The best words to describe Derby are central, compact, connected, and high-tech. Derby lies along the bank of River Dervent and is located in the heart of United Kingdom with the nearest airport at East Middleton. This city is considered to be the birth place of industrialization and has the world’s first factory ‘Silk Mill’. It is filled with many ancient monuments, halls and parks. It is the home for Rolls Royce and also for great scholars like Darwin, Joseph Wright, and John Whitehurst. It is also known for its races. It is one of the best places to be visited in the United Kingdom either with family or friends. It is even a best place for solo trips. Derby offers many entertainments for people belonging to various age groups. Below are the best things to do in Derby:
Learn about the city at Derby Museum and Art Gallery
If you are interested in knowing about the cultural heritage and richness of Derby, Derby Museum and Art gallery is the place to go. It has collections of archaeology, national history, geology, military collection and world cultures. It includes the display of the painting of Joseph Wright of Derby and there is also a large display of royal crown of Derby. And also the entry is FREE!
Bird’s eye view at Heights of Abraham
Heights of Abraham is a hilltop park on top of Mason Hill. One can reach here either through cable car or by walking on the zigzag path. It has two famous carven shows, The Mason Pavilion theatre films movies throughout the day, there are two adventure play ground where you can let your child play and enjoy the view, it includes fossil factory, heritage estate and walks. Heights of Abraham also has Cafés and gift shops.
Relax at Foremark Reservoir
Foremark Reservoir is the best place to relax and enjoy the view. One can also do walking, fishing, bird watching and horse riding here. Visitors can spend their evening just relaxing in the park with a view of the water. The entry is Free but you have to pay for parking. Staunton Harold Reservoir is also a similar place.
Racing at Donington Park
Donington is one of the great racing circuits in the world. There are many bike and car races taking place throughout the year. If you are early you’ll definitely get a spectacular view. The track has conducted popular events such as British Superbikes, Truck Racing, British F3 and much more. It is located in Castle Donington which is a serene and beautiful place which would never fail to awe you with its architectural beauty.
Travel to 18th century England at Pickford’s House
Pickford’s house is the family home of Georgian Architect, Joseph Pickford. It illustrates the domestic life from 18th to 20th century England. It is a short walk from the city center. You are free to roam around the four floors. There are servants in the house who will treat the visitors as their master so that the visitor can get a full experience of master-servant relationship of the 18th and 19th centuries. There will be exhibitions happening. It has a huge collection of antiques. Entry and Parking is free.
Enjoy the melody at Derby Cathedral
Derby Cathedral building is beautiful inside and out. The calm and serene atmosphere helps the visitor to reflect and meditate. Refreshing hymns are played in this cathedral at 9 am, noon and 6 pm, every day. It also has the second-largest tower in England, and this tower is open to visitors only once in a month (dates are mentioned on their webpage). The visitors are taken on the tour to the top of the tower by a trained guide.
Experience countryside at Markeaton Park
Markeaton Park is situated at the edge of the city and offers an escape for the people living in Derby as well as the tourists. It gives a feel of being in the countryside. It has entertainments like a large play area, paddling pool, crazy golf, donkey rides, bouncy castle; car/bike tracks a light railway, and a boating lake. It also has an obstacle course called Skyline high ropes, where both adults and kids can play. This is an ideal place for an afternoon picnic.
Get ‘Ghostified’ at Derby Ghost Walk and Jail
Derby Ghost walk and Jai; is a must-try at Derby. It is a world-famous Ghost walk and runs throughout the year. This was also stared at Most Haunted’s, Richard Felix. They offer two different Ghost walk - City Centre Ghost Walk and The Friargate (Hangman’s) Ghost Walk. There is also a police museum; which tells about the haunted stories which happened in the jail and tells the story of 170 years of Policing with a large collection of artifacts and items that are on display. Visitors can also investigate a ghost crime scene.
Techie at Rolls Royce Heritage Trust
Rolls Royce Heritage Trust has a large unique collection of aero engines. Visitors can observe how technology has evolved over a period of time around the world not only of Rolls Royce but also about other jet propulsions. There are knowledgeable staff and friendly volunteers who will help you. But visitors can visit this place with prior appointment only.
