The Road Less Travelled: An Off-Grid Journey Through the Peak District

The Road Less Travelled: An Off-Grid Journey Through the Peak District

Hit the open road with our off-grid guide to road-tripping through the Peak District. We’re sidestepping tourist hotspots in favour of hidden-gem stays, farm-to-fork eateries and under-radar hikes across bucolic surrounds.

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feelings beat the thrill of slinging your bags in the boot
and hitting the open road. We’re heading on an off-grid road trip
across the Peak District, sidestepping tourist hotspots in favour
of hidden-gem stays and locavore menus, interspersed with
under-radar hikes and horseback treks.

Our preferred set of wheels? The Volvo XC60 Recharge, the low-emission,
plug-in hybrid SUV that’s as dynamic as this itinerary and polishes
your eco halo too. Better still, tackling the national park’s bends
is a doddle thanks to innovative driver-assist technology – think
steering assist and brake support – while real-time traffic
information helps you to plan your journey. It’s about making life
less complicated; there’s no such thing as an unexpected U-turn
with this ride.

Summer 2020 may have seemed like a write-off, but cancel culture
is just not the way we roll. Pack your bags, curate a playlist
(this car has concert-worthy Bowers & Wilkins speakers) and get
this show on the road.

Ewden Valley

Day One

Welcome to the Dark Peak. An expanse of brooding moors carved by
pastured valleys, gritstone escarpments and reservoirs, this
lesser-trodden corner of the northern Peak District sets a
soul-stirring tone for an adventure. Begin your journey in
Holmfirth; this is twee, Last-of-the-Summer-Wine territory and the
antithesis to the imposing, steep drive over Holme Moss. Pause to
admire the summit, crank open the panoramic sunroof and descend
through Woodhead Reservoir – stay-on-the-road technology will make
sure you always feel safe and in control. Stop at polka-dot-fronted
Bank View
before reaching Broomhead Farm, an isolated B&B and your
launchpad for walks across the wildlife-rich Wharncliffe Crags to
Wantley Dragon. The customisable, Scandi-style XC60 transitions
smoothly between wilderness and city, so we’re nipping to buzzy
Kelham Island to knock elbows with Sheffield’s cool crowd over
dinner at Jöro.

Beyond Bakewell…

Day Two

Stanage Edge is a small but superb detour on the route south;
rock climbers will be in their element here, though we’ll stick
with getting snap happy. Low battery? No worries; the XC60
effortlessly charges your smartphone with its wireless charger.
Continue through historic Eyam village to Bakewell to wander along
the River Wye, peruse markets and devour the town’s namesake
pudding – no sticky fingers on the soft Nappa leather seats,
please. Looping up to the Chatsworth Estate, you may think you’ve driven
into a romantic painting. Once frequented by Fred Astaire and JFK,
this country pile is all sprawling parkland and garden-to-plate
cafés, though we recommend stocking up at the farm shop and
retreating to the secluded, self-catered Gardener’s Cottage. Dinner out? Try Fischer’s
at Baslow Hall
, the Peak District’s only Michelin-starred
restaurant. Going off-grid needn’t mean forgoing luxury.

Lud’s Church

Day Three

For the final leg, head west to the mythical, mossy chasm of
Lud’s Church, diverting to gawp at Monsal Head (you’ll need
all-wheel drive here). Buxton is nearby, but we say skip it in
favour of horseback rides from Northfield
and wild swims in Rudyard Lake – check in to the waterside
for a rustic-chic stay. Stock up on craft brews for
future picnics at Wincle Beer Company before refuelling with
farm-to-fork fare at Old Hall Inn. If you’re a bon vivant who
doesn’t mind a longer drive – and frankly, who would say no in the
XC60 – make a beeline for Matlock (in the knowledge of minimal
emissions and maximum safety), where thermal springs, independent
shops and top-notch food are de rigueur. The Cock Inn
is our dinner spot of choice. A boutique yurt at Scaldersitch
marks the end of your journey; it’s on the cusp of Parsley
Hay Dark Sky Reserve, so clamber into a wood-fired hot tub and
clink glasses under the stars.

The Lowdown

Discover responsible luxury with a car that makes safety and
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