Matlock Bath in Derbyshire, became an instant tourist resort for the wealthy and influencial, when warm springs, at a constant temperature of 68 degrees fahrenheit, were discovered back in 1698. The upheavals in Europe in the later part of the 18th century onwards discouraged the wealthy from making the Grand Tour and they diverted their attention to places like the Peak District. Matlock Bath was a beneficary of this new era in travel.
A new turnpike road,connecting from Cromford, was built in 1818 which made Matlock Bath more accessible, and in the next 30 years, high society brought gentility and elegance to this beautiful area with its dramatic scenery and river. It then slowly began to lose its aristocratic ambience and began to cater for the new middle classes, who built their homes here, some precariously perched high on the hillside, and their appearance range from gothic to swiss style.
The 1840`s opened up Matlock Bath to the ordinary tourist, with the arrival of the railway. They came `en masse` to see the sights and commercialism gradually took over, rather crudely and unrestrained at first.
The last 30 years have seen enormous changes in Matlock Bath. Roads have been widened and now there are more souvenir shops, amusement arcades, cafes and other food outlets, and car and coach parks.The main road that runs through the town is split in two parts known as South Parade and North Parade.
There are no ancient places of worship here, only 2 victorian churches.The Church of the Holy Trinity was built in 1873 to accomodate the growing number of visitors and residents alike, and the Chapel of St John the Baptist was built in 1897, high up above the village to a design by Guy Dawber.
High Tor is a broad 390ft high limestone cliff that rises sheer from the river Derwent`s eastern bank.It looks quite formidable but it is a popular climbing cliff. The grounds below are more inviting with refreshment facilities, picnic areas, childrens playground, wooded walks and 2 caves that are actual worked out lead mines. On the ground floor, is also the pavillion, which houses a tourist information centre and the Peak District Mining Museum. The museum tells the story of of lead mining in the area from Roman times to present day. The geology of the area, mining and smelting processes, the quarrying and the people who worked in the industry are all illustrated with static and moving exhibits and an audio visual display. The museum also houses a water pressure pumping engine found in nearby Winster.Adjacent to the museum is Temple Mine, where there is a self guided tour, illustrating geology, fossilization and mining technigues.
On the western side of the gorge are the Heights of Abraham. For many years this slope was mined for lead but in the late 18th century it was developed for visitors `taking the waters`. The Heights of Abraham are today as popular as ever and provide amenities to suit almost everyone. There is a coffee shop, licensed restaurant, picnic area, all taking advantage of the superb view. There is also a victorian Prospect Tower built in 1844, 2 show caves,Rutland Cavern and the Great Masson Cavern, nature trail,landscaped gardens and childrens play area.
Lower down on Temple road is a model railway which is a reconstruction of the Midland Railways Company tracks through the most scenic parts of the Peak District, a real mecca for rail enthusiasts. Also amongst the dramatic setting is Gullivers Kingdom, a theme park capable of entertaining whole families. The park is terraced and each terrace is devoted to a different theme, like `Old England`, Fantasyland, The Wildwest, etc, and has over 50 rides and activities.
The aquarium occupies what was once the Matlock Bath Hydro. It still contains its fine stone staircase and large thermal pool, though now the pool is home to a large collection of different types of carp. The old , upstairs consulting rooms have tanks full of native, tropical and marine fish. Also here, is a Hologram Gallery which exhibits 3 dimensional pictures using laser technology and a Petrifying Well where objects dipped into the well acquire a hard coat of lime and look as if they have been turned to stone.
The top of the Heights of Abraham can be reached by a trek up a steep road but a cable car travels to the top from Matlock Bath railway station, where the Whistlestop Countryside Centre can be found. This houses a free exhibit of wildlife and a shop and acts as an information and education centre.
Matlock Bath Illuminations and Venetian Nights are an event that started with the celebration of the the Diamond Jubilee in 1897 and features the decorated and illuminated boats that are produced by the members of the Matlock Bath Venetian Boat Builders Association and rowed by them each Saturday and Sunday evening during the Illuminations season. The Arkwright Cup, donated by Sir Richard Arkwright in 1903, is awarded to the winning design and the Boat Parade continues to feature one ‘candle-lit’ boat – in the traditional Victorian style.
The river banks are adorned with illuminated displays on various themes and the cliffs around are flood lit. Firework displays are also given on certain nights throughout the illuminations season.
