9 Christmas Events in Derbyshire & the Peak District


Christmas is a MONTH away… but are you in the festive mood yet?

If you’re not quite there, do not fret, for we have a list of great Christmas events bound to give you that fuzzy feeling in the lead-up to the big day!

CHRISTMAS AT RENISHAW, near Chesterfield


If you’d love nothing more than to wander round a stately home at Christmas time, soaking up all the festive cheer, you won’t want to miss this…

This December, Renishaw Hall will be dressed for a traditional family Christmas, and tours of the house will be given at 1pm and 2.30pm. These must be booked in advance- click the link above for more details.

Tour dates:

Thu 1 – Sun 4 Dec 2016 13:00 14:30
Thu 8 – Sun 11 Dec 2016 13:00 14:30


Steam Trains are pretty fun by themselves, but add Santa and his Elves along for the ride and you’ve got a Christmas memory to treasure forever.

This festive steam train will be traveling from Rowsley South Station to Matlock  for one return journey, lasting approximately 1 hour.


As you chuff along the track, Santa, assisted by his many elves, will pass through the train bearing gifts, sweets and drinks for the kids.

Meanwhile, grown-ups can sit back and relax with a glass of hot mulled wine and a mince pie.

The train will be filled with festive music, professional clowns and magicians to entertain you whilst you travel, so everyone’s bound to have a great time!

Santa Special train rides are happening on Saturday 3rd, 10th, 17th & 24th, Sunday 4th, 11th & 18th, Monday 19th Tuesday 20th, Wednesday 21st, Thursday 22nd & Friday 23rd December.

CHRISTMAS AT HADDON HALL– An English Renaissance Christmas
1st December to 18th December 2016


There’re loads of fantastic and whimsical events happening at Haddon this Christmas period- there’ll be performances and demonstrations on traditional instruments,  choral renditions in the chapel and a concert in the Long Gallery by the Royal Northern College of Music.

There’s loads more going on, so click the above link for full details on all festive events.

This Christmas, Haddon Hall is opening its doors in the evening, so you can enjoy a peaceful candlelit tour- full of sparkle and warm fireplaces!

The candle-lit tours are happening on 7th, 8th, 9th, 12th & 13th December.



Have yourself and your little ones a traditional Christmas grotto experience, and meet Santa in the wonderful setting of Calke Abbey!

With dates throughout the December weekends, tickets are selling out fast so make sure you book your visit to meet Santa at Calke Abbey soon.

Find Calke Abbey at Ticknall, Derby, Derbyshire, DE73 7LE



This year at Conkers, you can enjoy a Christmassy walk through the Enchanted Forest with Santa’s team of elves who will lead you to the Valley of Christmas lights, and finally, to Santa’s Woodland Grotto!

Adults get to sample some mulled wine and mince pies- so there will be smiles all round.

You can also take a trip on the Santa Special train and go on to watch their festive Christmas show.

Sat 3 – Sun 4 Dec 2016
Sat 10 – Sun 11 Dec 2016
Sat 17 – Sat 24 Dec 2016


cromford water small

This Christmas at Cromford Mill will be chock-a-block with exciting Christmassy activities- you can follow the Christmas tree trail, have a donkey ride, get your face painted, enjoy some carol singing and you can even try crafting a traditional Christmas wreath.

Not forgetting the most important part… you can also meet Father Christmas!

Saturday December 10- Sunday December 11

For details on all of these events and when they are, click the link above. Ring to book!



This is not your ordinary grotto… it’s aboard a BOAT. Santa’s BOAT, nonetheless- a FLOATING grotto.

That’s right, Santa has a boat, where you can meet him and get a present aboard this floating grotto.

Enjoy a Christmas cruise on the ‘Mercia Swan’ trip boat and take a short, but festive, trip around the marina.

Dates Times
Sat 17 – Sun 18 Dec 2016 11:00 to 16:00

Find Mercia Marina at Findern Lane, Willington, Derby, DE65 6DW



Meet Santa in his Grotto, take a magical sleigh ride through the wintery woods, see the Farm Barn Nativity Scene and visit the Elf Workshop for Christmas Crafts- all at the Tropical Butterfly House this Christmas.

There’s also a special Christmas afternoon tea available!

