Derbyshire is a picturesque county in the East Midlands of England. A significant slice of the stunning Peak District National Park lies within its boundaries, containing the southern end of the Pennine range of hills to the county’s north. It also hosts part of the beautiful National Forest – while otherwise Derbyshire mostly consists of rolling hills and scenic uplands.
Derbyshire shares borders with Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Staffordshire and Cheshire. The Ordnance Survey has placed Church Flatts Farm at Coton in the Elms (near Swadlincote) as the furthest point from the sea in Great Britain.
Humans first visited Derbyshire 200,000 years ago. Burial mounds of Neolithic settlers lie scattered across the county. Roman invaders were lured by lead ore in Derbyshire’s limestone hills; they built forts near Brough, Glossop and later settled around Buxton, famed for its warm springs.
These days the non-metropolitan county contains 30 towns with 10,000–100,000 inhabitants – totalling just over a million county-wide. Three-quarters of the population live in a quarter of the geographical area. Since 2002 Derbyshire’s county flower has been Jacob's-ladder (Polemonium caeruleum), a rare species characteristic of the White Peak’s limestone dales.
Road: The motorway network envelopes Derbyshire with the M1 to the east; the M6 to the west; and the M62 running across the north of the county.
Rail: The City of Derby has regular services to London, Nottingham, Leicester, Birmingham, Sheffield and Manchester. The main operators are Virgin Trains, Midland Mainline, Central Trains and Network Rail.
Air: Manchester, Sheffield and East Midlands Airports are the closest airports to Derbyshire (depending on your starting location).
Bus: The major bus companies that operate throughout Derbyshire are Arriva Buses, Trent Barton and National Express.
The Times recently compiled a list of the top 50 places to live in Britain – ranking Buxton at number nine. It said: "This architecturally superior spa town on the edge of the Peak District puts on an impressive year-round show of entertainment at the glorious Buxton Opera House and the modern Pavilion Arts Centre.
“Winters can be snowy...so Buxtonians make the most of the summer. Add to that top-notch schools, plus the great outdoors, and you can see why families and returnees from London head for the hills."
House prices in Derbyshire have been growing gradually; year-on-year statistics show the area’s property prices rising on average. This is positive news, because it's a real, not just nominal, increase – making conditions favourable for buyers: a slowly rising market is an advantageous time to purchase housing, especially for those seeking to get their first foot on the property ladder. This makes the county’s housing relatively good value. And from a seller's perspective, a slightly rising market incentivises buyers to make purchases.
Intu Derby is a large indoor shopping centre in central Derby a few minutes’ walk from the bus and railway stations. It hosts around 200 shops, a supermarket, a cinema and many restaurants. Its retailers include Next, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams, Sainsbury's, and Republic. It also has a Showcase Cinema de Lux.
The UK's largest indoor market – the Eagle Market – adjoins the centre. A smaller indoor retail precinct, St Peter's Way, is also connected to Intu Derby. Customers can easily walk between the various complexes.
Nationally famous companies in Derbyshire include Rolls Royce, one of the world's leading aerospace companies, based here since before World War I; Thorntons near Alfreton; and Toyota have one of the UK's largest car manufacturing plants at Burnaston. Buxton Water is bottled by Nestlé Waters UK.
Sport: The county’s two main football teams are Derby County and Chesterfield. Derbyshire also has a cricket team based at the County Cricket Ground. Rugby league clubs include the North Derbyshire Chargers and Derby City. The county’s numerous rugby union clubs include Derby, Matlock, Ilkeston, Ashbourne, Bakewell and Amber Valley. Derbyshire also has one of the UK’s only community Muggle quidditch teams: Derby Union Quidditch Club (which recruits players aged 16 upwards).
Family: Markeaton Park offers a paddling pool and playgrounds plus a Craft Village. There’s also the Peak Rail and Midland Railway steam trains. The National Tramway Museum lies in the lovingly restored Crich Tramway Village. Take a vertiginous cable car ride to the top of the Peak District's oldest attraction, the Heights of Abraham. Conkers at The National Forest blends indoor and outdoor activities. Sudbury Hall features a Museum of Childhood.
Culture: Derby Museum & Art Gallery houses the world’s largest collection of Joseph Wright paintings. Déda offers a dance-focused arts programme. Other attractions include Bolsover Castle, Castleton, Chatsworth House, and Matlock Bath. National Trust properties open to the public include Calke Abbey, Hardwick Hall, High Peak Estate, Ilam Park, Kedleston Hall, and Longshaw Estate.
Outdoors: RenownedPeak District scenery includes Mam Tor and Kinder Scout. The regional landscape facilitates recreations like hiking, rock climbing, hill walking, hang gliding, caving, sailing, and cycling miles of biking trails. Notable gardens include those at Melbourne Hall, Renishaw Hall, Dovedale, Haddon Hall, Lea Rhododendron Gardens, and the Royal Horticultural Society-recommended Bluebell Arboretum.
Events: Derbyshire's array of annual festivals includes The Buxton Festival Fringe, England’s largest arts festival. There’s also the Hope Valley Adventure Film Festival; the eight-day Buxton Festival of World Cinema; and Chesterfield Music Festival. Get creative at Belper Arts Festival, Belper Festival Arts Trail and Willington Arts Festival. The Discovery Days Festival is the biggest annual happening at the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. The Bearded Theory Festival is The Midlands’ largest performing and creative arts fest.