things to do in derby

Last Updated on: 1st February 2024, 04:00 am

Hello, and welcome to Derby! If you’re looking for some exciting and fun activities to do in the city, you’ve come to the right place. Derby is a vibrant, bustling city that has a wealth of attractions and sights to explore. Whether you’re a history buff, nature lover, or thrill-seeker, there’s something for everyone in Derby. Here, you can explore the top attractions and immerse yourself in the local culture, all while having a great time. So, let’s dive in and discover some of the best things to do in Derby!

If you’re wondering what Derby attractions to put on your list first, don’t worry. We’ve got you covered! In this article, we’ll explore some of the most exciting things to do in Derby, from museum visits to theme park fun, and much more. So, grab a cup of tea, and let’s get started on our journey to explore Derby together!

Uncover the City’s History at Derby Museum and Art Gallery

Are you curious about the history of Derby? Look no further than the Derby Museum and Art Gallery. Here, you can explore the fascinating exhibits that chronicle the city’s rich past and present.

The museum’s collection is diverse and showcases an array of topics. Learn about the industrial revolution and the role Derby played in it, or explore the natural history section and marvel at the local flora and fauna. Additionally, art enthusiasts will appreciate the impressive art collection that features works from both local and international artists.

The History of Derby

Delve into the history of Derby and discover how it became the thriving city it is today. From the Romans to the Saxons, and from the Vikings to the Normans; each era is represented in the museum’s exhibits. Discover how Derby played a crucial role in the Industrial Revolution and learn about the innovations that took place in the local factories.

The Art of Derby

Discover the artistic heritage of Derby, the birthplace of noted 18th-century painter Joseph Wright. Admire the museum’s extensive collection of paintings and sculptures, which provide a comprehensive representation of the artistic history of Derby.

“I was impressed by the variety of exhibits and how well they were presented. The museum is a must-see attraction, especially for anyone interested in art or the history of Derby.” – Sarah, London

Visit Derby Museum and Art Gallery

The museum is located in the heart of Derby, within walking distance of the city centre. Admission is free, although donations are welcome. Take a guided tour or explore the exhibits at your own pace. A visit to the Derby Museum and Art Gallery is an excellent way to experience the rich history and vibrant culture of Derby.

Enjoy Thrills and Fun at Alton Towers Resort

For an adrenaline-filled adventure, head to the Alton Towers Resort. Located just a short drive from Derby, this world-class theme park near Derby offers a wide range of thrill rides and attractions. From roller coasters to water slides, there’s something for all ages at Alton Towers.

theme park

Rides and Attractions

Alton Towers has an impressive selection of rides and attractions, from the hair-raising Oblivion, which sends you plummeting into a black hole at breakneck speed, to the stomach-churning loops of the Nemesis roller coaster. For those who prefer water rides, there’s the Galactica VR coaster and the Wickerman wooden coaster featuring thrilling fire effects.

If you’re looking for something a little less intense, the park offers a host of family-friendly rides and attractions. Take a relaxing stroll through the Alton Towers Gardens, visit the CBeebies Land area for interactive fun with your favorite characters, or check out the exciting Rollercoaster Restaurant where your food is delivered by a roller coaster.

Accommodation and Dining

To make the most of your visit to Alton Towers, stay at one of the resort’s themed hotels or woodland lodges. From the enchanted Alton Towers Hotel to the pirate-themed Swashbucklin’ Stu’s, there’s a hotel to suit every taste. Plus, with a range of restaurants and dining options, you’ll never go hungry at Alton Towers.

Plan Your Visit

Planning a trip to Alton Towers? Check the resort’s website for up-to-date information on opening hours, ticket prices, and special events. For the ultimate experience, consider upgrading to a Fast Track Pass so you can skip the queues and ride your favorite attractions again and again.

Explore the Natural Beauty of Derbyshire Dales

When it comes to experiencing the great outdoors, the Derbyshire Dales is a must-visit destination that is sure to captivate with its stunning natural beauty. Located just a short distance away from Derby, this picturesque area is home to the breathtaking Peak District, making it the perfect choice for nature enthusiasts and countryside lovers.

With an abundance of trails and paths for hiking, cycling and walking, visitors can enjoy the stunning scenery at their own pace. Take in the rolling hills, cascading waterfalls and expansive meadows, as the fresh air and gentle breeze invigorates your senses. For those willing to explore more of the area, there are also charming villages, historical sites and local attractions to discover.

For visitors who love nothing more than the peace and tranquillity of a picnic amidst the beautiful surroundings, Derbyshire Dales is the perfect destination. Lay out a blanket, unpack your favourite snacks and enjoy a relaxing day out in the sunshine. Be sure to take your camera along too, since the photo opportunities here are truly endless.

The Derbyshire Dales is a playground for nature lovers, with countryside walks that offer awe-inspiring views, a peaceful atmosphere, and a chance to connect with nature. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a leisurely stroll, the Derbyshire Dales and Peak District have something to offer everyone. Reward yourself with a well-deserved break in one of the quaint and cosy pubs and restaurants that serve delicious, locally produced food and drinks.