See all of this on the 3rd, 4th, 10th, 11th, 17th – 24th December 2016

Find the Tropical Butterfly House at Woodsetts Road, North Anston, Sheffield,
South Yorkshire, S25 4EQ



This Christmas, in the beautiful setting of Elvastone castle there’s going to be a very exciting Elves’ workshop, where you can write a letter to Father Christmas and make a decoration for your tree!

You can also join Father Christmas in Elvaston’s Gothic Hall to hear traditional Christmas tales from around the world.

All this is happening on Sunday 4 Dec 2016 10:00 to 15:00 

Find Elvaston Castle at Borrowash Road, Elvaston, Derby, DE72 3EP

Click here for a full list of all of the Christmas events happening in Derbyshire & the Peak District


5 English Gardens You Need To Visit This Summer


2016 is the year of the English garden, so let’s celebrate!

Here’s a few of our favourites that we think are well worth a visit:


1- Gardens of Renishaw Hall

Winner of the 2015 ‘Garden of the Year Award’ you can imagine just how magical this garden is!

The first thing that greets you is the Italian inspired part of the garden, with perfect symmetry, water fountains and delicate statues. Walking down through all of this loveliness, you can see a beautiful old trees,a lake and field full of cows. There’s also a wilder part of the garden which includes bluebells and a newly planted walk-through arch of hanging laburnum- which is stunning when they’re in bloom! An undeniably brilliant day out.



2-Chatsworth Gardens

This is the ultimate example of the ‘English Garden’, designed by Capability Brown 300 years ago, it’s been added to ever since. There’s water features, a kitchen garden, stunning landscaping, captivating sculptures and even a maze! It’s a fascinating garden that will leave you feeling like a Duke or Duchess.


Photo by Guy Badham Photography



3-Haddon Hall Gardens

It’s easy to find yourself fantasising that you’re the lead role in a moody period drama when wandering around this gorgeous garden. There’s beautiful stone turrets, an Elizabethan inspired knot garden, gorgeous terraces, beautiful red roses- all set on the background rolling hills and the river Wye.



4-Hardwick Hall Gardens

The gardens of Hardwick Hall have a fantastic collection of  courtyards, gorgeous flower boarders, orchards, lawns, and wonderful formal hedges. They also are claimed to have ‘one of the finest herb gardens in the country’!

Where ever you turn there’s always a gorgeous scene, with both Hardwick hall and the Hardwick Old Hall in plain view from the gardens- it’s a real pleasure to explore!



5-Kedleston Hall Gardens

As well as the grounds of Kedleston Hall having gorgeous land for some country walks, it’s also home to ‘pleasure grounds’. These are one of the best surviving examples of an 18th-century informal landscape. Although it looks natural, the landscape was actually intricately designed to show the Hall and its environment in the best possible light- a beautiful and unique example of the English garden!





We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of Peak District gardens, and if you’ve taken any snaps yourself, we’d love to see, so tag us @visitpeakdistrict on Instagram, @vpdd on Twitter or via Facebook– we will be sure to share the best ones with all of our social media friends too!











7 Ideas for Mother’s Day in the Peak District & Derbyshire

With the Sunday 6th of March rapidly approaching, here are some ideas of how to spend your Mother’s Day…


1- Losehill House Hotel & Spa:




A stay at  Losehill House Hotel & Spa is perfect if you really want to go all-out this Mother’s Day. Located slap-bang in the middle of Peak District hills near Castleton, this hotel has gorgeous spa facilities and a bright and vista-surrounded restaurant- what else could you want for Mother’s Day? There’s even white robes for lengthy lounging that can be done.

This is also in the perfect place to enjoy the Peak District scenery, as Mam Tor and Losehill are quite literally on your doorstep.

The above info is an advertorial written by Visit Peak District


3- Take a Walk Around Bakewell

… and then get yourself a well-earned Bakewell Pudding on the way back! Click here to see either a 6 or 8 mile walking route. This would be a day out perfect for the lovers of beautiful countryside, splendid views and those for those who are guilty of having a sweet tooth.


2- Visit the wonderful Kedleston Hall

This gorgeous Eighteenth century mansion is a great place for Mother’s day outing; surrounded by beautiful art, landscape and history.



3-Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea at Breadsall Priory 

Indulge in a delicious afternoon tea in the Haslam & Morley Suite; this even includes a little gift for your Mum too!



4- A Day at Denby!

