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7 fabulously festive things to do in Derbyshire UPDATED for lockdown

By Molly Scott – 20th October 2020, updated 3rd November 2020
Royal Oak cosy pub

It’s a gross understatement to say that 2020 hasn’t been the best year. I think many of us are planning on going all out for Christmas in the hope that we can maybe salvage some of this atrocious year. There are already some amazingly helpful resources out there to help plan the best Derbyshire Christmas. Jenny at Peak District Kids has written a brilliant guide to a family Christmas in the Peak District and Joe’s Facebook groups Days Out in the Midlands and Festive Finds UK are really informative, so I haven’t tried to reinvent the wheel. Head to the experts for child friendly things to do. But if you are after THE most fabulously festive shopping, the most sumptuous Christmas menus and the most exquisite Christmas cocktails, here’s my Derbyshire Christmas edit.

I’ve updated this article to the best of my knowledge following the new restrictions coming in for the duration of November. Information was correct at the time of publishing but please do check before travelling and follow all safety advice.


Christmas markets

Haddon Hall Winter Artisan Market – 11th to 14th December

November dates cancelled. The market will now only take place 11th – 14th December.

The Mercatum Winter Artisan Markets at Haddon Hall are incredibly popular, and are expected to be even more so this year given the cancellation of the Chatsworth Christmas markets. Most of the stalls will be outside although some stalls will be in the magnificent Banqueting Hall. Read my review of a previous Haddon Hall market here.

Tickets and car parking must be booked online in advance here.  Adults are £5.50 each, under 15s are free. Car parking is £3.50 (and be aware some of it is likely to be on grass). No dogs.


Kedleston Country House Christmas Market – Saturday 5th December, 10am – 3pm

Set in the historic Kedleston estate, just outside Derby city centre, this stunning Georgian house will play host to the finest local artisans. Read more here.

Mama Meet & Market – online

The actual market is sadly cancelled but do check out the Mama and Meet online market on November 28th and 29th here.


Fabulous Places Christmas market – online

Also online this year are the Fabulous Places Christmas markets, taking place on the 7th and 8th and 14th and 15th of November and 5th and 6th of December. These will showcase over 100 amazing small businesses via a beautiful website to enjoy from the comfort of your own home. So, shopping in PJs then! Find out more here.


The best Christmas shopping in Derbyshire

Hopefully, lockdown will finish as promised and we can actually head out to do some physical shopping (albeit with masks, social distancing etc). Belper, an historic mill town, situated roughly halfway between Derby and Matlock regularly wins the national ‘best high street’ award for its wealth of lovely independent shops. There’s also ample free parking at either The Coppice so long as there isn’t a market on (DE56 1FZ) or at the other end of town at the very end of Derwent Street.

Particular shops to look out for include the beautifully festive Primsisters Country Decor, I Believe and Sundial. For coffees, decadent hot chocolates and light bites head to I Should Cocoa or Nourish at No 44 for a walk-in daytime café or pre-booked evening restaurant. For cocktails, head to Monk Bar.

Or combine your trip to Belper with drinks or food at The Strutt Arms in nearby Milford or just slightly further away at the White Hart in Duffield. Both are really lovely gastro pubs. I have visited both recently, read my review of The Strutt Arms here and of the White Hart here.

Ashbourne is also lovely over the festive period. For a full run down and where to park etc head to my autumn post.

For a drive out into the Peak District, head to the pretty village of Eyam in the Hope Valley. Eyam has an abundance of history, beautiful scenery and some wonderful walks around the area. I particularly recommend The Coolstone for beautifully curated indie shopping, expertly mixed cocktails and fabulous food both inside in their bistro and outside in the courtyard. A short walk into the village centre, there’s also an exceptionally good coffee shop, The Village Green, and a popular tea room. You could combine Eyam with a trip to Castleton which is particularly lovely after dark to see the Christmas lights.

