A Weekend Adventure: Ghosts, Caverns, Peaks, and Stepping Stones

A weekend adventure at Hartington Hall

On a Friday night, after everyone was home from schools and work, we headed off for another weekend adventure.

our destination was an old manor house built in 1611

As we neared our destination, it got very dark as we travelled up and down narrow lanes flanked by dry stone walls.

We were in the Peak District, and our destination was an old manor house built in 1611, called Hartington Hall.

An old house must have a ghost story?

There must be some universal law that means every old house has a ghost story or two, and Hartington Hall was no exception.

Looking into Hartington Hall

It is said the hall is haunted by a woman that was hung in the village square for being a witch. Spooky!

Some of our kids were a little apprehensive about spending the weekend in a haunted old building, but it all added to the excitement of our latest weekend adventure.

As we approached the building in the dark, we peered inside its old leaded window….

Inside Hartington Hall

Inside looking out

…and were pleasantly delighted!

On the other side of the window that we peered through was a cosy dining room and bar. So far, no ghosts or witches in sight!

So far, no ghosts or witches in sight!

Like many other old buildings that you can stay in, Hartington Hall is a youth hostel.

If you’ve not been to a youth hostel recently, you might imagine that they’re places full of large dormitories, shared bathrooms, and lots of Scouts.

Certainly, I remember youth hostels from when I was younger, with rooms crammed full of bunk beds that I’m sure were left over from WW2 (perhaps I’m starting to show my age!!).

Hartington Hall Youth Hostel

While there’s still group accommodation, the YHA has modernised considerably.

Many YHA places have family rooms and many with ensuite facilities.

Yes, there’s still bunk beds, but modern ones 😉 Even double beds for Mum and Dad.

Staying at Hartington Hall

Other residents at Hartington Hall
Hartington Hall wasn’t spooky at all. The place had a very friendly atmosphere.

There were people of all ages. Yes, don’t get confused by ‘Youth’ in Youth Hostel. YHA hostels are for everyone, including families.

YHA hostels are for everyone, including families

In fact, families are particularly well catered for, with a games room, playground, animals, and lots of space for kids to run around safely.

Here are some of the highlights:

  • We could all share a family room.
  • There were an en-suite toilet and shower.
  • We got to stay in an old historic building.
  • Self-catering and laundry facilities.
  • Restaurant for breakfast and dinner.
  • Play areas for the kids, and plenty of safe places for them to run around.
  • Goats and rabbits. Yes, goats, not ghosts.
  • Very helpful staff.
  • Beautiful countryside and lots to see nearby.

Bedding was provided. All we needed to bring were towels.

Exploring the Peak District

After a good breakfast inside us, and exploring the old village (including where the witch met her demise), we headed off to explore more of the Peak District.

Crossing the Dovedale Stepping Stones

Hartington Hall is in the southern part of the Peak District and makes an excellent base for exploring the area.

We’ve stayed in this area before and had a great time doing the Monsal Bike Trail.

Thorpe Cloud and River Dove Stepping Stones

This time we went off to explore the Dovedale valley.

The Peak District has a lot of different scenery, and in Dovedale Valley, you see quite a lot of it.

On top of Thorpe Cloud

We were there all day, exploring caves, crossing the river, and climbing a cloud! Actually, it was a very sunny day, and the only cloud was Thorpe Cloud, a large and distinctive hill that is next to the stepping stones across the River Dove.

It was nice to return to Hartington Hall for a good meal and some rest

We were exhausted after our day hiking. It was nice to go back to Hartington Hall for a good meal and some rest.

Escaping the rain – Underground!

The next day the weather had completely changed and started to rain – heavily.

Inside Poole's Cavern

We decided the best thing to do would be to go underground. So we visited Poole’s Cavern in Buxton.

Poole’s Cavern is quite an amazing and surprising thing to find in a carpark in Buxton.

The cave goes quite a way underground and is full of stalagmites and stalactites.

Well worth a visit.

GOWTK TV: Hartington Hall and the Peak District

Watch our video and see more of Hartington Hall and our adventures around the area in the Peak District.

A Fantastic Weekend

This was a fantastic weekend. It’s great to get away without having to wait for school holidays.

The kids really enjoyed it and were asking when we would be going again on the journey home.


Interested in staying at Hartington Hall like we did? Here’s how you can contact them.

Getting in Touch with Hartington Hall

Here's how you can get in contact with Hartington Hall.

Hartington Hall Website

[email protected]

+44 845 371 9740

Where to find Hartington Hall

Latitude: 53.1399460, Longitude: -1.8068362

Click here for directions

Hall Bank, Hartington, Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 0AT.

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Father to 3 kids, who loves getting out and about (hiking, running, camping, cycling, canoeing...) Co-founded Get Out With The Kids to help other parents enjoy the outdoors with their family.

1 Comment
  1. I love this post so much! I am constantly looking for inspiration and tips for family trips and breaks, so this is fantastic – and this sounds like such an ideal mini break – I know this is the kind of thing my kids would love! I am such a firm believer in making the most of family time, especially when the children are young. Memories are everything, and that’s why I like to spend our family money, not on things and objects, but on going out and doing things together – and what better way to do this than by going away?! I suppose the only thing here is that we can’t really afford to go anywhere too glamorous or tropical, and so often go on small city breaks around Britain instead – London, Dublin, York, Edinburgh…we’ve done them all and to be fair we’ve loved them all (though London may slightly win out of the three as we did go to see The Lion King!) Honestly I know it may be less exciting than Madrid or Venice, but if you’re on a tight family budget I can’t recommend family city breaks enough – there’s always an incredible range of hotels, and a vast array of activities and family trips to choose from! We’re actually just about to jet off to Birmingham in a couple of weeks as we have some family there (plus they have Cadbury’s World so I’m sold!) We’re staying in the Park Regis hotel as it’s meant to be excellent for families with apartments (which is ideal so we can cook ourselves and don’t have to spend a fortune on eating out all the time). Has anyone stayed here? I’m just so excited – I absolutely love going away with my family on these kinds of trips. Does anyone have any other tips of what to do when we’re there? I haven’t been in years and I know there’s lots that’s changed, so any tips would be fabulous!

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