101 Things to do in Derby - 2024

Stuck for things to do? We've got 101 things to keep you entertained.

Updated 28/06/2024
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1. Pedalo and Rowing

Hire a rowing boat or pedalo and spend an hour on Markeaton Lake in Markeaton Park.

2. Have a swim at Moorways Sports Village And Water Park

Moorways Sports Village and Water Park combines a brand-new £42 million water park and leisure centre with the existing Moorways Stadium to create a fantastic new sports and leisure facility for the whole community.

3. Parkrun

Parkrun starts at 9:00am every Saturday in Derby’s beautiful Markeaton Park. Runners can do a timed 5k round the park, giving them the chance to beat their time the following week, or just run for fun.

4. Bell hotel

The Bell Hotel, Derby’s largest and last surviving coaching inn has played a huge role in city’s past. The grade II listed building was constructed in 1650 and was considered one of the most prestigious coaching inns outside of London. Since its recent renovation it now houses three bars, a steakhouse and a wedding venue. Certainly worth a visit on a night out, or for Sunday Lunch.

Mock Tudor frontage to the Old Bell

5. Visit Electric Daisy

Visit Electric Daisy, the community garden which has a programme of events, open days and workshops running throughout the season.

6. Visit Friar Gate

With plenty of bars and restaurants, it’s the perfect place to start a night out, have a quick bite to eat before the theatre or a midweek after work tipple.

7. Derby Museum

Derby Museum has longstanding and temporary exhibits, the Museum and Art Gallery boasts paintings and artefacts that are of both local and international significance. Visit the exquisite collection of Joseph Wright paintings. March through the Soldier’s Story exhibition to see the range of weaponry and objects, both military and personal. Or pop on your adventure hat and explore historic artefacts from thousands of years ago, within our Archaeology Gallery.

8. QUAD Derby

QUAD Derby is a creative hub that connects people and businesses to art and film and create opportunities for entertainment, education and participation. It transforms lives through active participation in art and film, and has a wonderful café to sit in for a coffee or a meal.

9. Showcase Cinema

Not so long ago Derby didn’t have a city centre cinema complex, but now it does its certainly worth shouting about! Boasting 12 large screens, a directors lounge and an Xplus screen.

Interior to Showcase Screen

10. Derbion

This is Derby’s largest city centre shopping mall. With plenty of shops and restaurants, a cinema, adventure golf and bowling, you can certainly spend a day shopping in Derby.

Interior of the Derbion

11. Bounce at a Trampoline Park

Spend an hour getting sweaty at Oxygen Freejumping. Fun and great exercise, it’s fun for all the family.

Find out more.

12. See the Alpacas

Check our Clary Meadows Alpacas to feed and pet the Alpacas, if you're lucky you may even get to see the baby alpacas, or Alpacabies as we've just named them.

Find out more here.

13. Running

As Derby is mostly flat it is perfect for running! And with an abundance of green spaces, running can get you away from that city feeling and embrace your country roots. There are also plenty of running groups to join such Derwent Runners, #DerbyRunnerRunClub, Sinfin Running Club to a name a few, there are also plenty of mapped runs on MapyMyRun for Derby.

14. Take a walk on the star walk

Taking centre stage on Derby’s Exchange Street and Albion Street, the ‘Made in Derby’ walk of fame details interesting people from Derby’s past, such as Alice Wheeldon, Bess of Hardwick, Brian Clough and Peter Taylor, Sir John Hurt, Joseph Wright, Louis Martin, Philip Noel-Baker, and Charles Rolls and Henry Royce.

Bess of Hardwick star on Star Walk

15. Escape room

Now with three escape rooms, Derby is THE place for being locked-in-a-room-and-trying-to-get-out-of-it-within-a-set-timeframe. Make Your Escape, Unescapable and The Escape Room Guys are all waiting for you.

16. Sadler Gate

Sadler Gate is one of Derby’s most historic and iconic streets. Undergoing it’s own mini-renaissance, the street is now thriving with independent and national shops, bars and cafes. If you fancy some tea, chicken wings or some dancing shoes, Sadler Gate is your first port of call.

