SURPRISE VIEW, Peak District: Route difficulty, parking & more!

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SURPRISE VIEW, Peak District: Route difficulty, parking & more!

Embark on an adventure to one of the Peak District’s most breathtaking viewpoints – Surprise View! Tucked away amidst the rolling hills and rugged landscapes of Derbyshire, Surprise View offers visitors a panoramic vista that truly lives up to its name! From route difficulty to parking options and everything in between, my guide will ensure that your visit to Surprise View is unforgettable!


What is Surprise View in the Peak District?

Surprise View is a scenic viewpoint located in the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire. It offers amazing panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the picturesque Hope Valley, Mam Tor, and the Great Ridge.

Why is it called Surprise View?

The viewpoint is aptly named for the “surprise” (get it 😏) vista it presents to visitors who reach its vantage point.

Mel pointing at a kestrel sat looking at Surprise View wearing black leggings, a red jumper and sunglasses

How long is the walk up the Surprise View?

The walk from the National Trust’s Longshaw Estate up to Surprise View takes about 45 minutes to an hour. Or if you park at Surprise View Car Park – it’s literally across the road!

If you’re travelling by train, it takes about an hour and a half to get to Surprise View from Grindleford train station.

Mel jumping off a big boulder at Surprise View into some mud wearing black leggings, a red jumper and sunglasses

What is the postcode for Surprise View in the Peak District?

The postcode for Surprise View in the Peak District is S32 1DA.

Mel climbing on top of a big boulder at Surprise View wearing black leggings, a red jumper and sunglasses

Why is Surprise View so popular?

Surprise View is a popular spot for photographers, hikers, and nature enthusiasts looking to capture the beauty of the Peak District’s rolling hills, dramatic cliffs, and rugged terrain.

Whether you visit at sunrise, sunset, or any time in between, Surprise View never fails to impress with its stunning vistas and stunning natural beauty.

It’s also a relatively easy and short hike for a big view pay off!

Surprise view on a sunny and cloudy day with peaks in the background

How do you get to Surprise View in the Peak District?

Getting to Surprise View by train:

If you’re using public transport, you can take a train to Grindleford train station, which is served by trains from Sheffield, Manchester, and other nearby cities.

The walk from Grindleford train station to Surprise View is approximately 3.5 miles (5.6 km). Alternatively, you can take a bus to the nearby village of Hathersage and then walk to Surprise View from there.

Big red sign for Grindleford train station

Getting to Surprise View by car:

If you’re travelling by car, the nearest car park to Surprise View is actually just across the road at the Surprise View Car Park (postcode: S32 2JA).

If you fancy more of a walk you can park on the National Trust’s Longshaw Estate, located near the village of Grindleford (postcode: S11 7TZ). From the car park, you can follow signs to Surprise View.

Old photo plaque of what National Trust's Longshaw Estate used to look like with the old hall in the background in present day

Is Surprise View car park free?

No the Surprise View Car Park isn’t free, but it is very affordable. It’s only £1.50 to park for an hour and then an extra £1 for every additional hour. Or you can pay £4.75 to park there all day which I think is a bargain! The train from Manchester costs far, far more!

If you’re only parking at the top of the hill to see the view, walk about and have a picnic, you’ll only need an hour or two to park.

Parking sign and meter at Surprise View car park

WHAT walking ROUTES ARE THERE TO Surprise View?

There are three main walking routes to Surprise View in the Peak District:

The shortest route:

The shortest possible route to Surprise View is to park at the Surprise View Car Park and literally walk across the road – easy peasy! The postcode is S32 2JA.


The ‘medium’ route:

The ‘medium’ route as I would call it takes you from the National Trust’s Longshaw Estate (where you can park) up to Surprise View.

There are signs from the estate so it’s really easy to navigate up there. This is also a really popular route so you’ll be able to follow the many other walkers heading up there as well!

TIME TO COMPLETE: 45 minutes to an hour

The longest route:

The longest route is for those who are getting the train. In this case you won’t park at Surprise View Car Park or the National Trust’s Longshaw Estate, you’ll hike up straight up from the station using the trail below.

