Detailing the best Peak District pub walks for muddy boots and paws, and also families.
The Peak District is known for it’s characterful pubs, oozing with local charm. Almost every village has a pub (or three!) and a visit to the Peak District isn’t complete without a homecooked pub meal, washed down with a pint of Thornbridge or Peak Ale. And did you know that these always taste better after short Peak Disrtict walk? Fact.
So we’ve compiled our favourite Peak District pub walks here for you (ordered shortest to longest). All of these pubs welcome families, as well as muddy boots and paws, and some of these have a playground too!
If you are planning a visit to the National Park, please arrive early or late in the day to avoid crowds, and respect social distancing. Please also take all litter home with you, don’t bring BBQs and park your car in designated parking areas. Also, please use these walks as a guide; access and stiles may change.
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This is a great little Peak District pub walk for views and rocks to climb, and it starts at The Robin Hood pub!
From the pub, walk up the road just for 20 metres, where you will see a footpath sign and gate that leads you to Birchen Edge. Take the lower footpath first and after about 1km, before you see Nelson’s Monument on the hill top, you can climb up the rocks to the top. Or, there is a path if you don’t fancy the climb; just follow straight ahead. Once at the top, the views are fantastic and kids will love climbing up and over the big boulders.
Follow the footpath along the top of Birchen Edge to get back to the car park. There’s a steep descent right at the end, which can be quite slippy when wet. Take care.
Our Monsal Head walk starts from the Monsal Head Hotel, with the adjoining Stables Bar. It’s a gorgeous little bar, but it is very small; so make sure you call ahead to book a table.
Monsal Head is one of the most iconic beauty spots of the Peak District. This is where the impressive Headstone Viaduct, which forms part of the Monsal Trail, straddles the verdant Monsal Dale and the River Wye meanders aimlessly through.
From the pub, this walk takes you down into the dale to the weir, then across the other side of the River Wye to emerge under the viaduct, with a climb back up to the view point. Footwear with good grip is essential as this walk can get very muddy in wet weather, and arrive early to secure parking during weekends and school holidays as this is a Peak District hot spot.
Pub: 3 choices of pubs in Youlgreave The Bulls Head Hotel: playground ❌ kids menu ✔️ directly on walk ❌ George Hotel: playground ❌ kids menu ✔️ directly on walk ❌ Farmyard Inn: playground ❌ kids menu ✔️ directly on walk ❌
Our Alport to Youlgreave walk is an easy circular stroll along either side of the River Bradford. The walk itself doesn’t quite go through the village of Youlgreave, but it’s a short detour up the road with a choice of three pubs (you really are spoilt for choice!)
The views on the last section of the walk (after the pub) are particularly beautiful as you take a short climb up to a hill top. We recommend that kids wear wellies on this walk so they can paddle in the river, and if you’re doing this walk in the warmer summer months, bring the kids’ wetsuits and towels as there is a small designated swimming area.
Another Peak District pub walk that starts almost right from the pub. This relatively flat, circular Longnor walk is away from the tourist hotspots, across classic White Peak farmland, and takes you right through working farms. It’s one of our quieter Peak District pub walks and we rarely see others on this walk (although you’re guaranteed to see lots of sheep and cows!)
As you walk through the farmyards, please stick to the footpaths and pass through quietly; these are working farms, with machinery, farming products, and livestock around. There are obvious safety hazards, but it goes without saying, stick to the path and don’t let your kids play on the machinery. Also, the footpaths can get muddy around the farms when it’s been raining.
This easy-going and flat River Derwent walk begins by the The Bridge Inn (which has a kids play area in the garden) and leads along one side of the river to Frogatt Bridge, returning on the other side of the river, following a clockwise loop. It’s a very pretty walk; on a clear day the imposing boulders along Curbar and Frogatt Edges are in view, and in spring the river banks are covered in daffodils and wild garlic. Half way is Calver Weir, a Grade 2 listed structure, built in the 19th century to provide water to power cotton spinning at Calver Mill.
You can shorten this walk by just doing the loop from Curbar to the A625 road crossing, just after the weir. This is a 2.4km loop.
Unfortunately, despite the even, flat footpaths, this River Derwent walk is not pram friendly. There are very narrow gates to pass through, and a steep stone steps at one of the bridges. Instead, take little ones in a carrier. Click here to check out our pram friendly walks.
This walk starts from the Hartington Farm Shop and Café (one of the best cafes for a hot chocolate in the Peak District). But this is very central to Hartington, and a little further in you will find two pubs (Charles Cotton Hotel and Devonshire Arms) if you want to make this into a Peak District pub walk.
This short and picturesque Hartington walk leads you down to Beresford Dale where the River Dove meanders through. Make sure you pack a torch, as half way along this walk there is a cave to explore, which includes a short walk through tunnel! You may even find some ‘Ice Age cave paintings’ (which is what our 6 year old called them). Although do note that the tunnel through is very narrow and really only for small children.
This Hathersage walk includes the Hathersage Stepping Stones, a much quieter alternative to Dovedale Stepping Stones. And three-quarters round this walk (before walking back into Hathersage) you pass very close to The Plough Inn, with it lovely beer garden; when you meet the road after walking along the river, detour right along the road for 150m. Alternatively, you could visit one of the pubs in the centre of Hathersage at the end the walk.
The walk itself is easy and relatively flat. It mostly follows the footpaths along the River Derwent, through shady trees backed by open fields. The stepping stones themselves are a little trickier than the Dovedale ones, so take care if you’re unsteady on your feet; kids under 5 will need a helping hand as their legs aren’t quite long enough to reach across to each stone.
