Derbyshire is home to some of the most charming, villages in the UK. With quirky pubs, charming tea rooms and shops, idyllic stone cottages, and fantastic country walks, these rural idylls provide the perfect backdrop for a relaxing day out, here are a few of our favourites
Carsington a little limestone village which has given its name to the reservoir at Carsington Water. Adjoining nearby Hopton, Carsington was once a centre for lead mining and stayed virtually unchanged for centuries. The Gell family built Hopton Hall, which hides behind the "crinkle crankle wall", and also the old almshouses. Hopton Hall opens its gardens to the public in February for a spectacular snowdrop display and has open days for charity in the summer. In Carsington village, The Miners Arms is a fine 16th century inn serving great food and a warm welcome for all.
Hartington is situated at the northern end of Dovedale, Hartington village is possibly one of the prettiest villages in the County . It has lots of historical importance for ancient rural life and the impressive stone cottages and houses around the village square tell the tale of its importance and wealth. Many ancient routes and track ways still meet in the village so its a great place for walkers and cyclists to base themselves for exploring the northern parts of Dovedale, the Upper Dove Valley and beyond.
Alstonefield is a small picturesque village in the White Peak area of the Peak District National Park and lies on the borders of Staffordshire and Derbyshire. The main part of the village is set around the lovely village green with The George Hotel. Alstonefield lends itself to any walker or cyclists looking to explore this beautiful part of the Peak District. The absolute jewel in Alstonefields crown has to be The George, this pub serves excellent food and ales and is an absolute must for any foodies visiting the area.
Ilam (pronounced eye-lamb!) is a pretty little village that sits on the Staffordshire/Derbyshire border and is a short drive from Knockerdown Cottages. Ilam village is unusual in style as you won't find traditional stone cottages here, but rather chalet type cottages, the village is nestled besides the Manifold River and surrounded by the imposing hills Bunster and Thorpe Cloud. Anyone would think you were in a Switzerland! Upon arrival head to the imposing Ilam Hall which is owned by the National Trust. The main hall is run as a Youth Hostel but the rest of the grounds at Ilam Park are open to access and there is a shop, tea room, visitor centre and toilets. Car parking is free for National Trust members or £3.50 for four hours for non members. This is the perfect place to start your exploration of this charming village and the Derbyshire countryside that surrounds it
Crich A twenty minute drive east from Knockerdown will take you to the pretty village of Crich. Home to the National Tramway Museum here there is a wealth of things to see and do and is great day out for the family. Ride around on the beautifully restored trams, stepping back in time down the recreated period street. Many of the buildings along the street have been rescued from towns and cities across the UK, and there is even a pub and shops to visit along the way. Crich stand is also a popular destination for walkers, the memorial tower for the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment stands 300 metres above sea level and has 58 steps to the top. On a clear day you can see across eight counties and see sights such as The Humber Bridge and Lincoln Cathedral.
Tissington is arguably one of the most picturesque villages in Derbyshire. Famed for being the birth place of the ancient tradition of Well Dressing, Tissington welcomes thousands of visitors each May to experience this ancient tradition as it dresses the six wells in the village with elaborate displays made from natural materials to honour God for the gift of water. Walkers and cyclists on the Tissington Trail will pass through this village too as the trail runs through the village offering a place to picnic. The imposing Jacobean Hall in the middle of the village opens its doors to the public at certain times of the year and the village has a lovely array of shops, cafes and tea rooms.
Beeley, Pilsley, & Edensor The Chatsworth Villages are a must if you have plans to visit the house. Beeley lies at the foot of a moor of the same name, which boasts panoramic views over the river Derwent, Lindop Wood and Stanton Moor. The village is a popular place to pause for lunch, afternoon tea, dinner or a reviving drink or two. Pilsley is another pretty Chatsworth village just a mile from the "Big House". The mellow gritstone cottages, many occupied by estate workers at Chatsworth, have some very attractive well-kept gardens. There is a spacious green in the village and there are some superb views all around. The Chatsworth Farm Shop and Craft Centre are in the village, where there is also a small shop, a gallery and a pub. Edensor ( 'Enza' to the locals) in Chatsworth Park features an array of traditional house designs, from mock Tudor to Swiss cottage. The 6th Duke decided to demolish the old estate village and rebuild it out of sight in the 19th century, because it spoiled his view of the estate from Chatsworth! Edensor Tea Cottage, is open daily throughout the year, serving breakfast, morning coffee, lunch and afternoon tea. A brisk walk over the hill leads you to Chatsworth, one of Britain's top ten country houses, with its landscaped gardens and lawns, water features, adventure playground and farmyard, shops, restaurants, cafés and much more.
Monsal Head, Monsal Dale and Cressbrook Monsal Head & Dale is one of the most famous and photographed viewpoints in Derbyshire. Cressbrook sits at the far end of Monsal Dale in an elevated position. This is a secretive sort of village rising up the steep sides of the dale above the river Wye. It is actually at the junction of dales, where Cressbrook Dale joins the river Wye and Millers Dale becomes Monsal Dale. This puts it at the very heart of some of the most classic Derbyshire Dales scenery. The village grew around its' cotton mill, and the imposing Cressbrook Hall is gloriously set above the dale with beautiful vistas down the Wye valley. From Cressbrook you can access the popular Monsal Trail which passes through the south of the village along a most attractive section of the old Midland Railway line and from here, make your way to Monsal Head and the magnificent views that this part of Derbyshire is known for.