15 Best Things To Do In Derby, England

15 Best Things To Do In Derby, England

By will

Derby, England is a city filled with amazing attractions to explore. From the historical to the modern and everything in between, there’s something to do for everyone. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or you’ve been coming back for years, you won’t be disappointed.

Here are 15 of the best things to do in Derby, England.

From taking a tour of the historic Silk Mill to admiring the architecture of the Derby Assembly Rooms, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.

So come explore and see all that Derby has to offer.

Visit the Derby Cathedral

Derby Cathedral
Photo by John Salmon

Visiting Derby Cathedral is a beautiful experience – you can almost feel the centuries of history surrounding you as you take in its majestic architecture.

This Gothic-style cathedral was constructed in the mid-14th Century on the site of a Norman church.

It is a vibrant and vibrant place of worship and a popular tourist attraction.

Inside, visitors can see the impressive stained-glass windows, a 15th-century font, and a 17th-century organ.

There are also a variety of sculptures and monuments to explore, including a 19th-century memorial to the Duke of Devonshire.

Visitors can also take part in a guided tour or attend religious services.

Outside, the Cathedral’s grounds are a great place to relax and take in the views of the city.

The grounds are well maintained and feature plenty of benches and pathways to explore.

The Cathedral is a wonderful place to visit and provides an opportunity to explore the rich history of Derby.

Explore the Pickford’s House Museum

Pickford's House Museum
Photo by Malcolm Neal

Exploring Pickford’s House Museum is an exciting way to get a glimpse into life in the 18th century! Located in the heart of Derby, Pickford’s House Museum provides a fascinating look at the life of a wealthy family from the Georgian era.

The museum features the original furniture and household items that would have been present in the house when it was first built in 1770. Visitors can explore the grand staircase, spacious drawing room, and the intricately decorated bedrooms.

The museum also features a collection of historical artifacts, such as costumes, paintings, and sculptures, that offer a glimpse into the life and times of the Pickford family. Additionally, the museum has interactive exhibits and activities to engage visitors of all ages.

Step into the past and explore the wonderful world of the Pickford’s House Museum for a unique experience in Derby, England.

Take a Tour of the Silk Mill

Derby Silk Mill
Photo by Alan Murray-Rust

Take a stroll through the historic Silk Mill in Derby and marvel at its majestic architecture and bustling production lines.

Built in 1733, the Silk Mill is the world’s oldest surviving factory and is located in the middle of Derby City Centre. It is a Grade I listed building and a key example of the early industrial revolution.

The Silk Mill is open to the public and offers guided tours, allowing visitors to explore the entire complex and learn about its history. The tours include a visit to the rooftop, where visitors can enjoy stunning views of Derby.

Inside the mill, there is an interactive museum that displays the tools and machines used to produce silk. Visitors can also view the working models of the steam engines and machines that demonstrate how the silk was produced.

The Silk Mill offers a truly unique experience and is a must-see for anyone wanting to discover the history of the industrial revolution in England.

Check Out the Derby Museum and Art Gallery

Discover Derby’s vibrant art scene at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery, an incredible collection of artworks from around the world. This museum is a must-visit for art lovers, as it houses some of the most renowned pieces of art from the region.

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With collections ranging from ancient artifacts to modern sculptures, you’ll find something for everyone. You can explore the history of Derby through the various exhibits, which feature a range of mediums such as paints, photographs, and objects.

The museum also holds a variety of special events and educational activities throughout the year. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or a beginner, the Derby Museum and Art Gallery is sure to inspire and entertain you.

In addition to the artworks and artifacts, the Derby Museum and Art Gallery also features a range of interactive, hands-on activities. From archaeological digs to virtual reality experiences, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

You can also explore the city’s past through the museum’s collection of historical photographs and documents. Whether you’re looking for a cultural experience or just a fun day out, the Derby Museum and Art Gallery is the perfect place to explore the city’s art and history.

Admire the Architecture of the Derby Assembly Rooms

Admire the stunning architecture of the Derby Assembly Rooms, a vibrant venue with a rich history and colorful interior.

Built in 1776, it’s a Georgian-style building that is considered an important part of the city’s heritage.

Its façade features an impressive portico entrance, designed by the celebrated architect Joseph Pickford.

Inside, visitors can explore the grand ballroom and two smaller salons.

All of these rooms are adorned with ornate paintings and chandeliers.

The Assembly Rooms also host a variety of events throughout the year, such as art exhibitions, concerts, comedy shows, and more.