17. Afternoon tea

If afternoon tea is your thing then why not check out our list of Top Places for Afternoon Tea, you might find just what you’re looking for.

18. Bustler Market

Bustler Market has been a great success for Derby. On the last Friday and Saturday of every month, it has street food traders galore, a bar, and more fun than you can shake some halloumi fries at. Check it out on John Street.

19. Derby Feste

Derby’s Annual festival is a unique and special experience not to be missed. Hosting plenty of events over three days, Derby Feste is the highlight of Derby’s cultural calendar.

Some of the fun at Derby Feste

20. Visit Darley Abbey

A village within the city, Darley Abbey is not only a relaxed sleep suburb of Derby, it’s home to a thriving business community who are now homed in the Darley Abbey Mills. Take a walk through its old mill house lined streets stopping for a glass or two at the Darley Abbey Wine bar, the Cotton Shed or Cotton Works in the aptly named Cotton Quarter.

21. Walk round St Werburghs

At the bottom of Friar Gate, on the corner of Cheapside, is St Werburghs Church. Built in 1601 and restored in 2004, it is open on Saturdays and you can have a free guided tour by some very helpful volunteers who will happily show you round. Giving you a brief history and the work they are doing to preserve the church.

22. Bowling

Once an the shopping centre car park, now a bowling alley. Hollywood Bowl is well worth a trip if you want to get your bowling fix. You can get food and drink DELIVERED to your lane, or you can take a seat in the canteen. There is also an arcade as you enter, should you want to dispose of a few pennies (and zombies).

23. Adventure golf

As with Hollywood Bowl, Adventure Golf now occupies a space that used to have parked cars, but you wouldn’t know. It has two 18 hole courses with a paradise theme to them. A great way to spend a few hours after shopping, or just somewhere to dump the kids!

24. Visit The Dolphin

Derby’s ‘oldest pub’, the Dolphin dates back to 1530, and has undergone many alterations since. A pleasant place to spend an afternoon, it has a great beer garden for the summer.

The Dolphin, Derby’s oldest pub

25. Sponsor a duck in Ey Up Me Duck Race

Dress your duck and enter it in the Ey Up Me Duck Race for Sight Support Derby. Winners of the race can win prizes but there is also a special prize for ‘Best Dressed’ duck, so get designing! Race usually occurs around June time, so keep your eyes peeled for details.

26. Derby Film festival

Usually held around May, the Derby Film Festival is celebration of all things film. Held in various locations throughout the city, you could watch an old film by candlelight in the Cathedral or in a comfy sofa in the Quad.

27. Darley park café and gardens

If you go for a stroll in Darley Park make sure to head over to the cafe for a tea and a bite to eat, there are also some lovely maintained gardens to wander round for an hour or so.

28. Practice your axe-throwing

Hatchet Harry's is Derby’s best urban axe throwing facility and with group sizes from 2 to 66 it can cater for all. Urban Axe Throwing is a great addition to a Derby Stag Do, a birthday or just something different to do.

Check out Hatchet Harry's

29. Design @ 44

Design @ 44 showcases the very best independent local designers with gifts, interiors and furniture. Take a wander through the shop and see what you can find.

30. Joseph Wright exhibition

Pop along to Derby Museum for the largest collection of Joseph Wright works in the world.

Joseph Wright of Derby, A Philosopher Giving a Lecture at the Orrery

31. Visit Bonnie Prince Charlie

Bonnie Prince Charlie stopped in Derby on his march to London and a statue of him on Derby’s Cathedral Green is in honour to his infamous journey. Did you know that on the statue Prince Charlie is facing South but his horse is indicating to go back home to the North. There is also a Bonnie Prince Charlie Exhibition at Derby Museum.

Statue of Bonnie Prince Charlie on his horse

32. See the heads

If you walk up along Friar Gate, on the left hand side, out of town, you will notice a lot green heads poking out from around the trees there. These heads commemorate the Reform Bill riots of 1831 during when the people of Derby took to the streets to demand the right to vote.

