Things to do in Derby
Derby is situated in the East Midlands of England, some 30 miles from Birmingham and Nottingham. Derby has a population of 240,000 people and its metropolitan area extends into Derbyshire with an estimated 800,000 inhabitants.
Derby is a small city, but it has an international airport and good motorway links to other major cities. It also boasts excellent rail connections too. All this makes Derby the perfect venue for business tourism or day trips away from London.
Derby was a famous textile town for centuries, and it's old mills now house offices, bars, and restaurants.
The shopping centres are excellent too - there's All Saints Shopping Centre on All Saints Street which has over 100 shops including Marks & Spencer, Next and Dorothy Perkins; The Octagon Arcade with 80+ stores at the heart of Derby’s historic marketplace; or you could head to St Stephens Place in Pride Park where there are another 120 plus stores from fashion retailers such as H&M to toy shops like Hamleys. And if you're looking for something really different then visit one of Derbyshire’s many country fairs!
The All Saints area is also home to the Derby Museum and Art Gallery with its world-class collections of artefacts, paintings, and antique furniture. The popular gallery has an excellent children’s museum on site which includes a great interactive room designed for preschoolers that teaches them about creativity through art activities.
Derby was originally founded by Danish invaders and named after their capital Dorestad (now Wijk Bij Duurstede). The settlement flourished into one of the most important cities in Anglo-Saxon times, as well as within Viking rule from around 800 AD to help save it from attacks such as All Saints' Church's destruction during this time.
The Cathedral has been visited many times over centuries including William Burley who became Archbishop and then Cardinal for his work with King Henry VII which enabled him to establish himself at St Mary's church nearby whilst maintaining his position at Canterbury. In 1540 Hugh Latimer preached on All Saints Day against Thomas Cromwell when he came here seeking refuge.
Derby Cathedral is the main cathedral of Derby and was consecrated in 1840 by the Bishop of Lichfield William Chadwick (1778–1854). The building work to create Derby's present-day Cathedral began on 7 April 1839 when Derby architect Philip Charles Hardwick laid the foundation stone. The building process was completed 24 years later in 1865 at a cost of £95,000. A small brass plate on Derby Cathedrals southern buttress records this fact.
Derby City Council has recently listed Derby Arena as an asset of community value which means it cannot be converted into flats or offices without permission from council or demolished without a local vote taking place first. This reflects ongoing efforts to maintain Derby Arena's role as a city centre leisure and entertainment venue. Derby's Museum and Art Gallery opened in 1882. Derby residents donated artefacts, collections or money to help with the creation of Derby's museum which was originally based at the Guildhall (the Derby City Council building). Derby Borough Council later moved the museum into Derby Market Hall where it stayed from 1896 to 1937 when Derby Corporation built a new home for Derby Museum (as it is now known) on London Road.
In more recent times, the City of Derby has become one of England's wealthiest cities, with a mid-2018 recorded average income in excess of £26,000. All Saints' Church is now open to visitors all year round and provides an opportunity for residents and tourists alike to explore this rich heritage.
We're not just talking about food here either; there are some fantastic restaurants in All Saints Street including Pizza Express, Wagamama, or Nando's. If you fancy a change from eating out then why not head down one of Derbyshire’s many country fairs? There's plenty going on all year round so be sure to keep your eyes peeled!
Shop at the Market Place Shopping Centre . Opened in 1974, this was one of the first indoor shopping centre's to have been constructed on a roundabout. This bustling complex contains shops such as Marks & Spencer, Primark, Boots, HMV, and many §more! The nearby Posh Nosh houses chefs Gordon Ramsay's restaurant empire: Amaryllis, Petrus, and Boxwood Cafe Bar which serve food ranging from gourmet burgers to fine dining.
The town centre boasts some wonderful architecture too. The old Assembly rooms can be found on Sadler Gate where there is also a statue to King George III who used to visit Derby regularly when he was at nearby Chatsworth House. There is a lovely bandstand in Market Place with beautiful Carrara marble statues that were donated by Lord Francis Egerton (the 8th Duke). A few minutes walk away from this there are some wonderful shops and cafes at the Market Place Shopping Centre. There are plenty of nice bars and cafés interspersed with independent shops too. Stanton Cross is a great place to go if you enjoy independent boutiques, art galleries, and vintage clothes shops!
Visit the home of author Jane Austen
Exit Derby by the A52 towards Derby University. After approximately 2 miles, turn right into Chawton village and follow the road past Winchester House (Jane Austen's home for nine years). When you reach a large traffic island with a bus shelter, Derby Street is on your left - it is easy to miss as it comes up quickly after passing Winchester House. Book in advance if possible, Derby Museum staff can provide details of how to contact Jane Austen's House Museum which has limited parking available.
The Derby Industrial Museum exhibits many of Derby's industrial artifacts such as steam engines made by Rolls-Royce and Bentley, vehicles built by British Leyland, Daimler, and Rover. The museum also houses an extensive costume collection from Derby designer Charles James who was renowned for his 1950s Hollywood Glamour gowns advertised under the tag line "a little bit daring" which were worn most notably by Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, and Audrey Hepburn at some of the most prestigious awards ceremonies and film premieres of the period. Derby Museum also has a fine collection of Derby Porcelain (including several Derby pieces in the V&A Museum) and a large collection of Derby Silverware which is on display along with some very interesting other exhibits such as an original 16th-century bookbinding press destined for Gutenberg's workshop, which features first editions including Shakespeare's First Folio.
The museum contains many objects from Derby's pre-industrial era including a spinning wheel that was used to weave Derby Lace. The lace industry declined when it came under competition from mass production methods abroad, particularly in France during the 1880s. Only one local firm continues to produce handmade Derby Lace today at Barmoor near Alston. A number of Derby Silk Mill machinery is on display including the world's largest working Derby Loom (5 ft).
The museum also houses a large collection of Derby Porcelain, derived from Derby's famous China industry which dates back to 1750 when John Heathcoat opened his business in Derby. Other notable exhibits include an original Iron Bridge, made by Abraham Darby III in Coalbrookdale, and a Sopwith Camel World War I fighter plane. The museum includes several galleries where temporary exhibitions are held during the year featuring the best archaeological finds from local excavations as well as art and crafts-related displays.