Places to Visit in the Derbyshire Peak District near Wildflower Cottages
There are so many fantastic places to visit in Derbyshire and visitors often comment on how centrally located our Ashover holiday cottages are – Foxglove and Columbine – for reaching the many attractions of Derbyshire and the Peak District. We couldn’t possibly list them all here but have tried to provide a flavour of what’s on offer locally. For film buffs, parts of the 2019 film Mary Queen of Scots were filmed at Hardwick Hall and Haddon Hall – stand-ins for Hampton Court Palace.
One of the prettiest villages in Derbyshire, Ashover is in a lovely valley, surrounded by tree clad hills. All around there are excellent walks. By road it is only a mile away but shorter cross-country. The 15th century parish church is the focal point of the village with an ancient font and a beautiful interior. Nearby Ogston Reservoir is a site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), offering a variety of habitats. It is a magnet for bird watchers and Ogston Bird Club is one of the largest clubs in Britain. There are three pubs in the village itself and several others nearby with a range of beers and food to suit all tastes.
Distance from Alton: 1 mile.
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The Fabrick Rock
Also known as the Fabric or Ashover Rock. A short walk of less than half a mile from the cottages this rock is 299 metres above sea level and, on clear days, offers spectacular views of Derbyshire and across five other counties (Yorkshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire and Staffordshire). This is an important area of natural heathland which provides a habitat for a variety of wildlife. Key species of heather and bilberry are protected here. Look for the stone steps carved into the hillside next to the Rock and follow the public footpath to Ashover – try one of our local Ashover walks. Or take a picnic and admire the panoramic views.
Distance from Alton: less than half a mile.
Alton Riding School
Can you ride or would you like to learn? This ABRS and BHS approved riding school is only a few hundred metres from our cottages and has instructors qualified to teach show-jumping, dressage, eventing and cross-country. There is also an indoor riding school and an outdoor arena. For more details please call 01246 590267
Distance from Alton: less than half a mile.
Probably the best-known stately home in England, no stay is complete without a visit to Chatsworth, the ancestral home of the Dukes of Devonshire. There really is something for everyone: the magnificent house, the formal gardens and parkland designed by Capability Brown, the farmyard and adventure playground, not forgetting the celebrated farm shop. Book tickets online for discounted rates. Open from mid March to early January.
Distance from Alton: 8.4 miles – 17 mins by car across beautiful moorland
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Heights of Abraham
Try a cable car ride in Matlock Bath which takes you soaring high above the Derwent Valley and check out the views. This is a unique hilltop Park set on top of a dramatic limestone gorge, amid great natural beauty. Explore 60 acres of woodland trail or join a guided tour of the underground caverns created by lead mining and learn about the rocks and minerals of the Peak District.
Distance from Alton: 7.4 miles – 14 mins by car
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The town’s most famous landmark is the Crooked Spire, the local name for St Mary and All Saints Church – the largest in Derbyshire and built in the late 13th century. The Spire stands 228 feet from the ground and leans 9 feet 5 inches from its true centre. Find out how it developed its remarkable twist. The town is also renowned for its 800 year old open market with general markets on Mondays, Fridays and Saturdays and a Flea Market on Thursdays. Farmers markets are held on the 2nd Thursday of each month. See Chesterfield Market on Youtube. If shopping isn’t your thing, try exploring The Shambles or visiting the museum to find out the story of Chesterfield from its origins as a Roman fort on Rykneld Street. Or what about taking in a show at the Pomegranate Theatre?
Distance from Alton: 6 miles – 15 mins by car
The sight of this impressive Elizabethan hall across the valley from the cottages shouldn’t be missed. As the sun sets and catches the glass windows there is a blaze of light from this great house, once described as having “more glass than wall”. It was built in the 1590s by Bess of Hardwick, a stubborn strong-minded woman who survived 4 husbands and amassed a great fortune. Her son eventually inherited Chatsworth. This National Trust property is one of the finest and most unchanged examples of Elizabethan architecture in England, also boasting an impressive collection of tapestries. It has a fascinating history and a visit is highly recommended. In 2015 the Trust will be celebrating the life of Lady Arbella Stuart, Hardwick’s princess who almost became queen. Other attractions on the Hardwick Estate include Stainsby Mill, a fully-functioning water powered mill with a 17 foot waterwheel and the Stone Centre where visitors can learn about the traditional craft of stonemasonry. Visitors can also enjoy the walled courtyards and over 300 acres of historic parkland.
Distance from Alton: 7.5 miles – 16 mins by car
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This Medieval and Tudor manor house is an absolute gem. Inside, there is a fine example of a medieval kitchen; and an Elizabethan long gallery – the most modern room in the house! The exterior walls are adorned with climbing roses whilst the garden brims with roses, delphiniums and clematis. Haddon Hall is a popular choice as a film and TV location. The 2006 TV adaptation of Jane Eyre was filmed at Haddon.
Distance from Alton: 9.3 miles – 17 mins by car
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The gardens are sited on the remains of a medieval millstone quarry and cover an area of approximately 4 acres on a wooded hillside. The excellent rock garden contain a huge variety of alpines with acers, dwarf conifers, heathers and spring bulbs. Discover a unique collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, kalmias and other plants of interest, introduced from the far corners of the world.
Distance from Alton: 7.8 miles – 15 mins by car
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This family theme park in Matlock Bath is particularly suitable for younger children. It is situated on a hillside with amazing scenery and views over the Derwent Valley. Good value for a family fun day out.
Distance from Alton: 8 miles – 17 mins by car
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Crich Tramway Village
A lovingly restored period village that is also home to the National Tramway Museum and its world renowned archives. Have as many rides as you like on different vintage trams. Visit the fascinating exhibition halls or explore three acres of woodland park. The sculpture trail is enchanting and fun for all ages. Open daily until 2nd November.
Distance from Alton: 9.2 miles – 18 mins by car
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Visible on the skyline across the valley from Wildflower Cottages, managed by English Heritage, Bolsover Castle was built on the site of an older medieval castle as an elegant entertaining space by Sir Charles Cavendish, the son of Bess of Hardwick, in the 17th century. Walk along the walls and enjoy the panoramic views, visit the Little Castle to see the beautiful interiors or bring a picnic and explore the grounds. Most weekends there are horse riding displays in the magnificent indoor riding school and there is an outdoor play area for children.
Distance from Alton: 10.7 miles – 23 mins by car
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Tropical Butterfly House
Open all year round this is also a wildlife and falconry centre, with a wide variety of animals including meerkats, otters, birds of prey, parrots and lemurs. Displays and animal encounters throughout the day and lots of animals for children to interact with. The Butterfly House provides a rainforest home to tropical birds and butterflies from the Philippines and Costa Rica.
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Distance from Alton: 22.7 miles – 35 mins by car