50 top days out in Derbyshire and the Peak District

Photo: Chatsworth House Trust

Photo: Chatsworth House Trust - Credit: Archant

From stately homes to show caves, a round-up of some of the best places to visit

Calke Abbey Photo: John Millar, National Trust

Calke Abbey Photo: John Millar, National Trust - Credit: Archant


Calke Abbey

‘Un-stately’ home, frozen in time and set in 600 acres of ancient parkland. Discover the tales of a family who amassed a vast collection of treasures, visit the walled gardens and spot the ‘Old Man of Calke’ – a 1,200-year-old oak tree. House open Sat-Wed. Ticknall DE73 7LE, 01332 863822, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/calke-abbey/Hardwick Hall

Elizabethan mansion designed by Robert Smythson for Bess of Hardwick. Fascinating tapestries, circular parkland walks and fine gardens, restaurant and shop. The Hall is currently commemorating the 400th anniversary of the death of Lady Arbella Stuart. House open Wed-Sun, BH Mons. Doe Lea, Chesterfield S44 5QW, 01246 850430, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/hardwick/Kedleston Hall

Neo-classical mansion designed by Robert Adam in 820 acres of parkland. Home to the Curzon family since the 12th century, the Hall includes Lord Curzon’s Eastern Museum – a treasure trove of objects acquired on his travels in Asia and while Viceroy of India (1899 to 1905). House open Sat-Thurs. Quarndon, Derby DE22 5JH, 01332 842191, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/kedleston-hall/Sudbury Hall

Hardwick Hall Photo: ©NTPL/Mike Williams

Hardwick Hall Photo: ©NTPL/Mike Williams - Credit: ©NTPL/Mike Williams

Late 17th century house, country home of the Lords Vernon, with lavish interiors and the National Trust Museum of Childhood – a delight for adults and children alike. House open Wed-Sun, BH Mons. Museum open daily from 25th March.

Sudbury, Ashbourne, DE6 5HT, 01283 585305, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/sudburyOTHER GREAT HOUSES

Bolsover Castle

Of Norman origin, but rebuilt and enlarged in 1612, Bolsover includes an impressive mock medieval keep, Riding House, restored wall walk, play area and exhibitions. ‘Cavalier Horsemanship’ events April-Sept. Easter Quest 3rd-6th April. English Heritage, Bolsover S44 6PR, 0870 333 1181, www.english-heritage.org.uk/bolsover-castleHaddon Hall

Described as ‘the most perfect house to survive from the Middle Ages’. Home to the Manners family, the Hall includes splendid medieval kitchens, a Banqueting Hall, 17th century Long Gallery and lovely gardens. Easter opening and activities 1st-7th April. Bakewell DE45 1LA, 01629 812855, http://www.haddonhall.co.uk/Chatsworth House

Sudbury Hall Photo: National Trust

Sudbury Hall Photo: National Trust - Credit: Archant

Home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Highlights include the magnificent Painted Hall and Sculpture Gallery, one of Europe’s most significant art collections, 105 acres of gardens, adventure playground, shops and restaurant. House, garden and farmyard open from 28th March. Bakewell DE45 1PP, 01246 565300, www.chatsworth.orgEyam Hall

An unspoilt example of a grit-stone Jacobean manor house, home to eleven generations of the Wright family. In the stableyard, the Craft Centre offers a hub from which to explore the famous ‘Plague Village’. Hall open Wed-Sun, BH Mons. Craft centre open Tue-Sun. Eyam S32 5QWT, 01433 639565, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/eyam-hall-and-craft-centrePeveril Castle

The remains of one of England’s earliest Norman fortresses with breathtaking views over the picturesque village of Castleton. Displays in the visitor centre highlight the castle’s important role in the ancient Royal Forest of the Peak. English Heritage, Castleton S33 8WQ, 01433 620613, www.english-heritage.org.uk/peveril-castle Renishaw Hall

Late 17th century house, in the Sitwell family for over 400 years, with Italianate gardens, vineyard, café, museum and galleries.

