5 free things to do in… Derby

Date Posted: 23/01/2013

The Silk Mill - Derby - Group Travel Ideas

Pictured: The Silk Mill on Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site.

Located in the centre of the UK, Derby invites group travellers to experience a host of free attractions and events.

Group travel organisers planning a stay in Derby can opt for a shopping spree in the city or a cultural break, as well as trips into the Peak District which is right on Derby’s doorstep. Chatsworth House, Alton Towers Resort and the National Forest are all within a short distance of the city as well.

1. See some local talent

The Derby Museum and Art Gallery is home to a collection of Joseph Wright paintings, the celebrated 18th century artist from Derby.

The newly refurbished gallery houses a number of exhibitions. Groups can find a display of Royal Crown Derby and porcelain, as well as archaeology, geology, natural history, military history and other fine art showcases. 

2. Admire the city’s architecture

Pickford’s House is a Georgian family home built by Derby architect, Joseph Pickford.  Group visitors to the house can explore rooms reaching from the depths of the scullery to the heights of the attic, and experience the elegance of the 18th century. 

The garden of Pickford’s House makes for a break away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, and visitors can see a basement air raid shelter, recreated in a 1940s style.

There is also a fully-working Edwardian bathroom which is one of the museum’s novelty toilet facilities for you to try out.

3. Bird watching

Derby Cathedral reportedly has the second highest perpendicular church tower in England. A family of peregrine falcons and their chicks keep bird watchers and visitors entertained with regular aerial displays.

Groups can discover the tomb of Bess of Hardwick, as well as the Bakewell Screen which is one of the cathedral’s central features. Visitors to Derby Cathedral should listen out for the bells, which are supposedly the oldest set of ten bells in the world. 

The Derby Museum - Ideal for Group Travel Events

Pictured: The Derby Museum and Art Gallery is home to a collection of Joseph Wright paintings.

4. Dance the night away

Darley Park Concert and Derby Festé are two annual music events which take place in Derby in September.

Returning each year, the Darley Park Concert is an outdoor classical recital. Previous performances have featured music from Tchaikovsky, Vangelis, Wagner and Queen.

The Derby Festé is a fun-filled street art festival, and spectators might witness anything from pirates and giant kangaroos to three-metre-tall robots as they head through the city streets during the event. Street performers, dancing and circus acts will be on show across the weekend.

Both events attract wide-spread audiences, and groups of all ages will find various activities to enjoy. Dates for each occasion are to be announced.

5. Explore Derby’s World Heritage Site

The Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site connects historic mills along a 15-mile stretch from Derby up into Derbyshire alongside the river Derwent. Groups exploring the site can witness 18th century architecture while enjoying the beauty of Derby’s countryside. 

The Derby Silk Mill starts the connection and is the site of Britain’s first ever factory. Other sights along the way include mill complexes, workers housing, weirs on the river Derwent, and the transport network that once supported the mills in the valley.

For further group travel information telephone:


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