Heads representing the Reform Bill riots on Friar Gate

33. Watch Derby County

The Rams are the biggest football club in Derby and are very well supported, boasting one of the highest average home attendances in the Championship. They play at Pride Park stadium which is situated on Pride Park, a business area just outside the city. More information can found here.

34. Paint a pot

This is fun thing to do for an hour. Pop over to Markeaton Park Craft Village, you’ll see the large sign for Paint-a-pot, pick what you would like to paint and get started! There’s plenty of ‘pot’ options available to paint. Once complete you then leave it to be fired before being able to pick it up later.

35. Derbyshire County Cricket

Derby’s cricket team are based at the 3aaa County Ground in the city and host the local cricket team as well as various events such as Elton John and more recently Little Mix.

36. Shop at a market

OK so both Derby's markets are shut, one perminantly. HOWEVER, the Market Hall has been undertaking a multi-million pound makeover and will hopefully be ready soon, but until then...you'll have to watch this space.

37. Go to the Theatre

For your Theatre fix you have the excellent Derby Theatre, with plenty of shows for all ages on throughout the week and year. There is also the Derby Shakespeare Company who host productions from their HQ on Kedleston road, check them out for a spot of brilliant amdram.

38. Revolución de Cuba

For some tapas, cheeky cocktails and a dance head to Derby’s Revolución de Cuba. Where the Cuban decor and atmosphere won’t disappoint.

39. Darley park

The writers favourite of Derby’s parks. Have a wander through the slopes along the river Derwent and feel a million miles away from the city. There is plenty to do there for the kids such as a play area, a outdoors experience centre and a wild meadow to play in.

Panorama of Darley Park

40. Sit in the Derby River Gardens

Hidden behind the Council House is Derby River Gardens. A beautiful spot to sit and watch nature enjoy the river.

41. Denby Factory tour

Go behind the scenes in the historic working factory and meet skilled craftspeople who have been producing quality Denby for over 200 years. Welcomed by their experienced Tour Guides, you will be lead you through our working factory where you’ll discover the different techniques and processes used to create your favourite Denby pieces. Includes a guided tour of the Denby Museum and a visit to the Craftroom, where you can paint your own piece of Denby and make the iconic Denby frog.

42. Royal Crown Derby tour

Experience Royal Crown Derby for yourself on a guided tour of their working factory. Discover how each item of English fine bone china is made and see how artisans create the beautiful pieces that are cherished throughout the world. On the tour, you will get to discover the full journey their wares takes from clay to the final gilded products ready for your dining table or for display.

43. Bluebells farm

On the edge of Derby, the cows graze the fields at our Bluebell Dairy Farm. So why not visit our farm and enjoy the Tea Rooms, Play Areas and of course, the ice cream.

44. Locko park

Take a walk around the Locko Park parkland that was laid out in 1792 by William Emes who landscaped much in the style of Capability Brown.

45. Take a trip to Bennetts

Shop in Derby’s oldest department store, Bennetts, stocking contemporary gifts and home accessories to outdoor clothing, fragrances and children’s toys there really is something to suit all occasions and budgets whether it be a Barbour Jacket, Thomas Kent Clock, LC Designs Jewellery box or Fabulous cookware and two fabulous places to eat when you have ticked all the boxes on your list!

46. Do Pub Quiz

Check out our list of 'Pub Quizzes' in Derby.

47. Archery

If you are looking to do some Archery we’ve done the hard work for you and found the Archery Clubs in Derby.

48. Learn about Deda

Déda is a creative centre for Dance, Contemporary Circus and Outdoor Work – connecting locally, nationally and internationally. There’s always plenty of shows to see, dance classes to attend, and there’s even the lovely Cube cafe there too!

49. Try a Pyclet

Pop into the Market Hall and grab yourself a slice of Derby’s history with a Pyclet.

50. Ghost walk

Derby doesn’t have the title of ‘Most Haunted City in England’ for now reason! Why not go on a ghost walk and learn not only about hauntings, but also the rich history of the city.

