Market Towns

Quintessential to the area, each Derbyshire and Peak District town is distinctly unique, full of culture and heritage and with lots of great shops and eateries


The pretty town of Ashbourne is just a ten minute drive away from Knockerdown. Set amongst the rolling hills of the Derbyshire Dales. Here you will find a wonderful selection of shops, café’s, bars, pubs and restaurants. Spend a day wandering around the pretty cobbled streets and hidden alleys, explore the wealth of independent shops and dine in style in one of the many eateries.

If you are lucky enough to visit Ashbourne on Shrove Tuesday or Ash Wednesday you will witness one of the most unusual and extraordinary sporting fixtures in the UK. The annual two-day Royal Shrovetide Football Match where one half of the town plays the other, using the town as the pitch, with goals three miles apart!

Photo credit: Visit Peak District & Derbyshire
Credit: Photo credit: Visit Peak District & Derbyshire


Photo credit: Visit Peak District
Credit: Photo credit: Visit Peak District & Derbyshire

Belper is a twenty minute drive from Knockerdown and it is definitely worth taking in the sites of this iconic town. Belper is famous for its industrial history and lies at the heart of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. The town is steeped in industrial history so why not take a tour of sights such as Long Row and The Clusters, the Nail Makers Workshop and St John's Chapel, the oldest building in the town and the home to Belper's Heritage Centre. 

Belper River Gardens is a beautiful spot, colourful floral displays, band concerts and special events at where you will find the 18th century Horseshoe Weir. 

Alongside its wealth of Industrial Heritage, Belper was last year crowned the Champion Award Winner in the Great British High Street Awards. For those that enjoy a little retail therapy retail therapy Belper as a wide range of specialist shops and a popular monthly Farmers' Market in the historic Market Place.
There's a whole host of cafés, pubs and restaurants for you to relax in after your town wanderings, and you can expect no less than a friendly welcome, great coffee, locally produced food, real ales and much more!


Home to the most famous of puddings, Bakewell is definitely one not to miss. This charming town is full of independent shops, eateries, bars, pubs and more. Top of the list has to be the Original Bakewell Pudding shop where you can sample the original Bakewell Puddings along with lots of many other local delicacies. A stroll around the pretty lanes and streets will also reveal some fascinating historical buildings and the banks of River Wye offer a great place to sit and enjoy some local fish and chips!

Photo credit: Visit Peak District
Credit: Photo credit: Visit Peak District & Derbyshire


Photo Credit: Gail Hampshire (flickr)
Credit: Photo Credit: Gail Hampshire (flickr)

Another ancient Derbyshire market town steeped in history and just a short drive away from Knockerdown. Wirksworth contains over 100 structures listed by Historic England, but the best place to start your exploration of the town is the Wirksworth Heritage Centre, just off Market Place in Crown Yard. The exhibition shows the history of Wirksworth from its prehistoric Dream Cave and the findings of woolly rhinos, through to its Roman and lead mining histories, to the modern era. 

Other nearby attractions include the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, the Steeple Grange Light Railway and of course the Peak District National Park. On top of all that history and culture the town is famed for being a Fairtrade town since 2009, and houses a variety of independent shops, restaurants, bars and pubs. If you are lucky enough to visit in September the Wirksworth Festival celebrates and promotes arts in the town. 

Here are a few suggestions with our top 10 things to do in Wirksworth:

  • Visit the Wirksworth Heritage Centre: This museum is located in a 17th-century building and provides visitors with an insight into the town's history and heritage. It features interactive exhibits, artifacts, and a wealth of information about the local area.
  • Walk the Wirksworth Heritage Trail: This trail is a self-guided walk that takes you through the town's historic streets and buildings, including the 17th-century market place and the medieval church of St Mary.
  • Explore St. Mary's Church: This medieval church is one of the most notable buildings in Wirksworth. It features a beautiful stained-glass window and a collection of interesting monuments, including a medieval tomb.
  • Visit the Wirksworth Arts Centre: This arts center is located in a restored 19th-century building and features a variety of art exhibitions, workshops and events throughout the year.
  • Take a hike in the surrounding countryside: Wirksworth is surrounded by beautiful countryside, including the limestone hills of the Peak District National Park, which offer a variety of hiking trails for all skill levels.
  • Visit Carsington Water: Carsington Water is a large reservoir located near Wirksworth and offers a variety of recreational activities, including cycling, sailing, and fishing. There is also a visitor center with an exhibition and a café.

  • Visit the Wirksworth Festival: This annual festival is held in September and features a wide range of events, including music, theater, art and literature
  • Visit the Wirksworth Farmers Market: The town has a farmers market that takes place every 4th Saturday of the month, where visitors can find locally sourced produce, handmade crafts, and other goods.
  • Visit the National Stone Centre: This museum is located in a former quarry, and it tells the story of the history of the stone industry and the geology of the local area.
  • Visit the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway: This heritage railway runs from Wirksworth to Duffield and offers visitors the chance to experience a steam train journey through the beautiful Derbyshire countryside.