I recently spent a weekend in Derby as I’ve been trying to explore more new places within the UK, and I found it friendly, fun and historic, with so much to offer for all ages. I had an action packed few days including a lot of delicious food, historic buildings, shopping & beautiful landscapes. Here I’ve put together a few of my highlights to help you plan your visit.
Visit Bluebells Dairy Farm
It’s hard to actually pigeonhole Bluebells Dairy Farm as it has so much to offer. Obviously as the name suggests it’s a Dairy Farm but it’s also a tea rooms, an educational centre, a fun day out for kids (and big kids) and somewhat an interactive petting zoo.
Let’s start with the ice cream! Bluebell has 26 flavours of ice cream and sorbet, I’m proud to say I gave many a try, as you can see below! They have some recognisable flavours as well as individual specialities including my favourite; the lemon curd! The creamy milk for the ice cream comes from the cows grazing the fields at the farm, and Bluebell uses only the finest ingredients to blend into their award winning ice cream. The ice cream is so good, that it’s stocked in other high end retailers/restaurants and has won numerous awards.
When you’re suitably full from all the delicious food and ice cream then there’s so much more to do on the farm itself. The friendly farm workers run sessions where you can interact with the animals, feed lambs, meet Arthur the giant rabbit and generally learn about the animals & how to care for them. It’s educational fun and people of all ages were enjoying it greatly.
There’s even more fun to be had on the giant inflatable pillow, something very unique and family friendly, but I must admit I probably had more than my fair share of a go! There’s also a new go-kart track and play areas with sand pits!
Derby Cathedral and it’s 212 feet tower stands proud in the centre of Derby. Construction finished in around 1532 but it’s had numerous renovations over the years. It’s beautiful inside, with a bright, open entrance and a light & airy feel quite different to other churches of it’s time. Visits are upbeat and lively with welcoming staff and fun stories about the building and those involved in it’s conception.
The cathedral is still very much keeping the spirit of community alive, holding movie nights and other events. It’s also famous for being the nesting place for 15 consecutive years of nesting Peregrine Falcons. 41 hatchlings have been born here, and the nest is streamed online all over the world, with thousands tuning it to see the amazing birds.
On the first Saturday of every month it’s possible to take a tower tour. The top of the tower commands some fantastic views over the city, it’s a steep climb so not for those who tire easily, but for anyone who loves a good view, well worth the effort. It’s breezy at the top and I had the fortune to arrive there just as the flag was being changed so I was able to assist (read; make the while process a lot slower.) but nobody seemed to mind.
Kedleston Hall is a magnificent 18th century mansion which may be familiar to some as it was as a key location for the film ‘The Duchess’, starring Keira Knightley. It’s grand beyond belief, designed for lavish entertaining, complete with golds and turquoises and impressive painting collections.
Since the 12th century the Curzon family have lived here and Lord Curzon’s Eastern Museum contains a collection of items from his travels in Asia while Viceroy of India (1899 to 1905). This includes the famous peacock dress, complete with the wings of green beetles adorning it to give the appearance of emeralds.
The grounds are just as lovely as inside the buildings, and as it was such a lovely day I spent quite a while walking around the grounds and relaxing in the sun to enjoy the views. Look how incredibly green the landscape is!
Dine & drink
I’ve actually written an entire article about the food in Derby; (see below) as there was so much choice. Derby has a great range of eateries from the traditional Pyclet (a flat crumpet) sold at the Pyclet Parlour in the market hall, to fine dining at Masa in The Old Wesleyan Chapel.
There’s also a whole host of trendy bars around town including the cool Rowley’s Gin Bar & Wine Cellar and The Brooklyn Social with it’s fun cocktail list and quirky interior.
Derby is 1hr 36 mins on the train from London.