A weekend in: Derbyshire

travel · Sep 9, 2023

A last minute booking

The UK "Summer bank holiday" happened on August 28th this year. Sierra and I are still getting used to how well the British plan ahead for bank holidays (...and things in general.) It very much felt like we were the last to book holiday lodging but we managed to find a couple dog friendly accommodations last minute.

While we were ideally looking to find a place on the Coast or up North, we settled on a lovely little cottage just outside Matlock in the Derwent Valley. An area just South of the Peak District.

The small stone cottage we stayed in surrounded by other larger stone buildings This was our little 18th century barn converted into a one bed getaway cottage. It sure was cosy (you may have seen Sierra's video walkthrough on Instagram). There definitely were some head clunkers along the ceilings.

Matlock Bath

Our first day we spent wandering around Matlock Bath and making our way up local cable car "Heights of Abraham".

Finn and Sierra in a very cozy plexiglass cable car, overlooking a hillside in Matlock Bath Finn did well in the cable car! He was surprisingly chill and let anyone in that cramped little car pet him with no grumbles which was great! We shared our ride with a family passing through back home to Newcastle. Clearly they never owned a dog but the boys seemed to really enjoy petting Finn.

At the top we enjoyed the Victorian tower, the caves, a couple nice shops and a good lunch. The caves were short but still a highlight. What started as a lead mine shaft in the 17th century revealed a large natural limestone cave.

A wall of the limestone cave where lead miners etched in their markings Here you can see some markings from some of the original lead miners dating back to the 17-somethings.

Interestingly enough this area became a tourist destination in the Victorian era and in 1810 the mine was open to the public (primarily to the well-to-do public).

A nice view of Matlock. Green hills and a significant cliff in the foreground Coming out of the cavern you get a lovely view of Matlock.

Dinner was spent in a lovely local pub. The locals were chatty but we were a bit too tired to take advantage.

A wander up to the Peak District

The following day we followed the Derwent river and then the River Wye (one of many Wye rivers in the UK...).

Making our way up to the historic village of Bakewell which was quite busy with families taken advantage of the bank holiday. Also so many dogs! It still comes as a surprise sometimes how dog friendly the UK is but especially in more rural villages like Bakewell.

We were very excited to try out the traditional Bakewell pudding and tart. We chose the The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop (seems like there's some drama of who actually was the original shop as the recipe came from someone that didn't own a shop 🤷).

After a wander around town we ended up at Thornbridge Brewery for lunch which had great beer and pizza.

Finn is not always the best with children. Small people still seem to frighten him a bit. He tends to think they're either 1) puppies that he needs to played with or 2) terrifying creatures. At the brewery Finn had the opportunity to remain calm as a small child ran up and slapped him on the butt. What an introduction! A mom ran up in a panic and apologized. Thankfully this kid was fearless and was very willing to help Finn's training by giving him lots of treats. Definitely a win from a situation that could have ended with a lot of barking.

With beer and pizza bloating our stomachs we decided it was a good time for a hike.

View of the Monsal head bridge. Placed in a long turning river valley with green hills. We stopped along the way at Monsal Head Bridge which you may have seen in photographs at one point or another.

Then we ended up hiking along Bamford Edge which really showed off to the camera.

A view standing from Bamford edge looking down towards ladybower reservoir

Sierra and our dog Finn standing on a rock formation with ladybower reservoir in the background

The car bridge at ladybower reservoir

A silhouetted picture of a tree on a hill, with another green hill in the background which has winding traffic.

An old rock wall in the fields of heather

A field of heather and grass with a cliff in the background, a sneaky sheep can be spotted if you look closely

Two sheep in a heather patch eating. Surrounded by grass.

A Kestrel hovering midair looking down at the ground for prey.

We finished the long day with a quick train ride down to Belper where we enjoyed a lovely Thai dinner at Tom Yum Thai Kitchen. We then had a quick wander around the high street for an after dinner drink. After finishing a decent cocktail we were now ready to catch a ride home from a lovely evening.

A gentleman stopped in front of me abruptly, an unimpressed lady standing close behind "You look like you know what you're doing. Do you know if there's any good wine bars nearby."

I chuckled, "absolutely not mate, I just got here." I'm feeling a bit flattered and astonished that an English fellow would think that I know anything at all around here...

Home again

Our final day was spent lazily eating breakfast and reading before making our way home to Birmingham. We'll likely be back to Derbyshire. (By the way it's pronounced roughly as "darby-sure", here's a video for my American friends who are currently scratching their heads: Why are British place names so hard to pronounce?)