Spend time discovering attractive market towns and pretty villages in the Derbyshire Dales.
Bakewell has a lovely medieval bridge over the River Wye and more to offer than its famous ‘Pudding’. Although that’s a good reason to visit! Set at the heart of the Peak District National Park, it’s the place to go for a wide choice of outdoor clothing shops. Well know high street brands sit alongside independent retailers. Enjoy a meal or drink at one of the many cafes, dining pubs, restaurants or take-aways. Cross the river and walk up Station Road to get onto the Monsal Trail. This former railway line offers miles of traffic free walking and cycling. Bring or hire a bike (at Hassop Station) and cycle through a series of spectacular tunnels.
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Ashbourne’s hidden yards and cobbled squares are a delight to discover. Along Church Street the historic Georgian buildings often hide earlier medieval origins. This lovely street scene appears straight out of a Jane Austen novel. It is certainly the place to look for antique and vintage shops. Or spoil yourself in designer boutiques and delicatessens. Don’t forget to take home the local speciality – delicious Ashbourne gingerbread!
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Split in two by the River Derwent the town of Matlock offers all the shops and facilities of a thriving rural town. Early tourists came to Matlock for the thermal springs. Today’s visitors enjoy the cafes, parks and interesting shops. Don't miss the popular vintage style emporia on Dale Road. Walk through a series of historic parks along the River Derwent to nearby Matlock Bath. Here you can experience an alpine-style cable car to the ‘Heights of Abraham’. Or ride on a steam railway at Peak Rail (from Matlock station) or cycle along a traffic free trail to Rowsley.
Order a free Matlock and Matlock Bath miniguide
When visiting historic Wirksworth don’t miss St Mary's Church in the town centre. Its mini cathedral-like setting and solid Norman architecture are delightful. Winding alleys and tiny cottages date from when there was a busy lead mining industry. The town has a quirky individual character and a proud reputation for arts and crafts. Don’t miss the Wirksworth Festival in September, with its pop-up galleries and arts venues. Nearby is the High Peak Trail - a former railway line perfect for walking and riding.