecraft to discover real caves and gorges and climb real trees! Think Enid Blyton and The Famous Five…this will be a family holiday to remember and no mistake! Here are the top ten places to explore, swim, eat and play while holidaying in the Peak District and surrounding area. Of course, if it is proving a little too wholesome you can always cheat and visit Alton Towers while you’re there!
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10Spiffing Sleepovers

First let’s get the basics sorted out. Where should you base yourself to begin your marvellous adventure? Airbnb has some great choices for quirky and comfortable accommodation that will fire the kids imagination from the outset.

Converted Chapel Peak District exteriorThis fabulous converted chapel is so away from it all that you will hear a pin drop and the lack of light pollution ensures that the stars at night will take your breath away.  Take a midnight walk to Hanging Rock to feel even closer to the majestical firmament.

Converted Chapel Peak DistrictTo add to the Enid Blyton style adventure the owner can organise a treasure hunt with metal detectors in the grounds of the property – the treasure is planted to ensure the kids aren’t disappointed but who knows what undiscovered historical finds you may unearth?!

The wonderful Ship Inn at Wincle serves delicious home cooked food and real ales and you are walking distance from Tip 7… read on for more about that.

Sleeps 4 from around £1400 for a week in the summer holidays.

Cheddleton Water TowerAlternatively you could book this stunning Grade II listed Victorian Water Tower that was formerly part of Cheddleton Psychiatric Hospital (defunct). The 360-degree view from the tallest building in the Staffordshire Moorlands is breath taking. It combines original features with the latest technology (including free wi-fi, and a built-in Bang and Olufsen music system which can be played in several areas in the house) and a spa-like family bathroom plus several ensuites.

Cheddleton Water Tower bedroomThere is a games room located on the 7th floor which sports a full size snooker table and darts room and also has an attached kitchenette with fridge and microwave, (to save you from walking down several floors to the main kitchen). There is also an intercom system throughout the tower which is very handy given all the stairs! The water tower is just a pleasant stroll a way from Churnet Valley Railway.(Tip 8)

Sleeps 11 from around £2000 per week in the summer holidays.

Leek MarketBoth properties are a short drive from the beautiful market town of Leek. Ideal for picking up supplies from its general market (every Wednesday) or its fabulous farmers market on the 3rd Wednesday and Saturday of every month.

Leek antiques

A runner up in the Daily Telegraph’s “Best High Street In The Country” competition, it is a super town and the locals are fiercely proud of its individuality.
It must be the only town to have staged a protest that involved camping on a roundabout to try and prevent the removal of the 185 year old traffic island!

It is currently battling to keep McDonald’s from opening there, (if you want to join the fight you can sign the petition here!)
Instead of a Big Mac, follow in Johnny Depp’s footsteps and drop into The Foxlowe Arts Centre cafe for a nice slice of cake (he popped in while filming ‘Through The Looking Glass’ last year) and enjoy browsing the antique shops or supping an ale in one of it’s many traditional pubs.


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