Derbyshire is full of charming historical sites, food and drink events, and fascinating geological sites. Nestled among these timeless attractions are a range of holiday cottages and quaint rentals which are just waiting to be secured. For your trip to Derbyshire, browse through our selection of holiday rentals, including thousands of holiday cottages and traditional bed and breakfasts on Tripadvisor or Airbnb, and ensure your stay in this quintessential English county will be unforgettable.
Find an apartment rental for your holiday in Derbyshire
Visit Derbyshire: the home of the rarest gemstone in the world!
A fantastic county right in the heart of the English countryside, there isn't a side of Derbyshire that you won't love. From the lush green rolling hills, complete with their ancient, cobblestone walls and wild moorlands, to the historic town centres and fascinating church spires, every little corner of this county is exciting and appealing. The home of the Peak District, Derbyshire also happens to be the site of the rarest gemstone in the world: the Derbyshire Blue John, found in only two caves in the county. The perfect place for hikers, climbers, families, cyclists, history lovers, and geology enthusiasts alike.
Best time to visit Derbyshire
Derbyshire is a diverse county, and there are plenty of things to do whether you choose to visit during the summer, winter, or anywhere in between. Situated in the middle of the UK, the county is blessed with a fairly temperature climate, which means during the summer it is typically warm rather than hot, and the winter is cool rather than cold. Plus, being so far from the see means travellers are sheltered from the cold winds that blow over the ocean. However, the weather can be unpredictable – as with the rest of the country – and it can be possible to see all four seasons in one day.
During the winter it is possible to see snowfall, especially as some of the areas can be quite hilly with high altitudes, and there is an average amount of rain throughout the year, so it's always best to prepare for wet weather and bring a raincoat.
Overall, the hottest month of the year undoubtedly is July, while January is typically the coldest. So, if you're looking for a nice walk through the countryside and picnics in the sunshine, then visit between June and August. But if you're looking forward to cosying up by a winter fire in your self-catered holiday cottage after a day wandering through the countryside under the crisp winter sun, then November through to February is your best bet.
How to get to Derbyshire
Right in the heart of the English midland's countryside, Derbyshire is relatively easy to get to via both car and train. If you're travelling down from the north of England, such as Leeds or Newcastle, the most accessible routes are via the M1 which is just a straight drive down until you hit Derbyshire, taking roughly 3 hours. If you have chosen a holiday apartment in Manchester then you are staying in the gateway to this natural kingdom, and day trips which feel a million miles from the city take only one and a half hours on the road. Similarly, a holiday rental in Sheffield will place you just an hour away from Derbyshire's verdant centre. An apartment rental in Nottingham is only a 20 minute train journey from Derby, meaning you can easily escape the city and immerse yourself in Derbyshire's organic greenery for the day. Similarly, accommodation in Leicester is only 45 minutes away.
From Scotland, there are a few options: either the A1 or M6 from Edinburgh's direction, or the M6 from Glasgow. These are the easiest and quickest routes, although if you want to take a more scenic trip down to Derbyshire, then you can find some of the smaller A roads – like the A56 and the A65 – and drive past the beautiful Lake District and Yorkshire Dales. From the south, such as Brighton and Bournemouth, which are nestled nicely along the south coast, then the M1 is still the most natural choice.
If you'd rather watch the countryside fly by without the hassle of driving, Derbyshire is very well connected with several train lines. The central city of Derby has main links with London, Nottingham, Leicester, Manchester, Birmingham, and Sheffield via Virgin Trains, Midland Mainline, Network Rail, and Central Trains. The country is also served with excellent coach and bus networks running frequently. Through Arriva Buses, Trent Barton, and the National Express, visitors can access Derbyshire from all over the UK. Plus, if you're travelling from further afield, Manchester, Sheffield, and East Midlands airport are all right next to Derbyshire.
Where to stay in Derbyshire
The main town of Derbyshire, no visit to the beautiful county is complete without a stay in a B&B rental in Derby. Here, visitors can find the Derby Museum and Art Gallery, with its works by Joseph Wright of Derby from the 1700s, as well as the Pickford House Museum in the historic cathedral quarter. Plus, Derby also happens to be one of the best places in the county for a countryside pub crawl, serving up the best choice of ales at pubs than anywhere else in the entire country.
First established during the Roman Empire, Buxton has been a favourite for tourist for centuries, although it was during the late 18th century that it really hit its stride. This is when the fifth Duke of Devonshire installed several projects throughout the town, such as the Crescent – designed by James Carr – sitting next to St. Ann's Well where water is naturally found at 27.5 degrees. If you're interested in geology, there's also Poole's Cavern, a limestone cave that has been around for over two million years.
