Historic Houses and Museums

Whether you are a recent history graduate, or just someone who is absolutely obsessed with history and antiquity, this is the right place for you. There is such a wealth of interesting historic houses and museums to visit in the area. We have compiled a list of just a few of our favorite historic houses and museums. We tried to add some variety to the mix, but of course, any good guide will provide you with all the places we have left out!

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The National Memorial Arboretum

Croxall Road, Alrewas, DE13 7AR
The National Memorial Arboreutm provides a living and lasting focus for Remembrance for those who have lost their lives or suffered in the service of their country. There are 150 acres of wooded parkland and the new memorial to the 16,000 memebers of the forces who have lost their lives since the Second World War. The memorial was opened by The Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall in November 2007

Chatsworth Estate

‘The greatest private palace in England’ (The Independent), a visit here could last more than one day. It has a fabulous house, gardens, grounds, farmyard and the renowned farm shop all are open to visitors. The house has over 30 rooms open to the public and the garden has over 100 acres including the famous water features. Plus don’t forget the Farmyard and Adventure Playground for the smaller ones. Lovely shops and Cafes, and Restaurants.

Hardwick Hall

Doe Lea, Chesterfield, S44 5QJh
A fabulous house! Built by Bess of Hardwick in the 1590s – it was her way of showing off her incredible wealth (built up over 4 marriages!). Owned by the National Trust it is a great day out and can be combined with a visit to Harwick Old Hall (next door).

  • 01246 850430

Peveril Castle

Market Place, Castleton, S33 8WQ
Fabulous views abound from this ruined Norman castle high up above Catleton.  English Heritage organise many events here including mediavel days – great for the kids!

Cheddleton Flint Mill

Cheddleton, Leek, nr. Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire ST13 7HL

Cheddleton Flint Mill originates from the 18th century and uses two working watermills for grinding flint. South Mill was modified in 19th century and now contains displays describing its relation to the pottery industry.

  • 01782 502907

Haddon Hall

Bakewell, DE45 1LA (on the A6 between Rowsley and Bakewell)
A wonderful old house, used regularly in the filming of period dramas and films.  It has been on the same site since the Domesday Book.  One of the very few houses with intact Tudor and Elizabethan interior decor, it really is a step back in time (one of the reasons so many of those films are produced here!).  For garden lovers, the walled grounds have been designed by a Chelsea Gold Medalist designer, Arne Maynard.

Etruria Industiral Museum

Lower Bedford Street, Etruria, Stoke on Trent, ST4 7AF
See how the potteries used to operate

Gladstone Pottery Museum

Uttoxeter Road

Award Winning preserved Victorian pottery factory complete with bottle ovens. Explore a maze of passageways and workshops. Skilled pottery demonstrations daily. Opportunity to throw a pot, make china flowers and decorate pottery to take home. Also, Flushed with Pride – the story of the toilet, tile gallery and 1890s doctor’s surgery.

Open: Everyday 10.00am-5.00pm
Allow at least 2 hours for a visit

The Wedgwood Story

Barlaston, Stoke, ST12 9ES
Wedgwood have spent many millions upgrading their museum. It is also possible to enjoy the Factory Tour here too

Quarry Bank Mill & Styal Estate

This is an old cotton mill, where you can see the machinery in action, visit the Apprentice House (and see how the children were treated for their ailments), see the working power mills (steam and water) and buy cotton still produced here. A really fascinating day out.

Lyme Park

A wonderful National Trust property, famous as the house in the BBC’s Pride and Prejudice (who can forget Darcy walking out of the lake?).

Crich Tramway Museum

Crich, Matlock
Take a trip on a tram, visit the museum or the adventure playground for the children. Even on a wet day there is plenty to see

Macclesfield Silk Museum

Roe Street, Macclesfield, SK11 6UT


Arkwrights Cromford Mill and Derwent Valley Mills

Mill Lane, Cromford, Derwent Valley, DE4 3RQ
Another industrial museum, site of the worlds first water pweres cotton spinning mill, part of the Derwent Valley Mills – aWorld Heritage Site.  There are a number of industrial heritage attractions in this area including;

Masson Mills  DE4 3PY – the finest surviving example of an Arkwright cotton spinning mill.

Cromford   – the village built for for mill workers in 1776

Willersley Castle  DE4 5JH – Sir Richard Arkwright’s home

Cromford Mills DE4 3RQ – The birthplace of the factory system

Leawood Pumphouse, Cromford – Steam pumping engine, lifting 4 tonnes of water in each stroke

John Smedley Mill and Factory Shop DE4 5AG – still operational and making luxury knitwear

Strutt’s North Mill  DE56 1YD – Follow cotton manufacture from plant to thread

Derby Musuem and Gallery, DE1 1BS – A wide variety of exhibits

Arbour Low Stone Circle & Gib Hill Barrow  or Nine Ladies Stone Cirlce

Upper Oldhams Farm, Moneyash, Bakewell or  Stanton Moor, Rowsley, Matlock
The Stonehenge of the north!

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery

Terrace Road, Buxton, SK17 6DA


Derby Musuem and Art Gallery

The Strand, Derby, DE1 1BS


  • 01332 716659

Bakewell Old House Museum

Cunningham Place, North Church Street, Bakewell, DE45 1DD

Pickford House Musuem

41 Friar Gate, Derby, DE1 1DA
A musuem of Georgian life and costumes

Creswell Crags

Crags Road, Welbeck, Worksop, S80 3LH
A bit of a drive from any of our Party Hosues, but if you are interested in prehistoric times and dinasours it could be worth the trip!

Erasmus Darwin House

Beacon Street, Lichfield
This is a grade 1 listed house and a museum dedicated to Erasmus Darwin. He was not only the grandfather of Charles Darwin, but also a famous physician and founder of of the Lunar Society, a talented scientist and a poet! It is also situated close to Lichfield Cathedral and the other buildings in this historic small city centre

Samuel Johnson Birthplace Museum

Breadmaker Street, Lichfield
Another reason to visit Lichfield! Dr Johnson literary achievements can be rediscovered as well as the 5 floors of Georgian house to explore.

Barrow Hill Engine Shed

off Campbell Drive, Barrow Hill, Chesterfield, S43 2PR
This was built as a maintenence centre for steam trains in 1870. There are lots of trains to view here but also see how train engines can be turned around on a traditional circular turn table

Calke Abbey

Ticknell Near Melbourne, DE73 1LE
A fascinating National Trust property that has been left as it was found – full of treasures.

The National Stone Centre

Porter Lane, Worksworth, DE4 4LS
A different sort of day out! Learn all about the importance of stone in heritage and trails for the children in a dramatic 50 acre geological site.

Peak District Mining Museum

The Pavilion, Matlock Bath, DE4 3NR
Explore the world of mining in previous generations of Peak District miners

Heage Windmill

Chesterfield Road, Nether Heage