Wander at Derby Market Hall
Even if you are not really going to buy anything I suggest that you visit Derby market hall just for the experience. It is a hub for local businesses, where diverse sellers sell a wide range of local foods, flowers, vintage clothing, retro toys, craft items, hair and beauty services and also takeaway food in a large building. It gives the visitors a taste of authentic shopping.
Rowleys Gin Bar
Rowleys Gin Bar is one of the Derby’s oldest and famous bars with a small and cozy ambiance. They have a wide range of Rum collection from which you can select. You can also pre-book and enjoy rum tasting sessions at Rowleys. There are always different types of sales going on in this bar. The staffs are patient and will always tell you about the different drinks on offer.
Retail therapy at INTU Derby
INTU is a large indoor shopping center located at the center of Derby. There is a cinema called ‘Showcase Cinema de Lux’ at the center. It has a very good variety of shopping and food options. It has many top brand stores where you can shop for clothes, house needs, groceries and many more. They also offer bowling and crazy golf for entertainment.
Walk with nature at Calke Abbey
Calke Abbey is a grade one country house in England, which under the control of National Trust. You can walk through the woods, lakes, gardens, and the house is open to take a look. This English Country house is not like any other usual stately farm. There is a huge Children play area, and the fallen trees are really fun for kids to play with. Children can also create their own den (seasonal activities for children).
Taste Derby’s Culture at Kedleston Hall
Kedleston Hall is a typical English house with a well designed neoclassical interior which also includes twenty one heavily decorated columns. It has three, three-floored building connected through the corridor. The rooms in the house, are well furnished and have an interesting painting. Derby also has many culture preserved places like this which include Haddon Hall, Hardwick Hall, Sudbury Hall, and many more.
Be awestruck at Derwent Valley Mills
Derwent Valley Mills is the only world heritage site in East Midland, located near the River Derwent. It offers various activities such as Bonsall Art Trails (workshop with live music), Making at the mill (you can create your own souvenirs using needles), Bazaar (Monthly market where you can bargain and get various unique items), Time Travellers tour (explore the mill with a costumed guide), Doffers Tie Dyers and Water power tour. There is a museum with many ancient machines in the basement of the four-story mill building. Since the first factory (i.e) Silk Mill is undergoing a major renovation this is the best place to go.
Time travel at Crich Tramway Village
Crich Tramway Village is a National tram museum that has over sixty trams. It is set within a recreated village which has a working pub, café, old-styled sweet shop and tram depots. Visitors can be transported one mile into the village in the tram. For every ten minutes you can spot a tram. It could be seen as a live historic museum. They also have a huge play area. It is a very place to go with family and very entertaining for kids. This is a must-see at Derby.
Boating at Merica Marina
Merica Marina is a contemporary countryside cottage located near a waterside. There are nice restaurants and high-end shops. It is an excellent place to walk around with a view of water and boat. Visitors can indulge themselves in activities such as boating and bird watching.
Bring the artist within you at The Denby Pottery Company Limited
The Denby Pottery are manufactures of tableware, cookware and dining accessories. Visitors can create their own pottery at their studio and can enjoy the tour of 200 years of pottery making at their museum. There is also a restaurant that serves food in Denby pottery. You can also purchase unique souvenirs here.
Drive at Swarkestone Bridge
Swarkestone Bridge is a medieval bridge over the River Trent connecting the villages of Swarkestone and Stanton. It is considered to be one of the longest stone bridges in England. Visitors can enjoy the one-mile ride on the Swarkestone Bridge with a view of waters running on both the sides.
Night- outs at Genting Casino Riverlights
Lastly on our list is the Genting Casino Riverlights, the best place to hang out at night in Derby. They offer table games and a bar which provides snacks and sandwiches. You can enjoy playing in casino, sipping drinks and having fun with your friends on your vacation.
These are the top 20 places to visit in Derby but there are also many other places of historical importance such as Elvaston Castle, Heanor memorial park, Anchor church, Royal Crown Derby, Erewash Museum, Kentucky Derby, and many more.