Discover the Magnificent Chatsworth House

If you’re visiting Derby, don’t miss the opportunity to step back in time and marvel at the grandeur of Chatsworth House. This stately home, located in the heart of the beautiful Peak District, is a true masterpiece of architecture and design.

As you explore the opulent interiors, you’ll be transported to another era and surrounded by history and elegance. Admire the stunning art collection, which features works by great masters such as Rembrandt, Veronese, and Van Dyck.

No trip to Chatsworth House is complete without strolling through the magnificently landscaped gardens, which cover 105 acres of land. Here, you can admire the stunning fountains, maze and rock garden, kitchen garden, and the famous water cascade.

gardens in Derbyshire

Chatsworth House is more than just a grand estate; it’s an experience. The combination of a magnificent house and stunning gardens makes it a must-visit attraction near Derbyshire, perfect for visitors of all ages.

Get a Taste of History at Derby Cathedral Quarter

Step back in time as you explore the charming Derby Cathedral Quarter. This historic area is brimming with stunning architecture, independent shops, and unique cafes offering the perfect place to spend an afternoon.

Take a leisurely stroll through the cobbled streets and soak up the ambiance. Admire the iconic, medieval Derby Cathedral, a masterpiece of English Perpendicular Gothic architecture, and one of the city’s most recognized landmarks.

Interesting Facts about Derby Cathedral Quarter:
The area was established in Roman times, and many of the buildings date back to the middle ages
The only way to see inside the Cathedral Cafe is to visit the cathedral itself
There are more than 100 independent shops in the area, selling everything from artisanal food to antiques

For a spot of shopping, explore the unique boutiques offering an array of goods, from handmade jewelry to books, records, and vintage fashion. Take time to relax in one of the quaint cafes, enjoy a hot drink and indulge in delicious homemade cakes.

The Derby Cathedral Quarter is a must-visit for those interested in historic architecture and independent shopping.

Enjoy Family-Friendly Fun at Derby Quad

As someone who loves spending time with my family, I highly recommend visiting Derby Quad for a fun day out suitable for all ages. This vibrant arts center offers a wide range of family activities that are sure to keep everyone entertained and engaged.

One of the main attractions of Derby Quad is the cinema. Whether you love the latest blockbuster hits or more obscure independent films, you’re sure to find something to enjoy here. The cinema is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and comfortable seating, providing an immersive experience for movie-goers.

In addition to the cinema, Derby Quad also offers a variety of workshops and exhibitions that are perfect for families. Let your creative side run wild and participate in a hands-on art workshop, or explore one of the fascinating exhibitions on display.

Derby Quad Cinema

The friendly staff at Derby Quad are always on hand to help you make the most of your day out. They can offer recommendations, answer any questions you may have, and help you navigate the center’s many offerings.

I highly recommend visiting Derby Quad for a fun day out with the family. With its friendly atmosphere and range of family-friendly activities, it’s sure to be a hit with everyone.

Experience the Thrill of Racing at Derby Racecourse

If you’re a fan of horse racing, you won’t want to miss the excitement of a day at Derby Racecourse. Located near the city center, this historic racecourse has been hosting some of the most thrilling races in the UK since its establishment in 1780.

With a buzzing atmosphere and stunning views of the surrounding countryside, Derby Racecourse is the perfect venue for a day of excitement and entertainment.

Whether you’re a seasoned horse racing enthusiast or new to the sport, there’s plenty to enjoy at Derby Racecourse. Place your bets on your favorite horses and watch them thunder down the track towards the finish line. With a variety of races and betting options available, there’s never a dull moment at this iconic racecourse.

Don’t forget to indulge in the delicious refreshments available at the various food and drink stalls dotted around the course. From classic fish and chips to gourmet burgers and hot dogs, there’s something to satisfy every craving.

Experience the magic of Derby Racecourse for yourself and witness the adrenaline-fueled action of horse racing up close.

Discover the Quirky Charm of Ashbourne

As I explored the surrounding areas of Derby, I stumbled upon the charming market town of Ashbourne. Located just a short drive from Derby, this town is home to an array of unique and quirky shops.

Walking down the quaint streets of Ashbourne, I was delighted to find an eclectic mix of independent stores, from artisan bakeries to vintage clothing shops. These shops add to the character and charm of Ashbourne, making it a great destination for shoppers and those looking for something different.

If you’re a fan of markets, don’t miss the weekly market in Ashbourne’s historic marketplace. The market offers a variety of goods, from local produce to handmade crafts, and is a great way to support the local community.

Overall, Ashbourne’s relaxed atmosphere, coupled with its unique shops, make it a hidden gem worth exploring.

market town Ashbourne

Experience Arts and Culture at Derby Theatre

If you’re a fan of live performances, drama, and the arts, a visit to Derby Theatre is a must. Located in the heart of Derby, this vibrant venue showcases a diverse program of shows that are sure to entertain and inspire. Whether you’re into classic plays, innovative productions, or musical performances, Derby Theatre has something for everyone.

