Dominated by the exposed moorland and gritstone escarpments of the Dark Peak and the limestone dales of the White Peak, the Peak District in Derbyshire offers glorious views, breathtaking natural splendour and beautiful villages with an old world charm. Home to Britain’s first national park, this region offers dozens of attractions for every tourist and easily makes it onto the discerning travellers’ list of the most beautiful places in the world.
A motoring-enthusiast’s dream
Every motorcyclist knows that while stunning scenery is an added bonus, the true lure of a tourist destination lies in the routes in and around it. And whether you’re an on-road motorcyclist who prefers navigating beautifully tarred roads, an off-roader who loves getting their motorcycle boots caked in mud, or an adventure biker who likes a mix of both, the Peak District offers some of the best rides in the world. However, this post is for the tar-bound motorcycle tourist, so I’ll leave the talk of off-road delights for another day.
With winding curve after winding curve, a number of hair-raising bends, challenging climbs, swooping descents and just enough straightaways to make overtaking attractive, it’s no wonder that some of the villages within the Peak District National Park see as many as 700 motorbikes on a single day!
But don’t let its popularity fool you. The Peak District is home to some of the most dangerous roads in England, and the high number of fatal accidents has led to pretty stringent speed limits being enforced by cameras, unmarked police cars, and even unmarked police helicopters. However, you really don’t have to go that fast to experience the adrenaline rush that comes with navigating your way through those glorious twists and turns.
Some roads that deserve a special mention are:
- Snake Road, from Glossop to Hope Valley
- Edale Road, from Hope Valley to Chapel-en-le-Frith
- Long Hill Road, between Whaley Bridge and Buxton
- Cat & Fiddle Road, between Buxton and Macclesfield
- Baslow Road, from Totley to Baslow
Quaintly luxurious places to rest your head
Manifold Inn – Hartington
Once a 19th-century coaching inn, the Manifold Inn is one of the most popular motorcycle-friendly venues in the Peak District. Though advertised as a B&B, it’s so beautifully decorated and offers so many amenities that you would be forgiven for thinking you’re in a boutique hotel.
The rooms are spacious and offer plenty of tea and coffee (essential to get us bikers going in the morning!), the complimentary products in the luxurious bathrooms are high quality, and the beds are nice and large, and extra comfy.
If you’re hungry, you can enjoy the amazing but reasonably priced meals in the formal restaurant, or sample a menu that’s beyond typical pub fare while enjoying a range of great ales and chatting with friendly staff, who are always happy to provide whatever you may need.
The Old Lockup – Wirksworth
Decorated with quirky police-themed knickknacks, pictures, and antiques, it’s a little ironic that The Old Lockup is a popular gathering spot for bikers, considering the fact that ‘bobbies’ are the bane of our existence—even though they’re usually just doing their jobs.
Although being bikers we would probably prefer an ice-cold beer and crisps, you’re greeted with tea and cake upon arriving. The rooms are gorgeous, and you even get delicious homemade cookies and a chocolate on your pillow, which is a really nice touch.
The breakfasts are made to order and probably one of the best cooked breakfasts you’ll ever enjoy. You can order a fantastic dinner as well, but the little French restaurant nearby offers such amazing food that it’s truly difficult to choose between the two if you’re only staying for one night.
Culinary delights from every corner of the world
Another thing that determines the popularity of a destination for motorcycle tourism is whether there are places with a friendly atmosphere, amazing food and ice-cold drinks to restore one’s energy. In fact, you could say that motorcycle tourists were culinary tourists long before food tourism became a thing. And with an endless selection of high-quality eateries, the Peak District leaves you spoiled for choice, but these two are my firm favourites!
Buxton Tap House – Buxton
When you’ve spent the day touring the countryside and testing your mettle on tricky roads, there’s nothing better than ending the day with an ice-cold beer. At the Buxton Tap House, you’re literally spoiled for choice with what is easily the most extensive range of craft beer in England.
Some of the beers are on the strong side, so it’s not a good lunchtime stop, but the American themed menu, featuring pulled pork, various sliders, mac & cheese, nachos, and even a duck salad, will leave you so full that you won’t want to do more than stumble tipsily to your hotel and collapse into bed.
Kostas Fish & Chips – Matlock Bath
You haven’t really experienced true British cuisine until you’ve had fish and chips from a proper ‘chippy’. The fact that Kostas is always packed to overflowing, it just goes to show that you’d be hard pressed to beat their amazing seafood.
This is an extremely popular spot for both families and bikers alike, offering massive portions of five-star quality food; although the affordable pricing doesn’t make this obvious. For those who aren’t in the mood for fish, there’s a nice range of non-seafood options that are just as delicious.
Over the past 10 years, Laura Knight has been a motorcycle rider. She has built up an incredible passion for travelling by motorbike and always wishes to contribute to the motorcyclist and traveler community. This is the reason why she created MotorManner.com, where her passion is turned into useful and interesting information to the motorcyclists and travel lovers. Visit her blog to read more articles about motorcycle traveling gear reviews and helpful tips!