15 Best Things To Do In Derbyshire, England

15 Best Things To Do In Derbyshire, England

By will

When it comes to exploring the best that England has to offer, Derbyshire is a hidden gem that should not be missed. With its stunning landscapes, rich history, and charming villages, there is something for everyone in this beautiful county. As a travel enthusiast, I have had the pleasure of visiting Derbyshire and experiencing some of the most incredible attractions it has to offer.

From the breathtaking Peak District National Park to the magnificent Chatsworth House and Gardens, there is no shortage of things to do and see in this captivating destination. One of the highlights of my trip was exploring the Peak District National Park. With its rolling hills, picturesque valleys, and awe-inspiring views, it is a nature lover’s paradise. Whether you choose to hike along the winding trails, cycle through the scenic countryside, or simply relax and take in the beauty around you, the Peak District offers endless opportunities for adventure and tranquility.

Another must-visit attraction is Chatsworth House and Gardens. This magnificent stately home is not only a feast for the eyes with its grand architecture and stunning interiors, but it also boasts extensive gardens that are a delight to explore. From the meticulously manicured lawns to the vibrant flower beds, every corner of Chatsworth is a visual treat.

Whether you are interested in history, culture, or simply want to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Derbyshire, this article will guide you through the 15 best things to do in this captivating county.

Exploring the Peak District National Park

Peak District National Park marker stone
Photo by Ian S

If you’re up for some adventure, exploring the Peak District National Park is an absolute must-do.

As soon as you step foot in this breathtaking park, you’ll be greeted by rolling hills, stunning valleys, and picturesque villages.

The park offers a wide range of activities for outdoor enthusiasts, from hiking and cycling to rock climbing and horseback riding.

Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a casual nature lover, there is something for everyone in the Peak District.

One of the highlights of exploring the Peak District National Park is the chance to hike along its extensive network of trails.

With over 1,800 miles of paths to choose from, you can embark on a leisurely stroll or challenge yourself with a more strenuous hike.

As you make your way through the park, you’ll be treated to awe-inspiring views of rugged landscapes, cascading waterfalls, and ancient woodlands.

Don’t forget to pack a picnic and take a break at one of the many scenic spots along the way.

The Peak District National Park truly offers a unique and unforgettable experience for nature lovers and adventure seekers alike.

Visiting Chatsworth House and Gardens

Chatsworth House Gardens
Photo by Oliver Mills

When you visit Chatsworth House and Gardens, you’ll be captivated by the grandeur and beauty of this historic estate. As soon as you step onto the grounds, you’ll be greeted by the imposing facade of the house, a magnificent example of English Baroque architecture.

The lush gardens surrounding the house are meticulously landscaped, with perfectly manicured lawns, vibrant flower beds, and serene water features. It’s truly a sight to behold.

Inside the house, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped back in time. The opulent rooms are filled with exquisite artwork, luxurious furnishings, and intricate tapestries. Each room tells a story of the history and heritage of the Cavendish family, who have resided here for centuries. As you wander through the halls, you’ll be transported to a bygone era, imagining the lives of those who once called Chatsworth home.

The gardens at Chatsworth are equally as impressive. Spanning over 100 acres, they offer a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You can stroll along the winding paths, taking in the vibrant colors and delightful scents of the flowers. Don’t miss the famous Cascade, a stunning waterfall that cascades down a series of steps, creating a mesmerizing display.

Whether you’re a history buff, a garden enthusiast, or simply looking for a peaceful retreat, Chatsworth House and Gardens is a must-visit destination in Derbyshire. It’s a place where you can immerse yourself in beauty and history, and truly appreciate the wonders of this remarkable estate.

Discovering the History of Derbyshire at Derby Museum and Art Gallery

Storeroom at Derby Museum and Art Gallery
Photo by Dave Pickersgill

As I step into the Derby Museum and Art Gallery, I’m immediately transported through time, immersing myself in the rich history of Derbyshire.

The museum is a treasure trove of artifacts and exhibits that tell the story of this fascinating region.

From the prehistoric era to the Industrial Revolution and beyond, the museum showcases the diverse and vibrant history of Derbyshire.

One of the highlights of the museum is the ‘Derbyshire Through the Ages’ exhibit, which takes visitors on a chronological journey through the county’s history.

