Fun things to do in Derbyshire

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Most Viewed Things to Do in Derbyshire

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    Chatsworth

    by tvor Updated Apr 18, 2014

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    If you enjoy touring grand houses, don't miss Chatsworth. It's the ancestral home of the Dukes of Devonshire and though the current Duke and Duchess still live here, the house belongs to a trust now. The huge estate is still a working estate and the house and gardens are open to the public. There are farm shops that sell seeds and other items and there is a restaurant and tea shop in the old carriage house along with a a bar and cafe area as well. There is also an adventure playground for children.

    We toured the house which is filled to the brim with elaborate furniture and objets des artes and fabulously painted ceilings. In the music room is the famous tromp d'oeil of a violin appearing to be hanging on a door. But it's just a painting.

    The gardens and park is extensively landscaped and sculpted with mazes, fountains and flower gardens. Most of them are accessible to the public.

    The first time I visited Chatsworth it was a rainy day in 2000. In April 2014 I made a return visit and really enjoyed seeing the house again, especially under sunny skies. Current basic entry is 18 pounds for the house and gardens. There are various other prices for different levels of access. This is a small lift available for mobility access. I"m sure I saw things and rooms this time that I didn't last time or, at least, don't remember. You follow a route around the rooms that are open to the public, up the grand staircase where most of the best rooms are. I've uploaded some up to date photos to refresh this tip.

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    THE PEAK DISTRICT

    by alyf1961 Written Apr 8, 2013

    The peak district lies mainly in Derbyshire although some parts of it lie in Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Staffordshire, South and West Yorkshire.

    The highest point is Kinder Scout which is 2.087 feet high. It is the 5th largest national park in England and Wales.

    Along with tourism, mining and quarrying are major employers in the Peak District.

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    Climb up to Mam Tor

    by MikeBird Written Jun 13, 2012

    Separating the villages of Edale and Castleton there is a high ridge of hills that culminates in the peak called Mam Tor. It was the site of an ancient Hillfort; I think Saxon in age but I am open to be corrected. There are some small plaques set into the steps that show the likely design of the housing structures but frankly you just have to use your imagination what it must have been like living up there. We visited on a very wet day - or at least it started to pour on our way down so we had some good views from the top.

    If you enjoy hill walking and you fancy a visit to the Peak District this one should be on your itinerary. In previous years we combined it with a circular walk from Castleton up through the limestone Cavedale and round back via Mam Tor and the ridge. It took several hours at a steady pace. The paths are very obvious and well worn so you're unlikely to get lost but good boots would be advisable.

    There is car parking available both in Edale and Castleton.

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Birdwatching

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    Ride or walk the Monsal Trail

    by MikeBird Updated Jun 18, 2011

    Since late May 2011 the full 20km length of the Monsal trail that follows much of the river Wye in it's various names from near Bakewell to Blackwell Mill has been accessible to cyclists, walkers and even horse riders. Apparently over £2m has been spent on reviving the tunnels and making them safe so it's no longer necessary to detour around them. Having said that if you choose to detour past the Chee Tor tunnel you're in for a treat because the valley bottom at that point is stunningly impressive with massive, sheer rock faces and stepping stones to save you getting your feet wet at the narrowest point of the river. What a treasure Chee Dale is ! Keep an eye out for the bobbing Dippers and the inappropriately named Grey Wagtails - you notice the yellow front more than the grey back.

    The Monsal trail is actually based on the route of the old Midland Railway that used to wind its way through Derbyshire from London to Manchester. The viaducts at Millers Dale are very impressive and at this central point there is a large car park ( £3.50 per day) from where you can make a start heading off in either direction. There are also local nature reserves in Millers Dale and Monks Dale. The latter being particularly lovely.

    At apparently random points along the trail there are small audio information points that provide background to the location. These are free and worth listening to whilst getting your breath back from all the cycling.

    For more details about the trail visit the Peak District's informative website featured below.

    I hope you enjoy the trail as much as we did.

