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5 Free Days Out in Derbyshire

If the summer holidays are dragging and you need some days out inspiration that’s easy on the purse, here are five FREE days out in Derbyshire.

Walk, paddling and a picnic at Dovedale

FREE entry, National Trust members park for free or £3.50 for up to four hours or £5 for all day (correct change required)

Dovedale is an iconic Peak District spot. Hidden gem, it is not, and I would go as far to say to actively avoid it on a sunny bank holiday afternoon. But, if you can get there at the crack of dawn or can visit on a slightly grey mid weekday off season, you’ll experience the magic. Park at the pay and display Dovedale car park (where there’s often an ice cream van) and enjoy the stepping stones across the river. If you’re feeling energetic walk up Thorpe Cloud. I prefer the walk along the river to Milldale, a chocolate box little hamlet with cute little counter serving up refreshments. There are also some free public toilets. It’s about three miles from Dovedale to Milldale so just under an hour at a brisk pace or several hours dawdling/enjoying the view!

Thank you so much to Wesley Kristopher of People of the Peak for kindly allowing me to use his gorgeous photograph of Dovedale as the feature image for this blog.

Elvaston Castle Country Park

free days out in Derbyshire

FREE entry, car parking costs £4.80 for the whole day, or from £1.60

Elvaston Castle Country Park is a much loved free attraction located on the outskirts of Derby, not far from Nottingham. It’s a vast area of open parkland, woodland and more formal historical gardens.

Facilties include a picnic area, nature trail, children’s play area and toilets. There is good access for all. Dogs friendly. For dog friendly places to eat in Derbyshire click here.

Rosliston Forestry Centre

FREE entry,  car parking costs £1.50 for an hour or £4 for the day (cash only and no change given)  

Explore the National Forest with woodland walks, indoor and outdoor play, cycle hire, fishing, gift shop and restaurant.

Dogs welcome on a lead.

Staunton Harold Reservoir

FREE entry, £3 to park all day

Staunton Harold Reservoir is a great option for free days out in Derbyshire. There’s a fairly big playground here complete with hand sanitisers. 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.

free days out in Derbyshire
Photo credit: Park Life Café Swiss Tearooms

River Gardens Belper

FREE entry, pay and display parking starting at 50p

Park at the pay and display car park at the mill and then explore Belper’s River Gardens, all beautifully paved for easy access for pushchair friendly walks Derbyshire. There’s a fairly big playground. Just be aware that some of the paths are open to the water.

There’s currently a brand new tea rooms being built which are expected to be open this year but in the meantime there is a little cabin serving drinks.

You can also hire rowing boats, starting at £9.50, for more details and to book click here.

Want more ideas of free days out in Derbyshire?

Check out my guide to the best Derbyshire playgrounds or the best picnic spots and 20+ pushchair friendly walks or 15 coffee walks for more ideas for cheap days out.

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