What to do
For stunning views over the Derwent Valley, take the cable car 554ft up to the Heights of Abraham
, developed in the 1780s as a pleasure ground. There are two excellent play areas for kids at the top, 60 acres of woodland to explore, and a fossil area, home to a giant ichthyosaur fossil. Join a guided tour down into the caverns, to find out about 17th-century lead mining and learn about the 350-million-year history of the caves.
Where to stay
The New Bath Hotel & Spa
recently underwent some serious renovation, and has reopened as a four-star boutique hotel. Rooms are spacious and stylish, there’s a good, innovative restaurant and a small spa with hot tub, sauna and steam room.
Where to eat
One of the many idiosyncrasies of Matlock Bath is the seaside promenade-style High Street, belying the fact this is one of the furthest points from the sea in the country. There are numerous fish and chip shops here; grab a bag and sit by the riverbank.
It’s about 20 minutes drive away, but it’s well worth the (beautiful) journey to visit Chatsworth House
. The seat of the Duke of Devonshire, you might know it better from the 2005 film version of Pride and Prejudice. It’s just undergone a £32m restoration.
If the prospect of one of the largest displays of holograms in Europe isn’t enough to draw you into Matlock Bath Aquarium
, then maybe seeing the only remaining petrifying well in the village will tempt you. What was once the Victorian thermal spa pool, where visitors came from far and wide to bathe in the waters to cure rheumatism and digestive problems, is now a carp pool. There’s also an exhibition on the past of Matlock Bath as well as a collection of gemstones and fossils.