Pictured below is the Halo collection by Denby



Denby pottery visitor centre is a lovely place for a day out with Mum- there’s a range of shops (including discounted factory seconds, garden, homeware and gifts) and a little restaurant. They also offer factory tours and the chance for you to paint your own plate for to take home, which could make for a very sweet ‘I LOVE MUM’ souvenir.


5- Retail Therapy for East Midlands Designer Outlet

With brands such as Denby, Radley, Jeager and Le Creuset at up to 60% off the original price there’s no chance of your mum not loving getting a Mother’s Day bargain!


6- Mother’s Day Afternoon Tea at Chatsworth

Visiting Chatsworth is always a treat, but this Mother’s Day you can make it even more special with an added (and delicious) afternoon tea in the 18th century stables – including a glass of champagne for mum!


We hope we’ve enjoyed these Mother’s Day ideas- if you would like to see more of what’s going on in the the Peak District, follow us on Facebook & Twitter.




7 Free (or Good Value) Days Out in the Peak District & Derbyshire

With the wallet-stretching Christmas period over, everybody is feeling the squeeze- but this doesn’t mean that fun days out cannot be had!

Here are 7 brilliant (and cheap) days out in the Peak District & Derbyshire…

Derby Museum & Art Gallery

Derby Museum and Art Gallery covers all sorts of interesting areas; from history, culture and the natural environment of Derby and its region. You can see world-famous collections here, such as paintings by Joseph Wright of Derby – which are well worth a look to marvel at. The other galleries feature stunning archaeology, local regimental history and beautiful natural sciences. A fantastic day out no matter how old you are!

Pavilion Gardens, Buxton

Buxton By Lindsay

Buxton Pavilion Gardens has much more to offer than initially meets the eye. There’s walks, lakes, play areas and even a  miniature train; which are sure to be a firm favourite with the whole family. The Gardens restoration project has successfully restored the Pavilion back to its original Victorian style, which really makes it a lovely and picturesque day out.

Monsal Trail

This is a newly reopened 8 1/2 mile stretch cycle path between Bakewell and Blackwell Junction near Buxton. Formerly part of the Midland Railway route between Manchester and London, the trail offers a journey though narrow cuttings and over impressive viaducts above the River Wye. Both the scenic views and the wildlife that you can see here are sure to make for a brilliant adventure.


Chestnut Centre

If you love otters and owls then this is the place to go. Home to many species of otters including the spectacular Giant Otter from South America. Numerous species of owls, wildcats and the pine marten.
With half term coming up it’s good to know that during holiday times a nature quiz trail is available for children and families.
After the mile long trail you can warm up with a hot drink at the coffee shop- the perfect end to a lovely day out!

Although this is not a free day out, a family ticket costing £26, for the amount on offer to see and experience, it’s worth it.


Derby Cathedral


Derby Cathrdral taken by Reb Read



With its story going back to the tenth century, Derby Cathedral offers a unique visitor experience. The best bits are: the early sixteenth century tower, the Bess of Hardwick’s Monument, Joseph Wright’s tombstone or the beautiful Ceri Richards Stained Glass windows. This is a colourful and bright Cathedral and is a lovely place to sit and enjoy the tranquillity and architecture.


Thornbridge Brewery 

The first Thornbridge craft beers were produced in February 2005 at the brewery housed in the grounds of Thornbridge Hall. The range of cask and bottled beers has now won more than 100 awards and are now adored by beer-lovers across the country. Their new state of the art brewery was opened at Bakewell in September 2009, and the tours for which are brilliant!


Brewery Tour Dates:

3pm Wednesday and Friday

Admission: £7.50 for Adults (18 and over), £3 for those 5-17, unfortunately for Health and Safety reasons, under 5s are not able to come on the tour.


Longshaw Estate


Longshaw Taken by Reb Read


Located to the West of both Chesterfield and Sheffield, this is a gorgeous place to have a day out in the Peak District’s fresh air. It will suit everyone as it has many walking routes to suit all levels of difficulty… and a tea room (with cake).

One thing that makes Longshaw such a good walk is that it is peppered with a great collection of abandoned millstones which, as the logo as the Peak District National Park, are lovely to see in real life.




So, there we have it, now you’ve no excuse not to wrap up and enjoy those crisp Winter days!



We’ve Planned Your Last Minute Weekend Getaway For You…

We know how busy you are, so we’ve done all the hard work for you… We have planned you a spontaneous mini-break getaway to the Peak District for this weekend.

