A fabulous visit to stunning Ilam Park, Dovedale

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Located in the Staffordshire Peak District, Ilam Park, Dovedale is a gorgeous National Trust Estate. Home to Italian gardens, riverside walks and the gorgeous Ilam Hall. Our recent visit to the Peak District was made even better by a day out at Ilam Park Estate.

tree in foreground located on manicured green lawn infront of a stone bridge across a river

Ilam Hall

Ilam Hall is currently used as a Youth Hostel. And what a place to stay it is! The current building is a gloriously gothic manor dating back to the 17th century. Before this another Hall stood on the grounds, this one dating from the 15th century. This was sold, demolished and rebuilt when the Port family (the original owners) fell into financial difficulty.

ilam hall YHA seen across the italian gardens

The new architect, John Shaw totally transformed the Manor bringing the glamour of the era to what we see today. In 1932, after another few owners the hall and its 82 acres were donated to the National Trust who look after it now.

main entrance to ilam hall with young girl with long curly hair in jeans walking past

Church of the Holy Cross, Ilam

The church in the grounds at Ilam Park is not managed by the National Trust. It is a beautiful example of Norman and early English design. The tower dates back to the 13th century! It is home to St Bertram’s tomb and a fascinating Saxon font so do pop in for a look if it is open during your visit.

Ilam, Dovedale walks

There are loads of walks starting from Ilam park. At the start of our visit we met a friendly volunteer who was happy to tell us her favourite routes. She had some great recommendations for dog friendly and child friendly hikes and the various lengths. There is a lovely 1 mile hike within the grounds alongside the Manifold River. We opted for the longer Ilam Dovedale circular walk which takes in the famous Peak District Stepping Stones. This was perfect, allowing both our ten year old daughter and lively Hungarian Vizsla to have a paddle.

stepping stones at dovedale with people crossing over

For a longer 10 mile hike you could try the 10 mile Ilam to Wetton loop. Which looks just beautiful.

Ilam Park Tea Room

The Stable Yard Grab and Go tea room at Ilam Park is currently open for takeaway only. Indoor service at the Manifold tea room should open back up over the next few weeks. Outdoor queuing was managed well during our recent visit and moved pretty fast. We grabbed a coffee at the start of our visit. And treated our daughter to a delicious ice cream after our hike.

stable yard grab and go cafe at Ilam park

When full service is in operation the Ilam Park tea room serves seasonal food. Focussing on local produce and popular dishes. This is THE place to try some Derbyshire oatcakes for the first time.

If you are looking to save some pennies or just fancy bringing your own picnic, you’re more than welcome. There are loads of pretty spots around the grounds to throw down a blanket.

grounds of Ilam park in the peak district showing part of the norman church

Ilam Park, Dovedale with dogs

The Ilam Estate is a wonderful place to explore with your four legged friends. There are several spots the can enjoy being off lead. Just ask one of the rangers to check where is safe to do so. Keep them on a lead around the main Hall and anywhere there is cattle grazing. You’ll find a couple of water bowls in the Stable yard. Perfect on a hot day!

walking along the main road to ilam park with a dog

Please do pick up after your dog. You’ll find bins near the main entrance.

What to know before your visit to Ilam Park

Do I need to book to visit Ilam Park?

Booking is not required to visit Ilam park. just turn up and enjoy your day.

main entrance to national trusts ilam park

Parking for Ilam Park

The Car Park at Ilam Park looks like it’s been recently extended. We were there on a sunny spring day and whilst it was very busy around the Stepping Stones, we were still able to find a space. National Trust members can park for free at Ilam Park. For non-members it’s £3.50 for up to 4 hours.

Facilities at the Estate

There are several toilets located in the stable yard near the main entrance. They were clean and again queuing was well managed. You’ll find baby changing facilities and adapted toilets in the stable yard.

Ilam Park Dovedale address

Ilam, Ashbourne, Derbyshire, DE6 2AZ

Estate opening

Ilam Park in Dovedale is open year round. The gates open at 9am and close at 7pm. The Stable yard cafe opens and 10am until 5pm.

Another of our favourite National Trusts in the Peak District is Longshaw Estate. It’s where we start this Padley Gorge Walk and again it has a lovely cafe and the chance to get your feet wet.

Make sure to pin for later to Plan your next visit to the National Trusts Ilam Park.

pilam park dovedale pin image

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