Surburban life has long been heralded as benefiting from the best of both worlds. 

On the one hand, smaller hamlets can offer a sense of peace and calm in a fast-paced and at times chaotic world and often retain a sense of community spirit that some argue has been lost over the years 

On the other hand, being close to larger towns and cities offers convenience and possibilities, both in terms of leisure activities and professional opportunities. 

Against this backdrop, it’s not hard to see why the South Derbyshire village of Etwall holds so much appeal. 

Located under eight miles from Derby city centre and just six and a half from Burton – and benefiting from good transport links – Etwall certainly satisfies the latter criteria. 

But it has charm in abundance too. ‘Etwall is how I imagined village life to be,’ revealed new resident Grant Blake, who was speaking to Derbyshire Life’s Ashley Franklin having left his old city life behind back in 2010.  

Great British Life: A warm welcome is assured in EtwallA warm welcome is assured in Etwall (Image: Ashley Franklin)

‘The village has lovely old buildings and people who are proud of their surroundings. They’re community-spirited and very welcoming.’ 

Etwall is indeed small and community-focused, but be in no doubt – this proud village packs a punch. 

Famous for his historic almhouses, its reputation for stunning well dressing displays and being home to Derbyshire’s largest secondary school in John Port Spencer Academy, it also has all the amenities you would imagine and hope for – including shops, a library, pubs, eateries, sports facilities and even a hotel. 

All whilst retaining that wonderful community ethos that makes all the difference to locals and visitors alike. 

Great British Life: St Helens Church dates back to the 12th centurySt Helens Church dates back to the 12th century (Image: Ashley Franklin)


Etwall has not one but two churches, including St Helen’s, which is the most prominent. Found on the aptly-named Church Hill, close to the village green, it dates back to the 12th century. 

If you find yourself admiring the architecture of St Helen’s, you won’t have to go too far to find another building of interest. 

The village’s famous almshouses stand impressively behind a pair of ornamental iron gates close to the church, which originally belonged to the old Etwall Hall, a once grand mansion which was demolished in 1959 to make way for what is now John Port School. 

Parts of Etwall Hall, once the ancestorial home to the influential Port family, still survive to a degree - the main bus shelter on the village green is constructed from its stone. 

Just a three-minute walk from St Helens is Etwall Cricket Club, so why not take in a bit of local sport if visiting in summer and take advantage of their clubhouse facilities where you’re assured of a warm welcome. 

Great British Life: Etwall has a proud history of well dressing displaysEtwall has a proud history of well dressing displays (Image: Ashley Franklin)

The local scene: 

Farmers markets, children’s clubs, an allotment association, a local history group which in the past has hosted talks by Melvyn Bragg, even a thriving knitting network – Etwall has it all. 

The village has also forged a reputation as a great place to eat and drink, with several exceptional options dotted around the village – including the Spread Eagle, Etwall’s oldest pub. 

And put a date in your diary to visit the village in May, when you can enjoy the village’s masterful and creative display of well dressings.  

This year, wonderful examples could be found all over the village, including at The Green; Almhouses; Church Hill; Blenheim House; the Scout Hut; Etwall Cricket Club; Eggington Road; and the previously mentioned Spread Eagle.