LENGTH: 5.6 km
TIME TO COMPLETE: 1 HOUR and a half (approx)
Trail map from Grindleford train station to Surprise Voew

Is Surprise View a hard walk?

It’s a relatively easy hike up to Surprise View. There’s a bit of a incline once you’re through the woodland but it’s not overly strenuous. If you’re heading up from the train station the incline is a little longer but not difficult even for non-seasoned hikers.

I would just be wary if the weather has been bad as it gets super muddy even on Spring and Summer days so you’ll need a proper pair of hiking boots.

I sunk down into a bog knee deep at the start of this route and I’ve never been so thankful for waterproof hiking boots in my life! 😂

Mel stood on a wooden bridge over a stream by the National Trust's Longshaw Estate

What should I wear to walk to Surprise View?

The British weather is unpredictable at the best of times. But you can times that unpredictability factor by 10 when you’re climbing any mountain or high hill!

Over the years I’ve been hiking I’ve found that no matter how high the mountain or hill, they always seem to make their own weather!

And no matter what the weather looks like when you start or what route you pick, it’s likely to change very quickly or be different once you reach the top!

When I hike up to Surprise View during the summer or early autumn, I wear water-resistant sports leggings and a nylon t-shirt that won’t rub on me as I begin to sweat. I also take a simple lightweight, waterproof jacket that can easily be rolled up into my backpack.

If it’s raining on the day you’re climbing to Surprise View, I would recommend wearing a pair of waterproof over-trousers. You can always take them off when the rain stops.

You’ll also need to take a warm layer (a jumper or mid-layer fleece jacket) in case you get cold at the top or the weather turns.

However, no matter the weather, it gets colder the higher the altitude, so make sure to pack an additional layer just in case.

Mel smiling in her green and white striped waterproof jacket in the wooded part of the Surprise View path

WHAT DO I NEED TO PACK FOR MY Surprise View walk?

If you’re walking up to Surprise View from the National Trust Longshaw Estate it’s a relatively short hike so you won’t need to pack a lot. But I do advise due to the unpredictability of the weather that you take a light weight, waterproof backpack and pack the following:

  1. Lightweight, waterproof jacket (even on hot days the weather may turn or the wind will pick up at the top – these jackets roll up really small in your bag and are super lightweight)
  2. Mid-layer fleece jacket (just in case it gets chilly – especially when you’re descending and starting to cool down)
  3. Baseball cap or bobble hat (depending on what time of year you go)
  4. A litre of water (if it’s a hot day you’ll need to take more)
  5. Compeed blister plasters
  6. Light weight roll-on suncream (this nifty suncream takes up minimal space in your backpack and is easy to apply on the go as a roll-on)
  7. Mini portable charger
  8. High-carb snacks e.g. Graze and Deliciously Ella (which are my faves!) – you won’t need to pack a lunch if you’d prefer to eat in the pub or cafe afterwards but if you fancy sitting at the summit to savour the view, definitely take a pack lunch and enjoy a picnic at the top!

You’ll need a pair of hiking boots for sure as even in Spring the path can be muddy and it’s easy to fall into bogs (as I discovered!).

Hiking boots up close that are super muddy on the Surprise View trail from Grindleford

Is Surprise View Dog friendly?

Yes! Our dogs absolutely LOVED this walk! I’d maybe not take a very small dog or older dog on the full walking route from Grindleford train station though as the round trip is about three hours.

But I have two very energetic cockapoos so I know I can take them out hiking for hours and they’re fine. But of course you know your dog best!

Just bear in mind if you do take your dog, you’ll need to keep them on a lead because this area has live stock and wild animals roaming around that may be startled by dogs.

Because you need to watch your footing on some of the inclines due to bogs and uneven ground I’d recommend getting a longer sports lead for your dog to give them enough slack. If you’re looking for one that is affordable but durable, I’d get the Barkswell Hands Free Dog Lead.

