Tissington, Ashford-in-the-Water, Middleton-by-Youlgrave, Bakewell, Belper, Whaley Bridge, Aston-on-Trent… the list goes on. Nowhere does well dressings quite like Derbyshire’s towns and villages – and 2024 promises to be no exception


When: May 25 – June 1

On display: Village Well; Primary School Well

The village: Beautiful Monyash sits in the heart of the Peak District, at the head of the picturesque Lathkill Dale. The village may comprise just a few hundred locals, yet it benefits from a close-knit community – with the annual well dressings an important aspect of village life here.

Fascinating fact: The true origins of well dressing are lost in time, but it’s believed to be a pagan custom, giving thanks for water. Although it lapsed at some point, well dressing was adopted by the Christian Church and re-introduced by the Derbyshire village of Tissington back in 1349.

Middleton by Youlgrave well dressing  (Image: Glyn Williams)


When: May 25 – June 1

On display: Village Well; Children’s Well (two wells)

The village: Like Monyash, Middleton sits in the heart of the White Peak and is an unspoiled, peaceful village and a walker’s paradise. In 1977, Middleton-by-Youlgrave produced its first well dressing in living memory, in honour of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee. Since then, annual well dressings have become firmly established.

Fascinating fact: More than 80 local towns and villages produce annual well dressings, making Derbyshire the undisputed ‘well dressing capital’ of the UK. Perhaps most synonymous with the custom is the village of Tissington, which holds its well dressing festival on Ascension Day.

Over Haddon well dressing  (Image: Glyn Williams)


When: June 22-30

On display: Adult Well; Junior Well

The village: With its assortment of quaint cottages, tiny Over Haddon is one of Derbyshire’s prettiest villages. Typical of the White Peak, views of rolling landscapes are spectacular and footpaths link it to nearby Haddon Hall.

Fascinating fact: The intricate art of creating a well dressing can take hundreds of hours and a whole team of people to complete. It typically involves a thick wooden board soaked in a river and covered in clay, onto which a design is etched. Natural materials – such as petals, berries, leaves and seeds - are then used to ‘colour in’ the picture.

Tideswell well dressing  (Image: Glyn Williams)


When: June 22-30

On display: Village Well; Church Yard Well; Swans Gate Well

The village: Tideswell really goes to town when it comes to well dressing celebrations. It has celebrated Wakes Week (incorporating Well Dressing) for over 750 years and is the place to be if you want to combine well dressings with a real carnival atmosphere.

Fascinating fact: The vast majority of well dressings tell a story. Historically, these have reflected Christian messages and the wells continue to be blessed by a local vicar to this day. While religious themes are still found, many well dressing images now reflect modern-day topics and commemorate key events and anniversaries.

Hope well dressing  (Image: Glyn Williams)


When: June 22-30

On display: St Peter’s Well; Hope Valley College Well; Edale Road Well; Hope Primary School Well

The village: Located in the heart of the glorious Hope Valley, this wonderful village is surrounded by some of the Peak District’s most iconic landmarks. Despite its size, Hope is well known for its range of community activities, including its popular annual beer festival and, of course, well dressing.

Fascinating fact: While the lifespan of a village’s well dressings is short, they can be found throughout Derbyshire from May right up to September as locations stagger the dates of their displays. Very occasionally, a village may even produce a winter display.

Aston on Trent well dressing (Image: Glyn Williams)


When: July 6-13

On display: The Green Well; Yeoman House Well; Rectory Gardens Well

The village: Many well dressings take place in the Peak District, but not all. Aston on Trent, an unspoiled South Derbyshire village, have held their annual weekend since 1997 (inspired by a talk from the coordinator of the Belper Well Dressing Group) to raise funds for local groups and charities.

Fascinating fact: Universal praise isn’t a given. In 1997, Chesterfield’s now infamous well dressing depicting the late Princess Diana made national headlines – and not in a good way. ‘It’ll look better from a distance - from Birmingham,’ one local told ITV’s This Morning. Oh dear!

Hathersage well dressing  (Image: Glyn Williams)


When: July 6-13

On display: Methodist Church Well; School Well

The village: Hathersage is famous for many things – its links with literary greats; proximity to local landmarks; the location for one of the few remaining outdoor swimming pools in the UK; spectacular scenery and, of course, well dressing. Hathersage is one of Derbyshire’s best loved villages, and it’s easy to see why.

Fascinating fact: Well dressings in Derbyshire are incredibly well supported by locals and visitors alike. Tissington, for example, is home to just over 100 inhabitants, yet estimates suggest up to 35,000 people visit the village to see the wells, with a temporary one-way system put in place.

Eyam well dressing  (Image: Glyn Williams)


When: August 24 – September 1

On display: Town End Well; Children’s Well; Town Head Well

The village: Given the loveliness of this village, in some ways it’s a shame Eyam is so synonymous with the plague which ripped relentlessly through it in 1665/6. Villagers here courageously performed an act of self-quarantine to ensure the disease did not spread to neighbouring villages, resulting in the death of one-third of Eyam’s population. Some descendants still live in the village.

Fascinating fact: The Covid pandemic and subsequent lockdowns brought some parallels to the fate of Eyam some 360 years previously. Over the years, many villages have honoured the bravery of Eyam’s inhabitants through their well dressing displays.

​For all upcoming events, visit welldressing.com