The Peak District National Park is synonymous with Derbyshire, attracting thousands of visitors a year to the county in search of relaxation or adrenalin sports such as mountain biking, climbing and caving. Elsewhere you will find pretty villages and towns to enjoy such as Matlock Spa and Bakewell.

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Derbyshire Overview

Welcome to Derbyshire

Derbyshire is a landlocked county bordered by Greater Manchester, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Staffordshire, Leicestershire and Cheshire.

Derbyshire has a population of just over 1,000,000 people. The county town is Matlock with other significant populations at Derby on the banks of the River Derwent, Chesterfield, Long Eaton and Ilkeston.

The stunning landscape of Derbyshire is mainly rolling hillside with many pretty villages and contains the majority of the Peak District National Park, small elements of the Pennine Hills and some of the National Forest, together with a host of attractions for visitors – Buxton, Bakewell and Matlock Spa are popular destinations.


Evidence of human presence in Derbyshire goes back some 200,000 years, though the Bronze Age provides the first real evidence of agriculture and settlement in the county. Lead ore contained in the limestone hills attracted Romans to the area and paved the way for occupation, particularly around the warm mineral springs of Buxton.

Agriculture and mining have been important industries for Derbyshire, the former remaining so today. The land’s minerals lead to wealth for some with lead, iron, coal and limestone being extracted over the years. The county was at the forefront of hydropower developments at the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, with part of the Derwent Valley having World Heritage status.

Tourism is an important part of the county’s economy, the Peak District National Park attracts huge numbers of visitors each year to enjoy the region.

Places to Visit Derbyshire

Derbyshire is packed with a number of days out including Gulliver’s Kingdom theme park – for those aged 3 – 13yrs, Conkers – an award winning attraction in the National Forest where you can explore over 120 acres with woodland trails, zipwire and indoor interactive exhibits. Abraham Heights, accessible by cable car takes you to the two caverns of Masson Cavern and Rutland Cavern, with other fossil exhibits, Masson Tower and fantastic views.

The Peak District National Park dominates the county and is a major attraction for thousands of visitors a year. The stunning scenery creates a spectacular backdrop for those looking to cycle, walk or hike through the hills, whilst others prefer climbing, caving or hang gliding. Kinder Scout is the highest point in the Peak District and the whole East Midlands area, affording panoramic views across the countryside. Towards the north of the county visitors will find three reservoirs – Derwent, Howden and Ladybower where there is plenty of walking, wildlife and fantastic scenery. The Blue John mines near Castleton are well worth exploring to see where this rare mineral has been extracted.
Derbyshire has a number of stately homes open to the public. Where else to start other than Chatsworth – one of the finest houses in the country. Constructed on a grand scale beside the River Derwent, Chatsworth is set in extensive grounds – make sure you see the magnificent cascading waterfall, Emperor Fountain and don’t get lost in the maze! Hardwick Hall is an Elizabethan mansion with a striking amount of glass windows and occupies a commanding position overlooking the countryside – enjoy the garden terrace and formal gardens. Kedleston Hall is magnificent Palladian mansion set in over 800 acres of parklands. Derbyshire’s wealth of stately homes also includes the likes of Melbourne Hall, Sudbury Hall, Sutton Scarsdale Hall, Catton Hall, Calke Abbey and Casterne Hall.

Bolsover Castle is one Derbyshire’s iconic destinations and is a mixture of different additions down the years, providing an almost fairy tale style castle. Explore the internal rooms before talking the walk around the top of the walls to take in the fantastic views. Garden lovers are spoilt for choice in Derbyshire – many of the stately homes have impressive formal gardens. Renishaw Hall has extensive gardens, including an impressive vineyard. Visitors to Cascades Gardens will be treated to a multi-level display with great views from the cliff tops whilst those making the journey to Lea Rhododendron Gardens will be rewarded with a colourful display.
Derbyshire’s famous names include fashion designer Dame Vivienne Westwood, actor Robert Lindsay, Dame Ellen McArthur and whilst James Bond star Timothy Dalton grew up in the county.
Derbyshire has a large range of annual events including the Derby Film Festival, Derby Arboretum May Fest, Dovedale Arts Festival, Bakewell Day of International Dance and a range of country and rural shows.

The county is famous a range of cheeses including Blue Stilton, Dovedale Blue and Buxton Blue, the renowned Bakewell Tart, Thorcake and Buxton Spring Water.

Getting There

The M1, and M6 and M56 are the motorway routes to the county, very easy to reach from the main conurbations in Midlands the North West. Derbyshire is linked by mainline railway to London via London St. Pancras, Derby being the main station in the county.

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What to see and do…

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Creswell Crags

Crags Road, Welbeck, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, S80 3LH