The chocolate box village of Castleton is a haven for hikers, nature lovers and history buffs. Situated in Derbyshire’s Peak District, Castleton is half an hour from Sheffield, making it perfect for a mini adventure from London. I recently had the opportunity to spend 24 hours in Castleton village and was pleasantly surprised at how much we could fit into such a short time. We even got to spend the night in a Gothic mansion!
Arriving at 1.30pm, we dropped our luggage at YHA Castleton Losehill Hall, the Gothic Victorian mansion that we would be spending the night in. Steeped in history and set in 27 acres of picturesque parkland and streams, its hard to believe the majestic building is only a few minutes away from the local train station, Hope. I was excited to explore the mansion but first we were off to hike one of the trails.
Hike to Hollins Cross, Peak District
We geared up and set off on a two hour circular hike from the hostel to the top of Hollins Cross. The weather was perfect, and I soon had to start removing layers due to the incline. The landscape was painted in a warm auburn glow and after a shortwhile we reached the Great Ridge. From the top we were blessed with panoramic views of both Castleton and Edale, and continued along to Hollins Cross in the distance. We hiked slowly, and stopped often for photos, whilst still building up an appetite for dinner.
Staying at YHA Castleton Losehill Hall
After the hike we headed back to the hostel around 4.30pm, we had time to settle into our rooms, shower and explore more of the stunning gothic mansion. Originally built in 1882, YHA Castleton Losehill Hall has recently been refurbished, and includes a licensed bar and several social areas aswell as 146 beds in 36 rooms, many of which are en-suite.
As the hostel is surrounded by so much woodland its great to get outside and explore the surrounding area, we even bumped into a few chickens in the garden. If you want to wander further then Castleton village is only an 8 minute walk away.
The Supper Club at YHA Castleton Losehill Hall
Aswell as the usual hostel facilities, YHA Castleton Losehill Hall also offers The Supper Club every night at 7pm. The Supper Club is an opportunity to enjoy a hearty two course meal for £9.95 with other guests, where you can share travel experiences and make new friends. The daily menu changes, but is designed to replenish you after a day exploring the National Park.
We stayed on a Tuesday night and after an afternoon of hiking it was no surprise to see a table of empty plates which were once filled with chicken pies, mash potatoes and vegetables. Though, unsurprisingly we all seemed to make space for the chocolate fudge cake dessert!
However I was most astonished at how accommodating the kitchen was with everyones dietary requirements. The cut off for ordering is 6pm and this was enough notice for vegan, lactose free, and gluten free options to be catered for.
Evening entertainment at YHA Castleton Losehill Hall
After dinner we made our way to one of the lounges. A spacious room with high ceilings, large windows and a beautiful fire place. The perfect spot for us to enjoy some board games whilst getting to know the group better. We spent three hours, laughing infront of the roaring fire playing HeadsUp until we said our goodbyes and rested our wary legs.
Hike to Winnats Pass, Peak District
After breakfast we headed out to explore more of the area. The landscape was shrouded in mist, but as we walked we noticed the sky was starting to clear.
We detoured via Castleton village and past the independent shops, tea rooms, and pubs. Looking up we saw the imposing remains of Peveril Castle, standing high above the village. Peveril Castle is one of England’s earliest Norman fortresses, and perched high on the top of Castle Hill means there are some spectacular views from the top especially towards Kinder Scout. We didn’t have time for this hike but its a short climb and one that you can fit into your day quite easily.
We were headed towards Winnats Pass so carried on through the village and past the green fields until we found a route which required some scrambling to reach the top.
The hike from the hostel to the top of Winnats Pass had taken us around an hour and a half and in contrast to the day before we had only seen four other people walking the trail. The view from the edge was that of the colourful autumnal surroundings. We spent half an hour at the peak, taking photos and enjoying the peace and quiet, before heading down the hill towards the road on a much gentler decline.
Hiking to Mam Tor, Peak District
Following Winnats Pass we crossed the road and ascended Mam Tor, also known as the Shivering Mountain. As one of the most famous walks in the Peak District, it was full of visitors, including several children. As the weather was pleasent, we saw several adrenaline junkies paragliding off Mam Tor as we hiked by. Our route back took us along the Great Ridge in the opposite direction. We passed Hollins Cross and towards the hostel and onto the train station.
In 24 hours we had squeezed in 6 hours of hiking, a relaxing dinner, and an evening of board games, all in a beautiful setting. Such a great way to enjoy a mini break from London and take advantage of natures autumnal colours.
Other activities in Castleton, Peak District
Our 24 hours were all about hiking and connecting with likeminded travellers. However, Castleton has plenty to do if you have more time or if walking isn’t for you. The village is well known for its four caves and caverns, accessible by guided tour. Treak Cliff cavern and Blue John cavern contain beautiful caves decorated with stalactites formations, and blue john stone. Peak cavern is the resurgence of a huge river system. In its enormous entrance are the remains of a rope-making walk. Speedwell mine is an old lead mine and visitors are taken along a flooded tunnel by boat.
How to get to Castleton in the Peak District
The closest station is Hope. Northern Railways runs two services an hour from Sheffield to Hope for £6 one way. The journey takes around 25 minutes. Sheffield is well connected and only two hours away from London on East Midlands railway. Remember to book early though to get the prices.
If you need more convincing, check out the epic Youtube video from our trip too!
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Disclaimer: This article is sponsored by YHA but as always opinions are my own.