Its intimate atmosphere makes it a great place to enjoy a night out with friends or family.

The impressive architecture of the Assembly Rooms also makes it a popular spot for visitors to take photos.

Whether you’re looking for a place to relax, take in the sights, or enjoy a night of entertainment, the Derby Assembly Rooms are an ideal place to visit.

Visit the Derby Arboretum

Experience the natural beauty of the Derby Arboretum, a picturesque public park located in the heart of the city.

Established in 1840 by Joseph Strutt, the Arboretum is the first publicly funded park in the world.

In addition to the lush, mature trees and shrubs, the park features a beautiful lake, where visitors can take a leisurely stroll or just sit and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

There is also a large bandstand and play area, making the park a great destination for families.

The Arboretum also features the Derby Museum and Art Gallery, where visitors can explore the history of the city, its people, and the culture that has emerged from it.

The museum is home to a wide array of exhibits, including interactive displays and hands-on activities.

The gallery also houses several permanent collections of artwork, including paintings, sculptures, and photographs.

The Arboretum is a great place to spend the day and experience the beauty and history of this vibrant city.

Shop Till You Drop at the Westfield Centre

Shop ’til you drop at the Westfield Centre, the home of over 200 shops, restaurants, and bars! Located in the heart of Derby, the Westfield Centre is the ideal place to find something special for yourself or someone else.

With high-end boutiques, department stores, and unique independent shops, you can find a little something for everyone at the Westfield Centre.

With loads of trendy restaurants, cafes, and bars, you can find the perfect spot to have a bite to eat or sip a drink after a shopping spree.

Whether you’re looking for a new outfit, a special something for someone else, or a place to relax after a day of exploring Derby, the Westfield Centre is the perfect place to visit.

Take a Stroll Through Derby’s Markets

Take a stroll and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Derby’s markets – a delightful array of sights, sounds, and smells that’ll leave you feeling inspired.

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Enjoy the hustle and bustle of the traders and the array of wares they’ve got on offer from exotic spices to vintage clothing and antiques.

Get lost in conversation with the locals, or simply take in the scenery as you wander the stalls.

There’s something for everyone in Derby’s markets, with a variety of cuisines to try and a selection of live music and entertainment.

Whether you’re looking for a unique souvenir or just wanna take in the atmosphere, you won’t be disappointed by a trip to Derby’s markets.

Enjoy a Performance at the Derby Theatre

Treat yourself to a night of culture and entertainment at Derby Theatre, where you can take in a show and be captivated by the outstanding performances of local and international artists.

With a wide range of plays, musicals, ballets, and operas, there’s something for everyone. From theatrical classics to contemporary performances, you’ll be sure to find something that interests you.

The theatre also features a variety of special events, such as workshops, talks, and other activities for the whole family.

The theatre is located in the heart of Derby City Centre, making it easy to get to and convenient for anyone looking to enjoy a night of culture. The theatre is well-equipped with modern facilities and comfortable seating, ensuring you have a great experience.

From the moment you enter, you’ll be immersed in the atmosphere of the theatre and can appreciate the dedication of the actors and the production team.

So why not treat yourself to a night of culture at Derby Theatre and be sure to be captivated by the outstanding performances by artists from all over the world.

Check Out the Derby County Football Club

Head over to Derby County Football Club for an exciting match and experience the adrenaline of a live match.

This football club, also known as The Rams, is the oldest professional football club in the world, having been established in 1884.

They are based in the city of Derby and play in the English Football League Championship.

Watching a match at the Pride Park Stadium is an experience like no other.

The atmosphere is electric and the fans are passionate and highly knowledgeable about the game.

The stadium is well-equipped with modern facilities and amenities, making the experience even more enjoyable.

The team is one of the most successful in the English League, having won the Division One title twice, as well as the Division Two title four times.

They also have a number of other notable achievements, including reaching the League Cup Final in 2008.

Watching a match at the Derby County Football Club is a must for any sports fan visiting Derby.

Take a Picnic to Markeaton Park

Make a day of it and enjoy a picnic in Markeaton Park, a stunning green oasis in the middle of Derby.

With its rolling hills, lush greenery, and vibrant wildlife, Markeaton Park is a great place to spend an afternoon with friends and family.

Pack a picnic and explore the winding paths, stopping at one of the many picnic spots or wooded areas to take in the incredible views.

There are plenty of activities to enjoy, such as a giant adventure playground for the kids, a miniature train, and a boating lake.