For information on food and drink in Matlock and Matlock Bath see Where to eat and drink in the Matlock area
Attractions around Matlock Bath
Peak District Mining Museum, Matlock Bath
Exhibition showing the history of lead mining throughout the Peak District. Visitors can operate rag and chain pumps and climb shafts.
Open daily 4th April-31st October, 10am-5pm(July-Oct 10am-10pm at weekends)
Nov-Feb open Mon-Fri 11am-3pm
Tel 01629 583834 www.peakmines.co.uk
Gullivers Kingdom, Matlock Bath
Family theme park with rides suitable for young children and Royal Cave
Tel 01629 580540
Matlock Bath Aquarium and Hollogram Gallery, Matlock Bath
Site of original thermal baths, with collection of cold water, tropical and marine fish; Pertrifying Well and Gemstone collection
Tel 01629 583624
Heights of Abraham, Matlock Bath, Derbyshire
Entertainment for the whole family. Cable car rides across the Derwent Valley to the 60 acre sunnit. Exciting underground tours in two famous show caves. Explorers challenge. Displays. Picnic and play areas
Open daily from late March to late October
Tel 01629 582365 www.heightsofabraham.com
Lea Gardens Lea, Matlock
A rare collection of Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Alpines and Conifers in a lovely setting. There is a garden shop and a tea room where light lunches are available.
Opening times Late March- June 10am to 5.30pm
Tel 01629 534380
Red House Stables, Darley Dale
A working Carriage Museum
Open daily at 10.00
Tel 01629 733583
Matlock Bath Illuminations 2013
Matlock Bath Illuminations - 31st August to 26th October in 2013. A parade of illuminated and decorated boats on the River Derwent every weekend throughout September and October. On certain Saturday nights (5th, 12th, 19th & 26th October) there are also spectacular firework displays at 9.00pm.
The parade of Illuminated and decorated boats takes place 7.45pm every Saturday and Sunday during the season – with a programme of entertainment on or near the bandstand in Derwent Gardens each evening, commencing at 7.00pm. Last admission 8.45pm. On firework nights the boats will parade again at 9.15pm.
Tourist Information for Matlock Bath
Matlock Tourist Information Centre
Matlock Visitor Information Point
Peak Rail Shop
Telephone number 01335 343666
How to get to Matlock
Trains from Derby operate along the scenic Derwent Valley Line to Matlock. Journey time from Derby is just 32 minutes.
Rail Times and fare enquiries
National Rail Enquiries (24 hours) 08457 48 49 50
or visit www.nationalrail.co.uk
Main bus services to Matlock include the hourly Transpeak service from Nottingham, Derby, Belper, Bakewell and Buxton, with services every 2 hours from Stockport and Manchester. An hourly bus service also operate from Chesterfield. Services from Sheffield and other local towns also serve Matlock. A good network of Sunday bus services also serve the town. Throughout Matlock, local town bus services operate regularly Monday to Saturday.
For local bus times
call Traveline 0871 200 22 33 or visit
Situated on the A6, 18 miles north of Derby. Signposted from M1 junction 28 and A6 approach roads.The roads around Matlock Bath get very busy on sunny weekends, particularly during the summer. Matlock Bath seems to have a particular attraction for motor cyclists who converge in their thousands on sunny Sundays.
Car Parks in Matlock Bath
Railway station car park and Temple Walk car park. A6 car park between Matlock and Matlock Bath. Some on street parking available.
North Parade adjoining Midland Hotel
A6 car park
Doctors in Matlock
Lime Grove Walk
Derbyshire DE4 3FD
Tel: 01629 581586
8 Imperial Road
Matlock Derbyshire DE4 3NL
Tel: 01629 583465
Dentists in Matlock
Matlock Dental Practice
Dale Road Dental Practice 92 Dale Road Matlock Derbyshire DE4 3LU 01629 582218
More information on Matlock Town can be found at Matlock Town in Derbyshire
Accommodation around Matlock and Matlock Bath
Sunnybank B&B Guesthouse Accommodation - Sunnybank is up a hill on the edge of woodland, being elevated we have the most stunning unobstructed views of the Derwent Valley. We are not over-shadowed so the light is literally brilliant and we can also offer 'clean air' as our woodland is natures best filter.
We are less than 5 minutes walk from Matlock Bath high street where there are numerous places to eat and drink. Cromford village (World Heritage Site) is only an 18 minutes walk.
