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18+ Interesting Things to do in Matlock & Matlock Bath (2024)

18+ Interesting Things to do in Matlock & Matlock Bath (2024)

Matlock and Matlock Bath, nestled in the Derbyshire Dales on the border of the Peak District National Park, are perfect for a day trip or long weekend.

Known for their scenic beauty, these towns offer much more than motorbikes and fish and chips, with a variety of exciting activities and attractions for all ages.

Here’s an overview of the best attractions for who:

  • 👧 Best for Kids: Gulliver’s Kingdom
  • 👨‍👩‍👦‍👦 Best for All the Family: Heights of Abraham
  • 🚂 Train & Tram Lovers: Peak Rail or Crich Tramway
  • ⛰️ Outdoor Fans: Lovers Walk or a Peak District Hike

Most touristy things are in Matlock Bath, situated between Matlock Dale, and Matlock Town. Because of this, most of the “things to do” will be in Matlock Bath, but I’ll also mention other great things to do in the surrounding area beneath it.

See a map of the vicinity of the area below:

Matlock and matlock bath on map

Top things to do in Matlock Bath

Matlock and Matlock Bath offer a range of activities for visitors. From a charming riverside promenade, family-friendly attractions, beautiful parks, and historical sites.

Offering a mix of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and entertainment for all ages.

View my top suggestions below:

1. Heights of Abraham – Cable Car, Caves & Country Park

Heights of Abraham, matlock - tower next to cable car

Address: Dale Rd, Matlock DE4 3NT

The Heights of Abraham is a must-visit attraction in Matlock Bath. Perched on the hilltop overlooking the town, the historic estate offers stunning views of the surrounding Derbyshire countryside.

To reach the Heights of Abraham, you can take a short cable car ride from the valley floor. The ride itself provides stunning panoramic views, setting the tone for the adventure ahead.

view from cable car at Heights of Abraham, matlock bath

Once at the top, there’s plenty to explore. Your ticket includes the main attractions, such as:

  • Great Masson Cavern: Guided tour through an illuminated peak cavern with knowledgeable guides, uncovering the secrets of Masson Hill.
  • Great Rutland Cavern: Journey with charming Victorian Cavern Guides to learn about the lead miners and showmen who worked underground. (The less impressive cave of the two)
  • The Long View Exhibition: 230-year story of the estate, showcasing why it has been a beloved destination for generations.
  • Masson Pavilion Exhibition Hall: Historical exhibition displaying what past visitors wore on their trips to the Heights.
  • Tinker’s Shaft: Visit the top of the hill with some of the best views to see where miners once entered the caverns below.
  • Victoria Prospect Tower: Climb the tower built in 1844 for views fit for royalty, celebrating Princess Victoria’s visit.
  • Children’s Playgrounds: Explorers Challenge and Woodland Adventure. Great playgrounds for children to enjoy.
  • Restaurant, Café & Picnic Spots: Indoor and outdoor dining options with spectacular views from the Vista Restaurant and Terrace Café.

View more info here.

Fairly expensive attraction for the Peak District, but you can save a few quid by buying the tickets online beforehand.

Pricing:

OnlineAt the Gate
Adult (aged 16 or over)£25.00£28.50
Child (aged 5 to 15 years)£17.50£21.00
Family (2 adults & 2 children)£77.00£80.00
Additional child (with family ticket)£10.00£10.00
Under 5’sFreeFree

Note: You’ll still have to wait in the same queue even if you’ve bought online beforehand. 

Warning: There are steep paths and hundreds of steps in the caves, which you may want to think about if you have mobility issues further than the main visitors center.

View more details at HeightsOfAbraham.com

2. Gulliver’s Kingdom

Guliver's kingdom Matlock Bath

Address: Temple Walk, Matlock Bath DE4 3PG

Gulliver’s Kingdom in Matlock Bath is a family-friendly theme park designed specifically for children aged 2-13.

The park offers a wide range of attractions and activities that guarantee a fun-filled day for the whole family.

Rides and Attractions

Gulliver’s Kingdom boasts an impressive array of rides catering to various age groups and thrill levels. From gentle carousels and log flumes to exciting roller coasters and water slides, there’s something for everyone.

Highlights include:

  • Log Flume: A classic water ride with splashes and thrills.
  • Pirate Ship: A swinging ride that’s a favourite among young adventurers.
  • Antelope Coaster: A family-friendly roller coaster that provides just the right amount of excitement.

Themed Areas

The park is divided into several themed areas, each with its own unique attractions and ambience. Explore the Western World, experience the thrills of the Lost Kingdom, or embark on a magical journey through Lilliput Land.

Interactive Play Areas

In addition to rides, Gulliver’s Kingdom features numerous interactive play areas where children can run, climb, and explore. The Adventure Land play area is perfect for young explorers, while the Jungle Safari provides a wild and exciting environment for imaginative play.

