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Matlock Bath is a tourist centre. Driving along the A6, it is impossible to miss one of the most recent attractions, the cable car.
Around this part of the river, at weekends, it is usually possible to see a canoe slalom. The river is quite a challenge at this point. Further down river, from the centre of Matlock Bath to the south, boats can be hired. The river between these points is much calmer.
The station car park is a Park-and-Display. This is conveniently placed for easy access to the cable car station (which is just past the far end of the railway station).
The British Rail station at Matlock Bath was built in 1849 to look like a Swiss Chalet. This was because the Victorians thought that Matlock Bath looked like Switzerland with its steep sided rocky valley walls. The building is now used for the Whistlestop Countryside centre (admission free). It opens from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day between the 31st March and the 2nd November. At other times of the year, it is open only at weekend from noon to 4pm.
From Saturday 9th September until Saturday 28th October, Matlock Bath has illuminations along the river bank. These are switched on at dusk. In addition, on the Venetian Nights, which occur at the weekend, there are illuminated boats that float up and down the river around the Pavilion area from around 8pm.
The illuminations were first held in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. Queen Victoria had childhood memories of visiting Matlock Bath and seeing candlelight reflected in the River Derwent. This inspired the first illuminations which comprised of Fairy lamps, Chinese and Japanese lanterns lighting up the whole village, and a torch light procession followed by a parade of illuminated boats on the river. The rock faces of the gorge were lit by numerous coloured bonfires.
Today, the decorated and illuminated boats are produced and rowed by members of the Matlock Bath Venetian Boat Builders Association and the Boat Parade continues to feature one 'candle-lit' boat - illuminated as in Victorian times.
Derbyshire Dales District Council charge an entry fee of £6.00 on Saturday, £5.00 on Sunday to all adult visitors of the popular spectacle, which features firework displays (Saturdays) and the Venetian Nights boat parade. Concession rates are £1.00 cheaper. There will still be no charge for children (under 16). If you book online a saving of £1.00 can be made. See the Matlock Mercury for further information.
Clifftop Firework Displays on the following Saturdays at about 9pm
Car parking on the firework evenings (which is well signposted) will be at
This car parking is a park and ride scheme and costs £1 per adult with children free. The buses run from 6pm.
For the latest information contact Matlock Bath Tourist Information Centre on 01629 583834. The fireworks start at 9pm and last for around 30 minutes. They are set off near the Derwent Gardens - by the Pavilion - at the south end of the village.
The Derbyshire Guide team visited the fireworks in 2010 and were unimpressed by the paid for viewing areas in the Derwent Gardens by the Pavillion. Due to the amount and size of the river side trees good viewing areas are very limited. It may be worth considering other free viewing areas such as the Temple Hotel.
Every Saturday and Sunday during the illuminations there are other activities In Memorial Gardens, at the Whistle Stop side of Matlock Bath the activities run from 6:30pm to 8pm. At the Pavilion end of Matlock Bath in the Derwent Gardens the activities start at 7pm and end at 9pm. In the Derwent Gardens there will be a small funfair.
The cable car makes the journey easy from the valley to Heights of Abraham , a rise of some 450 feet. Heights of Abraham gained its name at the time of the death of General Wolfe at Quebec in 1759. It was likened to the Heights of Abraham battlefield. It was General James Wolfe who devised and executed the plans that defeated the French resulting in the British conquest of Canada. On the 13th September 1759, on the Heights of Abraham, at the moment of ultimate victory, General Wolfe (34) received a ball in the wrist and another in his body. In his final minutes, he heard the cries of "They run". He asked "who runs". On being informed that it was the French, he announced "Then I thank God, and die contented."
Whereas Matlock (the town) is fairly open, Matlock Bath resides in a gorge. The fit may like to display their prowess by running up the hill to Heights of Abraham but the cable car gives magnificent views of the Gorge. Half way up the cable car almost stops. This allows ample time to compose a photograph, or to take a video sequence, or to ponder the impact speed of a cable car hitting the road below.
