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Things to do in Matlock, Derbyshire

Matlock is on the River Derwent, at the eastern edge of the Derbyshire Peak District and at the southern end of the Peak National Park.

Riber Castle - Photo by Jeffrey Darlington
Riber Castle © Jeffrey Darlington

The coming of the railways transformed Matlock from a small hamlet whose main occupations were farming, quarrying and lead-mining into a thriving tourist centre.

Water Cure

Thousands came to Matlock seeking the water cure throughout the Victorian era and the early years of the 20th century.

Hall Leys Park - Photo by Jeffrey Darlington
Hall Leys Park © Jeffrey Darlington

The hydros are gone now, but Matlock still has the feel of a resort, with Hall Leys Park at its centre beside the Derwent.

The park has floral displays, a boating lake, tennis courts, bowling greens, a skate-board park and a ride-on miniature railway.

Hall Leys Park & Riber Castle - Photo by Jeffrey Darlington
Hall Leys Park & Riber Castle © Jeffrey Darlington

St Giles Church

The oldest part of Matlock lies south-east of the park, where a steep hill leads up to St Giles Church overlooking the town and the Derwent.

It has an old west tower with diagonal buttresses, and contains a Norman font and some fine stained glass windows and memorials.

Matlock Church - Photo by Jeffrey Darlington
Matlock Church © Jeffrey Darlington

A footpath in the corner of the park signposted 'Pic Tor' leads to a riverside walk beneath this high cliff which has a war memorial on top above the church.


The riverside walk continues to High Tor overlooking Matlock Bath. The limestone scenery of the Derwent Gorge is spectacular.

Knowleston Place - Photo by Jeffrey Darlington
Knowleston Place © Jeffrey Darlington

John Smedley, who established hydrotherapy in Matlock, also built Riber Castle on a hillside above the town as a home for himself. Its ruins are visible on the horizon from many places in Matlock.

Matlock has good accommodation, restaurants and bars and is an excellent centre for exploring the Peak District, with useful bus services along the A6 road and into the pretty villages of the area.

Description by Jeffrey Darlington

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