15 summer days out in Derbyshire and the Peak District

Jousting at Bolsover Castle Photo: Chris Boulton/English Heritage

Jousting at Bolsover Castle Photo: Chris Boulton/English Heritage - Credit: Archant

Whether you’re a budding historian, a lover of the outdoors or an adrenaline junkie, we’ve found something for you

Calling all foodies

In a fantastic celebration of the very best produce that our county has to offer, Chesterfield Food and Drink Festival will take place on 2nd-4th August at Queen's Park. This year it is set to be bigger and better than ever, with a huge range of cuisine on offer as well as plenty of locally crafted beer, artisan gin and prosecco. New this year is a Demo Kitchen, where talented chefs will show off their skills; celebrity chef Lesley Waters will be making an appearance on the Sunday with a cooking demonstration followed by a 'meet and greet' session. There will be lots to keep children happy too, including face painting and a playbus. The event's chosen charity is Ashgate Hospicecare, so money raised will be going towards a great cause.

See edgeeventsfestivals.co.uk


A dog's life

What's better than watching live entertainment and enjoying good food and drink with your beloved pooch by your side? This summer you can do just that, with the Dog Lovers Festival at Elvaston Castle on 2nd to 4th August. There will be music from tribute acts for the likes of Robbie Williams, Oasis and Queen, as well as a range of fun dog competitions, K9 Aqua Sports, behaviour demonstrations and agility. Better still, there will be plenty of professionals on hand to offer advice on all your dog-related questions, with the chance to meet everyone from dietary professionals to behaviour therapists.

If you fancy making a weekend of it, you can pitch up a tent in the 300-plus surrounding acres of woodland and countryside.

Find ticket information online at dogloversfestival.org

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Vintage vehicles galore

Highacres Farm in Brackenfield will welcome traditional steamers, historic motor vehicles and stationary engines this summer as part of the Cromford Steam Rally. Taking place from 3rd-4th August, it promises something for all the family with everything from stalls, military displays and old-time fair rides. There is also the option of weekend camping, ideal if you're coming from further afield.

The Cromford Steam Rally Society has been established since 1970, and it is proud to host one of the most highly-rated shows of its kind.

Find out more at cromfordsteamrally.co.uk


Summertime drama

As always, Derbyshire's many theatres and arts venues have an action-packed programme of events. Highlights include a unique rendition of A Midsummer Night's Dream on 7th August in the beautiful grounds of Chatsworth House, performed by The Lord Chamberlain's Men. It promises an evening filled with the very best outdoor theatre, so bring along blankets and picnics.

See chatsworth.org for details

Another one for the list is The Secret Garden at Buxton's Pavilion Arts Centre on 15th August, as presented by the Chapterhouse Theatre Company. This enchanting performance tells the story of orphaned Mary Lennox as she discovers that friendship and self-belief are the most important things of all.

Book tickets online at buxtonoperahouse.org.uk.


20 years on

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the ever-popular Dronfest, set to take place on 10th August at Cliffe Park. It has become an annual highlight in the Dronfield calendar of events since its foundation in 1999, and this year it promises an eclectic selection of food stalls and entertainment - the line-up includes the likes of Ferocious Dog, who will be bringing their signature folk music infused with rock and reggae. Clear Vinyl will also be performing, as will The Tin Soldiers and many others. This is a not-for-profit event, with money raised going to a variety of worthy causes.

Tickets via dronfest.co.uk


Out and about

Budding adventurers will love The Great Outdoors Show, which is set to take place at High Acres Farm over the weekend of 10th-11th August. There will be a host of activities, including cooking workshops, bushcraft and survival demonstrations and a 'have-a-go' area. Learn from the best outdoor pursuit instructors and hear captivating stories in the Q and A corner. There will also be the chance to listen to live music and browse through trade stands.

More information via thegreatoutdoorsshow.co.uk


A step back in time

Journey back to the 1940s with the Crich Tramway Village for their World War II Home Front weekend on 10th-11th August. Re-enactors, live music and vintage vehicles will give a truly authentic feel, and the resident trams will be in full swing. Wander along the period street and explore the buildings rescued from across the UK - keep your eyes peeled for the old Derby Assembly Rooms façade.

Other events taking place here throughout the summer include the Woodland Week, which will unfold from 19th-23rd August. There is also a Horse Tram Day on 14th August, and a Tram and Railway Models Weekend on 17th-18th August.

