Arts and Heritage Activities

Well Dressing

Peak District Well Dressing is very famous for the ancient tradition. The world’s earliest recorded example of the art was at Tissington in 1349. More than 70 Peak District villages still take part in well dressings, which started as thanksgivings for pure water. They involve decorating wells with intricate mosaic pictures made from natural materials such as berries, seeds and petals.

See our Well Dressing Blog ​​for more information. 

Heritage Buildings & Historic Sites

Peveril Castle

In and around the surrounding area of The Peak District and Derbyshire there are many beautiful and historic Peak District buildings. For a pleasant day out why not explore and learn about the area's prehistory with a visit to Peveril Castle, a ruined 11th-century fortress overlooking Castleton, Derbyshire, was one of the first castles in The Peak District to be built following the Norman Conquest and today provides breath-taking views over the Hope valley. 

The exact date of Peveril’s construction is largely unknown, however, it must have been at least under construction by the time of the Domesday Book in 1086, as it featured as Derbyshire’s only castle. It soon became the administrative centre of its founder, William Peveril, whose power and wealth in the area grew under Henry I.

Haddon Hall 

A medieval manor house located south of Bakewell in the Peak District, Derbyshire. Its history spans the 12th to the 17th centuries and is today one of the seats of the Duke of Rutland, with a wealth of beautiful rooms and architecture to explore.

Haddon Hall in The Peak District with its first owner 'William Peveril the Elder' in 1087 and is recorded in the Domesday Book. Following the fall from grace of his son William Peveril the Younger in 1153, the manor was repossessed by the Crown and distributed to the Avenell family. In 1170, Avice Avenell married Richard de Vernon, and Haddon passed to their family, who constructed much of the house today. Most were completed by the 13th century, with the magnificent Long Room added later in the 16th century.

Thornbridge Hall & Gardens 

A beautiful 19th Century Hall with beautiful English gardens in The Peak District, full of charm and overlooks the picturesque Derbyshire Countryside. Also amongst the stunning 12 acres of garden is Thornbridge Hall, a large manor house in the Peak District that was once the ancestral home of the Longsdon family and later housed a line of wealthy businessmen with savvy design ideas. Its 12-acre grounds give guests the quintessential English garden experience with a hint of eccentricity.

Thornbridge Hall was the seat of the Longsdons from the 12th to the late 18th century, before in 1790 being purchased by up-and-coming businessman John Morewood. The Morewood family, whose profits in the Industrial Revolution made them very wealthy, enlarged the house substantially before it was rebuilt in 1859 by Frederick Craven in the Jacobean style.

Arbor Low Stone Circle 

Also known as the stone henge of the North. Arbor Low stone circle and Gib Hill Barrow are two Neolithic sites that sit side by side in the Peak District. Arbor Low is one of the best-preserved henge circles in the country, while nearby Gib Hill Barrow served as a burial mound in the Early Bronze Age. 

Art Classes

If you fancy picking up a paintbrush, then local artist Diane Kettle can help you brush up on your skills and help bring out your creative side. With a degree in fine art, she has enjoyed over 30 years of experience teaching art in schools, colleges and universities.

High Peak Artists  based in the Pavilion Gardens in Buxton, Derbyshire, is a group of 45 local artists and craftspeople from the High Peak region. Gallery in the Gardens displays their work and includes various types of paintings and mixed media, glass and mosaics, ceramics, jewellery, photography both traditional black and white and digital colour, textiles, turned wood, embroidery, linocuts and etchings, pen and ink illustrations and drawings, felt work and knitwear as well as a large selection of prints and greetings cards. Many Members of the High Peak Artists Group offer single Workshops Days, Tuitional Courses and even specialist themed Holidays in their own fields of creativity. 

Glass Making

If you want to experience an old tradition of glass making then Greenhalgh Glass Gallery is on a beautiful river island in the Derbyshire Peak District. Well worth a visit to the gallery and workshop where all the glass artworks are handmade . The workshop nestles on a river island with views of the Derbyshire hills in the Peak District National Park so a perfect spot for a day out. 