I’m enthralled by the displays of ancient fossils, Roman pottery, and medieval artifacts.

The exhibit also delves into the industrial heritage of Derbyshire, with interactive displays that showcase the region’s role in the birth of the Industrial Revolution.

I’m captivated by the stories of inventors and entrepreneurs who revolutionized industries such as textiles, pottery, and mining.

In addition to its historical exhibits, the Derby Museum and Art Gallery also houses an impressive collection of artwork.

I’m amazed by the stunning paintings and sculptures on display, ranging from classical masterpieces to contemporary works.

The museum’s art collection includes pieces by renowned artists such as Joseph Wright of Derby, whose paintings beautifully capture the spirit of the Enlightenment era.

Overall, a visit to the Derby Museum and Art Gallery is a must for anyone interested in the history and culture of Derbyshire.

The museum offers a captivating journey through time, allowing visitors to gain a deeper understanding of this remarkable region.

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Whether you’re a history buff or an art enthusiast, you’ll find something to pique your interest at this fascinating museum.

Taking a Tour of Bolsover Castle

Step inside Bolsover Castle and be transported back in time to a world of medieval grandeur and breathtaking architecture.

As you enter the castle grounds, you can’t help but be in awe of the stunning views that surround it. Perched on a hilltop, overlooking the rolling Derbyshire countryside, Bolsover Castle offers a picturesque setting that is simply mesmerizing.

As you explore the castle, you’ll be captivated by its rich history and impressive architecture. The castle was originally built in the 17th century as a luxurious retreat for the Cavendish family.

The Great Hall, with its ornate plasterwork and stunning painted ceilings, is a true masterpiece. Walking through the rooms, you can almost imagine the lavish parties and grand events that once took place within these walls.

But it’s not just the architecture that makes Bolsover Castle a must-visit destination. The castle also offers interactive displays and exhibitions, allowing visitors to learn about its fascinating past.

You can try your hand at archery in the Riding School, or explore the underground tunnels that were used during the Civil War. And don’t forget to take a stroll through the beautiful gardens, where you can enjoy the peaceful surroundings and take in the breathtaking views.

A visit to Bolsover Castle is like stepping back in time. It’s a place where history comes alive, and where you can immerse yourself in the beauty and grandeur of a bygone era.

So if you’re looking for a truly unforgettable experience in Derbyshire, be sure to add Bolsover Castle to your itinerary. You won’t be disappointed.

Enjoying a Scenic Drive along Snake Pass

Embark on a breathtaking drive along Snake Pass, where stunning scenery and winding roads await. As I set off on this scenic adventure, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of excitement and anticipation.

The road meandered through the heart of Derbyshire, offering picturesque views of rolling hills, dense forests, and charming villages along the way.

As I drove along Snake Pass, the beauty of nature unfolded before my eyes. The road snaked through the breathtaking Peak District National Park, with its rugged moorlands and dramatic rock formations. Every turn revealed a new vista, each more awe-inspiring than the last.

The contrast of vibrant green fields against the dramatic backdrop of the peaks was a sight to behold.

The drive itself was an exhilarating experience. The winding roads demanded my full attention, as I navigated through hairpin bends and steep inclines. The feeling of adrenaline coursing through my veins was palpable. It was a true test of my driving skills, but the reward was immeasurable.

Snake Pass is not just a road; it is a journey through nature’s masterpiece.

As I reached the end of the drive, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of gratitude for the opportunity to witness such beauty.

If you’re looking for an adventure that combines adrenaline, stunning scenery, and a touch of serenity, a scenic drive along Snake Pass is an absolute must-do in Derbyshire.

Exploring the Underground at the Blue John Cavern

Descending into the depths of the Blue John Cavern, the underground world unveils its mesmerizing beauty.

As I step into the darkness, the air becomes cool and damp, and a sense of anticipation fills the air.

The narrow passageways lead me deeper into the belly of the earth, where stunning geological formations await.

Stalactites hang from the ceiling, glistening with moisture, while stalagmites rise from the ground, reaching towards the heavens.

The cave walls are adorned with the unique and rare Blue John mineral, displaying swirls of purple and yellow, creating a kaleidoscope of colors that is truly breathtaking.

