A comprehensive list of the best Derbyshire playgrounds.
We love a good playground. I am particularly fond of the ones where it’s easy to park and where I can combine it with getting a good coffee! Here’s my guide to the best Derbyshire playgrounds.
The vast majority of these we have tried and tested ourselves. Some are the result of recommendations of the lovely community on my Instagram page. I’ve really tried hard to research these online, but if you find any of these details aren’t quite right please let me know in the comments and I’ll endeavour to change them.
Buxton Pavillion Gardens
Twenty three acres of beautifully landscaped gardens and play areas including an extensive children’s play-park (including an accessible, specially made swing) adventure playground, outdoor gym, miniature railway and boating lake. SK17 6BE.
There are several childern’s play areas at Carsington, plus loads of open space to play, in addition to walking and cycling. Most of the paths are well surfaced and suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Large car park (automatic number plate recognition) at the visitor centre, DE6 1ST. Toilets including baby changing facilities. The ice cream parlour and café is now open everyday from 10am for takeaway only. Read more about Carsington Water here.
Chatsworth Estate Farmyard and Playground
Unlike most of the other suggestions on this list of Derbyshire playgrounds, you do need to pay an admission charge to access these facilities but they are probably worth it, especially for a special afternoon out. Currently costs £7 each for adults and children or a family ticket (2 adults, 3 children) for £26, all of which includes car parking.
This gives access to a working farmyard with plenty of animals to see and then an extensive woodland playground with a rope park and trampoline, slides, water and sand play. There’s toilets, a farmyard café and gift shop
At the moment, to ensure social distancing, tickets must be booked in advance (although you can sometimes get same day tickets) and visits to the farmyard and playground are limited to three hours, with tickets available at either 10am or 1.30pm. The tractor trailer tours and animal handling sessions are currently suspended. DE45 1PP
It’s currently shut, but once it opens the play area at Calke Abbey is really nice. There’s lots of interesting things for children at Calke, including tunnels to explore and Calke Explore. It’s free entry for National Trust members although everyone needs to pre-book currently.
Holmebrook Valley Park
Has a decent playground, including zip wire and open playing fields. You can do a nice walk around the lake (the paths are bumpy and I wouldn’t recommend taking a pushchair here). There is a café but it’s in desperate need of a proper coffee machine. Lots of free parking (use “Watermeadow Lane” off Newbold Road, Chesterfield for sat nav).
This picturesque little village has a lovely playground and there’s a large playing field with some picnic benches next to the stream, a very idyllic setting and usually nice and quiet. Free parking.
No café but right next to the Bulls Head pub (although note they are very much separate and you couldn’t sit in the pub and see the playground), or take a picnic – there are some beautifully situated picnic benches across the field (just be aware they’re next to a stream before you send the kids running ahead!).
Poolsbrook Country Park
Chesterfield’s largest country park. Café open Tuesday to Sunday and extended hours in school holidays, toilets. Lots of free parking at S43 3WL
A quintessentially English, Victorian park with two playgrounds, one for smaller children is on sand and then there’s a more adventurous one for older children at the other end of the park. There is a large duck pond and lovely smooth paths so perfect to for buggy walks. In normal times they have a ride-on train. Decent café when it’s open. Pay and display car park (although residents can use their permit for free parking early morning and late afternoon), and if you are lucky some free street parking.
A lovely park with stream and woodland areas. Can be very muddy around the playground equipment but a lovely walk for little legs if you walk past the playground, through the wood and then back along the road back to the car park. Sometimes there’s a little coffee van, if not you could take a trip to the Café at Libby’s (or any of the other lovely independents on Chatsworth Road) en-route. No toilets at the park and the car park is fairly small. If it’s full, head to nearby Queens Park or Holmebrook Valley Park.
Stand Road Park, Whittington Moor
There’s a free car park (S41 8SR) tucked away down the bottom near a new playground as well as the more dated play area at the top end and skateboard park. No café and I wouldn’t make a special journey to come here, but if you live in or near Chesterfield it’s handy.
Dunstone Hall garden centre
Only available to patrons of the newly refurbished bistro, Dunstone Hall has a wonderfully new play area. Read my full review here.