Renishaw, Sheffield S21 3WB, 01246 432310, www.renishaw-hall.co.ukTissington Hall

Bolsover Castle Photo: Peter Richardson, English Heritage

Bolsover Castle Photo: Peter Richardson, English Heritage - Credit: English Heritage

Fine Jacobean house with gates wrought by celebrated smith Robert Bakewell. Home to the FitzHerbert family since 1609, the Hall includes a marvellous Library and Billiard Room. Easter opening 6th-10th April. Tissington, Ashbourne DE6 1RA, 01335 352200, www.tissingtonhall.co.ukTutbury Castle

Medieval castle largely ruined in the Civil War. Historical re-enactments throughout the year. Open from Easter Sunday.

Castle St, Tutbury DE13 9JF, 01283 812129, www.tutburycastle.comMelbourne Hall

Delightful 18th century-style garden with clipped yews, fountains and Robert Bakewell’s famous Birdcage. Gardens open April-Sept, Hall open in August. Melbourne DE73 8EN, 01332 862502, www.melbournehall.comOUT AND ABOUT

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Buxton Pavilion Gardens

Haddon Hall from a distance Photo: Haddon Hall

Haddon Hall from a distance Photo: Haddon Hall - Credit: Archant

23 acres of restored Victorian gardens with regular events, play area, café and Pavilion Arts Centre. Easter events 3rd-6th April.

St John’s Rd, Buxton SK17 6BE, 01298 23114,www.paviliongardens.co.ukCarsington Water

Visitor centre, watersports, cycle hire, fishing, bird hides and playground. Ashbourne DE6 1ST, 01629 540478, www.carsingtonwater.comChestnut Centre

Wildlife park involved in the rehabilitation of otters, owls, deer, wild cats and foxes. Castleton Rd, Chapel en le Frith SK23 0QS, 01298 814099, www.chestnutcentre.co.ukCreswell Crags

Limestone gorge providing an insight into life during the last Ice Age. Early cave art, museum and visitor centre. Crags Rd, Welbeck S80 3LH, 01909 720378, www.creswell-crags.org.ukConkers

Family-friendly centre in the National Forest, offering a mix of indoor and outdoor experiences including play areas and discovery zones. Rawdon Rd, Swadlincote DE12 6GA, 01283 216633, www.visitconkers.comCastleton Show Caves

Experience an underground boat journey at Speedwell Cavern, unravel the mysteries of the Devil’s Arse at Peak Cavern and discover the home of the famous Blue John stone at Treak Cliff Cavern. Castleton, Hope Valley S33 8WS, 01433 620679, www.castleton.co.uk/cavernsDenby Pottery Visitor Centre

Pottery tours, courtyard shops, cookery demonstrations, restaurant and play area. Denby DE5 8NX, 01773 740799, www.denby.co.uk/visitor_centreGulliver’s Kingdom

Amusement park for families with children aged 2-13. Over 60 rides and attractions. Matlock Bath DE4 3PG, 01925 444888, www.gulliversfun.co.uk/matlock-bathIlam Park

Spectacular views and walks, youth hostel, visitor centre, tea room and shop. An ideal base from which to explore the White Peak.

National Trust, Ilam, Ashbourne DE6 2AZ, 01335 350503, www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ilam-parkHeights of Abraham

Country park and caverns set in 60 acres of woodland, reached by cable car over a deep limestone gorge. Dale Rd, Matlock Bath DE4 3NT, 01629 582365, www.heightsofabraham.comLea Gardens

Woodland walks and over 500 varieties of rhododendrons, azaleas and other plants. Nr Matlock DE4 5GH, 01629 534380, www.leagarden.co.ukRoyal Crown Derby

Factory tours and visitor centre with shop, refreshments and museum. 194 Osmaston Rd, Derby DE23 8JZ, 01332 712833, www.royalcrownderby.co.ukMUSEUMS

