It’s the time of year that sees the whole of Derbyshire burst into life with festive magic. One thing’s for sure, you’re well catered for in our wonderful county this month


Ashbourne is ready to welcome you this festive period, with free parking all December after 2pm in council car parks.

From carol singing, a Santa float, celebration of animals service, to an illuminated tractor parade and much more, there’s plenty of magic to experienced in this beautiful Derbyshire Dales town – as well as all the usual delights that Ashbourne has to offer all year round.

Don’t miss: Lantern Spectacular

Taking place on December 8 in the town centre (beginning at St. Oswald’s Church at 6.30pm), Ashbourne’s annual Lantern Spectacular is a wonderful and uplifting spectacle. This is a free event with a collection on the evening for donations.

Great British Life: Belper Photo: Ashley FranklinBelper Photo: Ashley Franklin


‘The community spirit of the townsfolk has made our town special’ one local told Derbyshire Life back in 2019, adding: ‘There aren't many High Streets like ours left. So, love Christmas by loving Belper.'

There’s no mistaking it, this Amber Valley town comes alive this time of year.

Don’t miss: Christmas Carol Concert

There’s nothing quite like a community coming together to celebrate the spirit of Christmas and that’s just what you’ll experience should you find yourself in Belper’s Market Place at 6pm on December 22.

This lovely event is extremely popular in the town and is sure to bring that festive feeling to a crescendo, just three days out from Christmas Day.

Great British Life: Buxton Photo: Simon Harrod, FlickrBuxton Photo: Simon Harrod, Flickr


Given it once snowed during a cricket match between Derbyshire and Lancashire in June, it’s safe to say that if you’re looking for the white stuff this Christmas, England’s highest market town is a good place to try your luck!

You can even cruise the town and the wider Peak in style in a classic British sports car ( in what would also make a fantastic Christmas present.

Don’t miss: The Christmas Trail

Join the fabulously festive Pavilion Gardens Christmas Trail between 10am-3pm any day from December 16 to 24 (last entry at 2pm).

Tickets are £3 per child and there’s no need to book. Each entrant will receive a prize.

Great British Life: Castleton Photo: Gary WallisCastleton Photo: Gary Wallis


What is it that makes this picture postcard village so special?

For Derbyshire Life contributor Mike Smith, the Christmas light displays is one reason. ‘The brightly-illuminated Christmas trees create glittering ribbons of light throughout the village,’ he says. ‘Their effect is dazzling when viewed from the corner of Cross Street and Back Street, where the main road emerges from a chicane to head through an illuminated tunnel towards the dark hills that close off the valley in which Castleton stands. Have your camera at the ready!’

Don’t miss: Local shops and unique gifts

Many of Castleton’s famed independent retailers extend their opening hours in the lead up to Christmas, so you can enjoy the atmosphere of the village and get some gifts ticked off your list too!

Great British Life: Chesterfield Photo: Matthew Jones PhotographyChesterfield Photo: Matthew Jones Photography


Experience the magic of Christmas in Chesterfield where you can taste fabulous food, purchase great gifts and make memories at excellent family events.

Looking forward to celebrating with friends and family? Eat, drink and be merry at the town’s amazing cafes, restaurants and bars or source your festive treats from local traders.

Don’t miss: Festival of Christmas Trees

Head to the famous ‘Crooked Spire’ Church – the largest in Derbyshire - for a Festival of Christmas Trees this month!

The trees are decorated by a diverse range of local people and groups, including children, and it’s a magical sight to behold. Now in its ninth year, the festival continues to grow.

Great British Life: Derby Photo: Gary WallisDerby Photo: Gary Wallis


Feel the festive buzz with a visit to the city. From a traditional ice rink in the Cathedral Quarter to a Nordic bar and roaring firepit on the Market Place and much more besides, there’s plenty to see and do.

Family festivities, outdoor entertainment, Christmas elf trails and much more, Derby is a wonderful place at this time of the year with the city pulling out all the stops.

Don’t miss: Cinderella at Derby Theatre

A striking new version of the classic story perfect for all ages this Christmas, this thrilling theatrical adventure is set amidst the Derbyshire countryside and features feisty heroine, Cinderella.

Cinderella runs at Derby Theatre until December 31. Details at

Great British Life: Matlock Photo: Getty ImagesMatlock Photo: Getty Images


Much of Matlock’s Christmas activity is centred around the magnificent Hall Leys Park in the heart of Derbyshire’s county town.

The park also spills out onto Dale Road where you’ll find an array of independent stores, pubs, bars and restaurants which all look magnificent and oh so tempting over the festive period.

Don’t miss: Victorian Christmas Market

Matlock’s now famous Victorian Christmas Market sprawls out over Hall Leys Park and just gets better every year.

From 9am to 6pm on December 1-3, discover a winter wonderland with over 200 stalls ranging from unique gifts, crafts, goodies and food outlets serving culinary delights – not to mention entertainment, festive performances and fairground rides.

Great British Life: Melbourne Photo: Getty ImagesMelbourne Photo: Getty Images


‘Each Christmas, Melbourne pulls all the stops,’ local resident Sharon Brown tells Derbyshire Life.

‘Melbourne loves Christmas carols and the week before Christmas is a caroller’s delight, with carols around the Christmas tree and in all the churches.’

This lovely South Derbyshire town is wonderful all year round – and an absolute delight at Christmas.

Don’t miss: A Feast of Christmas Music

Melbourne Operatic Society return with their annual Christmas concert at Melbourne Assembly Rooms on December 15.

Always a joyous occasion, expect carols both old and new, seasonal items both serious and funny and plenty of audience participation! Mince pies and wine or juice will be served during the interval.

Great British Life: Willington Photo: steve p2008, FlickrWillington Photo: steve p2008, Flickr


Combine beautiful outdoors and the best of nature (it’s home to the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust-managed Willington Wetlands Nature Reserve) with shop-‘til-you-drop retail therapy and fabulous eateries and attractions in Willington this month.

Found north of Repton between the River Trent and Mersey Canal, it is also home to Derbyshire’s largest waterside marina attraction which will be brimming with Christmas activity this December.

Don’t miss: Mercia Marina

Europe’s largest inland marina is set to celebrate Christmas in style this year, and you’re likely to find all you need in one place.

Whether you’re after family activities, walks, shops, restaurants or even looking for somewhere to stay, you’ll find it all at Mercia Marina.

Great British Life: Wirksworth Photo: Phil Richards, FlickrWirksworth Photo: Phil Richards, Flickr


There’s an oldy worldy charm and feel to the cobbled streets of Wirksworth when winter sets in as this lovely Derbyshire Dales town comes alive with the spirit of Christmas.

Often describes as the ‘Hidden Gem of the Peak’, this characterful town is full of independent stores, fabulous eateries and also enjoys a thriving arts and crafts scene – perfect for local Christmas presents!

Don’t miss: Santa’s Enchanted Journey

Jump on board Ecclesbourne Valley Railway’s Santa’s Enchanted Journey and enjoy a festive steam ride through breath-taking rolling landscapes for all the family to enjoy.

The fun starts at Wirksworth Station platform where you’ll be greeted by Santa’s elves. Expect plenty of festive cheer!