Castleton is a pretty village with many cottages and houses dating back to the 17th Century. There are picturesque strolls along the river side and around the Market Place and Castle Street where you will see most of the older buildings.

High above the village sits Peveril Castle, built in 1086 for William Peverel (A favored knight of William the Conqueror). This Norman Castle originally contained a set of wooden buildings, within an inner and outer bailey. The tower you can see is a ‘Keep’ built by King Henry II around 1155 when the castle passed into royal hands. The Castle of the Peake was lived in until 1480. Robert Fulove emptied the Castle in 1530. It was then used as a courthouse until 1560. After this period, the Castle was left derelict and eventually became a ruin and a source of ready-quarried building stone for the village. Though now a ruin, the walk up to the castle is well worth it as the views of the surrounding valley are spectacular. Down in the village there are the remains of the town ditch in the field next to the main Car Park. This would have enclosed the medieval part of the village.

St Edmund’s church lies in the centre of the village. The main feature is a Norman Arch, with chevron molding, separating the chancel and the nave which dates from early 1200s, though there was evidence of a Saxon church on the site before that. The church still retains its carved box pews dating from the early 17th century, Elizabethan choir stalls and a collection of unique bibles. The church is open every day for visitors and provides moments of quiet reflection.

The earliest settlement in this area was the Iron Age hill fort on the summit of Mam Tor the hill to the west of the village. Both Iron Age and Bronze Age remains have been found on the site. On the south-east side of Mam Tor there is the entrance to Odin Mine, an abandoned lead mine, which produced lead ore for hundreds of years. Across the road from the mine is a crushing circle where the lead ore would have been separated from the limestone by the large wheel which ran on the metal plate. Though lead was mined locally throughout medieval times, the heyday of the local lead mining industry was from 1750 - 1850 and most of the mines had closed by 1900.

Several of the other mines locally have been opened as show caves. Speedwell Cavern has an underground canal originally built to transport the lead ore. Now you glide along the canal in this boat ride underground to visit the ‘bottomless pit’ at the far end. Like many other former lead mines, Speedwell is part natural cavern and part man-made.

Lead is just one of the many minerals found in the limestone hill side. A unique type of fluorspar is also found called 'Blue John'. This is made locally into jewellery and ornaments. Blue John stone is still mined from Treak Cliff Cavern. And with wonderful displays of stalactites and stalagmites, the Blue John stone, fossils and different spars this cavern provides a particularly picturesque underground scene.

Blue John is only found in Castleton and no where else in the world. In many of the large halls and houses (eg Chatsworth) you will find Blue John ornaments and inlaid fireplaces.
There is a selection of Blue John in Castleton Museum inside the Visitor Centre and also a private collection of many pieces in Castleton Gift Shop on the main street.

With all these caverns and miners around another local industry was rope making. One of the places this took place was in the entrance to Peak Cavern where you can still see a rope making demonstration today as part of their cave tour. The entrance to the cavern has tiers of level ground where different rope ‘walks’ would have been found. In the past the rope makers lived inside the cave and remains of their dwellings are still to be seen along with the blackened roof from their cooking fires.