Matlock Bath guide

...seaside in the countryside!

Just down both road and river from Matlock, Matlock Bath radiates with a curiously coastal buzz.

It’s a brilliantly peculiar experience – the seaside without the sea, with a string of overhead cable cars thrown in for added quirkiness.

The ‘promenade’ is full of those classically English coastal charms; fish & chip shops, amusement arcades, and souvenir & gift shops. There’s even a kids theme park.

To cap it all, Matlock Bath hosts its own annual illuminations festival.  A glittering wonderland of coloured lights transforms the banks of the Derwent, while every weekend a carnival procession of floats amble and twinkle their way down the river. The near two month long festival is wrapped up with a spectacular cliff-top fireworks display.

Like any actual seaside resort, Matlock Bath’s attractions are almost exclusively family-friendly. The Heights of Abraham is a hilltop park perched at around 1000 feet, and home to spectacular cavern and mine tours. The park is accessed by those unmissable cable cars, giving you a stunning bird’s eye view of the vibrant village below.

Gulliver’s Kingdom is a fine kids’ theme park and a cracking day out for all the family, while Matlock Bath Aquarium & Hologram Gallery does what it says on the tin. The one-time Matlock Bath Hydro is now home to a selection of British and Tropical freshwater species - from Piranhas to Terrapins, and loads of other fish from different corners of the world.

Matlock Bath is also a renowned hot-spot for bikers, and weekends and Bank Holidays see bikers of all kinds flock here. There’s something oddly charming about seeing swathes of leather-clad, hairy bikers pottering around and peacefully enjoying the area’s quaint charms.

Matlock Bath’s proximity to places such as Chesterfield, Buxton, and cities such as Sheffield, Manchester and Derby makes it a central attraction of enduring popularity, and despite the village’s lack of size there are plenty of Matlock Bath hotels and other accommodation from which to choose.

In the heart of Matlock Bath is Ashdale Guest House, a three star B&B which comprises a quartet of en-suite bedrooms and comes with the added bonus of being dog friendly.

A brief walk from Matlock Bath's main street is the four star rated Sunnybank B&B. Located up on a hill on the edge of woodland, it boasts impressive views, clean, rarefied air and represents something of an escape from the vibrant atmosphere of Matlock Bath.

While the majority of the Peak District basks in a peaceful tranquillity, Matlock Bath offers something unique to the UK’s first National Park. A hive of activity and excitement, a rural seaside resort, combining Blackpool’s illuminations, Brighton’s bikers and lots more to create a unique tourist destination. Come and sample it for yourself and stay in Matlock Bath.

Sean Cummins

February 2011


Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015