Derby Things to Do

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    by bonio
  • Arboretum St. entrance and Strutt's statue
    Arboretum St. entrance and Strutt's...
    by Landotravel
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    Central fountain
    by Landotravel

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    Derby Arboretum: First Britain's Public Park

    by Landotravel Updated Mar 16, 2014
    Arboretum St. entrance and Strutt's statue
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    Quietly resting westwards from Derby Railway Station, in a not very appealing depressed neighbourhood after the enormous and ugly facilities of Derby Hospital you find at last this historically important point of Britain's History: it's first Public Park.

    Once a private garden owned by former Mayor of Derby Joseph Strutt, it was refurbised and donated to the people of Derby in 1840 in a pioneering philantropic act. The Arboretum became so a kind of botanical garden and leisure park with pathways for locals to enjoy. The historic meaning of this cannot be put apart for it was then when first initiatives for public use such as libraries or many other services began to become real in the occidental world. Nowadays they seem to be normal but by then the concept was revolutionary. Having this nice park preserved today is a plus!

    For a long time it was a victim of decayment and vandalism but in 2005 new funds were invested to restore and preserve it and what we can see today is the result of it. Derby Arboretum is not a big park but it was designed in the fashion of the time, like a kind of small English Garden. Not being spectacular it's nice anyway. Simple and enjoyable, fresh and calm, it's what you expect when walking through an ancient English park. Some few key points to see here may be:

    - The beautiful entrance from Arboretum Street with Joseph Strutt's statue, eastwards.
    - The "Florentine Boar", a bronze copy of an original badly damaged when WWII and afterwards, inspired upon a Renaissance original from Florence, Italy.
    - The Fountain, placed at the very centre.
    - Grove Street entrance, northwards and Rose Hill entrance, southwards.

    Let Derby preserve and support this rare piece of history for generations to enjoy it.

    * I would recommend not walking alone when day is out through the surrounding streets for my impression is these neighbourhoods are not of the best ones. Nevertheless, walking through the park when sunlight is still on seems to be peaceful and nice while pathways begin to fill with mothers and children.

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    Pickford's House: Top English Georgian

    by Landotravel Updated Mar 1, 2014
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    41 Friar Gate. This one's the direction of one of the finest Georgian houses you'll be able to see at Britain -very few of these can be seen yet at its best-. Adquired by Derby City Council in 1982, it was restored and reburbished as it might have been when prominent architect Joseph Pickford buit it in 1769 for his family and as a workplace.

    Restoration has been exquisite and, alike the beauty of its rooms and garden, it's like a time capsule. When walking these halls you really feel as it you were visiting a real XVIIIth century home. A nice experience.

    From the lower floor to the top -4 stories up- this small jewel buiding encloses a perfect insight of life two centuries and a half ago with its completely equiped kitchen, cellars and scullery, the suntuous and coloured drawing, dining and morning rooms, dressing and bathrooms and servants' rooms at the top. Other rooms here are used to house rare and precious Frank Bradley's Toy Theatre Collection and Costume and Pottery exhibitions from Derby Museums and Art Gallery.

    You must not miss the beautiful Georgian and Wildlife gardens at the rear part, a perfect end for this enjoyable visit.

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    Derby Cathedral

    by slothtraveller Written Sep 13, 2012

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    Bess of Hardwick's memorial
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    Derby Cathedral definitely does not have the lofty feel of most cathedrals, in fact it is the smallest Church of England cathedral in the whole country. Formerly All Saints Church, it was granted cathedral status as recently as 1927, however there has been a church on this site since the 10th century- the current building was built somewhere around the mid 14th century.
    A word of warning- Don't come here looking for ornate stained-glass windows. There are only two and neither looked that old to me. Nevertheless, the cathedral is still worth a visit mainly to wander the interior. Once inside, many of the interesting elements of the cathedral are accompanied by a description which is helpful in understanding exactly what you are seeing. The thing that draws many people to visit the cathedral is the memorial to Bess of Hardwick who is remembered for building two of Derbyshire's grandest houses; Chatsworth and Hardwick Hall built in 1549 and 1590 respectively. The stately houses showcase Bess of Hardwick's vast wealth. Indeed, she was the second richest woman in England during Elizabethan times. These country houses are also worth visiting when in Derbyshire and are now run by the National Trust and Chatsworth House Trust.
    Derby Cathedral is open to the public daily and free to enter, although you may want to consider making a small donation.

