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Matlock Bath: The Former Victorian Spa Town - California Globetrotter

Matlock Bath: The Former Victorian Spa Town

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IMG_2619Just round the corner from Derby down some winding roads through the Midlands country side is the small village of Matlock. Not far from the town sits Matlock Bath which is situated at the sharp bend of the River Derwent. This small village was once a popular Spa Town from the 1780s that was transformed after the creation of better railway transportation. Now, this small village is a hot spot for all sorts of day trippers, from families to leather-clad bikers. There is something to do for everyone!

Matlock Bath is a small village which hugs the river, with a main street with shops, cafes and Chippy restaurants. It is the perfect location for an afternoon strolling down the lane, grabbing a bite to eat, stopping to sip on your favorite brew of tea and perhaps a quick peak into the old Spa House which has now been turned into an Aquarium.

Now called the Matlock Bath Aquarium & Exhibition, you can enjoy the 50 different species of fish for just £2.90,  which now swim in the thermal waters once used in the past. We even got to see Nemo and Flo and I had an interesting encounter with a fish who didn’t like me! The building is a wonderful example of the Victorian Era and also houses the largest collection of Holograms in Europe.

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e97d47e3c1d7e12d37e9eafc97fda370Step back into time just a few buildings down and enjoy a cuppa tea in a wonderful, classic Victorian Tea House. This tea house is elaborately decorated with trailing ivy leaves and twinkling lights with Victorian knickknacks throughout the shop. Order up one of their adorable little cakes to enjoy while sipping on a cuppa tea.

I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon tea at the Victorian Teashop! Of all the times I had ever been to England, I had never been in a tea house nor ever knew they existed! So on this trip, I was determined to go to at least one and have a traditional sit down while visiting my friend! Although, I do have to say how awesome it is to see biker men sitting down in their leather bikers suits, sipping on a cuppa tea!

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Be sure to check out the old Methodist Church which now houses the indoor Matlock Bath Market, which has all kinds of interesting goodies from snacks to hand painted jars. However, the market is only open on the weekends and Mondays.

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Not far from the market, across the street is a beautiful creamy yellow steel bridge which was opened in 1887 for Queen Victoria’s Jubilee. It has recently been reopened and blast cleaned and repainted in its original colors!

IMG_2627If the crowds of tourists and loud bikes are too much for you, take a stroll down by the river and follow the Matlock Bath Walk which is one of the oldest pleasure grounds in England dating back to the 1780s!  Check out this sight for more information on walking the entire path: Matlock Bath Walk.

If you don’t feel like walking the entire length of the park, then just casually stroll through the park with your lover and watch those who are enjoying a little paddle boat stroll down the river. Or just sit and enjoy the beautiful colors of the park.

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Other things to see and do in Matlock Bath include:

  • The Matlock Bath Cable Car, called the Heights of Abraham which first opened in the 1780s and has become one of the Peak District’s most popular attractions! Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time to enjoy a ride! Check out the website for more information: The Heights of Abraham!
  • Gulliver’s Kingdom – great family attraction especially for little ones!
  • The Grand Pavilion – An Edwardian era building which has been reopened and funded by the local community and houses exhibitions, live performances, plays, musicals and more!
  • The Life in a Lens Museum – this can be found above the Victorian Teashop and gives a look into the life of photography, especially during the Victorian times till now.

Which tea houses have you visited in England and can recommend?

For more blogs about our trip to England:

Derby: The Most Historic & Haunted Town in England

Brighton: England’s Seaside Pleasure

Oxford: Home of the Scholarly

A 2-Day Guide to London for First Timers

Bath: When in Bath, Bathe Like the Romans!

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Author: California Globetrotter

At 14 I started traveling the world with my parents and was hooked! By 21 I was studying abroad in Heidelberg, Germany. By 26 I sold all of my belongings and bought a one way ticket to Germany to teach English. Little did I know, I'd meet the love of my life and end up traveling to the most romantic and idyllic towns in Europe and becoming a long-term expat in Bavaria! My name is Lorelei and I'm just your typical CaliGirl, Sunset Chaser, Fairytale Dreamer, Dress Lover, Traveloholic, Beer Drinker!

8 thoughts on “Matlock Bath: The Former Victorian Spa Town

  1. Reblogged this on hampshire Hog and commented:
    I’d forgotten about the bikers! As for tea shops…hmm…
    I’ve drunk tea in Harrods!
    Also, there used to be a bookshop near to Matlock Bath, at Cromford, I don’t know if it is still there…and you literally have to step behind a bookcase to reach their cafe.
    There’s a pub on the top of Mount Snowden… does that count?

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