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Things to do on a rainy day in Derbyshire and the Peak District

PUBLISHED: 00:00 19 August 2017 | UPDATED: 09:50 19 August 2017

Bolsover Castle

Bolsover Castle

Archant

Don’t let wet weather spoil your fun, there are plenty of activities to keep the whole family occupied in Derbyshire and the Peak District...

Sudbury Hall  Photo: National Trust Sudbury Hall Photo: National Trust

Explore history and heritage at a local museum

Enjoy vintage tram rides and explore numerous indoor and outdoor attractions at Crich Tramway Village; discover what Georgian life was like in the remarkable Pickford’s House museum on Friar Gate, Derby; visit the oldest standing building in Bakewell - Bakewell Old House Museum - and discover an intriguing collection of items; or visit the last surviving operational roundhouse shed in Britain - Barrow Hill Roundhouse . Discover the geology and archaeology of the Peak District at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery; explore Chesterfield’s rich historical heritage at Chesterfield Museum and Art Gallery; or visit the state-of-the-art museum and education centre at Creswell Crags. Derby Museum and Art Gallery includes the largest public display of Joseph Wright oil paintings in the world; Erewash Museum includes exhibition galleries that tell the story of Erewash and its people from the Roman period up to the 21st century; and Midland Railway Butterley offers the chance to view historic locomotives. Learn about the history of brewing at Burton’s National Brewery Centre; the famous ‘Plague Village’ at Eyam Museum; and visit the world’s first water-powered cotton spinning mill at Cromford Mills.

Go underground

Speedwell Cavern in Castleton  Photo: Lukasz Warzecha Speedwell Cavern in Castleton Photo: Lukasz Warzecha

Shelter from the rain and discover fascinating sights at Castleton’s remarkable caverns (as long as they are not flooded!). Choose from Peak Cavern (the largest natural cave entrance in Europe); Speedwell Cavern (where you can travel to the Bottomless Pit by boat) and Treak Cliff Cavern and Blue John Cavern, which contain Blue John stone. Afterwards, take cover by browsing Castleton Visitor Centre - which includes exciting displays and Castleton Historical Society’s museum - and visit some of the excellent local shops, perhaps to purchase a Blue John souvenir to take home.

Take a train trip

There’s something really magical about a journey on a steam train. A trip along one of Derbyshire’s preserved heritage railways won’t be spoilt by the rain and, should the weather improve, there will be the opportunity to explore interesting places on your arrival. Journey from Wirksworth to Duffield by train on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway and experience the thrill of steam travel on a preserved railway between Matlock and Rowsley with Peak Rail. Both railways also offer unique events including on board afternoon tea experiences. Midland Railway at Butterley offers the chance to explore two railway museums before a journey on a variety of trains, where specials include vintage events and Teddy Bears’ weekends.


A Cavalier Horsemanship display at Bolsover Castle's remarkable Riding School  Photo: Glen Burrows A Cavalier Horsemanship display at Bolsover Castle's remarkable Riding School Photo: Glen Burrows

Visit a stately home or historic house

What better way to perk yourself up on a rainy day than with a visit to some of the most spectacular buildings the county has to offer. Highlights include Chatsworth House, home of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire; Haddon Hall, described as ‘the most perfect house to survive the Middle Ages’; Tissington Hall, home to the FitzHerbert family since 1609; Renishaw Hall, which has been in the Sitwell family for over 400 years; Sudbury Hall and its superb National Museum of Childhood; Kedleston Hall, a splendid Neo Classical mansion, home to the Curzon family since the 12th century; Hardwick Hall, the fascinating Elizabethan mansion built by Bess of Hardwick; Eyam Hall, a Jacobean manor house home to eleven generations of the Wright family; Calke Abbey, a preserved ‘un-stately’ home; and Bolsover Castle, with its stunning Riding School and regular events.

Enjoy some local entertainment
Enjoy year-round shows and festivals at entertainment venues such as Buxton Opera House, Chesterfield’s Pomegranate and Winding Wheel Theatres, Derby Theatre, Deda Dance Centre and Derby’s Guildhall Theatre. The Ritz at Belper, The Northern Light cinema in Wirksworth, Quad in Derby and the Red Carpet cinema in Barton under Needwood offer warm, friendly, welcoming and unique surroundings in which to enjoy a film - often with the accompaniment of home-made cakes and a glass of wine, in comfier-than-usual seats and sofas.

Buxton Opera House Photo: Clive Barda Buxton Opera House Photo: Clive Barda

Paint a pot or take a tour

Providing an excellent way for both adults and children to while away a few hours when the weather is miserable, Denby Pottery offers pottery tours, courtyard shops, a restaurant and play area - plus the chance to have a go at painting your own piece of Denby, using beautiful glazes to create a keepsake or even a gift for someone special. In Derby, the world-famous Royal Crown Derby visitor centre offers guided tours, a museum, exhibition, shop and tea room.

A capacity Ritz audience awaits another film treat Photo: Ashley Franklin A capacity Ritz audience awaits another film treat Photo: Ashley Franklin

Get active


Perfect for encouraging young ones to get active, Clip ‘n Climb in Derby provides a fun way to keep fit through climbing. The site features 17 bright and colourful climbing walls with three levels of difficulty, with climbing challenges that will keep all ages entertained. Cycling enthusiasts can get their fix of track cycling at the state-of-the-art Derby Arena, where there are regular learning experiences and classes. Indoor soft play centres include Chucklebutties in Belper, the Play Mill at Bonsall and Planet Happy in Ripley, whilst Derby’s Bounce Revolution trampoline park offers fun aplenty, with trampolines, a ‘Total Wipeout’ machine, battle beam and drop zone. Have a go at roller-skating at Rollerworld in Derby or, just over the border, visit the National Ice Centre for some ice skating fun.

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