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    Derby War Memorial

    by slothtraveller Written Sep 13, 2012

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    Derby War Memorial

    This memorial, including a sculpture by Arthur George Walker, can be found outside Derby's Guildhall. It was constructed in 1924 as a lasting memorial to those soldiers who lost their lives in the First World War. The memorial also features an additional inscription recognising losses in the Second World War. The sculpture is of a woman holding a baby in her arms, possibly meant to signify the Virgin Mary or a bereaved war widow.

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    Derby Museum and Art Gallery

    by slothtraveller Written Sep 13, 2012

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    The Derby Museum and Art Gallery is a great place to spend an hour or two. It really gives you a wonderful overview of the history of the city and county of Derbyshire, as well as showcasing the stunning paintings of esteemed local artist Joseph Wright (1734-1794) who is remembered for capturing the spirit of the Industrial Revolution in his portraits.
    Other top highlights of the museum include:
    Photo 2:
    One of the oldest preserved logboats in the world, discovered in Shardlow, near Derby, in 1998. The boat is a massive 10 metres long, was made of one single dug-out log and dates from the Bronze Age!
    Photo 3:
    A huge collection of Royal Crown Derby porcelain in the pottery section of the museum. Royal Crown Derby has an illustrious past and were porcelain manufacturers for Queen Victoria of England.
    Photo 4:
    One of my favourite parts of the museum chronicles Derby's Roman and Anglo-Saxon past. Exhibits here include a part of a stone cross from outside the church at Repton that dates from the 8th century. The cross was probably destroyed by marauding Viking warriors (from present-day Denmark) in the 9th century.
    There is also a great Egyptian mummy exhibit, which I didn't feel comfortable photographing-too creepy! One of the mummies, dating from 700 BC, has had its bandages peeled back exposing the wonderfully preserved skin on the feet, hands and face.
    The museum is an absolute must-see when in Derby and is absolutely free to enter. Open 11am-5pm Mon-Sat, 1pm-4pm Sun.

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    STAINSBY MILL

    by zuriga Written Aug 7, 2009

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    REAR OF STAINSBY MILL
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    Stainsby Mill is right outside the entrance to Hardwick Hall (see for directions). It's a working mill and the National Trust people seem eager to explain all the workings of this tranquil watermill that has been in operation since the 13th century. One can buy freshly milled flour for breadmaking.

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    HARDWICK HALL

    by zuriga Written Aug 7, 2009

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    OLD AND NEW AT HARDWICK HALL
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    Hardwick Hall is one of the many National Trust sites to visit in Derbyshire. I thought it was one of the most interesting places I've visited since moving to England 5 years ago. It is really two old homes in one, although the Old Hall is just an empty shell. But... it is filled with remaining artifacts that easily make one realize how grand a home this was back in the 16th century.The herb garden at Hardwick is one of the largest I've yet seen, and it was magnificent in summer. The site's restaurant was a lovely one with local produce and meats being used to make beautiful, tasty British food.

    The main building, Hardwick Hall, was built by Bess of Hardwick, a fascinating, Elizabethan character who wed four times and was richest in England next to Queen Elizabeth I. She was out to show her wealth and certainly did. Much of her tapestry and furniture collection remains intact within the building.

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    Real ale heaven!

    by bonio Written May 6, 2009
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    Derby is a real ale drinkers paradise. Follow the link the CAMRA website below and download their latest city centre pub guide.
    Myself and my pal TrickyDicky visited three brew pubs,
    The Brunswick, Flowerpot and Royal Standard.
    Favourite beer? "Business as Usual" brewed by the Derby brewery and tasted at the Royal Standard.

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    City centre

    by bonio Written May 6, 2009
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    Like so many cities in the UK, Derby is not particularly attractive, the proximity to some stunning countryside is a major selling point though. Anyway, did spend sometime in the city, here are a few photos I took while Mrs Bonio was enjoying her shopping trip.

