Ashbourne is a fine old market town with good shopping, especially for antiques.
The town became a busy and fashionable social centre during the Georgian period with six coaching roads meeting at the town. Ashbourne's legacy of more than 200 listed buildings, fine coaching inns and mellow-bricked town houses combine to create the town's unique atmosphere.
The medieval annual Royal Shrovetide Football Game which takes place on Tuesday 17th & Wednesday 18th February 2015 attracts thousands of visitors as does the Highland Gathering held in July.
In addition to good shopping there are some great pubs and restaurants. Plus there are excellent recreational facilities with a leisure centre, swimming pool, squash courts and gym.
Bakewell is the only market town within the Peak District National Park and it is very popular with its lovely shops, cafes and courtyards and its location on the stunning River Wye.
Bakewell is best known for a pudding which was made in the 19th Century by a cook at The Rutland Arms who was baking a jam tart and misunderstood the recipe and so the Bakewell Pudding was created!
There is plenty to do in the town and The Annual Bakewell Show which takes place over 2 days in early August attacts lots of visitors. There are also Well Dressings, Carnival Week and an Arts Festival.
Buxton is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Peak District and is most famous for its natural spring water and Georgian architecture. The town was founded by the Romans who called it Aquae Arnemetie. But it was the fifth Duke of Devonshire who put Buxton on the map with development and it is today that you can see the stunning Georgian crescent which is the centrepiece.
Visitors to Buxton can fill their own bottles for free from the permanent flow of Buxton spring water at St Anne's Well in front of the crescent!
There is lots to do and see in Buxton including the 23 acres of The Pavillon Gardens, the Winter Gardens plus the famous Opera House. This is home to the Buxton Festival which has become one of Britain's largest opera-based festivals and apart from this offers a huge range of productions throughout the year.
Also worth visiting is the Devonshire Dome which is the largest unsupported dome in the country and now home to the University of Derby's campus but guided tours are available and it is worth a look.
There are many cafes, restaurants and independent shops plus lots of craft and art galleries.
Leek is a delightful historic unspoilt market town on the southern edge of the Peak District. It is a very traditional town and has thriving markets and it is also very well known for the antique and collectors market held each Saturday plus a fantastic monthly food market.
Many of the huge Victorian former silk mills have been converted to house antique and pine shops plus there are several art galleries and you can discover the most incredible independent shops on the towns numerous winding streets.
Matlock is a former spa town and is located on the River Derwent which if you carry on takes you to Matlock Bath which is enclosed by limestone cliffs and has more of the tourist attractions.
There is plenty to do in both Matlock and Matlock Bath including the Heights of Abraham, the Lead Mining Museum and just a little further out Arkwright's Mill.
Lots of shops and cafes/restaurants in both Matlock and Matlock Bath so worth a visit. In September and October there is Matlock Bath Illuminations which is a parade of decorated boats on the River Derwent which attracts lots of visitors.
Wirksworth is well worth a visit as it has lots of history attached to it as lead has been mined around the town since the Roman times and still quarrying is an important industry to the town.
There are so many streets to explore and when you get off the main road there are lots of narrow lanes, yards and alleys with some fantastic galleries, craft shops and cafes.
The Well Dressings are held from late May to early June and there is an annual Carnival and thriving Arts Festival in September.