Come to Castleton, the Village with Four Caves and a Castle!

  • Post category:England
  • Post last modified:March 10, 2024
  • Reading time:8 mins read

For a small village, Castleton certainly has a lot to offer combining history, natural wonders and modern amenities to excite visitors of all interests and ages. Marvel at the caves and castle, stroll through the picturesque village, soak up the breathtaking views and delight yourself in charming eateries and shops.

Brief History of Castleton

Castleton is a charming village nestled in Hope Valley in the Peak District National Park. Dating back to 1086 when Peveril Castle was built by William Peveril, a Norman knight close to William the Conqueror, Castleton is steeped in history. The village grew under the protection of the castle and has since been shaped by its lead mining and quarrying industries in the area.

Top 5 Attractions in Castleton

Peveril Castle

Standing proud and isolated on top of a rocky hill, the ruins of Peveril Castle are a highlight of Castleton. You can even see evidence of the garderobe, a medieval lavatory! A climb to the top of the hill will also provide you with stunning panoramic views of the Peak District. You can experience the history of the Castle through the interactive displays in the visitor centre as well as medieval artefacts on show there. There is also a gift shop and cold drinks and ice cream at the visitor centre.

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“Shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066, William Peveril built this castle on a site of natural strength with commanding view of the town below. Peveril Castle was built to guard the lead mines and the hunting rights of the Royal Forest of the Peak. During the 12th century, Henry II added the imposing stone keep and in 1372 the castle passed to John of Gaunt, becoming part of the Duchy of Lancaster. Today, the castle is in the care of English Heritage and is open to visitors throughout the year. The dramatic ruin and the stunning views from the rugged hilltop attract thousands of visitors.”

Blue John Cavern

Blue John Cavern is a fantastic example of how a series of limestone caves are formed with underground rivers and pools. Blue John is a rare and valuable mineral with notes of purple, blue and yellow. It was first discovered by miners, who were actually looking for lead, in the 18th century. Each piece of Blue John is unique so nowadays, it is used to make jewellery and other decorative items. The Chamber of St. Anne’s Well within the cavern is a must see with stunning displays of natural Blue John mineral deposits. Blue John Cavern has a visitor centre, gift shop, cafe, parking and guided tours. Tickets are bought on the day at the cavern. You can find out more details, including prices, here: https://www.bluejohn-cavern.co.uk/

Speedwell Cavern

Another limestone cave in Castleton, Speedwell Cavern has a long history of lead mining going as far back as the Roman times. You can still see evidence of this here in the remains of machinery and tools. A visitor highlight of this cavern is an underground boat ride through the cave looking at all the unique rock formations, illuminated by artificial lighting. Another attraction is the mysterious ‘Bottomless Pit’, a shaft going so deep that it certainly feels endless. Similarly, Speedwell Cavern hosts a visitor centre, gift shop, parking, guided tours and of course the boat rides. You can find out more information, including prices here: https://speedwellcavern.co.uk/

Peak Cavern (Devil’s Arse)

Excuse the name of this cavern but it is actually derived from the size of the entrance to the cave. The impressive entrance is 100m long, 20m high and 35m wide making it the largest natural cave entrance in Britain.

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This cave has a fascinating history of rope-making dating back to the middle ages. The large chambers provided ideal conditions for rope-making due to the natural humidity and air flow required to make good quality ropes. In fact, you can still see the remains of this industry within the cave. Interestingly, this cavern actually becomes part of Castleton itself whereby some of its cave systems extend beneath the village streets.

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Amazingly, Peak Cavern is a well renowned music concert venue. Many performances have taken place here, all year round, due to its ambience and dramatic setting. Again, similar to the other caves, there is a visitor centre, gift shop, cafe, parking and guided tours available. You can find out more here: https://peakcavern.co.uk/

Treak Cliff Cavern

The main highlight of this fourth cave in Castleton is its stunning and large displays of Blue John deposits. As mentioned earlier, Blue John is very rare so to see it in its natural form in caves that have been formed for over 330 million years, is very special and impressive. You can find a Blue John gift shop here selling jewellery and ornaments with the mineral as well as the usual visitor centre, cafe, parking and guided tours. More details including prices are here: https://bluejohnstone.com/

How to Get to Castleton

How to Get to Castleton by Car

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The main car park in Castleton is at the Visitor Centre, right in the middle of the village. Its SAT NAV address is Buxton Road, Castleton, Hope Valley, S33 8WN. There are public toilets here but please note, you’ll need change for the pay & display machines as they do not take cards or bank notes.

How to Get to Castleton by Train

The nearest train station to Castleton is Hope (Derbyshire) which is 2½ miles away from Castleton. From the train station, you could get a local taxi or the no. 173 bus to Castelton.

How to Get to Castleton by Bus

The main bus service is from Sheffield to Castleton on the no. 272 bus. This runs hourly and takes approximately 1 hour 20 minutes.

Final Thoughts on Castleton

Castleton really has everything for a day trip or even a long weekend. The village itself is pretty to walk around. Footpaths along the beautiful river, traditional architecture, lovely cafes, cosy pubs and the most charming art and gift shops. Apart from the village, there are of course the famous 4 caves to explore (Blue John Cavern, Speedwell Cavern, Peak Cavern Devil’s Arse and Treak Cliff Cavern) and Peveril Castle belonging to Castleton, all of which add to its unique setting in the Derbyshire hills. The dramatic landscape, natural beauty, fascinating history and uniqueness of Castleton makes it a very special place to visit at any time of the year.

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