Family-friendly Derbyshire holiday cottages

Family-friendly Derbyshire

Whether you’re looking for a half-term family holiday that’s filled with adventure or simply fancy a weekend break from the norm, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Derbyshire. 

From outdoor adventures in the Peak District National Park to animal encounters in the National Forest, we have compiled 10 of our favourite family-friendly activities that should keep kids entertained and help you avoid the dreaded ‘I’m bored.'

Take a look at our list of some of the best child-friendly things to do in Derbyshire:

#01 Take a pony trek through the Derbyshire countryside

Pony trekking in the Peak District

Children will love taking a horse ride through the countryside with Derbyshire Pony Trekking. Rides can be tailored to individual abilities and basic tuition is given before all treks. Routes can include Poulter Country Park and Scarcliffe Park Woods and range from gentle rides through pretty woodland to thrilling fast-paced gallops. Please note: Children must be at least 4 years old to ride.

#02 Go for a picnic in the grounds of Elvaston Castle Country Park

There are more than 300 acres of woodland, lakes, parkland and gardens to explore at Elvaston Castle Country Park. You can go on a nature trail, feed the ducks or just find a scenic spot for a picnic - teddy bears optional. Children can burn off some energy at the playground and there are plenty of open spaces that are ideal for a family game of rounders.

Elvaston Castle Country Park

Elvaston Castle Country Park is very dog-friendly too so a great option if you’re bringing along the canine members of your family.

#03 Have fun on the slopes at Swadlincote Ski and Snowboard Centre

Whether you fancy skiing, snowboarding or zooming down a slide on a toboggan, there is plenty of fun to be had at the Swadlincote Ski and Snowboard Centre. You’ll find nursery, main and teaching slopes to cater for different abilities plus a range of ski and snowboard lessons to get you started.

For thrills and spills with no lessons required, head to the Cresta Run toboggan run to ride your way down the fun 500m course. There are also a couple of sno-tube slides to try which involve making your way down the slope on a large inflatable ring. 

Please note: Children must be at least 3 years old for skiing, 4 years old for tobogganing and 9 years old for snowboarding.

#04 Explore Sudbury Hall and the National Museum of Childhood

Sudbury Hall

Sudbury Hall is a National Trust site which is filled with things to keep little ones entertained. The Museum of Childhood includes games from the past such as marbles and jacks which can be played on a replica Victorian street. There’s also the chance for children to climb through a fireplace and experience life as a turn-of-the-century chimney sweep.

Outside Sudbury, there’s lots to explore too and it’s worth picking up a National Trust ‘50 things to do before you’re 11¾’ sheet to spark your children’s imagination. Dogs on leads are welcome in the grounds of Sudbury Hall - browse our range of dog-friendly holiday cottages.

#05 Have an adventure in the National Forest

In the heart of the National Forest, you’ll find a 120-acre site called Conkers which is filled with activity and adventure. Intrepid children can zoom down a thrilling 110-metre zip wire, traverse across an aerial rope course or experience the sensation of free-falling with the Powerfan Descender.

With scooter safaris, underground warrens, an indoor enchanted forest play zone, a fairy labyrinth and even a 4D cinema, there is more than enough to keep children happily entertained all day.

#06 Meet the animals at National Forest Adventure Farm

Children can get up close to animals including Shetland ponies, Herdwick sheep and donkeys at the National Forest Adventure Farm near Burton upon Trent. Little ones can learn how to groom a pony, handle a guinea pig and collect up some freshly laid eggs before taking a tractor ride to spot Highland cows and reindeer at this popular Derbyshire attraction. 

Family Friendly Peak District

The large Peak District site also features go-karting, mini quad bikes, a giant Jurassic sandpit, jumping pillows and crazy golf for hours of family-friendly fun.

#07 Swing through the trees at Buxton

If your children like a challenge then the Go Ape treetop challenge at Buxton is one of the highest in the country. It features an extra-large Tarzan Swing plus a specially extended course with additional zip wires and a tree to tree section to tackle.

The course should take around 2 hours to complete and is suitable for children aged 10 and above. 

#08 Take a trip back in time at Crich Tramway Village

For a gentler day out, we recommend heading to Crich Tramway Village where you can enjoy unlimited rides on a vintage tram and explore a recreated period street which includes a good old-fashioned sweet shop and traditional village pub.

Family friendly Derbyshire attractions

The Matlock site also features a lovely woodland section with wooden walkways, mining tunnels, sculptures trail, picnic area and outdoor playground. Children can even borrow a special backpack for the duration of the visit which is filled with fun activities for them to try.

#09 Learn some water sports at Carsington Water

Family friendly Derbyshire

Carsington Water is a large Derbyshire reservoir which makes an ideal spot for learning a range of water sports including windsurfing, kayaking and paddleboarding.

Taster lessons are available so you can try out the various activities plus family tuition sessions mean you can all learn a new sport together.

If you don’t fancy hitting the water you can hire a bike and pedal around the scenic cycling trails at Carsington Water which link to the popular Tissington Trail.

#10 Find dinosaurs at Gulliver’s Kingdom

Gulliver’s Kingdom is a family-friendly Derbyshire theme park that has been specially designed for children aged between 2 and 13. There are more than 60 rides and attractions to choose from including a pirate’s play area and a log flume that makes the most of stunning Peak District views. 

One of the highlights at Gulliver’s Kingdom is the Lost World of the Living Dinosaurs attraction which features 13 animatronic dinosaurs for children to seek out.

Book your family-friendly holiday to Derbyshire

Ready for a fun-filled Derbyshire holiday? Take a look at our range of family-friendly Derbyshire holiday cottages and start planning your next getaway to this beautiful part of the UK.

Dove Valley Cottage
Dove Valley Cottage in Hartington


For even more inspiration, take a look at 8 outdoor activities to try in the Peak District and our guide to Peak District historic houses and castles.

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