This weekend break all starts on the 14th of November

Here’s a handful of great ideas on what you could get up to this Saturday…
One event that has been circled with a giant red pen in our calendars since the start of the year is Chatsworth Christmas Market. Chatsworth House organise a fantastically festive market each November, which features some 100 unique stalls, full to the brim with festive crafts and gifts. There will also be live seasonal music, mulled cider and German beers.

There will be bags and bags of festivity here, and the Christmassy atmosphere is sure to be second only to Lapland!

Photo credited to Chatsworth House Trust

Photo credited to Chatsworth House Trust

After that, why not head over to the quaint market town of Bakewell (about 15 minutes away) for a Bakewell Pudding or a spot of lunch at a rustic village cafe.

For more information on Bakewell and it’s wonderful places to eat, such as the original Bakewell Pudding Shop Tea Rooms, click here.

After all of that indulgence you can enjoy a fresh Autumnal walk along the river Wye (situated in the middle of Bakewell), and feed the ducks!

river wye bakewell visit peak district 21

After that fun-packed day, you’ll be ready to rest your head in a cosy village hotel or B&B.

Places to Stay:
The Cavendish Hotel, Baslow


The Haven, Bakewell

the haven bakewell derbyshire

Westmorland House, Bakewell

westmorland bakewell derbyshire peak district

Wyeclose Bed & Breakfast, Bakewell

Wyeclose bakewell derbyshire

Biggin Hall Hotel, Buxton


After you’ve awoken feeling fresh and revitalised from a night in the peaceful countryside, you’ll be ready for another fantastic day out- and what a Sunday we have planned for you!

Sunday 15th November: What To Do
Buxton Festival: Literary Lunch

Enjoy hearing from Chatsworth housekeeper Christine Robinson, historian Laura Thompson and crime novelist Sarah Ward at The Old Hall Hotel in Buxton. It all starts at 12pm, wheen there’ll be Prosecco and a hearty three course meal.

Or, if you’re feeling like you need a little kick of adrenalin in your Sunday then…

There’s a chance for you to see the Peak District from bird’s eye view, in a helicopter– and this is the last month of the year that this is happening!


This fantastic experience will start in Hassop Station (very near to Bakewell, about 6 minutes). Could there be a better or more exhilarating way to enjoy the countryside? And with prices starting from £39 per person for a quick spin, it makes it an even more impressive story to tell on Monday morning.

If you would prefer to keep your walking boots firmly on the ground then perhaps a Guided navigation walk at Dovestones Ranger Centre would make for your perfect Sunday outing!

This walks starts at 10.30 on the Sunday morning and finishes at 4 o’clock that afternoon. It’s a 7 mile walk, which will be navigated using a compass and route card. You will experience some rough moorland walking, but you’ll be helped by professionals! Make sure you book to avoid disappointment.

The Many Ways To Travel:

London to Bakewell: 3 hours 50 mins, via the M1

Manchester to Bakewell: 1 hour 30 mins, via A624

Birmingham to Bakewell:1 hour 50 mins, via A38


The nearest train station to Bakewell is Matlock, which is a short bus away from Bakewell and Chatsworth House.

London St Pancras to Matlock: 3-3.5 hours

Manchester to Matlock: 2.45-3.5 hours

Birmingham to Matlock: 1.5 hours

And there we have it, a completely pre-planned and stress-free weekend away in the countryside!b

What’s on this weekend

At a loose end for something to do this weekend? Then look no further than the Peak District and Derbyshire.

Lovers of art and culture take a look at:

Chatsworth’s major new literary festival ‘The Chatsworth Festival – Art Out Loud’

The three day event is inspired by the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire’s passion for the arts and will feature a stellar line up of more than 20 speakers drawn from the literary world, art, tv, museums and journalism. Speakers include Turner Prize winner Grayson Perry CBE; author and filmmaker Hannah Rothschild; BBC Arts Editor, Will Gompertz; and the Duke of Devonshire who will be talking about the Devonshire Collection, one of Europe’s most significant art collections.


Sculpture Gallery at Chatsworth

Sculpture Gallery at Chatsworth

The Grand Tour

It’s the last weekend to check out this art exhibition spanning four venues, Chatsworth, Derby Museums, Nottingham Contemporary and The Harley Gallery. Enter the competition for your chance to win a VIP trip to season two in 2016.