    Related to:
    • Birdwatching
    • National/State Park
    • Hiking and Walking

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    A day out at the Chatsworth Estate

    by MikeBird Updated Jun 7, 2011

    We were lucky with the weather which made exploring the grounds even more pleasurable. Starting off admiring the greenhouses we moved onto the walled kitchen garden with it's tidy rows of vegetables interspersed with flowers for cutting. There are some splendid displays of how to train fruit trees to grow over pergolas and trellises so it's a useful place to go if you're an enthusiastic gardener.
    Then there's the famous Cascade - an impressive water feature where water pours down a series of steps for about 100 metres. Each step has been cleverly designed to make the water produce a different splashing sound. You have to listen quite carefully but you can discern subtle differences.
    There's an attractive rock garden with watery ponds and bamboos but the most colourful display must go to the Lupin beds; glorious in the sunshine and at their best in late May, early June.
    You should try the Maze - it's not easy and to my shame a young lad showed me the way to the centre just as I was about to give up.

    If you enjoy gardens and just wandering in woodland or along the many watery features there is plenty to keep you enthralled and interested in a whole day. Don't forget your binoculars too. There's a respectable variety of birdlife to be seen around the house and gardens.

    Then there's the house. I'm not the greatest fan of stately homes but I did find it interesting to wander through the opulent extravagant rooms of this enormous mansion. We had borrowed a guidebook so was able to find out more about each room but there are audio handsets available for hire if you prefer this form of information provision. In one bedroom there was a lady talking about the furnishings etc and demonstrating some examples of ladies clothing but that seemed to be a one off. We didn't see any other similar demonstrations.

    The entrance pricing structure to the house and gardens is quite complicated but I would recommend that you book tickets online before your visit. It is cheaper that way and I think avoids the queues. I suggest you access the website ( see below) for the latest prices and full details of exhibits and maps.

    Hope you have a great day out. There were 6 in our party and we all really enjoyed the day.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces

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    Chatsworth: The Palace of the Peak

    by Tom_Fields Updated Apr 4, 2011

    Located near the Peak District, Chatsworth is one of England's most beautiful country manor homes, a real treasure. The estate has been home to the Cavendish family since 1549, and the house was completed in 1557. Also, photography is allowed not only outside in the gardens, but even inside the home itself--very unusual for stately homes such as this one. Chatsworth is well worth the trip.

    One final note: Chatsworth was a location for the new movie based upon Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice. Although we don't know for sure if Austen visited this house, some believe that "Pemberley House" in her book was a reference to Chatsworth.

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    • Architecture

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    Heights of Abraham, Matlock Bath.

    by nhcram Updated Apr 4, 2011

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    There is a cable car up to the Heights, starting from just upstream of the railway station.
    The Heights of Abraham is a tourist centre placed high above Matlock Bath and opposite High Tor. It rises 450 feet above Matlock Bath and the views of the surrounding area are beautiful. There are various attractions including two show caves and hands on things for children to do once you reach the top. There is also an exhibition of the building of the cable cars, which, is very interesting. I suggest you need a couple of hours to take it all in.

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    Eyam, the Plague Village

    by tvor Written May 26, 2009

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    The village of Eyam is called the Plague Village. In 1665, during an outbreak of bubonic plague, the disease spread to this village, probably in the fleas that were with a shipment of cloth. People started dying quickly but the parson realized what was going on and he organized the villagers. They isolated themselves, quarantined themselves and to avoid starving to death, arranged for outsiders to leave supplies at the border of the village, leaving money disinfected in vinegar in payment. They took other precautions as well and as a result, the plague didn't spread beyond the village though nearly 80% of Eyam perished over the next year.

    The village is off the main road and is surrounded by the lovely hills and trees of the Peaks. The houses and buildings are all made of honey coloured stone. Even new development uses the same type or colour of material to match. We drove there in about an hour or so and walked around the hilly narrow streets to look at sights like the old stocks on the village green, the church and graveyard. There's a wonderful old 8th century celtic/Saxon cross by the church too, worn down with age. It wasn't there originally, but was moved there from outside the village at some point.

    There is the Eyam Hall although it was closed to visitors. I think it only opens up a few times a year. We had lunch in the Buttery, which is in a courtyard by the Hall along with some craft shops and studios. We wandered down into the centre of the village where there is a pub and a few shops. It's all very pretty. We did try to drive just out of the town to find the Riley Graves where one woman buried six children and her husband but it wasn't sign posted or we missed it and drove out too far. We also tried to find the stone and well at the outskirts of the village where they left the money for their supplies and missed that too!

