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I'm travelling to the Peaks this summer with an 18 month old and my wife.

I would like for my wife to see one of the caverns there, but it needs to be suitable for our 18mo, meaning we can get out pretty sharpish if he gets scared or decides to have a meltdown.

Are there any such caverns? A self-guided one would be ideal or one with a very short tour.

  • Not really a way to answer this without knowing your 18mo. – Karlson May 28 '15 at 1:46
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    It's not about whether he will enjoy it :) It's more about caverns that don't require a lengthy guided tour so that if he starts to lose it we can bail quickly. – Dancrumb May 28 '15 at 1:49
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There are four tourist visitable "caverns" (a large amount of the underground space in them was actually created by mining) around Castleton, in the dark peak.

  • Treak Cliff Cavern
  • Blue John Cavern
  • Peak Cavern
  • Speedwell Cavern

Of those, I would specifically avoid Speedwell - the tour is on a boat, and there will be no way out. I was in Treak Cliff cavern last week, and while the tour is guided (as it is in all of the Castleton mines), the whole route was only a few hundred metres, and the exit fairly clear (we were directed to find our own way out when we wanted at the end of the tour) - I'd imagine with a quick word to the guide, you'd be able to leave alone. The others it's been years since I visited, but I'd imagine a quick email to the operators would sort things out.

A bonus for Castelton is that it is a very touristy village. If you have to leave the caverns, you can go: Walk up Mam Tor/The broken road/Cave Dale; shop for unique Blue John jewlery and trinkets; eat/drink at the many pubs/cafés; visit the local castle ruins; escape to Hope or Edale and explore some peak district wild lands.

The visit peak district website provides information on these and other caves. I won't comment further having no personal expereince of any however.

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