Chesterfield is where travellers can find the famous twisted, leaning spire of St. Mary and All Saints, first added to the church during the 1300s. The entire market town is set on a hilltop, which means beautiful views are stretching for miles – including of the Hardwick Hall, where the richest woman in Elizabethan England (after the Queen) once lived.
Home to the Bakewell Tart, Bakewell is the only market town in all of Derbyshire that's found in the boundaries of National Park. The town is home to many stone buildings and grand courtyards, a disused railway line, several great hiking and trail routes around the limestone dales, and the iconic bridge over the River Wye, first constructed in 1254. Oh, and there are plenty of luxury holiday rentals to match.
One of the best places in Derbyshire to find a quiant holiday cottage is Castleton, nestled between the Dark Peak and the greener White Peak. It's a tourist hotspot without feeling too busy, thanks to the Blue John Cavern and Treak Cliff Cavern – the only places in the world to find the Derbyshire Blue John semi-precious stone. There's a visitor centre, and the Mam Tor, the site of an Iron Age fort, as well as the ruins of Peveril Castle. All the makings of a typical English countryside town.
Tucked away in the northeast of Derbyshire is the charming little coalmining town of Bolsover. The town itself suffered slightly during the 80s and 90s following the shutdown of the mines, but now it's getting back on its feet thanks to the stunning countryside that surrounds it and the warm and friendly people that live there. Just a few miles from Matlock and Chesterfield, it couldn't feel any more different, with its Norman fortress castle and the Creswell Crags only 10 minutes away. In fact, why not rent a self-catering cottage right next to the castle to really enjoy the views?
What to do in Derbyshire
One of the last remaining Elizabethan mansions in the UK to retain most of its original features, Hardwick Hall was first designed by esteemed architect Robert Smythson who ensured the estate was installed with fully glazed windows (a luxury at the time), magnificent tapestries, and a number of oil paintings of long-forgotten Elizabethan-style celebrities.
St. Mary & All Saints Church
A beautiful church set in the fields near Chesterfield, St. Mary and All Saints Church is famous for the 68m-high crooked spire, twisted in a corkscrew shape leaning in a south-westerly direction. The lean is caused by the south-facing side having been weakened in the sun, and tours are running Monday through to Saturday that take travellers up into the tower where they can see the lean for themselves.
Royal Crown Derby Factory
The pottery factories at Derby are the oldest remaining English porcelain manufacturer, and to this day they are still creating beautiful works of art. From the type of bone china your grandparents collect for their display cabinets, to edgy designs more at home in a student flat, there's something for everyone. The Royal Crown Derby Factory hosts tours where guests can learn all about the history of the company, which includes a visit to the museum.
Ice Age Cave Dwellings
Just outside of Worksop, on Crags Road, there is a limestone gorge surrounded by cliffs and full of caves. Known officially as the Creswell Crags, the series of caves offers a truly unique look into the history of the Upper Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Bronze, and Roman ages. The entire site is protected as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, complete with a museum where visitors can see first-hand fossils, bones, and artefacts from the different periods.
The manor house home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, Chatsworth House has been the family home of the Cavendish family for half a century, since they first moved in in 1549. The house is surrounded by 105 acres of beautiful gardens, with a two-mile long wall around the edge. In 2006, Chatsworth House was used to film some scenes in Pride and Prejudice, doubling as Mr Darcy's estate.
Blue John Cavern
The home of one of the rarest mineral mines in the world, the Blue John Cavern is full of rippling stone formations and stalagmites, and during the winter miners head down to its depth and harvest the rare Derbyshire Blue John. A semi-precious stone coloured with yellow and blue crystalline bands, it can be found in two caves in the entire world – and this is one of them.
Chesterfield Museum & Art Gallery
Chesterfield is famous for once being a Roman fort, and its history since then is just as fascinating. An engaging local museum the Chesterfield Museum and Art Gallery was first established in 1994 in a building originally built in 1879, and it contains all the information any budding historian and traveller could wish for about the town of Chesterfield – including the crooked spired church at St. Mary and All Saints Church.
Originally built over 300 years ago in 1703, Calke Abbey was the home for any eccentric and reclusive baronets, which means it's now a lot of fun to go and explore. Full of rooms crammed with furniture, dusty books, stuffed birds around every corner, mounted animal heads and more, all dating back hundreds of years. Some of the rooms have been completely renovated and restored to their original condition, while others have been left exactly as they were found, which makes for a quirky visit.
Right on the top of a burial mound created during the Bronze Age, Solomon's Temple provides the best views over the Peak District that can be found. A 20-foot-tall tower, it was first built in 1896 and marked the summit of Grin Low Hall. The burial site was excavated in 1894 when four skeletons were discovered, as well as artefacts from the Bronze Age.