    We also went into the little Eyam museum near the car park when we arrived. It's mainly storyboards telling the tales and detailing the history of the plague and victims. There are also some artifacts and antiques and was a good introduction to the area. You can also see the cottages on the main road where the plague first hit, there are three in a row with signs out front. People still live in all these houses. It must be odd for them to look out the window and see people taking photos of their house.

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    Ashbourne

    by leics Updated Oct 6, 2008

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    Ashbourne is a classic small English market town, sitting at the edge of the Peak District and a good base for explorations.

    With only 7,500 inhabitants is really is very small........but there has been a settlement there since at least Saxon times. It retains its Medieval street pattern, although the vast majority of building are Georgian, Victorian or later. There are a few older buildings: the Gingerbread Shop dates from at least 1641. Ashbourne was an important stopping place in the era of stagecoaches, so it has been visited by many famous people over the centuries.

    There's a twice-weekly market (the livestock market is long gone, sadly) and more small, independent shops than you will find in most English towns (which is good).

    Ashbourne''s main claim to fame is its Shrovetide football match, when one half of the town plays against the other. Hundreds of people are involved.....certainly a sight worth seeing. everything you need to know about the match here:

    http://www.ashbourne-town.com/events/football.html

    It's certainly worth stopping off at Ashbourne for an hour or so, perhaps having a cup of tea and a cake (like me......my impressions here) or just wandering around the streets.

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    Ashbourne

    by leics Written Oct 6, 2008

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    Ashbourne is a classic small English market town, sitting at the edge of the Peak District and a good base for explorations.

    With only 7,500 inhabitants is really is very small........but there has been a settlement there since at least Saxon times. It retains its Medieval street pattern, although the vast majority of building are Georgian, Victorian or later. There are a few older buildings: the Gingerbread Shop dates from at least 1641. Ashbourne was an important stopping place in the era of stagecoaches, so it has been visited by many famous people over the centuries.

    There's a twice-weekly market (the livestock market is long gone, sadly) and more small, independent shops than you will find in most English towns (which is good).

    Ashbourne''s main claim to fame is its Shrovetide football match, when one half of the town plays against the other. Hundreds of people are involved.....certainly a sight worth seeing. everything you need to know about the match here:

    http://www.ashbourne-town.com/events/football.html

    It's certainly worth stopping off at Ashbourne for an hour or so, perhaps having a cup of tea and a cake (like me.my imressions here) or just wandering around the streets.

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    • Architecture

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    The Peak District.

    by leics Updated Oct 6, 2008

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    The Peak District is one of England's National Parks. It has been so since 1951, when its special character was recognised and preserved for our pleasure.

    A place of bleak moorland and deep valleys, of old rocks and prehistory, of caves and potholes, little villages and rushing streams, winding roads and stunning views.

    There are trackways and abandoned railways, barrows and henges and earthworks, old mines and quarries, a wealth of flore and fauna to discover.

    Walk, or cycle, or drive to explore.

    Take some time to appreciate what's there.

    Visit Castleton (for caves especially), or Buxton, or Bakewell (famous for its tarts) or Matlock.

    Explore the many small villages.

    It's the best part of Derbyshire, in my opinion.

    Info on flora/fauna/geology/history etc here: http://www.peakdistrict-nationalpark.info/place/index.html

    Tourist information at http://www.visitpeakdistrict.com/

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
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    Chatsworth House

    by leics Written Oct 6, 2008

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    Country home of the Dukes of Devonshire (even though Devon is hundreds of miles away) Chatsworth is a lovely example of an English 'stately home'.

    Set in rolling countryside, its opulent interior is partially open to the public (the house is still privately owned): painted ceilings, luxurious rooms, paintings and scultpures and ornamental furniture, 'state dining room'and sculpture gallery.....well worth wandering round.

    The gardens are lovely too. Landscaped beautifully, they include a long cascade, the highest fountain of its time, a rock garden, a proper maze and lots of lovely woodland and formal gardens to explore.