Cromford Mills

The world’s first water-powered cotton spinning mill, built by Sir Richard Arkwright in 1771. Guided tours, shops and exhibitions. Easter trail 3rd-6th April. Cromford DE4 3RQ, cromfordmills.org.ukBuxton Museum & Art Gallery

Discover the geology, archaeology and history of the Peak. Art and photographic collections plus Boyd Dawkins study, dedicated to Sir William Boyd Dawkins and Dr Wilfrid Jackson. Easter events 2nd-8th April. Buxton SK17 6DA, 01629 533540, www.derbyshire.gov.uk/buxton_museumChesterfield Museum & Art Gallery

Explore the town’s rich heritage from its beginnings as a Roman fort to the building of the ‘Crooked Spire’ Church. St Mary’s Gate, Chesterfield S41 7TD, 01246 345727, www.chesterfieldmuseum.co.ukCrich Tramway Village

The National Tramway Museum. Vintage tram rides, play areas, tearooms, workshop and galleries. 1940s weekend 5th-6th April. Crich DE4 5DP, 01773 854321, www.tramway.co.ukErewash Museum

18th century house with historic collections from the local area arranged in room settings and galleries – including a refurbished Victorian Schoolroom and War Gallery. High St, Ilkeston DE7 5JA, 0115 907 1141,www.erewash.gov.uk/The Old House Museum

Early Tudor house with Victorian kitchen and displays of historical toys, lace, embroideries, textiles and costumes. Cunningham Place, Bakewell DE45 1DD, 01629 813642, www.oldhousemuseum.org.ukDerby Museums

Three fascinating sites to explore: Derby Museum and Art Gallery, home to the largest public display of Joseph Wright oil paintings in the world; Pickford’s House Museum of Georgian Life and Historic Costume; and The Silk Mill, site of the world’s first factory and gateway to the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Derby Museums, 01332 641901, www.derbymuseums.orgPeak District Lead Mining Museum

Items from the lost Derbyshire lead mining industry, rock and mineral specimens, exhibits and climbing tunnels. The Grand Pavilion, Matlock Bath DE4 3NR, 01629 583834, www.peakdistrictleadminingmuseum.co.ukSharpe’s Pottery Museum

Learn about the once-prolific pottery industry of South Derbyshire. Exhibitions, gallery, play area and shop. 23 West St, Swadlincote DE11 9DG, 01283 222600, www.sharpespotterymuseum.org.ukStrutt’s North Mill

One of the most important buildings from the Industrial Revolution. Guided daily tours, hands-on experiences and exhibits. Belper DE56 1YD, 01773 880474, belpernorthmill.orgRAILWAYS

Barrow Hill Roundhouse

Britain’s last surviving operational roundhouse shed. Railway museum with special events, galas and concerts throughout the year. Train rides on select days. Rarities Diesel Gala 18th-19th April. Barrow Hill, Chesterfield S43 2PR, 01246 472450, www.barrowhill.orgEcclesbourne Valley Railway

Journey from Wirksworth to Duffield by train, or travel up the incline to Ravenstor at the foot of the High Peak Trail. Train times vary. Easter events and family circus 3rd-6th April. Wirksworth Station DE4 4FB, 01629 823076, www.e-v-r.comMidland Railway Centre

Train rides, railway museum, historic locomotives, model railway, country park and special events. Butterley Station, Ripley DE5 3QZ, 01773 570140, www.midlandrailway-butterley.co.uk/homePeak Rail, Matlock

Experience the thrill of steam and diesel trains on a preserved railway, operating between Rowsley and Matlock on select dates.

Matlock Station DE4 3NA, 01629 580381, www.peakrail.co.ukAND OUT OF THE COUNTY...

Alton Towers, Staffs

Belvoir Castle, Leics

DH Lawrence Birthplace Museum, Eastwood

Erasmus Darwin House, Lichfield

Lyme Park (National Trust), Disley

National Memorial Arboretum, Alrewas

National Space Centre, Leics

Trentham Monkey Forest, Staffs

Twycross Zoo, Atherstone

Wollaton Hall, Notts