A county awash with historic houses, rolling hills and a rich industrial heritage, Derbyshire is one of Britain’s lesser-known gems. Easily accessible from the hubs of Manchester and Birmingham, as well as from the cities of Derby and Sheffield, it is home to outstanding attractions such as Chatsworth House and the world's first water mill, alongside vista-filled hikes including the famous Great Ridge in Edale.
With sweeping hills, captivating vistas and bags of natural beauty, the Peak District National Park is a Derbyshire highlight. Longing to stretch your legs through England’s beautiful countryside? Plan to discover Edale and Castleton, two villages that are bursting with some of the best scenery in Britain. Between the two villages you can also explore the Great Ridge, renowned as one of the finest ridge walks in the country. Prepare for panoramic views across the surrounding landscape and a picturesque spot for a picnic!
If you want to soak up a little more of Castleton, you can also visit its jaw-dropping show caverns and peer into what lies beneath the tranquil hills. Book a tour and descend deep into the cavern on a unique subterranean boat trip, discovering Derbyshire’s industrial history as you explore the flooded 18th-century lead mine – look out for the ‘Bottomless Pit’ lake, too!
Towards the northernmost tip of Derbyshire, adventurers in search of bracing walks and some outdoor bouldering can plan to visit Stanage Edge. Relish the fresh air and scenery on a walk along the impressive four-mile gritstone edge with expansive views of the Dark Peak moorlands. The area is also peppered with abandoned millstones – the National Park’s official icon and a relic from the area’s history of milling wheat.
If the remnants of Derbyshire’s industrial past spark curiosity, a trip to Cromford Mills is a must. Found near the charming town of Matlock, history-buffs can retrace the footsteps of Sir Richard Arkwright at the site of the world’s very first factory system. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a holder of the We’re Good to Go mark, Cromford Mills offers immersive tours of the original mill buildings, as well as a charming walk along the Cromford Wharf canal. If you’re still hungry for more of Derbyshire’s industrial heritage, plan a trip to Magpie Mine near the village of Bakewell. This well-preserved former lead mill left behind a collection of fascinating 18th-century remains, including mineshafts and a renovated square chimney.
If you’re keen to hop back in time to an era where vintage style prevailed, a trip to Crich Tramway Village – a holder of the We’re Good To Go mark – is essential. Jump aboard retro tram cars, dating from the Victorian era through to the swinging sixties, to explore this model village and delve into over a century’s worth of transport history.
Home to numerous historic houses and their resplendent gardens, one of Derbyshire’s gems is Chatsworth House. Also now welcoming visitors and a holder of the official We’re Good To Go mark, this countryside stately home will astound with its opulent Painted Hall, grand historic bedrooms and State Rooms, as well as the sculpture-laden gardens, complete with 290-feet of gravity-fuelled water fountain.
Continue the journey through Derbyshire’s past by booking a ticket to explore more than 400 years of grandeur at Hardwick Hall. Expect to be greeted with castle-like turrets, grand halls decorated with fine tapestries and spectacular bedrooms peppered with antique furniture – this historic marvel is one of the best-preserved Elizabethan houses in the country, complete with stunning gardens.
Close to the imposing grounds of Hardwick, both history buffs and green-fingered garden fans will relish a trip to Renishaw Hall and Gardens. A holder of the We’re Good to Go mark, Renishaw is home to a stunning collection of award-winning Italianate gardens, complete with romantic sculptures, woodland and floral delights, all located around the beautiful hall itself. Please note, although the gardens are open and ready to welcome you, Renishaw Hall currently remains closed to the public.
Classic local Derbyshire delicacies include the mouth-watering Bakewell Pudding. Far different from the renowned Bakewell tart, the delightfully sticky Pudding is made from a top secret recipe which is only baked in the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop. Folklore says that the dish was accidentally discovered in 1820, but fast forward 200 years and you can now order online and get it delivered, for a true taste of Britain from afar.
After tucking into this sweet treat, why not travel the short distance to Thornbridge Tap Room, a local brewery near to the village. You can sample refreshing beer made on-premises, including the flavoursome Jaipur, rich Tzara and deliciously dark Market Porter.