Shows and Entertainment

Throughout the day, the park hosts a variety of live shows and entertainment. From puppet shows to magic acts, there’s always something to keep the little ones entertained. Be sure to check the schedule upon arrival to make the most of your visit.

Facilities and Amenities

Gulliver’s Kingdom offers plenty of facilities to ensure a comfortable visit. There are numerous dining options, ranging from snack bars to family-friendly restaurants, as well as picnic areas if you prefer to bring your own food. The park also provides ample seating, baby changing facilities, and accessible pathways to accommodate all guests.

Special Events

The park hosts special events throughout the year, including seasonal celebrations, character meet-and-greets, and themed weekends. Keep an eye on the park’s website for upcoming events and plan your visit accordingly.

Pricing:

OnlineOnline Advance*
Adult / Child£26.00£20.00
Senior£24.00£18.00
Under 90cmFREEFREE
Concessionary£14.00£14.00
* For best prices, book online 2+ days in advance

Gulliver’s Kingdom is the perfect destination for a family day out, offering a mix of thrilling rides, engaging play areas, and entertaining shows. With its beautiful setting and variety of attractions, it’s sure to create lasting memories for both children and adults.

View more details at Gulliver’s Kingdom

3. Peak Rail

peak rail - train leaving station in matlock

Address: 2 Station Platform, Matlock DE4 3NA

Peak Rail offers a delightful journey back in time with its heritage railway experience, perfect for families, history enthusiasts, and train lovers visiting Matlock and Matlock Bath.

This preserved railway line operates steam and diesel train services through the stunning Derbyshire countryside, providing a unique and nostalgic adventure.

Heritage Train Rides

Step aboard a beautifully restored vintage train and enjoy a leisurely ride through the picturesque scenery of the Peak District.

The journey runs between Matlock and Rowsley South, offering a serene escape from modern life. The rhythmic chug of the steam engine and the charming carriages transport passengers to a bygone era.

The Stations

  1. Matlock Station: The starting point of your journey, conveniently located near Matlock town centre. Here, you can purchase tickets, explore the station’s historical displays, and grab a refreshment before boarding.
  2. Darley Dale Station: A quaint stop along the route, featuring a small museum, gift shop, and picnic area. It’s an ideal spot to stretch your legs and learn more about the local railway history.
  3. Rowsley South Station: The final stop, where you can explore the engine sheds, watch the trains being serviced, and enjoy a meal at the station café.

Pricing:

TICKET TYPERETURNSINGLE
Adult£15.00£8.50
Senior Citizen (Age 66 and over)£10.00£8.00
All Children under 16FREEFREE

View more information at PeakRail.co.uk

4.  Matlock Bath Aquarium & Exhibitions

Matlock Bath Aquarium

Address: 110 N Parade, Matlock Bath, Matlock DE4 3NS

Matlock Bath Aquarium & Exhibitions, located in a charming Victorian building in the heart of Matlock Bath, is a great small attraction for families.

This unique venue offers a variety of interesting exhibits and displays.

Highlights

  • Aquarium: Home to over 50 species of fish, showcasing a diverse aquatic life.
  • Hologram Collection: One of the largest public displays of holograms in Europe.
  • Thermal Pool: Featuring a famous collection of Carp
  • Petrifying Well: The only remaining petrifying well in Matlock Bath, a natural wonder not to be missed.
  • Gemstone & Fossil Display: A beautiful exhibit of gemstones and fossils from around the world.
  • Distorting Mirrors: Funhouse mirrors providing a playful and amusing experience.

Visitor Information

  • Entry Fee: £6.50 per person; children aged 4 and under enter for free.
  • Opening Hours:
    • Saturdays: 10am – 7pm
    • Sundays: 10am – 5pm
    • Weekdays: 10am – 5pm

No pre-booking is required; just pay on the door.

For more information, visit: MatlockBathAquarium.co.uk

A few doors down, there’s also the arcade and mini golf if you’re looking for more things to do in the town.

5. Lover’s Walk

lovers walk matlock bath

Address: Matlock Dale, Matlock DE4 3NR

Lovers’ Walk in Matlock Bath is a picturesque network of footpaths along the river Derwent, cliffs, and woodland paths ideal for a serene stroll. Dating back to before 1742, it is considered one of England’s oldest public pleasure grounds.

Lovers’ Walks is perfect for looping back along the other side of the river once you’ve walked the full promenade. If you follow the path all the way along, you’ll reach the train station Car Park.

There’s also a children’s playground to keep the kids entertained.

6. Derwent Gardens

Derwent Gardens along the river in Matlock bath

Address: Matlock Dale, Matlock DE4 3NR

Derwent Gardens is a charming formal park located on the southern side of the Pavilion in Matlock Bath, overlooking the River Derwent.