51. Pickford’s House Museum

Hidden amongst the gorgeous old buildings and cobbled pavement of Friar Gate sits Pickford’s House; the professional showcase and family home of Georgian architect Joseph Pickford. Now the museum illustrating aspects of domestic life from the 18th to the 20th centuries, Pickford’s House shows the contrast between the master and the servant, the grandeur of Georgian architecture and the changes that occurred in the house over its 250-year life.

The garden at Pickford’s House

52. Visit peak District with Transpeak

Slightly odd one in that we would advice you to leave the city, but the Transpeak will take you from Derby bus station right into Peak District calling at Matlock Bath, Matlock, Cromford and Bakewell, all beautiful Derbyshire towns and really worth a visit.

53. Darly Abbey ghost walk

As one of Derby’s oldest suburbs, Darley Abbey has a rich and interesting history, much of which is covered on this Ghost walk specifically dedicated to the area.

54. Wonder at Derby Cathedral

Derby Cathedral, known as the Cathedral of All Saints, is a grade I listed cathedral church on Irongate, and can be seen from most places in the city. The interior of the Cathedral is breathtaking and there is a very busy events calendar for the Cathedral too, often hosting film nights, or concerts!

55. Live music at the Venue

Often attracting a good calibre of musician, the Venue ‘What’s on’ list is a must visit.

56. Half marathon

Derby’s Half Marathon (was Ramathon) is usually held around June and takes runners of all abailites through the city centre. Starting at Pride park and finishing there, the route is mainly flat and is a great run for runners wanted to beat their PB’s.

57. Allestree park

Allestree park is beautiful green space on the edge of Derby. Visit for a round of golf, a walk around the lake or a trip up through the woods.

58. Visit the Museum of Making

Derby Museums’ brand-new Museum of Making opened its door to visitors on 21st May 2021. This impressive contemporary space showcases the region’s 300-year history of making and innovation, inspiring new creativity on what is widely regarded as the site of the world’s first modern factory.

Read more here.

59. Folk festival

Derby’s Folk Festival is held once a year early October. Hosting a bumper line-up of Folk artists, if folks your thing, then so is this!

60. St Mary’s bridge chapel

The Bridge Chapel is one of the few chapels of its age remaining in the country and has records that date back to the beginning of the 14th Century.

61. Sunday lunch

With plenty of excellent eateries in and around Derby, it was easy to compile this list of Sunday Lunches in Derby, check them out for yourself.

62. Markeaton Park Craft Village

Newly refurbished the Markeaton Craft Village has plenty of shops to check out on your visit to the park.

63. Play golf at Allestree

Allestree Park leaves a lasting impression on all golfers who play this mature parkland course. Renowned as one of the most picturesque golfing venues in the Midlands, the undulating landscape and tree-lined fairways make every golf hole a testing but fair challenge!

64. Foot golf at Markeaton Park

Sure to be hit with all age and skill levels Foot Golf at Markeaton Park is fun way to spend a couple of hours.

65. Council House Tour

The tour lasts for 45 minutes to 1 hour and includes all the main public access areas including the impressive Council Chamber, Mayor’s Parlour & Civic areas, Display Gallery and discount voucher for the on-site Relish café.

66. Cathedral Tower Tour

Climb the 189 steps and see Derby like never before from the top of Derby Cathedral’s 212-foot high Tudor tower. See the Smith of Derby carillon play its midday tune on the oldest working set of ten bells in the world and explore the history of the second highest bell tower in the UK.

67. Derby Arena Tours

The Derby Arena Tour gives a great insight into its construction, and as the building comes to life, into what goes on behind the scenes. The tour includes behind the scenes exploration of the track bike locker facility, where you can get up close to these light-weight speed machines, which have no brakes or gears.

68. Children’s Indoor Soft Play Area

Take the kids to an indoor soft play area.

69. Derby Caribbean Carnival

The Derby Caribbean Festival is held annually in July. The Carnival Parade starts in Derby’s Market Place making it’s way up to Osmaston park, where there is a exhibition and stage show. The parade is free but entry to the Osmaston Park event is £2.