    There's also a farm.

    It's a popular place, even for those not visiting the house and gardens. Parking is not too expensive, and there are excellent walks in the surrounding countryside.

    A 'must-see' if you are visiting the area.

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    • Museum Visits
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    Visit Calke Abbey

    by leics Updated Oct 6, 2008

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    There are many great 'country houses 'in England, but Calke ('cork') Abbey is a bit different.

    Calke Abbey was owned by the Harpur family from 1622. Some of them were somewhat eccentric, and many of them were enthusiastic collectors of everything and anything; fossils, shells, butterflies, stuffed creatures,china, paintings.....

    The family had to sell the house in the 1980s. A national campaign raised the funds to buy it.......it was stuffed full of 'stuff', for nothing was ever thrown away. From baby clothes to receipts to saucepans to the collections mentioned above, every nook and cranny of this house was home to something or other. Even a beautiful 18th century bed, complete with emroidered silk hangings, which had never even been taken out of its boxes!

    The house has been restored now, to some extent, and all the things inside catalogued and preserved. There is too much to put on display, but even so there is an amazing amount to be seen.

    There's an ice house too, and a kitchen garden, a chapel, a servants' tunnnel, gardens and outbuildings to explore.

    Well worth visiting, to see how lack of money can send such a lovely building into decline.....and to be stunned by the a sheer amount of things inside it!

    More info on my Ticknallpage and on the official website.

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    The Crooked Spire, Chesterfield

    by suvanki Written Jul 29, 2008

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    I've seen this landmark many times when visiting this Derbyshire town, and from the train or coach when travelling past. This shot was from a National Express bus when I was travelling from London Victoria to Sheffield after my Iran trip.

    The church of Saint Mary and All Saints is the site of the 14th century tower/Spire, that can be seen for miles around. It is constructed of Oak clad with lead.
    The reason that it has this distinctive shape is due to using 'green' unseasoned wood, and also the work was left to unskilled craftsmen, due to the Black Death of the time removing many of the towns craftsmen.
    The spire reaches 70metres in height, and leans 9'6" towards the SW.

    The 'local joke' is that whenever a Chesterfield virgin marries here, the tower will straighten!!!

    to be continued....

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    Peak Railway- travel back in time!

    by suvanki Written Jul 29, 2008

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    The Peak Railway was originally part of the Midland Railway line between Manchester Central and London St Pancras, but in 1968, the line between Matlock and Buxton was closed and lifted.

    In 1975, a group of rail enthusiasts formed the Peak Railway Society, aiming to re-open this line. In 1991, a service opened between Matlock and Darley Dale, and by 1997 it had extended to Rowsley, with its first passenger train running. There are plans to extend the line further

    My brother was one of the volunteers who helped get this service running. In June this year(2008) it was my parents Golden Wedding Anniversary, and as part of their celebrations, my brother booked tickets for us to enjoy Sunday Lunch aboard the train.

    Boarding at Rowsley station at 12.45 we were shown to our seats. As the steam train travelled along the line to Matlock and back, (Backwards and forwards a few times) we enjoyed a 3 course meal of delicious home cooked food.
    The Sunday lunch costs £19.50 per head for adults/ Senior Citizens, with reduced prices for children.
    Other trips include afternoon tea/ cream tea £11 or £9.00 and Pie and pea supper£10.50 and £11.50(with dessert) (I'll put more details on my Restaurants tip)

    Other things to do include the chance to undertake a Steam Experience Course for £80 for a 1 hour footplate experience or £150 for 2 hours- a chance to take the regulator and firing shovel of a steam locomotive.

    Childrens parties are catered for, Private Groups, and Diesel Experience Courses- operating a working class 31 diesel locomotive.

    In August 08 there is a 1940's weekend, and a Deltic train running. Also Halloween Ghost Train on 31st October with Bonfire and Fireworks, and Christmas Specials 6,7,13,14,20,21,23 and 24th December, with Santa giving out gifts to children, mulled wine and mince pies for adults. Clowns, magicians and professional entertainers will also be present!

    A Great way to spend an afternoon (or evening)!

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    • Family Travel
    • Food and Dining

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