As I continue my exploration, the guide shares fascinating stories and legends about the cavern.

I learn that Blue John is only found in this part of the world, making it a true treasure of Derbyshire.

Its name is derived from the French words ‘bleu et jaune,’ which perfectly describes the mineral’s vibrant hues.

The guide also explains the painstaking process of mining and extracting Blue John, giving me a newfound appreciation for this precious gemstone.

With each step, I am captivated by the ethereal beauty that surrounds me.

The silence and solitude of the underground create a sense of tranquility, allowing me to immerse myself in the wonders of nature.

Exploring the Blue John Cavern is an unforgettable experience, offering a glimpse into the hidden depths of the Earth and the remarkable formations that lie beneath our feet.

Going for a Relaxing Walk along the Monsal Trail

As I stroll along the Monsal Trail, the peaceful sound of birds chirping fills the air, creating a serene atmosphere for a relaxing walk.

The trail, located in Derbyshire, England, is a former railway line that’s been converted into a beautiful walking and cycling path.

Surrounded by lush greenery, the trail offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside, making it the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Walking along the Monsal Trail, I’m captivated by the beauty of the landscape.

The trail winds its way through picturesque valleys, over old stone bridges, and alongside crystal-clear rivers.

As I pass through tunnels carved into the hillsides, I can’t help but imagine the trains that once passed through here, transporting goods and people to distant destinations.

Today, the trail provides a peaceful retreat for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts alike.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging bike ride, the Monsal Trail offers something for everyone.

So grab your walking shoes, breathe in the fresh country air, and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Derbyshire as you explore this tranquil trail.

Visiting the Beautiful Village of Castleton

When you visit the beautiful village of Castleton, you’ll be enchanted by its charming cottages, nestled amidst rolling hills and surrounded by breathtaking scenery.

As you stroll through the village, you can’t help but feel a sense of tranquility and peace. The quaint streets are lined with traditional stone houses, adorned with vibrant flower gardens. The smell of freshly baked goods wafts through the air, inviting you to stop by one of the local cafes for a delicious treat.

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One of the highlights of Castleton is its stunning natural attractions. The village is nestled in the heart of the Peak District National Park, making it the perfect base for outdoor enthusiasts.

You can embark on a hike up to the famous Peveril Castle, perched high on a hill overlooking the village. From there, you’ll be rewarded with panoramic views of the surrounding countryside. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can explore the nearby caves, such as the famous Peak Cavern or the Blue John Cavern, known for its rare and beautiful mineral formations.

Whether you’re a nature lover or simply seeking a peaceful retreat, Castleton has something to offer everyone.

Discovering the Industrial Heritage at Cromford Mills

As I bid farewell to the picturesque village of Castleton, I eagerly set off to explore another gem in Derbyshire – Cromford Mills.

Nestled along the banks of the River Derwent, this historic site takes visitors on a journey back in time to the heart of the Industrial Revolution.

Stepping onto the grounds of Cromford Mills, I was immediately struck by the impressive sight of the red-brick mills towering above me. These mills, built by Sir Richard Arkwright in the late 18th century, were at the forefront of the industrial innovation that transformed England.

As I wandered through the complex, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the ingenuity and determination that went into creating such a revolutionary industry. The mills, now beautifully restored, offer a fascinating glimpse into the past, with interactive exhibits and guided tours that bring the history to life. From the clattering of spinning machines to the smell of raw cotton, every sense is engaged in this immersive experience.

Beyond the mills themselves, Cromford is a place where history truly comes alive. The surrounding village, with its charming stone cottages and narrow streets, is a testament to the enduring spirit of the industrial era.

Exploring the area, I discovered the worker’s cottages, the schoolhouse, and even Sir Richard Arkwright’s own home. It was humbling to imagine the lives of those who toiled in these mills, and to appreciate the lasting impact their work had on the world.

Whether you’re a history enthusiast or simply curious about the past, a visit to Cromford Mills is an absolute must on any trip to Derbyshire.

Taking a Steam Train Ride on the Peak Rail

Embark on a memorable journey through time by taking a steam train ride on the Peak Rail. As I stepped aboard the vintage steam train, I could feel the excitement building. The rhythmic chugging of the engine, the billowing clouds of steam, and the smell of burning coal all added to the authentic experience.

