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21 Hidden Gems to explore in the Peak District to escape the crowds

Updated: Jan 2

Your Ultimate Guide to exploring off-the-beaten track locations scattered across the Peak District.

Welcome to the enchanting realm of the Peak District, a land brimming with natural wonders and breathtaking vistas. Nestled amidst the heart of England, this captivating region is a treasure trove of hidden gems, waiting to be discovered by intrepid explorers like you.

These hidden gems range from secret waterfalls located in hidden gorges to secluded wild swimming spots to enjoy a peaceful dip.

In this article, we share 21 of the best hidden gems in the Peak District which you need to add to your Peak District bucket list this year!

Image of Ladybower Reservoir in the Peak District

Visitors will have the lucky choice of multiple waterfalls to see when visiting Birchen Clough. It's located in the Chew Valley (on the edge of the Peak District), and does include some scrambling to get to the falls!

Padley Gorge is known for being a very tranquil place to visit, and it's no surprise why! There are plenty of small and wonderful waterfalls to admire, however the trail can be quite difficult for some so we recommend appropriate footwear. For all you wild swimming fans; take your swimwear for a warm peaceful dip in these rivers!

Image of Padley Gorge in the Peak District

This little gem of a waterfall is located on the north side of Kinder Downfall, and can be very tricky to get too. There is a rough path to follow, but you have to pick your own route when going uphill, so please do wear appropriate footwear and be careful! However, once completed you'll be rewarded with this stunning waterfall.

This beautiful walk in the Peak District will reward you with amazing waterfalls to explore and pools to swim in! It's sometimes described as an enchanting watery place to hike, especially being situated on the border of Derbyshire, Staffordshire and Cheshire.

Image of Three Shires Head in the Peak District

Kinder Downfall is an absolute stunning and imposing waterfall located in the Peak District. The sheer rock faces and cascading water make it one hell of a natural beauty. It's the largest waterfall in the Peak District, and the views at the top are truly breath-taking!

Jacob's Ladder is a moderate to difficult hike in the Peak District, and can be done when setting off for Kinder Scout from Edale. If you're not used to hill walking, get some practise in before attempting this hike. However, you'll come across this gem of a waterfall which you can stop at and admire, before you continue your adventure.

An amazing place to visit in the Peak District with one of the best hidden waterfalls to see! You have to do a little exploring to find it; follow the river upstream and you'll eventually hear it before you see it. If there's been heavy rainfall the night before, you may even be lucky enough to have a quick dip!

Image of Middle Black Clough Waterfall in the Peak District

If you're in the Dark Peak area (not too far from the Pennine Way National Trail) you should definitely check out this waterfall. Issue Clough Waterfall is off the beaten track and does require some tricky scrambling to get too, but once you make your way up the clough you're rewarded with the sight of this beauty.

Crowden Brook Waterfall is a gorgeous gem located on one of the less popular routes up to Kinder Scout plateau. The route you'll need to take is the Crowden Clough (many guides on how to hike this can be found online) which can be quite tricky, but it's worth the challenge to see this hidden waterfall.

10) Lumb Hole Falls

The Lumb Hole Falls is a stunning example of true Yorkshire beauty. It's very easy to get to with a pleasant walk, and at the end is this stunning waterfall which cascades into the plunge pool below. Perfect for a dip!

11) Chee Dale

Described as one of the most beautiful walks in the Peak District, Chee Dale is best known for its stepping stones. However what most people don't know is that wild swimming can easily be done here! Obviously it depends on the previous day of rainfall/if enough water is flowing about, but it's definitely a great place to swim!

12) Mermaid’s Pool

Mermaid's Pool is a gorgeous hidden gem which is best visited after a day of heavy rainfall. The hike up is challenging, but its really fun! Especially if you stick to the stream itself and don't mind getting a bit wet.

Image of Mermaid’s Pool in the Peak District

13) Blake Mere Pool

The Black Mere Pool is a great spot for a bit of photography and the story behind the location is great, depending on which tale you go with! There is however signs saying no swimming due to dangerous objects under the water, so please do take extra care.

14) Slippery Stones

Slippery Stones is a gorgeous stone bridge located over the River Derwent. It's an amazing spot for a picnic, and of course a cheeky wild swim on a warm day! It's described as one of the best wild swimming spots in the Peak District, so you should definitely check out this spot the next time your in the Peaks.

15) Youlgreave

The Peak District has some of the best wild swimming spots in the UK, and the Youlgreave swimming spot has got to be up there located on the River Bradford. The spot has been carved out of the rock so that it's deep enough to swim in, however it is only 1.5 metres at its greatest depth.

Image of Youlgreave in the Peak District

More Hidden Gems in the Peak District

16) Lumsdale Valley

This enchanting valley is home to the remnants of a once-thriving industrial landscape, featuring picturesque waterfalls, crumbling mill ruins, and tranquil ponds. The vestiges of the past are now embraced by nature, with moss-covered stones, lush vegetation, and the soothing sound of flowing water creating a sense of serene tranquility.

17) Surprise View

Perched high on a ridge in the Peak District, this vantage point offers uninterrupted panoramic views of the sprawling valleys, rolling hills, and charming villages below. As visitors gaze upon the vastness of the landscape, they are embraced by a sense of wonder and humility in the face of nature's grandeur.

18) Lud's Church

Nestled within the tranquil woodlands of the Peak District, this deep moss-covered chasm stretches for over 100 meters, with towering sandstone walls adorned with ferns and lichens. The atmosphere within the chasm is otherworldly, as if time stands still and whispers of legends past echo through the air.

Image of Lud's Church in the Peak District

19) Robin Hood's Stride

This striking rock formation consists of two towering gritstone pinnacles, said to resemble the giant strides of the legendary outlaw, Robin Hood. As visitors approach this natural landmark, they are captivated by the sense of grandeur and awe-inspiring beauty that it exudes.

20) Winnats Pass

This steep and narrow limestone gorge carves its way through the heart of the Peak District, enveloping visitors in a world of geological marvels. Towering limestone cliffs create a dramatic backdrop, while the winding road that winds through the pass offers a thrilling driving experience.

21) Ladybower Reservoir

This reservoir not only serves as a vital source of water but also offers a picturesque retreat for nature enthusiasts and outdoor enthusiasts alike. Visitors can enjoy leisurely walks along the reservoir's shores, cycle through the scenic trails, or even embark on water-based activities such as kayaking or sailing.

Image of Ladybower Reservoir in the Peak District

We hoped you enjoyed discovering the local finds and less known places which are scattered across the Peak District. We are confident that visiting some of these hidden gems will make your Peak District adventure even more memorable!

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