Cliffe Park, Dronfield
Cliffe Park is a beautiful large park with a really great playground and large sandpit. Normally there’s a lovely café, I think they’re currently offering takeaways from a kiosk. Free car park at S18 2XU although I imagine this is busy at popular times.
Manor Park, Glossop
This popular park in Glossop, complete with pavilion with toilets and a café has a play area for children up to the age of 12, a skatepark and shelter, tennis and basketball courts, miniature railway and a miniature golf course (no club or ball hire). SK13 7SH some on street parking or park at Corn Mill a short walk away.
West Park, Long Eaton
Large park with various playgrounds and in normal times a splash pad and café. I’ve parked before at the car park at the leisure centre (NG10 4AA) and then it’s a five minute (pushchair friendly) walk across the park to get to the playground bit. When everything’s open you could spend the whole day here, especially if you take a picnic.
Mundy Play Centre, Markeaton Park, Derby
One of the most popular Derbyshire playgrounds. This play area has dedicated toddler area with swings, a slide and climbing equipment. For older children there are large swings, slides and a spider net. The Adventure Galley pirate ship provides an inclusive and accessible play unit suitable for disabled children.
There’s also a skatepark, mini golf at weekends and during school holidays and bookable tennis courts. Large pay and display car park at DE22 4NH (including disabled bays).
Hall Leys Park, Matlock
A lovely big Victorian park right in the centre of Matlock town. The paths are really smooth so nice for pushchairs and I assume wheelchairs. There’s pretty planting, lots of benches etc, a lovely duck pond and great playground facilities. In normal times there is also a splash pad for children (currently shut). There’s a lovely little café in the park and of course plenty of lovely independent businesses in Matlock itself (which is right next to the park). There are fairly well maintained public toilets with disabled and baby changing facilities, and also a drinking fountain and water bottle filling station to reduce plastic waste. I tend to park in the large pay and display car park near the station (DE4 3NA) – from there cross the road and then go over the bridge and you’ll soon see the park.
Rosliston Forestry Centre, Swadlincote
A wonderful base for woodland walks in the National Forest. There are indoor and outdoor play facilities (note the indoor soft play is currently closed, expected to reopen 17th May in line with the government roadmap) as well as cycle hire, fishing, gift shop and restaurant.
There are various play areas, including (at extra cost) a bouncy castle in summer months and crazy golf. There is a good range of accessible play equipment, including a wheelchair swing and wheelchair merry-go-round, slide and trampoline.
Dogs welcome on a lead. It’s worth noting that parking machines only accept coins and do not issue change. DE12 8JX
Staunton Harold reservoir
There’s a fairly big playground here complete with hand sanitiser. I also like there are a few benches dotted about inside the playground and then several more picnic benches right outside. There’s a big pay and display car park DE73 8DN and a café operated by the National Trust, currently open daily 10am-4pm. There are also toilets. Dogs are welcome on a lead.
Just outside Derbyshire
The Lawn, Sutton in Ashfield
On the site of the former Sutton Hall, Sutton Lawn is mainly grassed areas with some woodland and avenues of trees. The lake is located in the south east of the park, and is well used by anglers and walkers.
Rumbles Café is located to the west of the site and is located close to the play areas, a skate park, ball court and outdoor gym. Free parking.
Derbyshire Playgrounds that have wheelchair accessible play equipment
Hall Leys Park, Matlock
Mundy Play Centre, Derby
Rosliston Foresty Centre, Swadlincote
The Accessible Derbyshire website is a wonderful resource and a wealth of information, e.g. Gardens & Parks – Accessible Derbyshire
Further afield, Millhouses in Sheffield is being redeveloped and apparently will have inclusive play equipment
The Peak District Kids website has an amazing article on kid friendly cafes and pubs with playgrounds – we are looking forward to working our way through this now restrictions have been lifted! There’s also an article on the Top 14 Playgrounds in the Peak District which covers lots of rural gems.
The Days Out in the Midlands Facebook group is worth joining as there’s a wealth of information and you can ask questions (always use the search facility first to see if your question has already been asked).