Caribbean Festival in Derby city centre

70. SALTWALK on the river

SALTWALK is a stand up paddleboard club and race team run entirely on volunteers that offers fitness, racing and adventure sessions. They are based at Darley Park and operate out of Darley Barn and Derby Rowing Club.

Paddle boarders on the Derwent in Derby

71. Silk Mill Cider and Ale House Mural

The mural was painted by the Derby Community Arts Project in the mid 1980s. It tells the tale of the Derby Workers dispute of November 1833 to April 1834.

Mural on the side of the Silk Milk pub

72. Brewery tour

Take a tour around Derby Brewing Company’s brew house with a detailed explanation of the brewing process by one of our award winning brewers.

73. Visit Kedleston Hall

A fantastic example of the work of Scottish architect Robert Adam, Kedleston Hall was designed for lavish entertaining and displaying an extensive collection of paintings and sculptures. The map obtained from the tourist office areas gives you a variety of long or short walks around the estate and the amazing views.

74. Watch Rugby

Derby Rugby club has a full fixture list during the Rugby season.

75. Visit FORMAT

FORMAT, held every two years, is the UK’s leading international contemporary festivals of photography and related media. A year round programme is organised and consists of international commissions, open calls, residencies, conferences and collaborations in the UK and Internationally. The 2013 festival welcomed over 100,000 visitors from all over the world to Derby.

76. Derby Book festival

Derby Book Festival brings Derby’s residents together in a love of books and also inspires new readers to appreciate the pleasure and power of reading. Held annually in June, it takes place across the city in various locations, even on a bus!

77. Derby CAMRA Beer festivals

Usually there are two one in Summer, held on the Market Place, and one in Winter held at the Roundhouse. Expect plenty of Ales from around the UK and the world, as well as Ciders, stouts and anything else you can brew! There’s also a good selection of food and music to keep you entertained.

Derby Beer Festival

78. Duffield Arts Festival

Duffield Arts Festival is an annual not-for-profit festival held in the Derbyshire village of Duffield, just north of the City of Derby. The festival offers a broad programme of performances, workshops and talks across the fields of music, drama, art and books, plus much more.

79. Market Place Fairs

There are plenty of fairs held at the Market Place over the year such as the Valentines fair held in mid-february and the Derby Beach held in July. Keep an eye out on the Derby Live website for updates.

80. Play Five-aside Football

If you want to play five-aside football in Derby with in a competitive league or just for fun, then check out Willows Sports Centre or Powerleague.

81. Play Netball

Or if Netball is more your your thing then Netball is available at Willows Sports Centre.

82. Nature Reserve – Darley Abbey

Of the beaten track by the bridge that spans the Derwent from the Mills there is side road which, if wandered along, will lead to Darley Abbey nature reserve, take a slow walk round and enjoy the nature and sights that are on offer by the river.

Entrance to Nutwood Nature Reserve

83. Six Streets Arts Trail

Held yearly, the Six Streets area will once again hold the arts trail. Residents will host displays by artists and makers including painters, printers, textile artists, ceramicists, photographers and jewellery-makers. The Six Streets area is a cluster of streets off Kedleston Road in the city.

84. See an Oddsocks Production

Oddsocks are one of the UK’s best-loved touring theatre companies, bringing Shakespeare to audiences in often-interesting and fun ways. Find out more about what they do and what shows you can go and see here.

85. Summer Nights Film Festival

Summer Nights is a festival of outdoor film screenings in beautiful heritage locations throughout the summer. Usually booked up quickly, the film festival is a must for the summer calendar.

Watching a film outside Calke Abbey

86. Print a Poster

Visit Smallprint Co to discover a fabulous studio dedicated to the 500 year old craft of letterpress in the heart of Derby. Why not book yourself onto one of its many letterpress or bookbinding workshops. A Print a Poster workshop starts at just £25 for a 1 hour session.

Find out more.