A rare opportunity to discover the art of glass blowing at the Lumsdale glass Studio. You’ll see a demonstration of the fascinating and skilled craft of creating hand-blown glass that has changed little in hundreds of years. You’ll then have the chance to make your very own whiskey tumbler. This small working studio also houses an exhibition and shop.

Want to try your hand at making your own piece of art from glass then head to Stevie Davies in Wirksworth.  Stevie is a contemporary glass artist and tutor based in her own studio and gallery in Wirksworth, Derbyshire. Stevie loves teaching others to design and create with glass at her workshops and creating make at home kits


To see another side of Derbyshire's industrial heritage and ceramics then why not visit Royal Crown Derby or Denby Pottery? The Denby Pottery Visitor Centre has everything one could want from a pottery based day out; you can even paint your own piece of Denby to be fired in the kiln to take home!

Peak Potters is a ceramics studio based in Whaley Bridge, High Peak.  A former water powered corn mill, tannery, dairy and stone crushing mill, Cadster Mill has been a quietly industrious site in Whaley Bridge since before the 1700s.  This versatile and eco-friendly studio space is ideally suited to creative group activities,  making it the perfect space for a little ceramic making.  

The Clay Rooms is a pottery studio and shop in the centre of Ashbourne run by co-founders Sarah Heaton and Helen Cammiss. They offer workshops, courses and memberships in their professionally equipped studio. Alternatively check out their incredibly popular Pottery at the Pub sessions. They team up with local venues to deliver pottery classes across the region. From planters to Gnomes, the 2-hour sessions offer a fun hand-building pottery activity all from the comfort of a great pub.

Dry Stone Walling

If you want to try a more ‘hands on’ activity during your visit to The Peak District, then Dry stone walling could be an activity you want to try while here, or if you’re just keen to know more about the ancient construction method, then you want to visit Five Wells Farm in Chelmorton which boasts some of the oldest drystone walls in England. 

You can learn the ancient art of drystone walling at its most basic level in some of the most beautiful countryside in Derbyshire.  Drystone Walling courses are run by friendly local experienced people who share their passion for conserving the countryside. 

If you fancy a course on how to correctly rebuild a straightforward section of a dry stone wall then Peak Walling at Blackbrook Farm aims to show you just that with a beginners course and one-to-one tuition situated on the edge of the Peak District. Blackbrook Environmental Enterprise (BEE) was established in January 2006 as a means of conserving the farmland and woodland belonging to Blackbrook Farm. By joining a drystone walling course at Blackbrook you will learn not only the fundamentals of an ancient craft but will also help to conserve some 6km of drystone walls.  

You can also learn about stone masonry in the Peak District at some of the stunning stately homes in and around Derbyshire.  The Stonemasons Yard at the grand Elizabethan Hardwick Hall is one of them.  You can see the level of upkeep that’s ongoing with the masons working on the hall ever since it was built.  


Peak Blacksmithing offer 'Experience days'.  Experience an exciting ancient tradition while having loads of fun and, most importantly, create a masterpiece you can then take home proudly.  Some of the items you can make are- Coat hooks, toasting forks, fire pokers, chestnut roasters, candlestick holders, plant supports and many more. Discounts are also available for group bookings.

Mountain King Forge is a small cottage industry and privately owned working forge museum with a strong focus on crafting everything by hand via traditional hand forging techniques. The Museum is a registered institution with the Rural Museums Network. 

• A full-day blacksmithing course in the Peak District

• Purpose-built forge near the village of Elton


Grab yourself some well-earned floral therapy with a wonderful floristry experience in The Peak District.  Enjoy a two-hour session with designer florist Anja Norris of Norris Floristry. You will be given a host of seasonal flowers, greenery, fruits and berries, and along with Anja's expert guidance you will make an unusual yet beautiful arrangement to take home with you.  Materials are all included in the price, and Anja will also give you a drink of your choice from the bar! The workshops are fun, educational, and memorable. You will not only learn the skills to arrange flowers at home, but also learn about the seasonal flowers you use and hear entertaining stories from the floristry world. 

Riverbank Floristry ​is based in Belper and offers a multitude of classes from coffee and flower mornings, to sessions for larger groups. The classes are fun, friendly and informal, suitable for complete beginners and great for girlie get together's and hen parties too.