From the wild moors in the north to the magical caves to be found in the south, one thing is for sure: the Peak District is full of breathtaking places to visit. Among the natural wonders of the national park are dozens of quaint towns, each with its own hidden gems.
Located in White Peak, about 90 minutes’ drive from Greater Manchester, is Youlgreave, one of the largest villages in the Peak District. It sits on the hillside above the confluence of the Bradford and Lathkill rivers and overlooks miles and miles of vibrant green countryside.
When you get to Youlgreave, you may see something quite strange; in fact, you may find that you haven’t reached Youlgreave at all. Road signs in the area have different spellings, so depending on what you see you may find yourself on Youlgrave, Youlegreave or Youlgreave.
The magical hotel straight out of Harry Potter, 40 minutes from Greater Manchester
Over the years, the spelling of the village has varied significantly, with wild variations such as Zolgreve and Yellegrave even on record. But its name is not the only peculiarity of the town.
Youlgreave is home to the smallest detached house in Great Britain. Thimble Hall is a small building where each room is less than 8 square feet. The house, which dates back to the 1750s, was at one point home to a family of eight.
In 1999, the Grade II listed property made national headlines when it sold at auction for £39,500. It attracted bids from all over the world and even illusionist Uri Geller tried to buy it, but in the end Chesterfield ice cream maker Fredrick’s got the winning bid. The house was last used as a dwelling in the 1930s and has also been used as an antique store, butcher shop and shoe store.
Another historical feature found in the village is the Conduit Head, a huge circular water tank. It was used to store water that was collected from the Bradford River and then distributed to the villagers. Today the village uses one of Britain’s few private water companies.
Today Youlgreave is a popular tourist destination in the Peak District thanks to its picturesque location. The village has three pubs to choose from: The Bull’s Head Hotel, the George Hotel and the Farmyard Inn. Near the center of the village is Peak Feast, an old family bakery where you can buy treats to eat in or take away.
There are several holiday homes within the village, while the youth hostel is housed in an impressive three-story Victorian building formerly used by the Youlgreave Co-op. As far as hostels go, it’s quite nice and still has Co-op signs in the windows.
Youlgreave is an excellent starting point for walks in the local area and several long distance routes pass through it: the Alternative Pennine Way, the Limestone Way and the White Peak Way. To the east of the village is the pretty hamlet of Alport, while there are also scenic walks you can take along the River Bradford.
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