I was really excited when Em and Will said they fancied the Peak District as the backdrop to their pre-wedding photographs ahead of their wedding at Derbyshire venue Donnington Park Farmhouse next year. I adore the Peak District; we spend a lot of time up there walking as a family and some of my favourite memories from the pandemic were made on top of mountains and edges. The best thing about choosing the Peak District for your pre-wedding photographs is that there are lots of easily accessible locations that don’t require a long hike to find incredible view, otherworldly landscapes and some peace and quiet if you’re feeling particularly anxious about being photographed in public. I’ve listed some of my favourite spots at the end of this blog. We chose Surprise View and Millstone Edge for their shoot, which has incredible views over Hathersage towards the Hope Valley, but also seas of ferns, fascinating rock formations and at this time of year, the vibrant purple heather.
Top five easily accessible Peak District Pre-Wedding photography locations
Below are my favourite Peak District Pre-Wedding photography locations; they would also work well for your wedding portraits due to their accessible nature. It goes without saying that if you’re unfamiliar with the area you should take a map (I recommend the OS Maps app), wear appropriate footwear and be prepared for the weather to change quite quickly. I always send my location (via Strava or WhatsApp, for example) to a couple of friends and give an approximate time I think I’ll be back in my car so they can keep an eye on where I am. Be aware that while incredible, some areas of the Peak District such as Mam Tor, Curbar Edge and the Longshaw Estate are owned by the National Trust and you may require permission and to pay for a permit to shoot there. At the time of writing, Chatsworth House doesn’t allow pre-wedding photography at all, this is is reserved exclusively for couples getting married on the estate.
Millstone Edge and Surprise View
A classic Peak District walk, really accessible with no long hike required. Park in the pay and display Surprise View car park and head west through the gate and the end of the carpark adjacent to the road. There is a short circular walk that takes in incredible views and Over Owler Tor. You could also call in at The Fox House for a drink to settle your nerves or to celebrate after.
Errwood Hall ruins
There is parking at Errwood Reservoir (but the road is closed at weekends I believe so do your due diligence!) The path leaves the carpark uphill and follows a stream to the ruins of Errwood Hall. If you’re up for a hike you can continue ascending via the Spanish Chapel below Foxlow Edge or head south and round to Shining Tor with views above the reservoir en route.
A popular destination for climbers, the Roaches offers fascinating rocky ridges making it an interesting location for pre-wedding photographs on the edge of the Peak District. There is on road parking below the Roaches, please park considerately and follow local instructions. For a longer walk, head to Lud’s Church.
Park in the Monsal Head carpark and be prepared to walk back up the fairly steep path at the end of your shoot. Monsal Head is incredibly photogenic, offering breath taking views over the Monsal viaduct (part of the Monsal Trail, which is a fun day out on the bikes!) Below you’ll find waterfalls, tunnels, the huge arches beneath the viaduct and if you’re lucky, an ice cream at the end! The valley loses the light quite early, so don’t plan to start too late in the day.
Known as the Dragon’s Back, due to looking like the spiny back of a dinosaur, Chrome Hill overs wonderful quintessential Peak District views for your prewedding shoot or wedding day portraits.