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    Quad biking at Wild Park Leisure.

    by Pod Written Jul 13, 2008
    Wild park liesure. Derby. uk.
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    when i phoned to enquire about availability i thought 'wow' i got to go and have a look-see. so frendly and helpful. answering all my questions. when i phoned up to book a quad bike experiance it was a pleasure and fun learning what was going to happen on the day. the day was great.1 gazzilion times better than i thought.

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    Take a virtual train journey

    by St_Vincent Updated May 28, 2007

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    Located in Derby’s Museum of Industry and History you will find the Midland Railway Study Centre, the largest collection of Midland Railway information and memorabilia available. Here they have a mock up of a train cab where, with the help of a realistic video show and soundtrack, you can take a virtual train journey from Derby to Nottingham. An added bonus is that unlike the real thing you don't have to buy a ticket.

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    Rolls Royce engineering

    by St_Vincent Written May 28, 2007

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    Careful not to get sucked in !!
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    Located in Derby’s Museum of Industry and History you will find an interesting display of aircraft and other engines from local manufacturers Rolls Royce. There are car engines, jet engines and models of prototype planes that were never built. The size of some of the engines certainly make you question how they stay airborne, but that’s probably not a good thing to dwell upon otherwise we might not fly anywhere.

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    Historical Silk Mill

    by St_Vincent Written May 28, 2007

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    Old silk spinning machinery
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    Derby’s Industrial Museum is housed in a building on the site of an old silk mill which is considered to be the world's first modern factory, built in 1717. The mill employed around 300 people and was powered by a waterwheel driven by the River Derwent. Although small parts of the original building remain most has disappeared mainly due to fire and subsequent owners rebuilt parts of the factory over the years. Silk production ended around 1908 and the building was used for various other purposes until 1974 when it was opened as an Industrial Museum.

    Entry is free and opening hours are 10am (11am on Mondays) until 5pm and 1pm until 4pm on Sundays and Bank Holidays.

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    Royal Crown Derby Porcelain

    by St_Vincent Written May 27, 2007

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    The Royal Crown Derby Porcelain factory makes fine bone china at its site in Osmaston Road in the south of the city behind the Derby Royal Infirmary. The present factory was established in 1878 shortly after which Queen Victoria granted the company permission to include the word Royal in their name.

    There is also a visitors centre on the site where you can go on factory tours, watch demonstrations or visit the museum, factory shop or restaurant.

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    Elvaston Castle Revisited

    by peakdistrictview Written Jan 16, 2007
    Elvaston Castle
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    As far as Peak District View is concerned, in the "places that need to be photographed"category, high on the list had to be Elvaston Castle. With the decision to sell the house and park off for transformation into an hotel and golf course and having no real idea what would be retained or demolished, we felt a sense of urgency to document, through 360 degree photography, the condition and appearance of this wonderful place. The results of our labours can be seen at the Peak District View website but allow me to explain why the photo shoot here was particularly of interest to me .
    The main event of the Meynell Hunt branch of The Pony Club throughout the 1960s was an annual week long camp at Elvaston Castle. After initially being under canvas in the park, the “camp” moved into the castle itself. This of course was long before the acquisition of the building by the local council and the end of an era, as far as the Pony Club was concerned.

    At the time, since Elvaston was not open to the public, the place took on a mystical aire and the prospect of new discoveries at every visit made sure I accompanied Dad whenever possible and if my mates Paul and Andrew were also along, even better.
    My initial perception on our arrival to take the photographs was that the current condition of Elvaston,with one or two notable exceptions, is not too dissimilar from how I remember it. Bearing in mind the cost of maintaining such a large estate “as is “, let alone restoration, I was somewhat heartened by it's appearance, but reminding myself of the recent sell off plan, became increasingly despondent about the loss of publicly owned gem to purely commercial interests. I could bang on about this subject “ad infinitum” but a more than eloquent job is done on the subject at the Friends of Elvaston Castle website.

    Pip Price Peak District View

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