CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Derbyshire Life today CLICK HERE

Summer events in the Peak District – mini guide

PUBLISHED: 14:08 02 May 2014 | UPDATED: 09:06 02 June 2014

Chatsworth Country Fair

Chatsworth Country Fair


The Peak District is renowned for its vibrant calendar of cultural, artistic and countryside events. Here are some important dates for your diary...

Summer of Cycling

(April to October)

Explore the Peak District on two wheels by following one of the festival’s cycle routes or attend one of the specially selected courses, workshops or film screenings. The UK’s first Italian-inspired cycling festival, L’Eroica Britannia (20th-22nd June), will herald a three-day celebration of vintage cycling, fashion and local food in Bakewell. This will pave the way for when the world’s most famous cycling race, the Tour de France, slices through the northern tip of the Peak District on 6th July. For details visit

Peak District Walking Festival

(26th April-11th May)

Over 100 events and walks highlighting the area’s beautiful landscapes, towns and villages. Select a route to suit you – from a leisurely stroll to a challenging uphill hike – join a group walk or indulge your interest in subjects varying from heritage to wildlife at a themed event. For details visit

Well Dressings

Well dressing is one of Derbyshire’s oldest and most mysterious customs. The Romans who invaded Britain in 43AD certainly made regular sacrificial offerings at wells and springs but it’s more likely that the custom predates this. Ancient Britons made offerings to their water gods and some anthropologists believe that Celtic strains survived the successive invasions in the remote Peak hills. Well-dressing today has strong religious links and a service of ‘blessing the wells’ is usually held. How is it done? Few are assembled in the same way, but put simply, after prolonged soaking wooden frames are filled with damp clay and natural materials, such as flower petals, leaves and corn, are pressed into the design etched into the clay. The startlingly brilliant results are usually on show for about a week.

Here are just a few highlights:

Wirksworth 24th-28th May, blessing 24th

Tissington 29th May-7th June, blessing on 29th at 11am

Ashford-in-the-Water 14th-22nd June, blessing on 15th at 3pm

Litton 21st-28th June, blessing 22nd, 3pm

Tideswell 21st-29th June, blessing on 21st

Youlgrave 21st-26th June, blessing on 21st at 2.30pm

Chapel-en-le-Frith 5th-12th July, blessing on 6th at 12pm

County Shows in the Peak District

Celebrating all that the countryside has to offer with competitive classes for horses, livestock and horticulture, thrilling main ring attractions and a colourful mix of county products.

Bakewell Show (6th-7th August)

The Showground, Bakewell DE45 1AQ

Manifold Show (9th August)

The Arbour, Castern Hall, Ilam DE6 2BA

Ashover Show (13th August)

The Rectory Fields, Ashover S45 0BA

Ashbourne Show (16th August)

Osmaston Polo Ground, nr Ashbourne DE6 1LU

Hope Show (25th August)

The Showground, Marsh Farm, Castleton S33 8RZ

Chatsworth Country Fair (29th-31st August)

Chatsworth, Bakewell DE45 1PP

Turnditch & Windley Show (6th September)

Wirksworth Road (B5023), Windley

Hartington Wakes (14th September)

High Fields, Hall Bank, Hartington SK17 0AT

Ashbourne Festival (20 June-6 July)

An annual feast of music, literature and drama that takes place throughout this historic market town. Expect street theatre, concerts, exhibitions, talks and workshops from regional and international artists and performers. The festival Fringe (24th June-2nd July) offers a varied programme that includes recitals and guided walks.

Leek Arts Festival (1st-31st May)

Music, exhibitions, arts, film and theatre held in venues throughout the town, including historic churches and pubs, and outdoors in Leek’s Brough Park.

Chatsworth International Horse Trials (16th-18th May)

Three days of world-class equestrian sport, combined with entertainment and activities for the whole family in the beautiful surroundings of Chatsworth Park. Chatsworth, Bakewell DE45 1PP

Leaden Boot Challenge (18th May)

A challenging 26.2 mile walk or run with 5,800 feet of ascent, starting and finishing in the White Peak village of Alstonefield.

