[AD – contains sponsored links and content created at PR invites] Spectacularly seasonal Christmas events in Derbyshire. From South Derbyshire to the very north of the county, via the Peak District and Derby city centre, here’s my carefully curated guide to the best festive things to do in Derbyshire in 2023. Most events are family friendly but there’s also plenty for couples and groups of friends (maybe ideas for work Christmas parties?). I’ve also tried to include lots of free and low-cost Christmas activities.
All details provided in good faith. Please double check details directly with organisers before making a special journey – particularly in adverse weather conditions. It would be amazing if you could mention Lovely Local Indie when booking events.
I’ll keep this updated as I see more events so bookmark this page and keep coming back. If you find it useful, please share the post with friends/family/work colleagues. And if you’re the organiser of an event that you’d like to promote please get in touch.
Wishing you the most magical festive season!
Derbyshire Christmas Events
Christmas at Chatsworth
Now until 7th January 2024 (Market until 26th November 2023)
If Chatsworth is the jewel of the Peak District, its Christmas events are the crème de la crème of the festive calendar. The House is spectacularly dressed for the season (read about the 2023 theme here), as is the garden, and their Christmas market is one of the best in the whole of the Midlands. Head to Chatsworth’s website for full details and booking.
Mercatum Christmas Artisan Market at Haddon Hall
Four long weekends, Thursday to Sunday, starting 16th November
Seasonal magic in the atmospheric setting of Haddon Hall near Bakewell. High quality, artisan stalls will be located both outdoors, within the courtyard and on the Fountain and Bowling Green terraces of the gardens, and within some of the rooms of the Hall, which is always beautifully dressed for the festivities. Book tickets.
Now until 7th January 2024
Tour by lantern light and tiptoe around the decadent tapestries, friezes and portraits. Marvel at the festive displays which highlight the very best of Elizabethan winter celebrations, from lavish banquets to the importance of gift giving. These bespoke displays have been designed by Pedro, a local performance designer and lovingly created with our team of volunteers. Find out more, including about the family friendly activities or read my previous review.
Festival of Christmas Trees, Chesterfield
Selected dates and times until Sunday 3rd December 2023
The ninth annual festival at Chesterfield’s iconic Crooked Spire Church. The largest church in Derbyshire is filled with Christmas decorated by local people, groups and shops.
FREE event, often with live entertainment and a chance to buy gifts. Check opening times here and note that the church doors may be open at other times for services and events, during which it will not be possible to visit the festival.
Santa’s Enchanted Christmas at Bluebell Dairy Farm, Derby
Various dates from 25th November
Meet real reindeer, unleash your creativity at the Create-a-Bear workshop, meet our friendly and happy Elves and receive a gift from the magical chimney! This heart warming adventure promises unforgettable moments of joy and togetherness for the whole family. Find out more or read our previous review of Bluebells.
Christmas at Matlock Farm Park
Selected dates from 26th November
Book a Festive Village Santa Experience for plenty of seasonal fun including Christmas Crafts with Mrs Claus and one of her elves, hear a Christmas Story, and then chance to to write the most important letter of the year to Santa, ready to hand over to him in his Grotto. Then warm up with a hot chocolate with marshmallows and cream for the children and mulled wine for the adults before meeting Santa. Tickets include a gift from Santa and entry to Matlock Farm Park with all the usual animal and playtime activities. Book here. The same link can also be used for Breakfast with Santa.
Christmas at Denby Pottery Village
Various dates starting 1st December
There’s a huge choice of choice festive experiences for everyone at Denby Pottery Village. From wreath workshops to family-friendly activities that all ages will enjoy, browse the full selection here. Last year we loved visiting Santa in his grotto, the craft workshops and the free to visit Christmas market which runs Fri 1st to Mon 4th December and then Friday 8th to Sunday 10th. Save 10% on afternoon tea with Santa using code “MOLLY10” (midweek bookings between 18th – 21st December).
Junction Arts Light Show at Bolsover Castle
Friday 1st December 2023, 4.30pm – 8.30pm
To celebrate the 30th year of the Bolsover Lantern Parade (on Saturday 2nd) Junction Arts will be projecting lights, images and sounds from the last three decades on to the castle walls to life. Book a timed entry slot.
Christmas at Kedleston Hall
Various festive activities at Kedleston Hall including a free advent trail (normal admission prices apply), wreath workshops and Santa Paws dog walk. See the full line up.
Victorian Matlock Christmas Market
1st – 3rd December 9am – 6pm
A winter wonderland in Matlock’s Hall Leys Park with over 200 stalls and family friendly entertainment including festive performances and fun fair rides.
Festive Derby – Christmas Lights Switch On and Lantern Parade
Saturday 2nd December, from 11am
A range of FREE festive entertainment to celebrate the start of Festive Derby. From 11am catch cheeky Elves, grumpy Grinch, Elf on a shelf, Gingerbread Men, Ice King and Queen on their walk abouts across St Peter’s Quarter and the Cathedral Quarter. Read my blog post.
