At the start of the Pennine backbone of England, the Peak District erupts in a patchwork of pastoral dales and boulder-speckled ridges. Within, quaint hamlets and proud stately homes are cradled in the landscape, adding up to somewhere that's fascinating for both history buffs and adventurers. No stay in the region offers more character than a Peak District cottage. Use this guide to make booking them a whole lot simpler.

A river drifts through Bakewell in the Peak District

Features to consider when booking Peak District cottages

Before going in search of any perfect Peak District cottage that will make your escape to the Derbyshire countryside a memorable one, consider the sort of place you're after. A range of hints and pointers are below.

Find a pet-friendly Peak District cottage to rent

Your pup might be better suited to dealing with the strong gusts that blow across Mam Tor than you are, while less active barkers are sure to love the riverside smells and flat paths that meander with the waters of the Wye. To ensure you can bring the dog with you for those adventures, it's important to pinpoint a Peak District cottage with a pet-friendly policy.

A luxury Peak District cottage with a pool

Channelling the well-to-do character of towns like Buxton are a number of opulent Peak District rentals that pack in swimming pools. They often sell out fast and command higher rates, but they promise to add a dash of real luxury to any getaway in the Derby hills.

Large Peak District cottages for the whole family

The period homes of the Peak District can boast as many as 6 or 7 bedrooms, which makes them suitable for whole families and large groups. Expect to find a mixture of sleeping arrangements, with doubles for the couples, twins for the siblings and even singles for add-on family friends. Big holiday homes like this also typically throw in garden spaces, patios and roomy dining areas to boot.

Elegant Chatsworth House in the Peak District

Types of trips when booking Peak District cottages

There are no rules about what sort of traveller can visit Peak District cottages. In fact, these hearty, cosy homes away from home are suited to a whole range of different types of trip. They include:

Short breaks to Peak District cottages

There's often no minimum booking requirement in Peak District cottages to rent, which means you can easily string together a fly-in break to the beautiful Derbyshire ridges. Sometimes, a 2-night stint is all you need to conquer Kinder Scout – the highest moorland in the Dark Peak area – or the grassy tops of Mam Tor above Castleton.

Peak District cottages for romantic breaks

This swathe of idyllic England is often hailed as one of the country's most romantic. The high hills are begging to be walked hand-in-hand with your other half, while intrepid outings through the flooded tunnels of the Speedwell Cavern by boat can add a sense of adventure to proceedings. Cottage stays are a great backdrop to couples escapes, too, what with their hot tubs, log fires and charming vernacular architectural touches.

Adventure jaunts to the Peak District

Whether it's dangling by a rock-climbing rope from the sheer-cut faces of Windgather, hiking Kinder Scout, or delving into the stalactite-carved chambers of Treak Cliff Cavern, there's always an outdoors pursuit on offer right outside the door of Peak District cottages.

A Peak District landscape in the winter

Places to look for your Peak District cottage

Chase spring water, spa treatments, Norman history and ridge walks with these 3 enticing destinations where it's possible to find cottages in the Peak District.

Peak District cottages in Castleton

The haunting outline of Peveril Castle crowns the oak groves around Castleton. That crumbly Norman fortress soon gives way to the rising tors, though, which eventually creep up to Mam Tor – one of the most jaw-dropping lookout points in the whole national park.

The regal town of Buxton

Lovers of fresh water will love Buxton, which is famed for its springs. You'll find them babbling forth from fountains in the town centre itself, close to mineral spas with loads of aqua-based therapies. Poole's Cavern and the Buxton Art Museum also combine to infuse the place with a little adventure and culture.

Be pampered in Matlock

The historic 19th-century spa resort of Matlock still draws plenty of guests to its Neo-Gothic streets. It's got charming heritage buildings, though the most alluring sit to the south of the centre in the form of the Cromford Mills. They are an aspect of a regional UNESCO site, famed as the home of the world's first water-powered fabric mill. Holiday rentals in Matlock are also a fine base for explorations through the southern White Peak.