Whilst we believe that nature is the best playground, and that there is no end of fun to be had dipping toes into streams, bounding off boulders, or running down hills on a Peak District family walk, sometimes a good playground just makes parenting life easier.
The best playgrounds in the Peak District are found at Heights of Abraham (although this is technically outside the National Park boundary in Matlock Bath) and the adventure playground Chatsworth House. However, you have to pay to enter these. If you’re looking for a free and outdoor Peak District playground, then read on…
The following outdoor playgrounds were all suggested by the lovely parents in our Peak District Kids Facebook Group.
You may also want to check out our guide to Peak District pubs and cafes with a playground.
1. Buxton Pavillion Gardens
A full afternoon can be spent at the fantastic playgrounds at Buxton Pavilions as there is so much to keep them busy. There’s a zip wire and huge wooden climbing frame in one area, a basketball court, swings, and a separate toddler area that is enclosed. Take a stroll around the 23 acres of landscape gardens and feed the ducks. There is also a miniature train that kids can ride around the gardens (weekends and school holidays, bring cash).
Buxton Pavilions is also a good place for the kids to bring their scooter. We often scoot from the play area over to St. Anne’s Well to fill up our water bottle with fresh underground spring water. Check out our guide of things to do in Buxton with kids for more ideas, including the walk to Solomon’s Temple for fantastic views over the old spa town and a visit to Brick Corner Café (aka the Lego café).
The Monyash playground sits right behind The Bulls Head pub garden. So on a warm summer’s day, parents can sit having a drink and keep an eye on their kids in the village playground.
Parking is off Church Street, just behind The Bulls Head. Click here for Google Map point on your phone. Post code is DE45 1HE.
4. Baslow Woodland Park
Set in shady woodland behind the Baslow Sports field and tennis courts, this is play area has a lovely wooden obstacle course, zip wire and swings. There’s also a vegan café on site.
You may want to combine this with our pram-friendly Baslow to Chatsworth walk. This playground is a much cheaper alternative to the adventure playground at Chatsworth ;-).
Please note that parking at Baslow Sports Field car park is only for Baslow Sports members. However, the play area is open to all. Best to park at Nether End Car Park (click here for location on Google Maps, postcode DE45 1SR) and walk down. To get to Baslow play area, walk to Baslow Sports Field car park, and walk past the green and tennis courts to get to the play area. Postcode is DE45 1SP.
5. Ashford in the Water playground
Set on the large village green behind the Bulls Inn pub. Worth combining your visit with feeding the ducks by the bridge over the River Wye.
Parking is very limited in Ashford in the Water, but there is a car park here, right next to the village green where the playground is. Postcode is DE45 1QG.
6. Tittesworth Resevoir
Just on the very edge of the Peak District on the Staffordshire side is Tittesworth Resevoir. Here you’ll find a big playground, as well as a Visitors Centre with café, toilets and baby changing facilities. There’s also a 2.8km pram friendly Tittesworth Reservoir walk.
9. Bakewell Recreation Ground
Bakewell has a huge recreation ground for kicking a ball around and generally letting off some steam. It’s a fab place to bring a picnic. At the far end is the play area, which also features an outdoor splash area. The splash play area is open 1 April to 1 September and available 7 days a week 10 am to 5 pm with a one hour break (12.30 – 1.30).
Check out our guide of things to do in Bakewell with kids for more ideas if visiting the town.
Park at the car park next to the Agricultural Business Centre, along Agricultural Way (click here for Google Map location on your phone).
Hidden behind Hathersage swimming pool and residential area, you would never know about the Hathersage playground unless you had inside knowledge. There’s a small toddler area, wooden train, and large play area, as well as a small skateboard area.
Park at the car park opposite Hathersage Swimming Pool on Oddfellows Road (click here). Postcode is S32 1DU.
11. Youlgreave playground
Park in the village carpark next to the green and walk down across the football and cricket pitch. At the bottom of the slope is the playground with a separate toddler area. There is a basketball court here too.
This links nicely to our Alport to Youlgreave walk.
Parking at this small car park on Alport Lane (click here for Google Map location on your phone). Postcode is DE45 1WP.
12. Eyam playground
With it’s dark history, Eyam is a fascinating place to explore. Check out our guide for things to do in Eyam. But if all the talk of the bubonic plague and death becomes a bit too much, head to the lovely play area opposite Eyam Museum. There’s lots of space to run around here and the views are beautiful.
You may want to combine this with our Eyam Moor walk.
13. Longnor Playground
Sat behind Longnor Primary School and Fire Station, is Longnor Playground. This is a lovely spot with gorgeous views. There’s a zip wire here, and older kids will love the climbing cube. For a small village, this really is a great little playground.
You may also want to combine this walk with our short Longnor walk (circular, 3.3km).
Parking near the playground in Longnor is tricky. There is road side parking along Church Stree or Buxton Road. Otherwise, park at the market square in the centre of Longnor.
14. Hall Leys Park, Matlock
Whilst not technically the Peak District, so many visitors to the National Park base themselves in Matlock, it only felt right to include the playground at award winning Hall Leys Park.
With its boating lake, riverside walks, tennis courts and skateboard park, it makes for a perfect afternoon stroll or picnic spot. The playground even has a splash area and there’s also a miniature railway. Do note that whilst the park stays open all year round, some facilities such as the cafe and miniature railway are seasonal. An outdoor market is also held every Wednesday in the park from April to October selling local produce and crafts.
You could fill a full weekend and more with all there is to do in Matlock. Check out our post – things to do in Matlock – for more ideas.
There is limited road side parking next to the play area. Click here for Google Maps location on your phone. Postcode is DE4 3BU. Otherwise there are pay and display car parks at Olde Englishe Car Park and Bank Road Car Park.