Known for its water features, the gardens host thermal springs that create serene water gardens, grottos, and alcoves. The perfect spot for a picnic in the town.

  • Facilities: Bandstand, children’s play area, picnic areas, and rowing boats.

Historical Significance

Derwent Gardens combines two historical areas, the Ferry Grounds and Orchard Holme, which were transformed over the centuries from a rubbish tip to a popular amusement area and, now, a peaceful public park.

7. Temple Mine & Peak District Mining Museum

Temple Mine and Peak District Mining Museum

Address: 196 S Parade, Matlock DE4 3NR

Temple Mine and the Peak District Mining Museum in Matlock Bath offer a fascinating glimpse into the region’s rich lead mining history, perfect for families and history enthusiasts alike.

Key Highlights

  • Temple Mine Tours: Guided tours of a real 1920s lead and fluorspar mine, showcasing mining techniques and life underground.
  • Mining Museum: Displays and exhibits on local mining history, tools, and minerals, providing an educational and interactive experience.
  • Hands-On Activities: Opportunities for gold panning and gemstone polishing, great for children and adults.

The museum and mine illustrate the vital role of mining in the Peak District, preserving the legacy of the miners and their communities through engaging exhibits and tours.

View more information at: PeakDistrictLeadMiningMuseum.co.uk

8. Hire a Rowing, Pedal or Electric Boat

Hire a Rowing, Pedal or Electric Boat

Address: Matlock Dale, Matlock DE4 3NR (On the bank of the River Derwent behind the Grand Pavilion)

Matlock Bath Boats offers a unique and enjoyable waterway experience on the River Derwent, perfect for families or couples looking for a romantic row.

Boat Options

  • Rowing Boats: Fit up to five people for self-guided fun on the River Derwent. Life jackets for children and buoyancy aids for adults are provided.
  • Motor Boat: Known as Meghan, this solar-powered boat is wheelchair accessible and can accommodate larger groups. Enjoy a leisurely ride with friends and family driven by a captain.
Rental Fees
  • Rowing Boat: £15 per boat (up to 5 people)
  • Pedalo: £15 for 2 people
  • Motor Boat: £5 per adult, £3 per child 

Hours: Open daily 10:00 am – 6:30 pm, including Bank Holidays. Check Facebook for seasonal updates.

View more information at: MatlockBathBoats.co.uk

9. Local Food & Drink – Fish & Chips?

fish and chip in matlock bath from Kostas Fish Bar

Matlock Bath is known for its abundance of fish and chip shops. The town’s promenade, reminiscent of a seaside resort, is lined with numerous eateries offering this classic British dish.

The popularity of fish and chips here dates back to the Victorian era when Matlock Bath became a tourist hotspot.

Recommended Spot

For delicious fish and chips, visit Kostas Fish Bar. Located conveniently in the heart of the town, Kostas offers a tasty mini fish meal with a drink for just £7 (not so mini-looking, though), making it a popular choice for locals, bikers, and tourists when I last visited.

Things to Do Near Matlock

While there is plenty to keep you busy within Matlock, there’s also plenty to explore just a short drive away, which is why I decided to include some nearby attractions:

10. Matlock Meadows

Address: Matlock Meadows, Snitterton Rd, Matlock DE4 2JG (5 Min Drive)

Matlock Meadows is a delightful, family-friendly destination known for its farm experience and ice cream parlor.

Visitors can meet and feed a variety of farm animals and enjoy homemade ice cream made from the farm’s dairy.

11. Lumsdale Falls

Lumsdale Falls near matlock

Address: Lumsdale House, Matlock DE4 5LB (4 Min Drive)

Lumsdale Falls, located in the picturesque Lumsdale Valley, offers a short but scenic walk to a beautiful waterfall.

It’s a perfect spot for a peaceful stroll and to enjoy the natural beauty of the area.

12. Hall Leys Park

Hall Leys Park in matlock

Address: Matlock, DE4 3SX (In Matlock Town)

Hall Leys Park in the center of Matlock is a well-maintained public park featuring a boating lake, playground, and café.

It’s a great spot for a relaxing afternoon with family, with plenty of space for picnics and leisurely walks.

13. Crich Tramway Village

Address: The National Tramway Museum Crich Tramway, Cromford Rd, Matlock DE4 5DP (12 Min Drive)

Crich Tramway Village is a unique museum and attraction where visitors can ride vintage trams through a recreated period village.

The village includes exhibitions, a tram depot, and beautiful countryside views.

Find out more information at Tramway.co.uk

14. Matlock Farm Park

matlock farm park

Address: Jaggers Ln, Matlock DE4 5LH (7 Min Drive)

Matlock Farm Park offers a hands-on farm experience with a variety of animals to meet, pet, and feed.

