The ultimate guide to visiting Derby

Sunday, 1 October 2023

Derby is a vibrant and cultured city thanks to a rich history, but in recent years it has quickly grown to boast an array of modern architecture to. With so much to see and do in the UK’s most central city, you’ll leave the heart of England on a high.

If you’re a visitor to Derby or just curious about this city, this guide will be full of useful information for your trip. Whether you’re travelling as a group, family, couple or solo, there are lots to do, see, eat and drink. Even if you live in Derby or nearby, this guide might give you a glimpse of what else the city has to offer – so don’t forget to book your train to Derby today.

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Things to see and do in Derby

You won’t be short of things to do if you do choose to visit Derby. With a wide array of attractions to fit all types of travellers, Derby boasts expansive gardens just outside the city centre, with a scattering of truly incredible historic archticture to explore too.

Days out for solo travellers

Pride Park Stadium

If you’re into your football, you won’t want to miss out on visiting Pride Park, the home of Derby County. You’ll get access all areas access to the home and away changing rooms, dug out area, tunnel and Derby County’s trophy cabinet. Find out more about Pride Park Stadium tours.

Shop ‘til you drop

Derby’s Cathedral Quarter is one of the best places to go on a shopping spree. It offers both a memorable shopping experience and plenty of stores to browse. The Cathedral Quarter is home to shops, spas, salons, a vibrant market and a tonne of top-notch pubs, cafes and restaurants. Throughout the year, there are numerous entertaining events taking place around you as you wander through the historic cobbled streets.

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Travelling with Friends

Museum of Making

Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill is a great attraction to visit as a group. Showcasing the region’s 300 year history, and the bespoke trail has over 30,000 amazing collections to view, with some more hands on parts of the tour to enjoy.

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Days out for couples

Derby River Boat Trips

Jump aboard and learn about the river, its animals and Derby's history. You can also relax on the open deck while taking in the views of Darley Park, the Museum of Making and the Derwent Valley. The onboard café serves hot and cold beverages, plus food. See more about Derby river boat trips.

Markeaton Park

Markeaton Park

For romantic walks together, Markeaton Park is an excellent area to stroll with its smooth meandering pathway. There is also a craft village where you can stop for a break, get an ice cream and relax in the cafe. To get here from the station you simply need to jump on the bus from Victoria Street (Stop B4) on the bus heading to Allestree.

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Days out with the family

Derby Theatre

Image © Derby Theatre

Derby Theatre

Devoted to teaching, Derby Theatre believes performances have the power to transform lives. With a lengthy and significant theatrical heritage, Derby Theatre collaborates with the University of Derby. They create original plays and projects, work with local artists and community members and welcome higher education students.

Alter Rock Climbing Centre

Derby's top location for learning climbing techniques is the Alter Rock Indoor Climbing Centre . You can advance from an absolute beginner to an instructor while facing challenges on more than 600 square metres of bouldering and climbing walls. They also provide a variety of entertaining activities for people of all ages and skill levels, such as swinging through the Air Walk aerial assault course or crawling through the Labyrinth Cave.

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Where to eat

Derby has plenty of fantastic eateries no matter what you’re looking for. From fine dining experiences perfect for couples, to more casual dining options for those looking for a light bite, there’s something for everyone.

The Wonky Table

The Wonky Table restaurant offers a unique blend of friendly service, fantastic food and a slightly eccentric environment. It has a superb location in the distinctive Sadler gate, an area that specialises in small stores and services, exuding character and charm. There’s also a secret garden – a suntrap courtyard for catching rays when the weather permits. The menus include afternoon teas – with vegan options – and traditional bistro-style courses.


This independent Mexican eatery serves freshly prepared Mexican food, perfect for large gatherings. When owner Hassan visited Mexico City with his closest friend Eli in 1997, they fell in love with the cuisine and culture and decided to launch Pepitos in Derby.

The Dining Room

Serving classic and contemporary dishes, The Dining Room offers the best local and regional British produce by Head Chef Simon Bates. The décor is cosy and rustic with an exposed brick wall. Great for informal dates as a couple while you’re exploring the city.

Bistrot Pierre

Ranked within the top 10% of restaurants on Trip Advisor worldwide, this French Bistro is a lovely spot for brunch and evening meals for couples. It features red Chesterfield seating and serves fresh, affordable dishes inspired by France.

Carnero Lounge

With a quirky interior and an interesting menu, everything you see in Carnero Lounge reflects who they are as a company. They use the finest fresh ingredients to create incredibly inventive meals and ensure that the food is all about pleasure, indulgence and fun!

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Where to stay

Derby has plenty of great places to rest up after a day of exploring the city. We have a few suggestions of our favourites, which suit every budget!

The Stay Company Friar Gate

The Stay Company Friar Gate is a big apartment hotel that was created by combining three neighbouring Grade II-listed Georgian buildings on the bustling northern fringe of Derby’s city centre. Welcome baskets, parking, housekeeping, a weekly linen change and unrestricted free fibre internet are all included with every stay. Just a five-minute walk from Derby's centre – where the best pubs, cafes and restaurants are located.

Aston Court Hotel

This city centre hotel is conveniently located and offers spacious accommodation with Wi-Fi and, above all, kind service. Situated about a minute’s stroll from Derby Railway Station, it’s perfect for solo travellers looking for somewhere central. There’s a big TV and a pool table in the lounge for entertainment. The Derbion Shopping Centre is close by and Pride Park Stadium is only a 15-minute walk away for those attending events or football games.

The Coach House

Discover a great night's sleep in one of The Coach House ’s uniquely designed bedrooms with quirky colourways and furnishings for a lavish look.

A sumptuous breakfast is included in all accommodation, with options including a full English breakfast, smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and smashed avocado on sourdough toast.

When it comes to entertainment for people of all ages, Derby certainly delivers. And as it’s so each to reach by rail, you can soon be exploring everything the UK’s most central city has to offer.

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