It is also very peaceful where we are. You will not be disturbed by 'roudy' night clubbers after hours or by loud traffic / public transport noise passing by your bedroom windows.
Read more at Sunnybank B&B
Woodside Farm Holiday Cottages - Set in the Derbyshire Dales on the edge of the Peak District National Park, Nr Matlock Woodside Farm is now run as a smallholding that stands in five acres with chickens and sheep grazing in the surrounding fields and occupies a super rural position with fantastic views over the Derwent Valley and surrounding countryside. Read more at Wooside Farm Holiday Cottages
Darwin Forest Country Park - Luxury self-catering Pinelodges (ETC 4 star) to sleep from 2 to 8 people on this lovely wooded country park. Each lodge is beautifully furnished and fully equipped with fitted kitchen, microwave, CD player, satellite TV, DVD player, verandah with outdoor furniture. Read more at Darwin Forest Country Park
Woodlands Cottage - Woodlands Cottage is a spacious and superbly appointed, four bedroomed, stone cottage to sleep up to 8. Enclosed in its own garden with a large sun terrace, hot tub and outdoor furniture, yet enjoying all the facilities available at Darwin Forest Country Park. Read more at Woodlands Cottage
Yew Tree Cottage - Yew Tree Cottage is an AA award winning B&B located in the heart of Tansley. The 18th century cottage with stunning views and tranquil grounds has been sympathetically restored providing excellent standards of comfort and cleanliness while retaining originality. Memorable breakfasts are served in an elegant breakfast room. Read more at Yew Tree Cottage B&B Accommodation
Pear Tree Farm - Guest House and Self catering accommodation available at this Farm House and Arts Centre. Pear Tree Farm Guest House and Art Studio has beautiful views over the Lea Valley Conversation Area and situated on the border of the Peak District in the Derbyshire Dales, 10 minutes from Matlock Bath. Surrounded by inspiring countryside, many walks and attractions for the holiday maker, relaxing, friendly and comfortable accommodation with freshly cooked locally sourced farmhouse food we offer the perfect break, you can also join in on one of our art courses!.
More at Pear Tree Farm B&B and Arts Centre
Avondale Farm - ETC 4-star Silver Award - a unique B&B hideaway exclusively for two people in a carefully restored barn in the Peak District National Park.
The accommodation is warm and sunny - it has beamed ceilings, a friendly, relaxed ambience and is totally self contained.
Views are over our cottage garden and traditionally grazed limestone meadows with dry stone walls.
Read more at Avondale Farm B&B
The Old Coach House - Award winning Old Coach House holiday cottage is set in the quiet picturesque village of Aldwark near Grangemill within easy reach of Bakewell, Ashbourne , Hartington , Cromford and Matlock as well as the many attractions to be found here in the Derbyshire Peak District.
The two bedroomed cottage was built around 1686 , is well equipped , tastefully modernised and is maintained to a high standard with the grading of 4 Stars. It been accepted by the Derbyshire Dales Accommodation Guide.
Read more at The Old Coach House at Aldwark near Grangemill
The Wild Cherry B&B - The Wild Cherry is a small, friendly B&B in the historic town of Wirksworth. The house is in the old part of Wirksworth, amongst picturesque miner's cottages and with panoramic views over the beautiful Ecclesbourne Valley.Close to Matlock, Bakewell, Chatsworth and the Peak District National Park,there are lovely walks and many local attractions. We have homemade bread marmalade and other fare, cotton sheets, views over the hills, open fire and are dog and child friendly.
Read more at The Wild Cherry B&B
Lion Holiday Cottage - Award Winning self-catering holiday accommodation in rural Derbyshire. Lion Cottage is a lovely 18th century semi detached holiday cottage. It has been recently refurbished to a high standard while maintaining many original features, such as open fires, oak-beamed ceilings and exposed stonework. Sleeps 4 - 6 in 2 bedrooms.
Read more at Lion Cottage
For more accommodation in Matlock and Matlock Bath see
Derbyshire and Peak District Accommodation
Guest Houses with B&B in Derbyshire and Peak District
Holiday Cottages in Derbyshire and Peak District
Hotels in Derbyshire and Peak District
Peak District Holiday Guide
Peak District Accommodation
Matlock Bath photos at Derbyshire Photographs
Photographs of illuminations can be found at at Matlock Bath Illuminations