One for the families:

Matlock Bath Illuminations

Magical decorated and illuminated boats parade on the River Derwent in Matlock Bath at 7.45pm every Saturday and Sunday, and there are stalls to enjoy in Derwent Gardens, plus additional entertainment on Saturdays. Fireworks nights will take place every Saturday evening from 19 September through to Halloween night on 31 October.

Peak Magic Festival 

The Peak Magic Festival returns on September 19th 2015. After the popularity and success of last year’s event, this collaboration, between Peak Shopping Village and Derbyshire based magician and hypnotist Anthony Jacquin, will bring some of the country’s best magical and mystery acts to perform live in the Peak District.

Well Dressing

Well Dressing

Wells Dressing

We also see an end to the Derbyshire tradition of Wells Dressing, with Chesterfield and Hartington drawing the 2015 season to a conclusion.

So whatever the weather the Peak District and Derbyshire has something on offer for you this weekend.


What’s on in the Peak District & Derbyshire this weekend – 1st & 2nd August

The weekend is upon us once more and as we see in August the Peak District & Derbyshire has plenty in store!

This weekend sees a mix of events and activities taking place across, some just for the weekend, some taking us deep in to the summer holidays. There are events for families, enthusiasts and even for the lovers of hens! (yes, really, hens!)

Buxton Family Festival

Buxton Family Festival

Buxton Family Festival

With the summer holidays now in full swing there’s plenty to keep the kids entertained at the Buxton Family Festival, set all over the beautiful historic Georgian spa town of Buxton.

Kicking off on Saturday 1st August, this sixteen day programme, jam packed with events and activities, showcases everything from circus workshops and an introduction to bushcraft to high ropes high jinks and sing-a-long-a Frozen!

So, there really is something for everyone, let the kids have fun whilst mum’s and dad’s can explore the treasures of Buxton.

Cromford Steam Rally

Cromford Steam Rally

Cromford Steam Rally

On the first weekend in August, 45 years ago, a small group of enthusiasts gathered in the historic village of Cromford to enjoy together their veteran machines lovingly preserved or restored. Within a couple of years of that modest beginning the gathering grew to a much larger celebration of a bygone age. As well as the steam engines old cars and lorries joined in along with tractors and barn engines and the Cromford Steam Rally was born.

Soon thousands of people were coming from far and wide to enjoy this unique panaroma of nostalgia and entertainment that Cromford Steam Rally provide.

The Rally Contributes to charities and good cause every year this is the secret of Cromford Steam Rally from the characters who organize and support the event on the fields, to those who benefit from the funds generated year by year, the rally is about people.

…and finally, one of the more unusual events to take place in the Peak District & Derbyshire.

World Championship Hen Racing

World Championship Hen Racing

World Championship Hen Racing

The official World Championship Hen Races have been held in Bonsall, Derbyshire for nearly 25 years. The history of hen racing in the area goes back well over 100 years when local villages competed against each other in the summer for fun. Chickens are raced over a track of approx 15 metres, and they are given 3 minutes in each heat to cross the finish line. It’s fast and furious, although any fighting between hens is strictly forbidden and can result in disqualification!

The World Championship Hen Racing is held annually at the Barley Mow Inn, are free to watch and anyone with a hen can take part!

With all these great things happening in the Peak District & Derbyshire don’t bother rushing home, take your time and stay a while!


Plan your next UK Break with Visit Peak District’s brand new ‘My Peak District’ holiday planner

Welcome to My Peak District

Peak District sunset couple

©Phil Sproson Photography

Visit Peak District now offers a ‘tailored experience’ for www.visitpeakdistrict.com website visitors. Whether you’re looking to create personal travel plans based on information found in the site or to enter the latest competitions, all the information you need is stored here.

Look up your booking history to check details of places you have previously stayed, or to get the phone number and postcode of the B&B you’ll be staying at next weekend. Visit your account and let us know your interests so that we can tailor make our information to meet your needs.

Once you have signed up to My Peak District you also have access to ‘My favourites,’ an area where you can add items of interest to a favourites page, to review and help plan a series of places to stay, events or things to do when you visit the area. You can also create a shortcut to sections of the site that you might like to visit on a regular basis.

My Peak District Holiday Planner

Whatever your experience, make it a personal visit with My Peak District.

Sign up today at visitpeakdistrict.com/myPeakDistrict