Derbyshire is a county with a growing reputation as a centre for industry and innovation. So could it be the next property hotspot?
Derbyshire is a county of contradictions. It’s home to the wilderness of the Peak District National Park, but only a one- to two-hour drive from the cosmopolitan cities of Manchester and Sheffield. It’s home to some of the nation’s oldest pubs yet Derby – the county’s only city – has been named UK Capital for Innovation.
Progress is certainly underway in Derbyshire. Residents are looking forward to the results of a multi million pound regeneration scheme while a bid for a train station on the High Speed 2 rail line has been submitted.
Average house prices in Derbyshire are currently £189,000 (check current house prices here) which is well below the national average. Combined with its proximity to the Peak District and its future investment, Derbyshire could be featuring firmly on homebuyers’ radars.
Living in Derbyshire: what to expect
Much of the Peak District National Park lies within Derbyshire, so residents can enjoy walking, climbing and biking. Its charm inspired author Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice – and if you stop at one of the large country houses it’s easy to see why.
In addition to its natural beauty, Derbyshire played a key part in the Industrial Revolution. You can see markers of this past in the old mines and mills, some of which have been converted into housing. It’s still a hub of industry today and hosts firms such as Toyota, Rolls-Royce and aerospace company Bombardier.
Derbyshire’s regeneration projects are to receive millions of pounds of investment via the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership. This money will help to redevelop urban centres and boost the local economy.
But residents are already enjoying what the county has to offer. In 2015, comparison site uSwitch found that county town, Derby was one of the 25 best places to live in the UK.
While Derbyshire towns underwent significant change in the 19th century it’s still possible to seek out the county’s older heritage today. Period properties made of local stone are still plentiful and old traditions, such as ‘well dressing’ (decorating wells with flowers), are celebrated by residents at community events.
Where to start your property search
The spa town of Buxton is a gateway to the Peak District, giving residents access to the great outdoors. Properties here include substantial Victorian homes with countryside views, such as those on Bishop’s Lane.
You can also find newer developments, such as the Springdale estate. It’s within walking distance of Buxton station and the town’s amenities and has detached and semi-detached homes, as well as three-bedroom townhouses.
Glossop is a market town around 15 miles to the west of Manchester, but with the Peak District on its doorstep it offers the best of both worlds. For a new-build home take a look at the Laurel View development, which is just over a 10-minute walk from the town centre.
Chesterfield is 12 miles from Sheffield along the M1. It has one of the largest open-air markets in Britain and one of the oldest pubs. It’s an old market town but more than £1bm of investment is planned over the next few years. Property here ranges from grand farmhouses through to modest 20th century terraces.
To the north east of the county lies the village of Killamarsh. A home here means you can enjoy proximity to the Rother Valley Country Park.
Matlock in the Derbyshire Dales, which replaced Derby as county town of Derbyshire in 1977, lies on the edge of the Peak District. Residents enjoy its green spaces, its farmers’ markets and its annual Victorian Christmas weekend. Properties include apartments in converted mills and period family homes in the leafy Henry Avenue. The town is popular with commuters to Manchester, Derby and Nottingham.
Built on the River Derwent, Derby is England’s most central city and the only in Derbyshire. Residents can escape easily to the countryside, but there are also three theatres and an intu shopping centre. At its heart you’ll find Derby Arboretum – the first urban public park in the county.
The city grew thanks to its railway in the 19th century, so many properties in Derby Victorian. However, the rural surroundings of the city mean that converted barns can also be found.
Getting in and around Derbyshire
Car: The A6 links Derbyshire to Leicester and Manchester. The M1 takes you south to London or north to Sheffield and Leeds.
Air: East Midlands Airport is about 15 miles (30 minutes) from Derby city centre. It offers flights to around 100 domestic and European destinations. Birmingham International Airport is 40 miles from Derby.
Sea: Liverpool’s ferry terminals are 60 miles away.
Things to do in Derbyshire
Derbyshire is full of country houses such as the famous Chatsworth House. This estate is thought to be the inspiration for author Jane Austen’s Pemberley in the novel Pride and Prejudice.
Take a stroll around the mansion’s parkland, designed by Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown, and explore the house on a guided tour. You can also see artwork by Rembrant and Freud. Events include outdoor theatre performances, music concerts and horse trials.
If you love film, you’ll recognise Kedleston Hall. The building appeared in the Hollywood film The Legend of Tarzan as well as The Duchess.
Hardwick Hall was built by Bess of Hardwick, the richest woman in England after Queen Elizabeth I. It is famed for having more windows than walls. Take one of the many walks around the estate to enjoy its woodland and farm animals.
Buxton Opera House and the Pavilion Arts Centre stage 450 performances each year. The Edwardian theatre was restored in 2001 and is home to Buxton Festival. Book a ticket to see comedians, ballet, concerts or plays.
Expend some energy among the Peak District National Park’s moors, lakes and tors. Choose from abseiling, rock climbing, caving, potholing, kayaking, rowing, cycling, walking or horse riding.
Admire the views of Derwent Valley and the Peak District from the Heights of Abraham at Matlock Bath. You can either hike up or take a cable car to see the scenery at its best. Nearby you’ll find two caverns and a display of fossils.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, pay a visit to Bakewell. This market town is home to the Bakewell pudding. Sample one from the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop and then take a walk along the town bridge. You’ll find the sides covered in ‘love locks’ left by visiting couples.
If you want something more substantial, settle down in the Exeter Arms in Derby. It has been named ‘Best Pub’ multiple times in the Derby Food & Drink Awards. Enjoy some real ale along with its award-winning Sunday lunch.
Make a trip to Derby Cathedral more memorable by sitting in during the organ rehearsals, or enjoy live music from Derby LIVE. Residents also have easy access to huge music festivals such as Bloodstock during the summer.
The Five Pits Trail for horse riders, cyclists and walkers is a great way to explore the area’s old collieries and mining heritage. Once scarred by railways and open-cast pits, it’s now home to wildlife and nature. The trail connects with other walks and rides.
5 reasons to live in Derbyshire
Central location in the country
Access to beautiful countryside
Regeneration plans afoot
Commutable to Derby, Manchester and Sheffield