3 fabulously festive Derbyshire towns

Creating Christmas magic across the county

Creating Christmas magic across the county - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Get into the Christmas spirit this Derbyshire by visiting three fabulous towns.

Here, residents of Ashbourne, Matlock and Chesterfield outline why these popular county locations are so special during the festive period. 


The inside view: 

There is something rather mystical and unique about Ashbourne at Christmas, from tractor processions to the much-fabled Christmas illuminations with glittering shop front displays.

I have travelled to many beautiful and inspiring locations around the world, but am always drawn back here and so proud to call Ashbourne my home. 

As festive activities get underway, I often let out a squeal of delight as the magic unfolds before me.

Ashbourne's Victoria Square

Ashbourne's Victoria Square - Credit: Gary Wallis

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The majestic Christmas tree in the Market Place, with its cobbled streets and quirky shopfronts, is like stepping back in time and jumping into a fairy-tale as this town comes alive with sparkling decorations, festive music and mouth-watering feasts on every corner.

I love to wrap up warm, gather my family and mingle with excited crowds to soak up the atmosphere. 

One highlight is the splendid lantern procession, elaborate lanterns made by local residents and children in workshops and run by Ashbourne Arts.

Members of the community are encouraged to carry a lantern during the Christmas late night shopping evening and this enchanting procession, supported by Ashbourne churches and the Town council, begins at St Oswald’s Church and ends with carols outside the Town Hall. 

Dawn-Elizabeth Rudd, Ashbourne resident 

Don’t miss: 

What: Christmas Lights, Self-guided Walk 

When: December 13 – January 2 (After dusk) 

Where: Throughout Ashbourne  


The inside view: 

I love seeing the mini Christmas trees pop up on buildings around Crown Square and the gradual build-up of beautiful festive decorations that adorn the many independent stores in and around the town – a sure-fire way of knowing Christmas is well and truly on the way. 

Hall Leys Park, Matlock

Hall Leys Park, Matlock - Credit: Gary Wallis

There’s always a different buzz around Matlock at Christmas time, with brass bands on the streets and Hall Leys Park bursting into festive life. 

One particular highlight is the Victorian Christmas Market which creates such a lovely atmosphere and it’s nice to bump into people from the community, some of whom you may not have seen throughout the year. 

And, of course, there are plenty of lovely local pubs to warm up in with a nice heart-warming mulled wine! 

Chris Johnson, Matlock resident 

Don’t miss: 

What: Matlock Christmas Market 

When: December 18 (9am-5pm) 

Where: Hall Leys Park 


The inside view: 

Having brought up two children in Chesterfield, I can honestly say the town offers some fantastic opportunities to get the whole family in the Christmas spirit. 

December in Chesterfield

December in Chesterfield - Credit: Gary Wallis

One particular highlight has always been The Christmas lights switch-on. Having a wander round all the market stalls beforehand, having a cheeky mulled wine and meeting some of the Pantomime characters is always something to look forward to. 

We love shopping in town when the Christmas lights are on. Chesterfield has some beautiful buildings and the lights make the whole town centre come alive.

The lights around the Crooked Spire are stunning and the Christmas Tree Festival in the church is a definite must see. 

Sitting in the Market Pub watching the world go by outside, after shopping at some of our fantastic independent shops and the indoor and outdoor markets, is a great tradition at any time of the year but especially so at Christmas. 

Fiona Shepherd, Chesterfield resident 

Don’t miss: 

What: Christmas Carols  

When: December 15 and December 22 (6pm-8pm) 

Where: Tesco Extra, Lockoford Lane, Chesterfield