Matlock is the county town of Derbyshire within the Peak District National Park which was once famed for being a fashionable spa town in the 19th century - its hydro spa treatments were widely renowned.
The town began as a collection of small villages centred around the impressive church which still stands today. In 1698, thermal springs were discovered but it wasn’t until 1818, when access to the area became easier, that these were developed as a way for people to enjoy them. It became a place for wealthy Victorians to come and ‘take to the waters’ and through a fashionable reputation, a popular tourist resort.
With the arrival of the railway in the 1870s, came an increase of people to the town. The faster form of transport opened up gateways between Matlock and the Derby and Nottingham areas meaning Matlock saw more visitors bringing money and tourism to the town. Whilst this was a positive injection for the town, it was no longer just for the elite, and the focus on thermal spas became diluted with other tourist attractions such as cable car rides and theme parks. The progress and development of the town was exciting for the locals.
Today, this attractive market town continues to be popular with returning visitors who come year after year to enjoy the charismatic culture and welcoming atmosphere. Being situated amongst the most picturesque countryside, you get the best of both worlds when you come and visit Matlock. The town is split between Matlock and Matlock Bath. Matlock boasts beautiful old Victorian stone houses which extend up the hillside from the river in tidy rows; it is a calm and peaceful place surrounded by lots of greenery and gardens. Matlock Bath has a more frivolous air, reminiscent of that of a 1920s seaside resort town. The two towns complement each other perfectly and visitors here can’t fail to be impressed with the variety and range of amenities and attractions.
Here are 5 reasons to visit the town of Matlock in the Peak District…
The charismatic town and local culture
There is no better way to soak up the culture in a new place than to walk the streets that so many have walked before. Like all historic towns, there are old parts and new parts and there is nothing more fun than to take a few hours to explore the different alleyways and lanes to see what you can find. Independent shops, cafés, pubs and restaurants cluster around Crown Square with many serving outside in the warmer months, so make sure you take a break and enjoy a refreshment amongst your fellow holiday makers.
Make your way out from the centre and discover unique boutiques and gift shops, as well as independent food stores and bakeries ready to serve you the best local produce. Have a beer in a local pub where the staff are friendly or locate a takeaway on the nights where you just don’t want to cook! You can find everything to satisfy every need you may have on your holiday to Matlock.
The family-friendly vibes represented well by Hall Leys Park
Located in the centre of Matlock, this country park is listed amongst the leading parks in the UK and boasts six Green Flag Awards! It is no wonder it is such a popular destination within Matlock with its boating lake, riverside walks, tennis courts and skateboard park.
Hall Leys is the first of five beautifully restored public parks stretching along the Derwent to Matlock Bath - a scenic option for a leisurely stroll, picnics and family days out. The park hosts a busy calendar of festivals and events throughout the year inviting everyone to enjoy different occasions in its spacious settings.
- There is a miniature railway that takes the little ones on an adventure around the park. Don’t worry, it goes at a slow pace making it easy for the parents to walk alongside - but equally, you can hop on too!
- There is a children’s boating area and interactive play area with plenty of fun structures to slide down and hang off – great for burning off energy.
- There is a café for refreshments and a hit of caffeine and cake which is much needed after chasing the kids around.
- The park hosts a busy calendar of festivals and events throughout the year inviting everyone to enjoy different occasions in its spacious setting.
The adventure park: Gulliver’s Kingdom in Matlock Bath
Gulliver's Kingdom is a family-run theme park that celebrates ‘big adventures for little people’ making it a family-friendly attraction for those looking for an alternative day out. With over 60 rides and additional play areas for toddlers, it is perfect for families with younger children who aren’t quite ready to hit Alton Towers!
Older children will enjoy it too with the giant water slide being a fun excuse to get the parents wet, a huge pirate ship and the ever-popular JCB Zone where children can operate one of the iconic yellow diggers.
Highlight: There is a chairlift that helps you travel between the lower and higher parts of Gulliver's Kingdom, making the whole experience one like no other! Parents will enjoy this peaceful moment of calm whilst floating along a sky-high woodland channel.
Location: Matlock Bath, DE4 3PG. Visit their website for opening times and prices.
Matlock's wide variety of attractions
There is a wonderful array of attractions within Matlock and the surrounding area, so whether you are into history, exploring, learning or admiring gardens, there is something for everyone here.
Take a trip on one of the most famous cable cars in the UK and reach the Heights of Abraham, a unique summit which has been visited by thousands since 1780. Learn something new in the Crich Tramway Village, which is a family visitor attraction and home to the National Tramway Museum. Take a trip back in time and ride vintage trams into the open countryside. There's an enchanting woodland walk, sculpture trail, tearoom, gift shop, children's play areas, exhibitions and a gallery.
For some time with nature, head to Lumsdale Valley - a special and precious historic ancient woodland which can be explored peacefully on foot. Search carefully and you will find a beautiful waterfall, one of the Peak District's hidden gems that not everyone knows about. And for those who are on a romantic break, take a stroll along Lover’s Walk in Matlock Bath, a peaceful route that takes you beside the river, through pretty gardens, and offers nice views.
Visit some animals at Matlock Farm Park
Matlock Farm Park is a family-friendly open farm, providing a great day out with varied activities for all the family. Everyone will come away from a day here with a smile on their face! There are specially designed playgrounds and even a go-kart track for the kids and many places for the adults to relax if they wish. Group party bookings and children's birthday parties are also catered for, so if someone is celebrating a birthday during your break this would be a great option. There is a licensed cafe serving hot food, a classroom and a gift shop. Horse riding lessons and pony trekking are also available with prior booking.
Animals you will find at the park:
Every holiday needs some animal fun!
Location: Jaggers Lane Near Two Dales Matlock, Matlock DE4 5LH
If you have been inspired to visit Matlock, make sure you browse our range of Matlock holiday cottages. With a variety of different sizes, we will have something to suit your family holiday, romantic mini break or group gathering. We even have a range of dog-friendly homes too so make sure you don’t leave him behind!