Derby is England’s most central city, and with easy access to the countryside of the Pennines and the Peak District, is a great destination for families, couples and groups of friends. The city has historical links dating back to Roman times, and was an important centre for innovation during the Industrial Revolution of the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries. The legacy of this rich heritage is a friendly welcoming city with plenty to offer visitors looking for a short weekend break in the city, or as a convenient base to explore the dramatic Derbyshire countryside.
Derby city centre has large areas of pedestrianised streets, as well as parks and open public spaces, making it a pleasant place to shop, dine, or simply relax and experience the unique atmosphere of this thriving multicultural town. The gothic Derby Cathedral towers over the town and a climb to the top provides a spectacular view across the surrounding area. The Cathedral stands in the centre of the Cathedral Quarter at the historic heart of the city, with a fine selection of independent shops and boutiques. Here visitors can wander through the cobbled streets taking the time to browse through bookshops and market stalls, or relax in one of the many delightful cafes and restaurants. Why not join an evening ghost walk to learn more about the darker side of the city’s history.
The rich multicultural flavour of the city is reflected in the quality and variety of dining options. Restaurants offering modern and international cuisine sit easily alongside cosy old fashioned inns and pubs serving up hearty local favourites such as the perennial favourite, Bakewell Pudding. There are many award winning restaurants in the town centre, walking distance from the main attractions and hotels, including traditional English, Japanese, Indian and Asian fusion menus.
Pottery has been produced in Derby for over 200 years, and a visit to the Denby Pottery and Visitors Centre is a great opportunity to find out how this iconic English product is made, and have a chance to buy some exclusive products direct from the factory shop. Family tours are available and kids have a chance to create their own unique souvenir piece of pottery. The Derby Museum and Art Gallery houses an impressive collection of artworks and has an ongoing programme of temporary exhibitions and activities aimed at encouraging children to explore and enjoy different aspects of art.
Away from the city centre, there is a wealth of historical treasures to discover. The awe inspiring Chatsworth House, known as the Palace of the Peaks, is set in over 100 acres of park and woodland complete with water features and classical sculptures. After exploring the interior of the house, kids will love to get hands on in the working farmyard and playground areas. One of the most romantic of Derbyshire’s historic properties is Bolsover Castle, mainly now in ruins, parts of this large Sixteenth Century country house have been preserved and restored to their original late Tudor, early Stuart glory.
For more high adrenaline entertainment, Derby is a great base for getting out and visiting Alton Towers, one of the UK’s premier theme parks with plenty of thrills and spills for all the family. For younger family members, nearby Gullivers Kingdom has plenty of rides and activities for toddlers to teens. Just south of Derby, the National Forest Adventure Farm has plenty of indoor and outdoor activities to keep youngsters amused, including a huge maize maze throughout the summer.
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