The train slowly started to move, and I couldn’t help but imagine what it must have been like to travel in this way during the golden age of steam.

As we chugged along the picturesque Derbyshire countryside, I couldn’t help but be captivated by the stunning views. Lush green fields stretched out as far as the eye could see, dotted with quaint villages and charming cottages. The train passed through tunnels, over viaducts, and alongside rivers, providing a unique perspective of the beautiful landscape.

The friendly conductor shared fascinating stories about the history of the railway and its significance to the local area. I learned about how the steam trains were once the lifeblood of industry in Derbyshire, transporting goods and people to and from the mills and factories. It was truly a journey back in time, and I felt a deep appreciation for the ingenuity and craftsmanship that went into creating these magnificent machines.

As the train pulled back into the station, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of nostalgia. The steam train ride on the Peak Rail was not only a fun and unique experience, but it also gave me a glimpse into the rich industrial heritage of Derbyshire.

If you’re looking for a memorable adventure that combines history, stunning scenery, and a touch of nostalgia, I highly recommend taking a steam train ride on the Peak Rail.

Enjoying Watersports at Carsington Water

Get ready to dive into an exhilarating adventure at Carsington Water, where you can enjoy a wide range of thrilling watersports.

As soon as I arrived at this stunning reservoir in Derbyshire, England, I was captivated by the crystal-clear turquoise waters and the picturesque surroundings.

Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced water enthusiast, Carsington Water offers something for everyone.

One of the most popular activities at Carsington Water is sailing. With its consistent winds and vast open space, it’s the perfect spot to hoist the sails and glide across the water. As I hopped on a sailboat, I could feel the exhilaration building as the wind filled the sails and propelled me forward. The feeling of freedom and the rush of adrenaline was unmatched as I maneuvered through the waves, taking in the breathtaking views of the surrounding hills.

If sailing isn’t your thing, don’t worry, there are plenty of other options to choose from. You can try your hand at windsurfing, where you’ll feel the power of the wind as you skim across the water. Or, if you prefer a more relaxed experience, kayaking and paddleboarding are great choices. As I paddled along the tranquil waters, I couldn’t help but be amazed by the beauty of the reservoir and the sense of peace it brought me.

No matter which watersport you choose, Carsington Water promises an unforgettable experience. Whether you’re seeking an adrenaline rush or a moment of tranquility, this destination has it all.

So grab your gear, embrace the thrill, and get ready to make some incredible memories at Carsington Water.

Exploring the Heights of Abraham

Once you step foot on the Heights of Abraham, you’ll be transported to a world of awe-inspiring natural beauty and thrilling adventures.

The Heights of Abraham is a stunning hilltop park located in Derbyshire, England, offering breathtaking views and an array of exciting activities.

As you ascend the cable car to reach the summit, you’ll be greeted by panoramic vistas of the surrounding countryside, with rolling hills and lush greenery as far as the eye can see. It’s a sight that truly takes your breath away.

Once you’ve taken in the stunning views, there are plenty of adventures to be had at the Heights of Abraham.

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One of the highlights is exploring the underground caverns, where you can delve into the depths of the earth and discover the fascinating world beneath the surface.

The guided tours provide a wealth of information about the formation of the caves and the history of mining in the area, making it a truly educational experience.

For those seeking a thrill, the park also offers a variety of outdoor activities, including a thrilling hillside slide and a thrilling adventure playground for the little ones.

Whether you’re a nature lover, an adrenaline junkie, or simply looking for a peaceful escape, the Heights of Abraham has something for everyone.

Visiting the Historic Village of Eyam

Upon arriving at the historic village of Eyam, you’ll be transported back in time as you wander through its charming streets and admire its well-preserved architecture. This quaint village, nestled in the heart of Derbyshire, is a true gem that offers a unique glimpse into England’s past.

As you stroll along the cobblestone streets, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a different era. The village is steeped in history, with buildings dating back centuries. From the picturesque cottages with thatched roofs to the elegant church, every corner of Eyam tells a story.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Eyam is its connection to the plague. In 1665, the village was hit hard by the bubonic plague, also known as the Black Death. To prevent the spread of the disease, the villagers made the brave decision to quarantine themselves, effectively sealing off the village from the outside world. This selfless act of sacrifice is commemorated in the Plague Village Museum, where you can learn about the harrowing experiences of the villagers and the impact the plague had on Eyam. It’s a sobering reminder of the resilience and strength of the human spirit.