Grab the a festive selfie in the giant snow globes and indulge in seasonal tasty treats in the Nordic Bar. Ride the Nordic Express and children’s fairground rides and then at 4pm a stage show featuring local entertainment and of course Santa. A magical Lantern Parade starting at St Peters Church and finishing in the Market Place.
See the Festive Derby website for full information.
Cathedral Quarter Ice Rink 2023, Derby
2nd December – 31st December
Twirl (or totter) around Derby’s real ice rink complete with twinkling lights and festive playlist. then warm up with a hot chocolate or mulled wine. Book here.
Christmas Market at Uppertown Social Centre
Saturday 2nd December 2023, 9am – 2.30pm
Free entry festive market with some fantastic Derbyshire small businesses including 4Eyes Bakery and Patisserie, Willow and Thyme home fragrance, Honey and Wilde jewellery with Blackbird takeaway coffee van, and pizza from New York’shire. Plenty of free street parking and dogs welcome.
Bolsover Christmas Festival and Lantern Parade
Saturday 2nd December 2023
Free event with a good variety of festive food and drink stalls, children’s fairground rides, Rodeo Reindeer, Snowglobe and music and entertainment.
Traditional Christmas Market at The Maynard
Sunday 3rd December, 11am – 4pm
Support some of the Peak District’s artisan makers as they showcase locally made gifts in the lovely setting of boutique, country hotel, The Maynard. Why not combine with one of their epic Sunday roasts (booking recommended!) – read my recent review about their new seasonal menu.
Cavendish Christmas Market, Sheffield
Tuesday 5th December, 5.30pm – 8.30pm
Fundraising event for Cavendish Cancer Care at Tapton Hall (Shore Ln, Sheffield S10 3BU). Join a variety of local businesses selling a range of products to suit everyone. Tickets are priced at £7 which will include a mulled wine/ hot chocolate and mince pie/mini yule log. Book tickets.
Fabulous Places Tis the Season Festive Evening
Wednesday 6th December, 6pm – 9pm
A very special festive evening inside the beautiful Kedleston Country House. Carefully curated Christmas shopping, seasonal food and a very festive atmosphere. Tickets £4.50 in advance and on the door.
Mother Goose at Derby Arena
8th – 31st December 2023
An action-packed adventure featuring Coronation Street’s Todd Boyce and Derby’s award-winning dame, Morgan Brind. Expect “s-peck-tacular sets, breath-taking special effects, egg-squisite costumes and mountains of mayhem… guaranteed to have the whole family honking with laughter.” Book tickets.
Elves Winter Workshops at Peak Village
9th and 10th December, 16th and 17th December, 11am-4pm
FREE event with plenty of free parking. Join the Elves to celebrate Christmas. Christmas crafts, gift wrapping, decoration making and more. Dogs welcome.
Breakfast with Santa at QUAD Derby
9th – 17th December
Hot breakfast buffet surrounded by the Northern Lights Gallery experience followed by a visit to The Cathedral Quarter Grotto, including a short story and gift from Santa. Book here.
The northern lights projections can also be visited and enjoyed all on it’s own. Also look out for a selection of Christmas films throughout December including ‘Elf,’ ‘It’s a wonderful life,’ & ‘Muppets Christmas Carol’. See QUAD’s website for more information – or read my previous review.
The Christmas Toyshop Mystery with the Babbling Vagabonds at Thornbridge Hall
Sunday 10th December 2023, showings at 11am and 2pm
A tale of a wild goose chase through wacky rooms of wonder, meeting colourful characters, magical mechanicals, and the ever-so mysterious Madam Dustybottom, performed in the spectacular Carriage House. Booking required.
The Snowman Tour, Buxton
Thursday 14th December 2023, 6.30pm
Created cherished Christmas memories with everyone’s nostalgic favourite, The Snowman, accompanied by a live orchestra. Enjoy a whistle-stop Christmas guide to the orchestra and a visit from the Snowman himself, plus Wallace and Gromit: The Wrong Trousers (featuring one of the most iconic train chase sequences) – all in the atmospheric setting of Buxton’s Octagon Hall in the Pavilion Gardens. Read our previous review or head to Carrot Productions website to book tickets.
Christmas Festival of Music, Sheffield
Saturday 16th December 2023
Fundraising event for Cavendish Cancer Care take place in the Octagon Centre at Sheffield University, featuring John Parr, of ‘St Elmo’s Fire’ fame. Book tickets.
Hare and Tortoise at Pavilion Arts Centre, Buxton
16th – 24th December 2023
Platform 3’s own retelling of Hare and Tortoise, an exciting introduction to theatre for 3-8 year olds. Find out more.
Bustler Winter Village, Derby
Thursday 21st December – Saturday 23rd December 2023
Winter version of Derby’s much loved street food market with festoons, fires and all the cosy additions. Traders include Kebab Cartel, Chilli Kitchen, Nanny Bills, Filthy Wings and Flats Doughnuts. Read my previous review of Bustler.