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Derby Silk Mill

Discover Derby with megabus

Derby’s certainly not short on history. Famous for its silk-making heritage and home to the site of the world’s first factory, it’s got plenty of stories to tell. Even the cathedral boasts the oldest set of 10 bells in the world, not to be outdone by its neighbours. But beyond the age-old sights there’s an equal number of 21st-century attractions, from independent shops and cafés to pop-up street food markets and music festivals. Factor in an impressive number of parks and riverside walks, and you’ve got the perfect reason to make Derby your next city-break stop.

Derby: top 3 things to do

1. Step inside Derby Cathedral

Whether you’re a history buff or not, a visit to Derby Cathedral is a must if you’re in this neck of the woods. The interior surprises lots of visitors – it’s Georgian, so things look a little different to the usual Medieval designs. And the list of events is anything but ordinary, with things like ABBA and Queen tribute acts by candlelight as well as choral concerts and organ rehearsals.

2. Spend an afternoon in Markeaton Park

With more than 200 acres of green space pulling in a million visitors a year, Markeaton Park isn’t just Derby’s most-visited park – it’s one of the most popular attractions in the East Midlands. There’s a big paddling pool for kids, crazy golf, walking trails and picnic areas, as well as special events like open-air cinema screenings in the summer and the Derby Santa Run in December. The park is about a 30-minute walk out of the city centre, next to the University of Derby.

3. Test your nerve at an escape room

Derby city centre is home to a bumper crop of escape rooms that get great reviews from visitors. Not sure which one to pick? Try Unescapable if you fancy having a go at one of three time-travel themed rooms – you can take on the challenge as a couple or a group. Make Your Escape is another good option and there are lots of options to choose from, including two – Utopia and Dystopia – that you can play as a larger group together.


Derby: getting around

The megabus to Derby drops you at the city’s bus station in the east of the city centre, so you’re a five-minute walk from all the shops and sights, or a ten-minute walk from the train station. Heading to the University of Derby? Take the Unibus (U1) from the train station via the city centre and Bridge Street.

While the city centre is compact and walkable, Derby also has a decent bus service if you’re exploring a bit further out. The main operators are ARRIVA Midland, Trentbarton and Notts and Derby.

Derby: best for nightlife

Going out in Derby? If it’s a decent dinner you’re after, try Annie’s Burger Shack on Friary Street – the authentic Rhode Island style burgers are worth writing home about. The Orange Tree on George Street is a good shout for cocktails, and The Exeter Arms – just over the river outside of the city centre – is a must for pies and real ales.

There are a couple of special events in Derby’s social calendar worth timing your visit for, too. The monthly Bustler street food market strikes the perfect balance of street food, craft beers and live DJs on the last weekend of every month. And two pretty major music festivals – Download and Y Not – are both within a cab ride from the city.

Derby: best for shopping

Derbion is the place to head if you like your shops all under one rain-free roof. This indoor shopping centre in the south of the city is home to major names like H&M, Mango, Pandora and Schuh, as well as a cinema, restaurants and a food hall. There’s a theatre and a bowling alley, too, so it’s very much a one-stop-shop for all things shopping and leisure.

The Cathedral Quarter is Derby’s other top spot for shoppers, and you’ll find more in the way of independents here. 80s Casual Classics is definitely one to visit, and BPM is an essential stop-off for specialist records.


Derby for free – our top 3

1. Tour the city’s top museums

Derby’s got quite the collection of free-to-enter museums, starting with the Museum of Making. This one’s part of the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site, which is thought to be where the world’s first factory once stood. The exhibitions here trace Derby’s 300-year history of making – from woodwork to ceramics and silk. Pickford’s House is another good find – a visit here is like stepping back into Georgian times.

2. Zone out at Darley Park

Follow the river north from the city centre for about 20 minutes and you’ll find yourself in another of Derby’s green spaces – Darley Park. All blossoming hydrangeas and neat green lawns, the gardens follow the river all the way up to Darley Abbey at one end. Stop off at the tea rooms for a bacon buttie and a cuppa or pack a picnic and just enjoy the peace.

3. Walk the Great Northern Greenway

Fancy properly stretching your legs? Nothing blows the cobwebs away like a decent hike, and Derby city is at one end of Route 672 – also known as the Great Northern Greenway. This scenic walking and cycling path is a work in progress and will eventually follow the Great Northern Railway, known to locals as the Friargate Line, to Ilkeston. For now it’ll get you from Mansfield Road up to Breadsall in about an hour – and it’s nice and flat, so it’s perfect for beginners.

Book your Derby coach tickets using the journey planner at the top of this page.