With its state-of-the-art facilities and excellent reputation, the theatre attracts local and national talent. From up-and-coming stars to established professionals, you’ll witness some of the best performances in the UK at the Derby Theatre. Immerse yourself in the world of drama and experience the magic of live theatre.

“The power of drama is real, and the experience of being in a theatre is something unique and precious. At Derby Theatre, we strive to bring the best productions to our audiences, and we’re proud to be a hub for arts and culture in Derby.”

Why Visit Derby Theatre?

Derby Theatre offers a lively and engaging atmosphere that will transport you to another world. The venue is welcoming and inclusive, and the friendly staff will ensure that you have an excellent experience. Plus, with a wide range of shows, there’s always something new to explore. Whether you’re a frequent theatre-goer or a newbie, a visit to Derby Theatre is an experience not to be missed.

The Showstoppers: One Night Only

Don’t miss The Showstoppers: One Night Only, a fantastic evening of improvised musical theatre. This exciting production takes place on July 24th and promises to be a night to remember. The Showstoppers are known for their ability to create a unique, one-of-a-kind musical on the spot, based on audience suggestions. This is a must-see production for music and theatre lovers alike.

Show Date Time
Everybody’s Talking About Jamie 11-16 October 2021 7:30 pm
The Cat and the Canary 26-31 October 2021 7:30 pm
The Snow Queen 4 December 2021 – 9 January 2022 Various

Check out the upcoming shows at Derby Theatre and book your tickets today. Don’t miss out on the chance to witness some of the best live performances in the UK.


In summary, I hope this guide has given you a taste of the exciting things to do in Derby City, England. With its rich history, stunning natural landscapes, and vibrant cultural scene, there’s never a dull moment in this bustling city. From exploring the Derby Museum and Art Gallery to experiencing the thrill of horse racing at Derby Racecourse, there’s an activity to suit every taste.

Don’t forget to visit the charming market town of Ashbourne and immerse yourself in the quirky charm of its independent shops and weekly market. Or catch a live performance at the Derby Theatre and witness the talent of local and national performers.

Whatever you choose to do, I guarantee you’ll create unforgettable memories in Derby, UK. So why not pack your bags and explore all that this vibrant city has to offer?


What are some of the top things to do in Derby City, England, UK?

There are plenty of exciting activities to enjoy in Derby City. You can explore the rich history at Derby Museum and Art Gallery, experience the thrills of Alton Towers Resort, immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Derbyshire Dales, visit the magnificent Chatsworth House, discover the charm of Derby Cathedral Quarter, enjoy family-friendly fun at Derby Quad, experience the thrill of horse racing at Derby Racecourse, explore the quirks of Ashbourne, and indulge in arts and culture at Derby Theatre.

What can I expect at Derby Museum and Art Gallery?

Derby Museum and Art Gallery showcases the vibrant history and artistic heritage of the city. You can learn about the industrial revolution, explore the natural history section, and admire the impressive art collection. It’s a fascinating place to uncover the stories of Derby’s past and present.

Can you tell me more about Alton Towers Resort?

Alton Towers Resort is a world-class theme park located near Derby. It offers a range of thrilling rides and attractions for all ages. From roller coasters to water slides, there’s plenty of fun and excitement to be had at Alton Towers.

What can I do in the Derbyshire Dales?

The Derbyshire Dales is a beautiful area perfect for outdoor activities. You can go hiking and cycling, enjoy scenic walks through the countryside, visit charming villages, and take in the breathtaking views of the Peak District.

What makes Chatsworth House worth visiting?

Chatsworth House is a magnificent stately home with stunning gardens. It offers a glimpse into the grandeur of the past with its opulent interiors, beautifully landscaped gardens, and world-class art collection. It’s a must-visit attraction near Derby.

What should I expect in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter?

Derby’s Cathedral Quarter is a historic area with beautiful architecture, independent shops, and quaint cafes. You can take a leisurely stroll through the cobbled streets, admire the medieval Derby Cathedral, and explore the unique boutiques for a delightful shopping experience.

What can I do at Derby Quad?

Derby Quad is a vibrant arts center that offers a range of activities for all ages. You can watch the latest films at the cinema, participate in workshops, and explore the exhibitions. It’s a great place to enjoy some family-friendly fun and get creative.

What can I expect at Derby Racecourse?

Derby Racecourse is an exciting venue for horse racing enthusiasts. You can place bets, soak up the electric atmosphere, and witness the thrilling races. It’s a must-visit for anyone looking for a day of excitement and adrenaline.

What makes Ashbourne worth a visit?

Ashbourne is a charming market town near Derby. It offers a quaint atmosphere, with independent shops and a weekly market. It’s a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city and enjoy a relaxed day out.

What can I experience at Derby Theatre?

Derby Theatre is a vibrant cultural hub that hosts a variety of live performances. From dramas to musical productions, you can witness the talent of local and national performers. It’s a great place to immerse yourself in the arts scene and enjoy a night of entertainment.