Castleton Garland Ceremony (29th May)

There are various theories about when this unique folk custom originated – the most common being that it celebrates the restoration of King Charles II. Others believe that it is a fertility rite dating back to pagan times. The ceremony is held each year on Oak Apple Day (29th May) unless this falls on a Sunday, in which case it takes place on 28th. The ‘King’, on horseback and dressed in Stuart costume, is covered to the waist in a heavy, bell-shaped floral Garland that measures over three feet tall and weighs around 25kg. A ‘posy’ of more flowers, called the ‘Queen’, is placed on top. Following a procession through the town accompanied by his ‘Consort’, a band and dancers, the ‘King’ is relieved of his Garland which is then lifted to the top of the tower of St Edmund’s Church. The ‘Queen’ is placed round the war memorial, and there is Morris and maypole dancing in the Market Place. Castleton, Hope Valley S33 8WN

Derbyshire Open Arts (24th-26th May)

Over 100 artists and craftspeople display their work in venues across the county, offering the opportunity to view and purchase unique pieces and meet the artists themselves. Visit

World Toe Wrestling Championships (8th June)

This unusual event sees participants from across the world take off their socks and lock big toes in a bid to force their opponent’s digit to the floor. Held at the Bentley Brook Inn, Fenny Bentley, Ashbourne (DE6 1LF)

Ashbourne Highland Gathering (20th June)

The largest Highland Gathering outside of Scotland. The event includes pipe band competitions, highland dancing, highland sports and a traditional hill race. Ashbourne Recreation Ground DE6 1GH

Buxton Festival (11th-27th July)

The nationally renowned celebration of opera, music and literature, with performances from world-class opera companies and a celebrated programme of music recitals and literary talks. The Festival Fringe (9th-27th) features comedy, theatre, dance, music, street performances, film, talks and shows.

World Hen Racing Championships (2nd August)

Chickens are raced over a track of around 15 metres and have three minutes to cross the finish line. Entry is free and you can even hire a hen for the day! Held at the Barley Mow Inn, Bonsall DE4 2AY

Eyam Remembrance Service (31st August)

Over 350 years after the residents of Eyam selflessly cordoned off the village to prevent the spread of the plague, a service is still held on Plague Sunday (the last Sunday in August) at Cucklett Delph, Eyam

Wirksworth Festival (5th-21st September)

A leading rural arts festival showcasing work from both local and international artists. The Art and Architecture Trail wends its way through the streets and alleyways of the town, whilst the Contemporary Visual Arts programme includes commissions and films installed in unusual sites. Music, dance, drama, film, street theatre and Fringe events complete the offering.

New Mills Festival (12th-28th September)

An annual celebration of community and cultural spirit with talks, walks, concerts, exhibitions and an impressive lantern procession.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Derbyshire Life and Countryside visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Derbyshire Life and Countryside staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Derbyshire Life and Countryside account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

This walk offers a dance with the Dove and a meander by the Manifold, whilst along the way passing a church, castle remains, country houses and a hollow way

Read more

With winter on the horizon, trees glow with colour, migratory birds arrive and house spiders set off in search of a mate

Read more

Ann Hodgkin investigates a case of the sincerest form of flattery… or industrial espionage!

Read more

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust’s vision is of landscapes rich in wildlife, valued by everyone. They will achieve this 
by pursuing their mission of creating Living Landscapes. Here Julia Gow, the White Peak Reserve Officer at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust tells us about the reserve above the River Wye

Read more

Nigel Powlson visits Sudbury where a shopping courtyard is attracting even more visitors to this quintessential English village

Read more

If you’re walking in the Peak District, the chances are that you could encounter a reservoir at some point during your ramble. There are dozens of resevoirs dotted around all corners of the national park, we pick some of our favourite walks from our archive.

Read more
Peak District

A five-year Heritage Lottery-funded scheme, launched in 2010, was designed to encourage the restoration and conservation of the distinctive landscape character of a large area of north-east Derbyshire.

Read more

Enjoy the wonder of woodland in our glorious Derwent Valley on this park and ride special.

Read more

Paul Hobson reveals some of the fascinating wildlife there is to be found in this month of transition

Read more

From far away constellations to gas clouds, our night skies are bursting with natural wonders – if you know where to look... Viv Micklefield goes stargazing in Derbyshire

Read more

Derbyshire Wildlife Trust works across six Living Landscapes with 46 nature reserves to ensure there is wildlife and wild places for everyone. Reserve officer Sam Willis tells us about one of his favourite places – Ladybower Wood Nature Reserve

Read more

A multi-million pound makeover attracts more leading brands to one of the UK’s biggest shopping destinations

Read more

The first ever National GetOutside Day takes place on Sunday 30 September with the aim of getting 1 million people active outdoors across the UK.

Read more

Derby’s QUAD arts centre has become an important part of the city’s identity over the last decade and it celebrates its impact on the cultural landscape at its 10th anniversary this September

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Subscribe or buy a mag today

Topics of Interest

Local Business Directory

Property Search