Things to see and do in Derbyshire: our top picks

By Kingfisher Visitor Guides

The scenic region of Derbyshire and the Peak District offers so many exciting things to see and do, it's difficult to pick just a few. Check out our top picks below.

Tour the Plague Village

While exploring the stunning Peak District National Park, discover the fascinating yet tragic story of the village of Eyam which was struck by the bubonic plague in 1665. The village took the remarkable and selfless step of quarantining itself. The Plague in Eyam raged for 14 months and claimed the lives of at least 260 villagers. Today, the Plague is remembered in the village’s own museum and many of the original houses still stand bearing Blue Plaques.

Discover The Peak District

Venture into the stunning expanse of the Peak District National Park, a haven of natural beauty and diverse landscapes. Explore enchanting dales, rugged moorlands, and rolling hills. Immerse yourself in charming villages, witness ancient stone circles, and relish outdoor adventures like hiking, cycling, and rock climbing. A picturesque escape awaits.

Sunset at the scenic Mam Tor, Peak District National Park

Spectacular scenery near Mam Tor

Hit the shops

The stunning towns of Buxton, Bakewell, Matlock, Chesterfield and Ashbourne are bustling with independent shops full of unique gifts, jewellery, fashion and home furnishings. Take advantage of one of the biggest open-air markets in the country in Chesterfield, or head for the high-street names in Derby city centre.

Visit the caverns

Take a tour deep underground at Castleton’s caverns. Marvel at the stalactites hanging precariously from the cavern roof and explore the years of mining history that have taken place deep below the peaks and villages.

View of the Peak Cavern, also known as the Devil's Arse

Peak Cavern also known as the Devil’s Arse, in Castleton

Delight in the Dambusters

A must for any history enthusiast, Ladybower Reservoir was the practice ground for Operation Chastise during World War II. A special squadron of Lancaster bombers used Ladybower as their practice runs to choreograph the dangerous and near-impossible task of low-level flying at night, to attack the Möhne, Edersee and Sorpe dams in Germany with Barnes Wallis’ bouncing bomb.

Sample the local produce

Derbyshire’s local produce is guaranteed to get your tastebuds tingling. The stunning county is home to the world-famous Bakewell Pudding, Derbyshire oatcakes and blue cheeses amongst other foodie delights. For a local tipple, try White Peak Distillery’s creative range of hand-crafted spirits and beer lovers won’t be disappointed with a Brampton Brewery brew either.

Someone in White Peak Distillery

White Peak Distillery

Visit Chatsworth

Chatsworth House, celebrated for its exceptional art, stunning landscape, and hospitality, has evolved over centuries to embody the tastes and passions of successive generations. The extensive art collection here spans 4,000 years, featuring ancient Roman and Egyptian sculptures, Rembrandt, Reynolds, Veronese masterpieces, and contemporary works by Lucian Freud, Edmund de Waal, and David Nash. Discover over 25 rooms, including the grand Painted Hall, majestic State Rooms, restored Sketch Galleries, and exquisite Sculpture Gallery.

Climb the Crooked Spire

Visit Chesterfield’s stunning landmark and climb to the top of the largest church in Derbyshire. Climb the steps to the top of the church and look down over stunning Chesterfield and the surrounding area from the top of the spire which now leans 9.5ft from its true centre.

Get spooked at Bolsover Castle

Not for the faint-hearted, this English Heritage castle has been named one of the most haunted sites in England, causing some staff to even resign after their experiences. Some lucky (or some would say unlucky) visitors can even experience the apparition of the deceased Sir Charles Cavendish, proprietor of the property back in the 16th century.

The Dovedale stepping stones

Don’t forget your selfie stick when you visit the stunning 158-acre Ilam Country Park. You can enjoy a 50-minute walk and discover the ancient rocks, formed by the accumulation of dead sea creatures more than 350 million years ago, before braving the Dovedale stepping stones across the River Dove.

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Image credits: ©Adrian/Alexey Fedorenko/Christopher Keeley/_Danoz/; Chatsworth House Trust; White Peak Distillery

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