If you intend to travel around the park, the easiest way to accomplish it is by car, as the public transport network is sketchy, especially on weekends. However, driving to and in the park is easy.
We drove from London, following M25 first, then onto M1 and then M6. More generally, coming from either north or the south, you could use either M1 or M6 (including M6 Toll as it's best to bypass Birmingham - chances of getting stuck are way too high for my liking!). On M1 - get off between junctions 25 and 28. Other motorways in the neighbourhood are M62, M42, M60, M56, M67 and M18.
The key road serving the park once you're nearby is the A6.
To keep in mind:
There are big, multi-year roadworks on M1 when coming from London - can add anything from 20 minutes to an hour to the trip.
Even if you only do it a few days before it is worth getting an advance purchase rail ticket into the peaks and you are not always restricted to off peak trains. For example, during the day or late evening, you can get tickets from London to most places in the Peaks for between £12 and £15. For morning trains make sure you include first class tickets in your search as these go for £18 and are often available when the standard class tickets are not.
See the following website which always keeps a current check on prices for travel to and from the Peak District.
The easiest way to reach the Peak District is by train. The Hope Valley line runs between Manchester and Sheffield with stops in New Mills, Edale and Hope.
Local buses call in at rail stations when the train is due. A few buses are free to rail ticket holders. Some services only run during the summer months or weekends and Bank Holiday Mondays.
The Hope Valley Leisure Guide has train times for the Manchester-Sheffield trains and a bus schedule that's useful for weekend travel. There are village descriptions plus a calendar of events. Most weekends there are free guided walks that start and finish at a station on the line.
The Hope Valley Leisure Guide is available from the Manchester TIC or by writing the Hope Valley Community Rail Partnership, New Mills Town Hall, New Mills SK22 4AT. They also can provide a handy booklet, Walks from the Hope Valley Line, which costs 4GBP (including postage). Make cheques payable to ‘Peak District National Park Authority.’
The Wayfarer ticket covers public transportation in Greater Manchester and the Peaks and offers discounts to some attractions. An adult ticket costs 6.60GBP for one day or 10GBP for the weekend (half price concessions for children aged 5-15 and pensioners). A daily family ticket for 4 costs 11GBP.
The Wayfarer is valid on Manchester trams after 9.30 on weekdays and anytime weekends and Bank Holiday Mondays. The same time restrictions apply to train services, but most bus services have no such limitations. You can buy your Wayfarer at the region’s staffed train stations and bus stations, post offices or by writing to Piccadilly Travelshop, Unit 12, Parker Street, Manchester M1 4AJ. Make cheques payable to ‘GMPTE’ and allow 14 days for delivery. Ask for a Wayfarer guide to map out the destinations covered by the pass and the discounts you’re entitled to.
This is a pretty dramatic limestone gorge with a minor road running through it. Take your time and enjoy it if you're in the Castleton area. This is the only route West of Castleton since the Mam Tor road was destroyed by landslips. The picture was taken by our friend Jerry from his paraglider. There is more information on the website shown below.
I suppose most people go by car, but the popular villages of Edale, Castleton, Hope and Hathersage for example can get very crowded during Summer months.
I you fancy taking the train, the only cross-Peak route is the Hope Valley line which runs from Manchester to Sheffield, with stations at Disley, Chinley, Edale, Hope, Bamford, Hathersage and Grindleford. Trains run approximately every 2 hours. The journey from Manchester to the above stations takes about an hour.
By bus, there is a dense network of buses linking the Peak District to places such as Manchester, Sheffield, Stoke-on-Trent, Derby and Chesterfield.
To get to Castleton or Edale for example by car from Manchester, take the A6 road south through Stockport and then, staying on the A6, follow the signs for Chapel-en-le-Frith and Buxton. At Chapel-en-le-Frith, turn left onto the A625 and you will see signs for Castleton and Edale.
There are some great roads around the peak district for motorcyclists. Perhaps the most famous is the "cat and fiddle" which is the road between Buxton and Macclesfield. This picture is taken from Shining Tor, the road shown is the cat and fiddle and this is one of the straighter sections.
Motorcyclists should take care for a number of reasons, there have been many fatalities and on busy days police seem to patrol the road constantly on extremely fast bikes (they will catch you speeding). In addition, if the wind is westerly you might find yourself comming across a paraglider. They should be able to keep well away from the road but nature is not always that reliable. Having said all that ,it's obviously a lot of fun on a bike.
There is an hourly service running along the Hope Valley of the Peak District National Park with stops at Grindleford, Hathersage, Bamford, Hope and Edale.
Unforetunately becasue the train runs along the bottom of the Valley, if you catch a train you have to do some walking upwards to enjoy the views!
see the website below for timetables
the Fox House is a great place to finish your walk and is right next to a bus stop for the short journey back to Sheffield.
The service you will need is the 272 and departs the pub back to Sheffield hourly and the last one is after last orders, if you fancy the pub long into the evening!
There are several bus services to either the south or the north end of Stanage edge.
All services listed depart from Sheffield Interchange in the city centre.
To Moscar Lodge (North End) services 274, 273 & 51A. These run every couple of hours, from 0915 . They continue to Ladybower, if you fancy the reservoirs instead. The last one back from Oscar Lodge to Sheffield is about 1830.
To Burbage Bridge (South End) 257 (weekends Only). This starts running at 0900 and every couple of hours until 1700, and more or less the same in return. The bus continues to Hathersage.
So it is better to finish a walk on Stanage in either Hathersage, or the Fox House pub for an easy ride home.