The park also features play areas, a café, and seasonal events, making it a perfect family outing.

15. Masson Mills, Cromford Mills & Cromford Canal

Masson Mills

Address: 41 Derby Rd, Matlock DE4 3PY (5 Min Drive)

These historic sites in Cromford offer a glimpse into the area’s industrial heritage.

Masson Mills and Cromford Mills feature museums and exhibits about the region’s textile history. The Cromford Canal provides scenic walks and boat trips.

View more information at: massonmills.co.uk

16. National Stone Centre

National Stone Centre

Address: Porter Ln, Wirksworth, Matlock DE4 4LS (9 Min Drive)

The National Stone Centre in Wirksworth showcases the geology, stone industry, and heritage of the Peak District.

Visitors can explore the Discovery Centre, walk along the trails, and learn about stone crafts and local geology.

For more information, visit: NationalStonecentre.org.uk

18. Walk or Hike in the Local Area

Matlock is on the edge of the Peak District, offering plenty of walking opportunities from the town itself or a short drive away.

Explore some top local picks below, or check out the best Peak District Walks article for more extensive options.

From Matlock

  • High Tor Recreation Ground – Matlock Parks Country Park, Giddy Edge: This walk takes you through the scenic High Tor Recreation Ground, offering stunning views and a thrilling path along Giddy Edge.
  • Matlock to Rowsley Cycle Path/Walk: Enjoy a pleasant walk or cycle along this well-maintained path, linking Matlock to the picturesque village of Rowsley.

Within Driving Distance of Matlock

  • Chatsworth Estate: Wander through the stunning grounds of Chatsworth House, which has beautiful gardens and extensive parkland that are perfect for a leisurely stroll.
  • Youlgreave: A charming village walk, Youlgreave offers a mix of scenic countryside and quaint village charm.
  • Carsington Water or Ogston Reservoir: Both locations provide lovely waterside walks with opportunities for bird watching and enjoying the tranquil surroundings.

Visiting Matlock and Matlock Bath FAQs

Is Matlock Bath worth visiting?

Yes, Matlock Bath is worth visiting for its scenic beauty, riverside walks, and attractions in the Derwent Valley, such as the Heights of Abraham and Gulliver’s Kingdom.

What to do with kids in Matlock Bath?

Kids will enjoy the Heights of Abraham with its cable car ride and cave tours, Gulliver’s Kingdom theme park, and the Matlock Bath Aquarium and Arcade.

Can you walk from Matlock to Matlock Bath along the river?

Yes, you can walk along a section of the river from Matlock to Matlock Bath. It’s a pleasant and scenic route. The walk is around 30 minutes.

Where can I park for free in Matlock Bath?

Free parking can be found at the car park on the main street along the promenade, though spaces may be limited, and the time you can park there is under an hour. Always check local signs for the most accurate information.

Why is Matlock Bath like the seaside?

Matlock Bath is often compared to a seaside resort due to its promenade along the River Derwent, arcades, and the nostalgic feel of its attractions and many fish and chip shops.

Which is nicer, Matlock or Matlock Bath?

Matlock offers more in terms of practical amenities and access to walks, while Matlock Bath has a unique charm with its riverside setting and tourist attractions. It depends on what you’re looking for.

What is Matlock famous for?

Matlock is famous for its beautiful parks, the Heights of Abraham, and its proximity to the Peak District, making it a hub for outdoor activities.

Are Matlock and Matlock Bath the same place?

No, Matlock and Matlock Bath are separate places, though they are close to each other. Matlock is a larger town, while Matlock Bath is a smaller village just up the valley known for its tourist appeal.

TimW93

Thursday 4th of July 2024

anyone know why matlock bath is like the seaside? never got why they say that, its nowhere near the sea lol

Anna K

Thursday 4th of July 2024

It's because of the historical tradition of inland resorts mimicking seaside towns, Tim. Matlock Bath developed as a spa town in the 19th century, much like seaside resorts, complete with promenades and amusements.

TimW93

Thursday 4th of July 2024

oh cool, cheers Anna didn't know that

Harriet W.

Tuesday 2nd of July 2024

Took the grandkids on the heritage train ride at Peak Rail. Lovely day out, highly recommend it for families.

Jazzz_89

Thursday 27th of June 2024

heard the fish n chips in Matlock Bath are supposed to make you feel like you're by the sea, but does it come with seagulls trying to steal your food? 😂

mike247

Thursday 20th of June 2024

Matlock bath is so boring nothing to do there

Gemma Louise

Monday 17th of June 2024

does anyone know if Gulliver's Kingdom is good for toddlers? wanna take my little one but not sure if its worth it.

Paula R

Thursday 4th of July 2024

Absolutely, Gemma! They've got plenty of attractions suitable for the little ones.