A return journey on the cable car, access to the two caverns at Heights of Abraham and the Hill Top park, costs (in 2017) £16.00 for adults, £11.00 for children(5-16), under 5s are free (one per adult) and £12.80 for Senior Citizens. Family tickets are available at £49.00 (2 adults plus 2 children). Senior Citizens Family tickets are also available at £43.00 (2 seniors plus 2 children. Annual passes are also available. You can make savings on full price tickets by arriving by train.
Visitors who would prefer to walk can buy a pedestrian access ticket to the cavern and grounds at the West Lodge on Upperwood Road, but be prepared, the walk is steep.
The average visit lasts around five hours to see all the attractions at the Heights of Abraham which are open daily from 11th February to 26th February 2017 and 27th March to 5th November 2017. It is also open on weekends during March 2017. Opening times are 10am to 4.30pm (later during holidays).
Mining has played an important part in the development of the area. Heights of Abraham has two show caves. Grand Masson Cavern (which has a concrete floor most of the way), and the Great Rutland Cavern - Nestus Mine, where a little of the mining history of the area can be found. Nestus was the Roman name for Matlock. Lead mining started in Roman times and although it is no longer mined, several hundred people are employed directly in the local lead based industry.
From Heights of Abraham, there are spectacular panoramic views from the Prospect Tower (54 steps) where it is possible to see five counties.
Wheelchairs can usually be taken in the Cable car and part of the site is accessible. Wheelchairs cannot go down into the Great Masson Cavern, but can watch the orientation show which precedes the Masson tour.
Centrally located in Matlock Bath, the Temple Hotel is just a few hundred metres from the Tourist Information Office in Matlock Bath.
At the South end of Matlock Bath on the River side of the road is the Pavilion Building. This houses the Peak District Mining Museum. A few minutes away from this museum is the Temple mine, which is a reconstructed mine and can give an insight into the mining conditions of the early 20th Century.
Gulliver's Kingdom is a self contained theme park that is open most days during the school holidays, Saturday and Sunday in May, Friday to Sunday during most of June, Wednesday to Sunday during most of July and then weekends and selected dates in September and October. (admission in 2017 £18.95, £15.95 if you book online 2 days in advance). Children under 90cm go free ans seniors save £1.00. Nearby are the Petrifying Wells.
It is around here that bikers (who are proud of their machines) come to display them to one another.
One of the shops in Matlock Bath used to sell Denby Seconds. This closed in 2000. The Denby tableware factory is located not far away at the village of Denby (SK 39 46) which is about 20 kilometres (12 miles) south east of Matlock Bath.
In December 2001 the Derwent valley between Matlock Bath and Derby was granted World Heritage Site status and is known as the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.
On Boxing Day morning there is the annual Raft Race along the River Derwent. Usually, more than forty teams enter the race. Entrants are not limited to local clubs and individuals, but also teams from other parts of the British Isles partake in this fun race down the River Derwent.
The race starts at 10am from Cawdor Quarry in Matlock and the finish line is at Cromford Meadows.
Crowds often turn out in good numbers, no matter how bad the weather is! This is, indeed, one the the Derbyshire Dales' most popular events. Lots of flour bombs and water bombs are thrown at spectators and vice-versa. The Funds raised by this event are donated to the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
Life in a Lens - The Museum of Popular Photography and Old Times in the heart of Matlock Bath (114-118 North Parade) is now better than ever. While presenting the History of photography from 1839 onwards, they do it in a lovely Victorian setting with a gentle atmosphere and populated by a growing number of mannequins displaying Vintage dress. They now have a Victorian Teashop for visitors to enjoy. Current opening times are 11.00am - 5.00pm Saturday, Sunday and Monday. In summer opening times are 11.00am - 5.30pm Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday. Entrance is currently £1.75 for adults, £1.50 for children and £1.50 for OAPs. Opening times and more information can be found at www.lifeinalensmuseum.co.uk
Popular Derbyshire Guide Pages
This information is provided to the best of our knowledge. We have collected and collated it in good faith but we are not responsible for its accuracy and anyone intending to make use of this information is advised to check it out.
Well that's the legal stuff sorted.
Should you decline to comply with this warning, a leather winged demon of the night will soar from the deep malevolent caverns of the white peak into the shadowy moonlit sky and, with a thirst for blood on its salivating fangs, search the very threads of time for the throbbing of your heartbeat. Just thought you'd want to know that.