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School’s out for summer

Published: 9 July 2019
  • School’s out but there’s plenty happening in Derbyshire this summer to beat the holiday boredom – including at our attractions and beyond.

Picnic at Elvaston
Visitors having a picnic at Elvaston Castle.

Residents across the county can look out for their copy of our magazine, Derbyshire Now, delivered to their door featuring money-off vouchers for six of Derbyshire’s top visitor attractions – Conkers, Midland Railway, Crich Tramway Museum, Gulliver’s Kingdom, Heights of Abraham and Matlock Farm Park.

But that’s not all. Whether you’re young, older, from Derbyshire or further afield there are loads of interesting places to visit and things to see and do.

Why not re-live the history of Derwent Valley Mills or check-out the network of caves at Creswell Crags – both of which are supported by us.

Derwent Valley Mills is the birthplace of mass-production and innovations which shaped the modern world and there’s a lot happening at the sites and attractions during the summer months – including the launch of a unique art installation, “Mr Arkwright.” It combines a tandem bicycle and water to power an automatic drawing machine and will be at Cromford Mills from 25 July.

Creswell Crags is a limestone gorge dating back to the last Ice Age up to 50,000 years ago. Summer events include an outdoor performance of the Secret Garden. 

It’s great exploring our countryside sites at any time of year but there are extra activities going on throughout summer including:

  • an insect show at Shipley Country Park
  • teddy bear’s picnic at Elvaston Castle Country Park
  • a runaway train treasure hunt at High Peak Junction
  • a mini-beast safari at Middleton Top

The High Peak trail at Middleton Top is now fully reopen after bridge and tunnel repairs. And Middleton Top and High Peak Junction visitor centres have both had a facelift making their outdoor eating areas ideal places to sit and admire the views.

For something a bit different visit Park in the Dark at Elvaston Castle Country Park Saturday 31 August and Thursday 5 September, from 6pm to 8pm. Come and meet some of the night-time residents and learn about hedgehogs, birds and bats. Adults £6, Children £4. Booking required.

We have a What’s on guide for all the details of the sites and events.

There’s loads happening at our libraries too including the annual Summer Reading Challenge.


This year’s theme is ‘Space Chase’ and encourages youngsters to become space explorers with lots of space themed activities on offer.

Throughout the summer children will have the opportunity to join the challenge, read six books and collect stickers as rewards.

Certificates and medals await those that complete the challenge. It’s fun and free and children of all ages are welcome to participate.

Keep budding adventurers happy with activities at our outdoor education centre at Lea Green near Matlock. Adventure Days offer active outdoor fun for 5 to 12-year-olds. From Monday 22 to Wednesday 24 July and Tuesday 30 July to Thursday 1 August 2019, children can have a go at activities like the low ropes course and buggies.

All activities and events need to be booked in advance.

Lea Green and the White Hall Centre at Buxton both offer a range of activities and courses for schools, youth and community groups, families and private businesses – from group accommodation to team-building activities.

There’s a regularly changing programme of exhibitions, events and workshops at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery.

On Thursday mornings during the school holidays between 10am and noon there are free craft activities inspired by the museum collection.

Over the summer months visitors can see the Derbyshire Open Art entries and an exhibition celebrating the redevelopment of the crescent.

And while you’re in the town, why not walk the heritage trail, take the waters at St Ann’s well and visit the recently restored Grade II-listed Pump Room next to Buxton Crescent which is currently under redevelopment.

But the fun doesn’t end after six weeks. There are more events to look forward to in the autumn including:

Tapton Lock Festival in Chesterfield, Saturday 14 and Sunday 15 September 2019, from 11am to 4pm. Enjoy music, crafts, canoeing, boat trips and more! This is a free event although there are charges for some activities.

Derbyshire Woodland Festival, now in its 19th year, takes place on Saturday 21 and Sunday 22 September 2019. This popular event celebrates traditional and contemporary woodland crafts within the historic grounds of Elvaston Castle. Admission is free but there is a charge for parking (£10 per car and £5 per motorcycle or a £15 weekend ticket). Dogs are welcome on leads. 

Young people aged 13 to 19 considering their options after school can visit Derbyshire Skills Festival to get careers information and help from a wide range of experts. The free events are being held in Chesterfield at the Proact Stadium on Wednesday 18 September and at Derby Arena on Wednesday 25 and Thursday 26 September 2019.

Leader and Cabinet Member for Strategic Leadership, Culture and Tourism Councillor Barry Lewis said:

“With so much to see and do this summer there’s even more reason to get out and about in Derbyshire.

“From historic sites to explore and getting close to nature in our beautiful countryside to finding a shady nook to curl up with a good book, Derbyshire has something for all ages and interests.

“And if you’re looking for more inspiration, you’ll find loads more ideas for days out in Derbyshire at visitpeakdistrict.com so why not take a look and choose a destination for your next adventure.”