87. Visit a roman well

Not exactly as eye-catching as one might want but there is a Roman well in Derby, and it can be seen any time of the day, one on Marcus Street and the other in the garden of the vicarage of St Paul’s Church. Check them out, even if it’s just to say you’ve seen them.

88. Cover band at the Flower Pot

When the Flower Pot pub is mentioned in Derby, a true Derbian would immediately think of a copious amounts of cover bands. Playing almost every night, you can get to see bands perform the hits of your heroes. Check out the line-up for what’s up next at the venue,

89. Sit by the river in Cathedral Green

With plenty of grass and a pleasant stepped landscape, it’s a nice place to sit (or lie) on your lunch break.

90. Visit Mercia Marina

15 minutes outside the city but well worth the visit. Mercia Marina has recently undergone a massive investment which means it not only has more shops, more restaurants and more parking, there is also a walk that can be done along the canal down there, so it’s a perfect place to spend a number of hours away from the city. Make sure to visit Lotus Indian Kitchen whilst you are there too.

91. Police Museum

The Derby Police Museum has reopened its doors after 10 year of it being closed. Here you will get to see the history of Derbyshire Police Service. The police museum is actually inside the Derby Gaol from an entrance off Agard street.

92. Rent an eScooter

Grab a scooter from any of the hubs that are dotted around the city. All you need to is grab an eScooter and go! The scheme is still in trial mode so keep your eyes out for when it becomes fully available..

93. Visit a Casino

Pop down to Derby’s bus station to find Derby’s only casino, Genting.

94. Attend the Hannells Darley Park Concert

Derby’s much-loved concert returns to Darley Park. Pop along and be part of one of the UK’s biggest outdoor classical concerts, in the stunning natural amphitheatre that is Darley Park. James Holmes is back to conduct Sinfonia Viva, who are supported by Rolls-Royce. Soloists Mary Carewe and Andy Quinn will lead the vocal numbers. Be awed by the superb fireworks display at the end.

95. See the Famous Trains Model Railway at Markeaton Park

Watch the model trains go by and learn about our railway history and how railways operate, you can also keep dry when it rains in the Park! This is a Derby-based charity working to improve the local community by providing entertainment and education in an enjoyable way.

96. Relax at Hotpod Yoga

The pods are beautiful, cocoon-like, pop-up, inflatable, heated studios. Holding up to 20 people, you can expect to be transported a million miles from the world outside into the perfect hot yoga environment.

Yoga in a hot pod

97. Visit the Skatepark

Near Bass Recreation ground, close to Derby’s bus station is a small skate park that anyone can use. If your kids are bored and like skating this is certainly somewhere for them to go.

98. Watch a Bonnie Prince Reenactment

Every December, Bonnie Prince Charlie is remembered in Derbyshire, as Swarkestone Bridge near Derby was the most southerly point reached by his invading army in 1745.  Re-enactors take part in parades, wreath laying and recreations of battle on the first weekend of the month, as Prince Charlie was in Derby on December 4th in 1745. The commemorations take place over both days of the weekend with the focus on Swarkestone on the Saturday and in the city of Derby on the Sunday. Expect actors dressed in period costume, pipe bands, wreath laying at the Cairn at Swarkestone and at the Prince Charlie Statue in Derby, and living history encampments.

99. Take a wander around Banks Mill

Banks Mill has become a creative hub for independent artists and creators. Hosting open days throughout the year, you get the chance to explore the old mill as well as seeing what each occupant is up to. There are also many courses held here which might take your fancy.

100. Play Bingo

Pop down to the city Gala Bingo hall and play a couple of games. You never know you might win! Either way it’s a fun evening out with friends.

101. Quidditch

We thought we’d finish on a slightly odd one and why not eh? Derby Union Students actually have a Quidditch team, so if you love Harry Potter and want to run around on a ‘broom’, then this is definitely for you.

And we’re done.

This article is probably littered with mistakes but in the end, we tried, and that’s the main thing right?

Any issues, amendments or ideas you have to improve the article please email us on [email protected] and we’ll endeavour to action your request.

For the moment, we’re going for a lie down.

See you soon!


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