These leads are specifically designed for more high intensity sports with your dog. They have a bungee design that is shock absorbing so you won’t feel your dog pull as you climb.

The leads also attach to a belt around your waist so you’re able to hike hands-free.

A blonde and dark haired cockapoo being taken for a walk on a muddy path to the top of Mam Tor

Is the Surprise View walk suitable for children?

Getting to Surprise View from the car park or nearby National Trust property (which is about an hour-ish) is very doable for young kids.

It’s not a long walk so you can abandon ship at any moment and be at the bottom of the hill relatively quickly if they struggle (or play up!).

On the longer route from Grindleford train station I wouldn’t take very small children who are walking as it takes longer and they may get tired and grumpy on the way back.

If you have a toddler I recommend a toddler hiking backpack just in case they get fussy or tired after walking for a while though. The OE Hiking Carrier For Child and Toddler is comfortable for parents and toddlers with great hip support, sunshade and detachable backpack.

It can also be used as a regular nappy bag when it’s folded down.

Mel leaning on a foot bridge going over a stream near Surprise View wearing a red jumper and sunglasses

Is there anywhere to eat near Surprise View?

While there may not be anywhere to eat at Surprise View itself, there are several places to eat nearby in the surrounding villages of Grindleford and Hathersage. Here are a few options:

  1. Longshaw Estate Café: Located at the National Trust’s Longshaw Estate, the café offers a range of hot and cold drinks, light meals, and snacks. It’s a convenient option if you’re starting your walk from Longshaw and want to grab a bite to eat before or after your visit to Surprise View.
  2. Grindleford Station Café: Situated near Grindleford train station, this café serves a selection of homemade cakes, sandwiches, and hot drinks. It’s a popular spot for walkers and cyclists passing through the area. Make sure to bring cash though!
  3. The Maynard: My favourite place to eat! It’s a lovely boutique hotel only five minutes walk away from Grindleford train station. They have a fantastic menu with a wide-range of options, including vegan and gluten-free choices! If you have any dietary requirements, allergens are clearly marked on the menu which makes life sooooo much easier!
Lentil and spinach burger next to a bowl of chips

They even have a couple of vegan desserts listed including a homemade berry crumble with vanilla icecream. Which was heaven after a three and a half hour hike!

Admittedly, The Maynard is a bit pricey for pub grub. But the food is honestly excellent and you can tell made in house from scratch by the taste.

Berry crumble in a blue bowl with a scoop of vanilla icecream

Is Surprise View in the Peak District worth it?

Yes, Surprise View in the Peak District is definitely worth a visit! It offers stunning panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, including the picturesque Hope Valley, Mam Tor, and the Great Ridge.

Additionally, the journey to Surprise View is as rewarding as the destination itself, with opportunities to explore the charming villages, rolling hills, and scenic landscapes of the Peak District along the way.

Whether you’re a keen photographer looking to capture the stunning vistas, a nature enthusiast seeking to explore the rugged terrain, or simply someone who enjoys soaking in beautiful scenery, Surprise View has something to offer everyone.

It’s a popular spot for visitors of all ages and abilities, with various walking routes and trails leading to the viewpoint.

walking KIT LIST:

  1. Hiking boots
  2. Hiking socks
  3. Lightweight, waterproof jacket
  4. Osprey Waterproof Hikelite Backpack
  5. Water-resistant sports leggings and waterproof over trousers OR fleece-lined waterproof trousers (for colder weather)
  6. Nylon/ polyester t-shirt
  7. Mid-layer fleece jacket
  8. Baseball cap or bobble hat (for colder weather)
  9. Compeed blister plasters
  10. Roll-on suncream
  11. Mini portable charger
  12. A litre of water
  13. High-carb packed lunch and protein bar snacks (Graze and Deliciously Ella are my faves!) – optional if you’d prefer not to eat in the pub or cafe afterwards
Mel with her arms out with her feet between two giant boulders at Surprise View


Have a wonderful day walking in Grindleford my loves! Don’t forget to come back and share your experience in the comments below! 😄

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