Connect with the past at a historic house, museum or religious monument.
Derbyshire and the Peak District are home to some of the most beautiful and commanding historic buildings in the country, all respectfully and lovingly preserved so as to be able to share their treasures, stories and secrets with the many generations to come.
Drink in the heady scent of a rose garden in full bloom, gaze in awe at the brilliance of age-old architecture and engineering, or journey underground or up high to see things from a new perspective.
Derby Cathedral is one of the city's most visited attractions. Whatever your religious beliefs, you're certain to appreciate it's Grade 1 listed architecture, history and sense of peaceful sanctuary. Inside you'll find neo-classical interiors that are striking in their simplicity and offset by an intricate wrought iron chancel screen and the elaborate tomb of Bess of Hardwick. The Cathedral offers a varied and engaging programme of concerts, recitals, seminars, exhibitions and visual arts events.
Chesterfield Parish Church
The crooked spire of the Grade 1 listed St Mary and All Saints Church in Chesterfield is known worldwide. It is the UK's only representative in the exclusive Association of Twisted Spires of Europe, where it has the honour of having the greatest 'lean and twist' of all 72 members.
St Peter's Church, Edensor
St Peter's Church contains memorials to several members of the Cavendish family, including Kathleen Kennedy, wife of the eldest son of the 10th Duke and sister of American President John F Kennedy. There is also a memorial to prominent British architect and horticulturalist Sir Joseph Paxton, who designed Crystal Palace and cultivated the Cavendish Banana, the most consumed banana in the Western world. Paxton was head gardener under the 6th Duke of Devonshire.
Hardwick Hall, Chesterfield
Astoundingly pioneering for its period, Hardwick was built for Bess of Hardwick by England’s ‘first architect’, Robert Smythson, in the Italian Renaissance style. It features a symmetrical design with extensive use of glass, which in Elizabethan Britain was a very rare and expensive material. Inside are extraordinary examples of Elizabethan plasterwork, overmantels, tapestries and paintings.
Haddon Hall, Bakewell
Haddon Hall is a medieval hall and estate that can trace its origins and ownership back to 1086. Untouched for over 200 years, the Hall escaped significant modernisation and remains almost frozen in time, with original furniture and features including 15th century fresco seccos, Tudor roses and Elizabethan walled gardens.
Bolsover Castle, Chesterfield
This 17th century hilltop retreat (or 'Little Castle') has decadently decorated state rooms and an extravagant riding school. It was home to Bess of Hardwick's son, Sir Charles Cavendish, and then her grandson, Sir William Cavendish.
Calke Abbey, Ticknall
Calke Abbey is known as the 'un-stately home'. Acquired by the National Trust in 1985, it is preserved nearly exactly as the Trust found it as an example of the fate of many grand estates left to decline in the 20th Century. However, even with peeling paintwork and overgrown courtyards, there is a faded beauty and elegance in its abandonment.
Heights of Abraham, Matlock Bath
Offering something for everyone, Heights of Abraham comprises a Victorian country park and garden sat atop Masson Hill. There are woodlands, a children's adventure playground and sculpture trail. Climb up via a steep zig-zag path or take a leisurely cable car. When you're done admiring the views, head underground for jaw-dropping cavern and mine tours.
Kedleston Hall, Derby
This striking neo-classical manor house and parkland was designed by Robert Adam and is described as 'an extravagent temple to the arts'. The house's opulent interiors boast an impressive collection of paintings, sculpture and original furnishings with a special focus on Classical Rome, Asia and the Middle East.
Renishaw Hall & Gardens, Eckington
This Grade 1 listed country house estate has remained in the same family for four centuries and includes a collection of art and furniture acquired over generations. The gardens and parkland include Italianate gardens with clipped yew hedges, ornamental ponds and classical sculpture alongside a rose garden.
Crich Tramway Village, Matlock
From vintage tram rides and period street scenes to the National Tramway Museum, Crich Tramway Village delves deep into the history of trams with plenty of opportunities for immersive experiences. There is also a beautiful woodland walk and sculpture trail appealing to those who like to stretch their legs as well as their imaginations.
Heage Windmill, Belper
Heage Windmill enjoys far reaching views over Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site and is the only working six sailed stone towered windmill in England. Still a working mill, it has a long history of wreck and refurbishment and hosts weekend tours and special events.
Peak District Mining Museum, Matlock Bath
The Museum provides the opportunity to discover the history of the Derbyshire mining industry and the generations of families who made their living underground. The collection features over 6000 objects, from minerals and machinery to photographs and personal items recovered from the mines. There are hands on activities and the chance to tour an authentic 1920's lead and fluorspar mine.
Other places you might like
Outdoor and mindfulness
Whether you're a serious climber or a Sunday stroller seeking fresh air and a stirring view, the Peak District offers a many opportunities to clear the mind and move the body.
The Derbyshire Dales are home to many talented producers of food and drink, art and industry. Visit their shops and studios to see them in action.
Bucket list ticking experiences that will live on in your memory forever.
Holidays or weekends away create time for families to come together, without the pressures of deadlines, school runs or schedules. These family-focused attractions provide fun for the whole family, and the opportunity for great memories to be made in the process.
On our doorstep
Chatsworth is blessed with interesting neighbours. Explore the sights and shops of historic Bakewell or head to Hassop and join the Monsal Trail.
Main image - Haddon Hall Gardens by William Collinson