Day Trips · England · Guest Posts · Historic Houses · Travel

Historical Guide to Visiting Derbyshire

Good morning everyone! I’m super excited to share this guest post that has been written by the lovely Molly! She’s an absolute expert when it comes to this area and clearly knows her stuff! I’ve been following her blog lovelylocalindie for a little while now and have absolutely LOVED reading her content (and it’s perfect for me since it’s all within driving distance pretty much)! So here we go, enjoy this post from Molly!

Derbyshire has a rich and fascinating history. There are numerous historical days out that can be enjoyed across the county, from ornate country houses to crumbling castles. Here are my favourite historical places to visit, that are perfect for a day out!

Chatsworth House, Gardens and Farmyard

  • Location: Near Bakewell, DE45 1PP
  • Price: An adult ticket for the house and garden costs £24 including car parking

Chatsworth House is often described as the jewel of the Peak District. Owned by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, it has been passed down sixteen generations of the Cavendish family. 

A truly iconic location, that has featured in various period dramas and thought to be the inspiration for Jane Austen’s Pemberley. 

Chatsworth has extensive, exquisite interiors, which are breathtakingly beautiful all year round, but something truly magical when the house is dressed for Christmas. The 105-acre gardens are equally impressive. Famous for their rich history, there is something for everyone. 

The house itself is a treasure trove of historic artefacts. 

Whilst there is more than enough to do at Chatsworth for a full day out, it’s could easily be combined with a visit to nearby Bakewell or Eyam. 

Bakewell

  • Location: Bakewell, use DE45 1EF
  • Price: Free to explore (cakes aren’t free unfortunately), price for parking varies

Bakewell is a picturesque, historic market town. Take a riverside stroll, feed the ducks and marvel at the love lock bridge.

FUN FACT! Jane Austen is said to have written much of Pride and Prejudice whilst staying at The Rutland Arms which has recently enjoyed a make-over into a contemporary boutique hotel, bar, restaurant and coffee house. And don’t leave without sampling a traditional Bakewell pudding. 

Also in the Bakewell area is Haddon Hall. Haddon has been closed for the duration of the pandemic, apart from its popular Mercatum markets, but is hoping to reopen to the general public on 21st July. 

Thornbridge Hall Gardens

  • Location: Ashford in the Water, use code DE45 1QA
  • Price: Adult tickets are £7


Also in the Bakewell area, Thornbridge Hall is smaller and quieter than Chatsworth. The house is not open to the general public but you can visit its lovely gardens.

Whilst the gardens are interesting from a historical point of view, it’s also just really good fun with children (or the young at heart) who will adore its famously quirky rubber duck fountain, making it the perfect place to explore for your next family day out!

You can also access Thornbridge Hall directly from the Monsal Trail.

Interested in finding out more about this great garden to explore? Then you can read a review about Thornbridge Hall gardens here if you want to find out more about this place!

Eyam

  • Location: Eyam
  • Price: Free to wander round

The pretty village Eyam has a fascinating albeit morbid history. Its mortality rate was double that of London during the Great Plague and has earned Eyam the title of ‘the plague village’.

Enjoy a wander around this picturesque Derbyshire Dales village, or enjoy a walk in the surrounding countryside and then refresh yourself at either the Village Green café or The Coolstone at Eyam Hall which is a fabulous restaurant, bar, coffee house, shop combo. In normal times there is a small but fascinating museum dedicated to this gory history. 

There are a multitude of other historic houses and castles to visit. Most with exquisite gardens and parklands. Depending on what you are after, you’ve got the Childhood museum at Sudbury Hall, the house of one of the wealthiest (and a powerful woman next to the Queen) at Hardwick Hall, or you’ve got a “unstately home” at Calke Abbey to explore in Derbyshire – the decision is up to you!

Crich Tramway Village

  • Location: Crich, near Matlock, DE4 5DP
  • Price: Adult tickets are £19

Just outside the Peak District is a pretty village of Crich (well worth a wander round). On the outskirts you can find Crich Tramway Village which has an expansive museum of vintage trams and a recreated period village, complete with working pub, tearooms and shops.

Ride the trams and soak in the scene. There’s also a nice woodland walk and play areas. Full priced tickets offer 12 months free return as many times as you wish (subject to a few T&Cs). Under 4 year olds are free. Dogs are welcome on a lead. 

Cromford Mills and Canal Walk

  • Location: Cromford, near Matlock, DE4 3RQ
  • Price: Guided tours can be booked in household bubbles at the cost of £30 per bubble, maximum of 6 adults at the moment (checked on the 10/07/21)

Cromford Mills is the home of Sir Richard Arkwright’s first mill complex, birthplace of the modern factory system and internationally recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. .

Cromford canal is lovely for a walk. Set in the beautiful Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, it’s a wildlife haven and the perfect location for a stroll or a heritage or nature walk. The section from Cromford Wharf to High Peak Junction is suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

It’s a mile long (approximately 30 minutes’ walk). Pay and display parking is available next to the Cromford Mills site, with the revenue going towards the continued restoration of the site (DE4 3RQ). There are two cafes, one canalside at High Peak Junction and one in the mill yard. 

You could continue the walk into Cromford itself and visit the magnificent Scarthins bookshop. Scarthins has a wonderful children’s room complete with an art installation. 

A Historical Day Out in Derby

Looking to take a day out in Derby, then check out this blog post here about more things to do in Derby. Here’s a quick summary though of other places that you can explore in Derby:

The Museum of Making is a brand new attraction in Derby city centre. The museum is located at the Silk Mill, widely regarded as the world’s first modern factory. It’s also part of the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site. This is a great place to learn about Derby’s fascinating history and role in the industrial revolution, and it’s free to visit (although current covid restrictions mean that you must pre-book your visit). 

History buffs might also wish to explore Derby Cathedral. In normal times it’s possible to climb the 189 steps to see spectacular views of Derby and the surrounding four counties. The Cathedral quarter is one of the most desirable and attractive parts of the city. It’s a great place to start if you are new to the city. Irongate and Sadler Gate are both worth a wander for their wealth of lovely, local, independent shops. Don’t miss the Strand Arcade, a lovely historic shopping precinct which connects Sadler Gate to The Strand, is a delightful Victorian crescent, also home to many fabulous independents.  

Derby Museum and Art Gallery is free to visit, as is the QUAD, an international centre for engagement in contemporary art and film.

Derby’s oldest pub is Ye Olde Dolphin Inn which dates back to the 16th century and is rumoured to be haunted. (Here at castlesandturrets, we are BIG FANS of haunted places, just check out these haunted castles in Scotland)!

Derby Gaol (jail) is rumoured to be one of the most haunted spots in the country. It’s now museum open to the public every Saturday, 11am to 3pm. Since its construction in 1756 it’s been through several incarnations (including a nightclub) until it was bought in 1997 by paranormal investigator, and dedicated historian Richard Felix who has returned it as far as possible to its original state. Richard also runs a range of ghost walks around Derby, or if you’re feeling particularly brave you can take part in an overnight vigil at the jail. 

Guest blog post by Molly Scott, a Derbyshire blogger at lovelylocalindie.com

If you’ve enjoyed reading this guest post from Molly, then please check out her blog. You can also follow here various social media accounts here:
Instagram mollyinderbyshire
Facebook Derbyshire Lovely Local Indie
Twitter lovelylocalindi

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