Matlock Bath Illuminations - picture courtesy of Derbyshire County Council

Matlock Bath Illuminations up the autumn

Matlock Bath's annual light spectacular is a rare treat for adults and children alike...


“That Paul Burrell fellow is a thoroughly grounded and most honest chap!” is not a statement one would expect the Royal Family to make. Just as unlikely would be “One is orf to Matlock Bath for one’s hols!”...

However, in the 1800s, royal holidays in Matlock Bath were all the rage. Well, it certainly happened at least once, for the Matlock Bath Illuminations were originally inspired by the recollections of an earlier visit by a young and pre-coronation Queen Victoria, then Princess Victoria. Gazing out of her hotel window, she saw candlelight reflecting in the River Derwent, which twists through the village, and the shimmering lights clearly made a lasting impression.

Pre-dating the better-known Blackpool Illuminations, Matlock Bath Illuminations and Venetian Nights – to give it its full title - first took place in 1897 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, and latterly became an annual event as a way of extending the tourist season. For many years the illuminations were candlelit, and local residents would line the riverbanks and surrounding areas donning fairy lights, lamps and Oriental lanterns, supplemented by a procession of twinkling boats on the river. In 1950 the event switched to electric lighting and consequently enjoyed a resurgence in popularity, but the candlelit tradition is maintained today as the Boat Parade continues to feature one candlelit boat.

Today the event, now replete with spectacular fireworks and floodlit cliffs, attracts thousands of visitors. The parade of illuminated and decorated boats – Venetian Nights - takes place every Saturday and Sunday for the duration of the secular festival, with the illuminations switched on from approximately 7.45pm every evening. It is a magical experience and spectacle for people of all ages. An early arrival is advised – with or without the illuminations Matlock Bath attracts tourists aplenty.

The 2014 renewal runs from 6th September to 25th October.

The lights can be viewed, free of charge, Monday to Friday throughout the village and Derwent Gardens.

On the last Saturday in September and every Saturday in October the event includes a spectacular clifftop firework display, plus an extra parade of the boats at 9.15pm

Please check details here for confirmation

Fireworks displays will take place on the following Saturday evenings:

27 September
4 October
11 October
18 October
25 October

Charges: Admission Fee for Adults £5.00 & Over 60s and disabled £4.50 , accompanied children under 16 free but a ticket is required

Method of booking: Tickets can be purchased on the night from the Ticket Office situated in Derwent Gardens, or in advance from Matlock Tourist Information Centre;

The Peak District Mining Museum, Matlock Bath open 10am - 5pm, tickets can only be bought in person and not over the phone.


Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015