Further details are available at tramway.co.uk-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

All aboard

The weekend of 10th-11th August will see the Summer Diesel Gala take place at the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway - this is a firm favourite with local enthusiasts, offering a rare chance to see a wide variety of diesel locomotives running to a special timetable.

The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway is proud to be recognised by the Department for Transport as a Heritage Diesel Railcar Centre of Excellence. It forms part of Derbyshire's longest heritage railway, regularly running trains between Duffield and Wirksworth.

Find out more at e-v-r.com


Let off some steam

Children will love a visit to Conkers this summer, an award-winning attraction set in the heart of the National Forest. It's fully equipped for all weathers so you don't need to rely on the British sunshine. You can play outdoors in the 120 acres of woodland and lakes where there are barefoot walks and adventure play areas, jump aboard the Conkerchoo II train, and test your skills on the rope courses, climbing wall and zip wire. There is also a variety of wildlife to meet, including the resident owls Edwig and Wizzo. If it's raining, you can take part in one of the many indoor interactive activities: there are four seasonal zones and even a simulated tree-top walk.

See visitconkers.com


Traditional fun

There's no better way to get a taste of the glorious Derbyshire countryside than by attending a rural show this summer, and fortunately there are plenty to choose from. Ashover Show will take place 14th August at The Rectory Fields, promising everything from livestock and equestrian classes through to vintage tractor displays and an all-important food marquee.

See ashovershow.co.uk

The Ashbourne Shire Horse Society will present the annual Ashbourne Show on 17th August. Make sure you're there for the 'Digger Dance' at 1.30pm, which will see the skilled JCB operators of JC Balls and Sons take to the ring for a performance that is not to be missed. There will also be ridden horse classes and a parade of hounds, alongside bouncy castles and bungee trampolines.

Buy tickets online at ashbourneshow.co.uk


At one with nature

If you've been inspired by David Attenborough, take part in a beginners' wildlife recording session organised by Derbyshire Wildlife Trust on 21st August. Join Kieron Huston in the glorious surroundings of Chee Dale in the heart of the Peak District - learn how to identify the huge variety of plants and insects found in the local area, and use sweep nets to capture the creepie-crawlies for a closer look.

The meeting point will be Hartington Station, and the session will take place between 10.30am and 3.30pm.

View derbyshirewildlifetrust.org.uk


Ready, Set, Go

Matlock Farm Park will once again play host to The Peak District Highland Games on 25th August, which will see competitors battle it out throughout the day. Watch the 8-tonne tractor pull, the massive Stone of Destiny carry and the tossing of the Caber - or for something a little more relaxing you can browse through the many craft and market stalls. There will also be plenty for younger visitors, including children's entertainer The Great Lorenzo, huge inflatables and all the Farm Park has to offer.

More information is available at matlockfarmpark.co.uk


The thunder of hooves

Four chivalrous knights and their valiant steeds will take to the grounds of Bolsover Castle as part of the Legendary Joust weekend on 25th-26th August. Expect lance shattering and roaring crowds, but be sure to choose your side before the action commences. There will also be traditional medieval music and joking jesters in the encampment as well as the chance to learn about centuries-old crafts and cooking, whilst mini-knights can take part in their own hobby horse jousts and try on some armour for size.

Bolsover Castle commands breathtaking views and is the ideal setting for a day of history and family fun.

Find out more at english-heritage.org.uk


Find your wild side

Looking for an action-packed family day out? Go Ape in Buxton might have the answer. Here you'll find one of the highest Go-Ape courses in the UK, with a Tree Top Challenge Course set at a staggering 1,200 feet above ground - put your bravery to the test and leap off the Tarzan swing drop, and fly along the zip wire to really get the heart racing.

The course typically takes between two and three hours to complete, and children need to be at least ten years of age and at least 1.4 metres high. They also need a responsible grown-up to take part too - so there's no excuse for not joining in!

Tickets can be booked online via goape.co.uk


All the fun of the fair

The spectacular grounds of Chatsworth House will welcome visitors for the annual country fair from 30th August to 1st September, a family-friendly event that is always a highlight of our county's summer calendar. Expect everything from falconry displays through to heritage country sports, as well as daredevil stunts on horseback from the incredible Ukrainian Cossack Stunt Team. There will also be performances from the Bolddogs Lings FMX Display Team, and the Global Star Aerobatics Team and the Poppy Parachute Team will both take to the skies. Foodies will love the cookery theatre, where there will be demonstrations from local chefs and plenty of fine cuisine to try.

See chatsworth.org for more details

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