Plus, the park is full of wildlife, so don’t forget your binoculars!

After you’ve explored the park, you can grab a bite to eat at one of the nearby cafes or restaurants for a delicious meal.

Whether you’re looking for a relaxing afternoon or a fun-filled adventure, Markeaton Park is the perfect place to spend time in Derby.

Explore the Historic Kedleston Hall

Pay a visit to the majestic Kedleston Hall for a glimpse of history and grandeur, located just outside Derby in Derbyshire, England.

Kedleston Hall is an 18th-century neoclassical mansion set within a beautiful park. The house was built by the Curzon family and has been used as a filming location for the movie adaptation of the Jane Austen novel, Pride and Prejudice.

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Its grand rooms, such as the Great Hall and State Dining Room, are open to the public and provide a glimpse into the life of an aristocratic family in the 18th century.

The grounds of Kedleston Hall are also worth exploring. The park is a great spot for a picnic, with plenty of open lawns and gardens to wander around. There are also several lakes and a small wooded area.

The grounds have been used as a filming location for several movies and TV shows, and the lake is home to a variety of waterfowl, making it a great spot for birdwatching.

Kedleston Hall is a great place to visit for those interested in history and culture, offering a fascinating glimpse into the past.

Go for a Hike on the High Peak Trail

Take a leisurely stroll or embark on an invigorating hike along the High Peak Trail, a beautiful stretch of countryside that runs from the Derbyshire town of Matlock to the Cheshire border.

This 19 mile trail takes you through many diverse terrains, from wildflower meadows, to limestone hills, to craggy peaks. Along the way, you’ll find plenty of spots for rest and relaxation. From breathtaking views to shady woodlands, the High Peak Trail offers something for everyone.

If you’re looking for a longer hike, you can follow the trail all the way to the Cheshire border. This will take you through the Peak District National Park, where you can explore the area’s many attractions. There’s plenty to discover, from the magnificent Dovedale Valley to the rugged gritstone outcrops of Axe Edge Moor.

Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, you’ll find something to enjoy on the High Peak Trail.

Enjoy a Boat Ride on the Trent and Mersey Canal

Experience a journey back in time as you float along the Trent and Mersey Canal in a traditional narrowboat.

Take in the stunning scenery of this historic waterway, meandering through the countryside. Enjoy the quiet beauty of it all, with only the sound of the engine and the occasional call of a bird to keep you company.

You’ll be able to spot a wide variety of wildlife, from herons to swans, kingfishers to moorhens, and a host of other aquatic life. It’s the perfect way to relax and take in the sights.

The canal is an excellent spot to take in some of Derby’s best attractions. Stop off at the historic Willington Locks, the magnificent Shardlow Marina, and the breathtaking Ironville Viaduct.

When you’re ready to take a break, there are plenty of pubs, restaurants, and shops along the way to make your trip even more enjoyable.

So bring your camera, pack a picnic, and prepare for a day of exploration and relaxation on the Trent and Mersey Canal.

Visit the Derby Silk Mill Nature Reserve

After a delightful boat ride on the Trent and Mersey Canal, I’m continuing my exploration of Derby by visiting the Derby Silk Mill Nature Reserve.

Located in the City Centre, this nature reserve is a tranquil place to enjoy the outdoors. It is home to a variety of wildlife, such as bats, roe deer, and badgers. The reserve also has a variety of interesting and rare species of plants, including the nationally rare water horsetail.

It’s the perfect place for a peaceful stroll, an afternoon picnic, or some bird watching.

The nature reserve is part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, which recognizes the area’s industrial history. The area was once the heart of the silk industry in Derby and the site includes a museum that displays artifacts and exhibits from that era. The museum also has a number of interactive activities for visitors to enjoy.

The nature reserve also has a café and gift shop, and there are plenty of areas to explore. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or to learn about Derby’s industrial past, the Derby Silk Mill Nature Reserve is the perfect place to visit.


After a long day of exploring Derby, I’m exhausted but fulfilled.
I’ve had the pleasure of visiting some of the city’s most iconic attractions and discovering its fascinating history.
From the awe-inspiring Derby Cathedral to the tranquil Trent and Mersey Canal, there is something here for everyone.
I’m especially grateful for the Pickford’s House Museum, which gave me a glimpse into the city’s past.
All in all, Derby is a wonderful destination, and I’m already looking forward to my next visit!

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About the author

Will is an avid hillwalker and traveler. You may find him surfing in Cornwall or hiking in the Yorkshire Dales.

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