There is so much you can do using the Square and Parwich as your base. All of the places mentioned below are less than 30 minutes away, most rather less.
The majestic scenery of the Peak District and Staffordshire Moorlands literally on your doorstep - a memorable backdrop to walking, cycling and picnicing - Tissington & High Peak trails, the Dove & Manifold Valleys, the Roaches, Ilam Park and Dovedale and ancient Minninglow.
The Stepping Stones at Dovedale
Carsington Water, our local reservoir, has a busy programme at its Visitor Centre and offers a raft of outdoor pursuits - bird & nature watching, kayaking, sailing, fishing. It's an 8-mile circular route, great for dog walking and you can hire bikes too. It has a first floor restaurant/cafe, open all day, with a large decked balcony overlooking the water.
A clutch of distinctive market towns - fine architecture, quirky shops, antiques, farmers' markets and eateries in Ashbourne, Bakewell, Leek, Matlock, & Wirksworth. There is also Buxton spa town with its stunning Opera House and annual literary festival. The summer country shows & fairs at Ashbourne, Bakewell, Ilam (Manifold Valley Show) and Hartington draw large audiences and increase in popularity.
Well-dressing, the decoration of springs and wells with pictures often made of delicate flower petals, is a tradition going back to pagan times and is concentrated particularly in Staffordshire & Derbyshire. These festivals take place between May and September and can be found in the villages of Tissington, Youlgrave, Mayfield, Endon, Eyam and Longnor amongst others.
Packed with heritage interest - the great houses of Chatsworth (and its Farm Shop), Haddon Hall, Kedleston & Calke Abbey, Hardwick Hall and most locally Tissington Hall in its model estate village and the candle shop - On a Wick and a Prayer. Also industrial history at Cromford Mill, David Mellor's stylish design museum at Hathersage and steam train rides at Ecclesbourne and Churnet Valley railways.
If anyone fancies a little local walk there's quite a nice local itinery recommended in The Guardian Newspaper.
CAFES/TEA ROOMS - If it's something lighter that you're after then the main towns have plenty of cafes and tearooms - Ashbourne's Bramhall's is an established one on the Market Square, Bakewell, Matlock, Buxton, Wirksworth, Hartington and Cromford also offer choice. Similarly, the big visitor attractions have catering outlets - Chatsworth, Haddon Hall, Carsington Water, Tissington etc.
Hawkridge Books, Bakewell - A book lover's dream, a fine collection of second hand and antiquarian books, specialising in natural history, ornithology, militaria and folio society books, and much more - something for everyone - we do a large part of our Christmas shopping there on an annual basis. Situated at 14 Matlock Street, Bakewell, DE45 1EE. Telephone 01629 815547 or via the internet at Hawkridge Books. This is a wonderful independent book shop - a dying breed - use it or lose it!
So many wonderful pubs and restaurants - it's a gastronomist's dream. Here are a few of our favourites (in order of distance - closest first) - The Sycamore in Parwich, The British Legion in Parwich, The Olde Gate in Brassington, The George in Alstonefield, The Coach and Horses in Fenny Bentley, The Miners Arms in Carsington, The Waterloo in Biggin, Callow Hall in Ashbourne, The Greenman in Ashbourne, The Devonshire Arms in Hartington, The Shire Horse at Wyaston, The Peacock at Rowsley, The Scaracens Head in Shirley, The Duncombe Arms in Ellastone, The Devonshire Arms in Pilsley, The Cavendish at Baslow, Aston Marina in Stone.