As you explore Eyam, you’ll also come across charming tea rooms, traditional pubs, and quaint shops selling local crafts and produce. Take a moment to indulge in a delicious cream tea or sample some of the region’s famous Bakewell tart. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even embark on one of the many walking trails that surround the village, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside.

Whether you’re a history buff, a nature lover, or simply looking for a peaceful escape, a visit to the historic village of Eyam is a must when exploring Derbyshire.

Going for a Stroll in the Matlock Bath Promenade

As I take a leisurely walk along the Matlock Bath Promenade, I’m instantly captivated by the stunning views of the river and the charming Victorian architecture that line the streets. The promenade offers a perfect blend of natural beauty and historical charm, making it an ideal spot for a relaxing stroll.

The sound of the flowing river adds a soothing touch to the atmosphere, creating a serene and peaceful ambiance.

As I continue my walk, I can’t help but admire the intricate details of the Victorian buildings that adorn the promenade. The architecture is a testament to the rich history of the area, and it feels like stepping back in time. The vibrant colors of the facades, the ornate balconies, and the elegant windows all contribute to the unique character of the promenade.

Not only is the Matlock Bath Promenade visually appealing, but it also offers a range of attractions and activities to enjoy. From quaint shops and cozy cafes to riverside benches and picnic spots, there’s something for everyone here.

Whether you’re looking to relax, soak up the scenery, or simply take a break from the hustle and bustle of daily life, a stroll along the Matlock Bath Promenade is the perfect way to unwind and appreciate the beauty of Derbyshire.

Enjoying a Show at the Buxton Opera House

Get ready to be captivated by the enchanting performances at the Buxton Opera House, where you can immerse yourself in the world of music, dance, and theater.

This historic venue is nestled in the heart of the picturesque town of Buxton and offers a truly unforgettable experience for both locals and visitors alike.

As you step inside, you’ll be greeted by the grandeur of the Victorian architecture, with its ornate ceilings and elegant chandeliers. This sets the stage for an evening of unparalleled entertainment.

The Buxton Opera House hosts a wide range of performances, catering to all tastes and interests. From classic operas and ballets to contemporary plays and musicals, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

The talented performers bring each production to life, captivating the audience with their skill and passion. Whether you’re a fan of dramatic solos, intricate dance routines, or compelling storytelling, you’ll be enthralled by the sheer talent on display.

The acoustics in the theater are exceptional, allowing every note of the music to fill the air and create a truly immersive experience.

So, sit back, relax, and let the magic of the Buxton Opera House transport you to a world of enchantment and wonder.


In conclusion, my visit to Derbyshire, England has been nothing short of extraordinary. From the breathtaking landscapes of the Peak District National Park to the grandeur of Chatsworth House and Gardens, this region offers a diverse range of experiences for every traveler.

One of the highlights of my trip was exploring the history of Derbyshire at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery. It was fascinating to learn about the rich heritage of this area and see the impressive collection of artwork on display.

Additionally, taking a tour of Bolsover Castle allowed me to step back in time and immerse myself in the medieval history of the region.

Another memorable experience was driving along Snake Pass, where I was treated to stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The winding roads and picturesque landscapes made for an unforgettable journey.

Moreover, exploring the Heights of Abraham was a true adventure. Taking the cable car up to the summit and witnessing the panoramic views of the Derwent Valley was a truly awe-inspiring experience.

Visiting the historic village of Eyam was also a highlight of my trip. Learning about the village’s selfless sacrifice during the plague and walking through its charming streets was a humbling experience.

Furthermore, strolling along the Matlock Bath Promenade was a delightful way to spend an afternoon. The vibrant atmosphere, lined with shops and cafes, made for a perfect spot to relax and soak in the surroundings.

Lastly, attending a show at the Buxton Opera House was the perfect ending to my time in Derbyshire. The stunning architecture and world-class performances made for an unforgettable evening.

Overall, Derbyshire is a destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, history buff, or culture lover, this region has it all. I can’t wait to return and explore even more of what Derbyshire has to offer.

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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.