Tucked away from the tourist honeypots of the National Park, our circular Foolow walk starts and ends at the Bulls Head in Foolow, one of our favourite Peak District pubs; serving excellent meals (fantastic veggie burgers!), are very kid friendly, plus it’s oozing with character.
Whilst this short Peak Disrtict walk is relatively flat, be warned that there are A LOT of stiles to cross; from steep stone stiles, to squeeze stiles (which you made need the help of someone pushing you through). For young kids, these stiles break up the walk with climbing fun. But if you have a child in a carrier, this walk may feel like quite a workout, and many dogs will struggle.
If you need to refuel two thirds around the walk, there’s the Queen Anne in Great Hucklow; equally as characterful, and just a short detour from the walk.
Towards the start of this Peak Disrtict pub walk, just before you leave the picturesque village of Over Haddon, you will pass The Lathkill Hotel. This fantastic pub is all about the views, so try and visit on a clear day and book an outside table.
The walk then continues across open meadows and down into Lathkill Dale, arguably one of the prettiest dales in the Peak District. Considering the heavily industrialised lead mining history of this dale in the nineteenth century, it’s remarkable to see how Mother Nature has healed the scars and restored it to such beauty.
You will also cross a packhorse bridge (Coalpit Bridge) and a medieval sheepwash bridge (Conksbury Bridge), before following the River Lathkill further upstream along weirs that the Victorians built for trout fishing, leading back up into the village of Over Haddon.
Please note that Lathkill Dale is a SSSI and there are Natural England signs along the river asking you not to go in to the water for a paddle.
The Royal Oak Wetton is a very short detour from the start of this iconic short Peak District walk to Thor’s cave; a natural cavern perched on the side of the Manifold Valley. As Thor’s Cave does get rather busy, you may want to time your pub visit accordingly, so that you arrive to the cave either early or late in the day.
Don’t forget to pack your torch as the kids will love climbing and exploring deep into the dark chamber at the back of the cave. Although please note that the walk up to Thor’s Cave gets extremely muddy and slippy in wet weather, and may be impassable. We suggest attempting this walk in dry weather. Be sure to wear appropriate footwear.
Starting in Wetton, you can either follow the flatter route across the track and field to Thor’s Cave, or follow the stepped path up through the woods. After you’ve explored the cave, the route takes you back down through the woodland and then along the flat Manifold Way before climbing up and across the fields back to Wetton village.
There are some steep uphill sections but they’re only short and the views across the Manifold Valley are a good excuse to stop and catch your breath. You can also shorten it to a 2.6 km walk just walking to Thor’s Cave and back.
Ashford-in-the-Water is a picture-postcard village in the heart of the Peak District and this circular walk to Monsal Head starts just behind The Bulls Head (walk through the village green, and into the pub beer garden). This is a slightly longer walk that the short Monsal Head walk detailed above. But this walk also passes The Stables Bar, if you are need of a half way refresher.
Kids will love walking through the 400 metre long Headstone Tunnel, and the views from Monsal Head are fantastic. There’s also a playground at the end of the walk, if your little ones still have energy to burn.
The village of Tissington, where this beautiful Peak District pub walk begins and ends, is one of the prettiest in the National Park. Centred around the grand Tissington Hall are a collection of limestone cottages, no less than six ancient wells, a Church that dates back to Saxon times, a tea shop selling vegan treats, and a duck pond. This is also where the Tissington Trail passes through; a popular Peak District cycle route for families.
This circular Tissington walk to Parwich follows along the Tissington Trail for a short while, but then leads out to open farmland as you head to Parwich, another pretty Peak District village. The views along the way are beautiful. It’s worth timing your walk to arrive in Parwich in time for lunch at the Sycamore Inn, before continuing your walk back to Tissington. There’s also a good playground in Parwich.
Pub: You will pass two pubs in Ashford-in-the-Water: The Bulls Head: playground ❌ kids menu ✔️ directly on walk ✔️ Ashford Arms: playground ❌ kids menu ✔️ directly on walk ✔️ And in Bakewell you have a choice of 6 pubs!
This pretty Peak District family walk, starts from All Saints Church in the historical market town of Bakewell, and follows the River Wye to the picture-perfect village of Ashford-in-the-Water. It then leads you up into the hills along a quiet track for superb views down into the village, to then cross open meadows back to Bakewell.
Walking though Ashford-in-the-Water you will pass The Bulls Head and Ashford Arms. The village playground is just behind The Bulls Head.
Back in Bakewell you have a choice of six pubs! So this one makes for quite a pub crawl (although perhaps save that for when you have babysitters).
This pretty Magpie Mine walk takes you from the sleepy village of Sheldon (where there is the Cock & Pullet pub), across gently rolling meadows, to the Bulls Head pub in Monyash (where there’s a fantastic playground), and back through Magpie Mine (the best preserved 19th century lead mine in the whole of Britain and free to explore). Plus there are lots of fossils to be found in the stiles close to Monyash! But the main reason we love this pub walk in the Peak District walk is that it’s always so quiet as it’s away from the main hotspots of the National Park.
Do be warned that there are A LOT of stiles on this walk, so this may not be suitable for those with dogs, or parents with a little one in a carrier. Plus, it’s very likely that you will have to walk through at least one field of cows; walk carefully and quietly, and give them lots of space.
If you’re looking for a Magpie Mine walk, this is a great loop walk. But if you don’t fancy a long walk and just want to visit the mine, you can visit directly from Sheldon, following the footpaths at the end of this walk and then pop to the Cock & Pullet.
Hello! 'Peak District Kids' is the go-to website for parents both visiting and living in the Peak District run by Bakewell-based Mum, Jenny. Find out about the best walks, bike rides, attractions and events for families in the UK's oldest National Park.