Cosy pubs

Let’s hope pubs will be back open well before Christmas. In addition to the two I recommended in my autumn blog post, here are a couple of extra recommendations.

Royal Oak, Hurdlow near Buxton

This charming country pub with its open fires and cosy corners firmly embraces the festive period. There will be a dedicated Christmas specials board throughout December. In addition to the traditional roast there will be a Christmas pie and a Christmas burger as well as festive starters and desserts. There’s also a winter warmers drinks menu featuring gingerbread lattes, hot chocolate martini and chocolate orange mocha amongst others. Table bookings required. Find out more here.


The Hunloke Arms, Wingerworth

A popular pub, just outside Chesterfield with a really cosy atmosphere and a dedicated Christmas menu. I love the sound of the lobster cocktail, clementine vodka baked salmon and then a Christmas creme brûlée. There’s even a Christmas ice cream sundae! More details here. The Hunloke is part of the Chilled Pubs group, so expect a similar atmosphere and menu at The Bulls Head in Repton, The Joiners Arms in Quarndon, The Swan at Walton and The Three Tuns in Lichfield.


Outdoor seating

The garden rooms at Cock Inn at Muggington near Ashbourne and the Igloo at the Dragon at Willington are both popular options. Pre-booking is essential for both.

In terms of cafés and tearooms try the Pip Tree Café in Borrowash which has recently opened a ‘garden room’. Whilst the nearby Apple Tree Gift Shop and Tea House in Ockbrook has some pretty under cover seating in its courtyard outside. The café at Hassop Station has a large heated, covered outdoor seating.


Festive afternoon teas

Kedleston Country House is hosting festive afternoon teas on selected dates in December including a meeting with Santa in his cosy Grotto, and a gift for children. The Afternoon Tea will consist of smoked salmon, turkey & cranberry, homemade jam, egg and cress and cheese sandwiches; homemade scones with jam and clotted cream and an assortment of delicious homemade sweet treats, and a choice of loose leaf teas or a creamy hot chocolate. Booking is essential and full payment required in advance. Adults £19.95, children £14.95 and under 1s £7.95. Book here.


Cosy festive afternoon tea at The Star at Cotton

Just over the border in Staffordshire, The Star is a traditional country pub with a modern twist. The festive afternoon tea features a selection of festive sandwiches, mini pigs in blankets, scones and a range of cakes including mini Biscoff caramel bites and mini macaroons, a glass of mulled wine or Prosecco and a Biscoff hot chocolate or a pumpkin spice latte for £18.95pp or go bottomless on the alcohol for £29.95pp. Booking required. For more information see their Instagram page. 


Christmas at Chatsworth

Sadly the Christmas markets have been cancelled this year – and Chatsworth House is now shut until early December, but any new government restrictions pending, it should still be possible to see the Christmas decorations.

Beautifully decadent Christmas scenes will flow throughout the house, including for the first (and likely only) time the State Rooms and Sketch Galleries which are usually closed for conservation during the Christmas period. Christmas tickets include admission to the house and garden. All tickets must be booked online and include car parking (one car for every five tickets). Adults are £25, family tickets are £69. Book here.


School of Christmas by Fabulous Places

An online workshop of all things festive which aims to give endless decorative winter inspiration for your home, including dressing the festive table, Christmas with little ones, winter floristry and wreath making and Christmas cake decorating.

Largely video based talks, demonstrations and expert advice but in addition to all the online resources, there will be an opportunity to view an Instagram Live Session to help create that unique workshop atmosphere. The workshop is being released on 25th November and costs £25, book your ticket here.




Molly x


This is a Girl About recommendation. We only recommend places we absolutely love, and places that we know you’ll love too!

Some of the recommendations are places that have invited me to dine free of charge previously (The Coolstone, The Strutt Arms) in exchange for a previous, honest and frank review. There was absolutely no obligation to include them in this article, nor was I swayed by their kind invite.


Molly Scott Derbyshire
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