City Heritage, Culture and Cocktails

By Visit Derby

Created November 29, 2022

Last updated July 5, 2023

Immerse yourself in a captivating blend of heritage, culture, and cocktails in the vibrant city of Derby. Our article is your passport to a remarkable journey where history, artistic treasures, and delightful libations intertwine. Discover the city's rich heritage as you explore its iconic landmarks, museums, and galleries that showcase Derby's cultural legacy. From the stunning Cathedral to the Joseph Wright Gallery, immerse yourself in the art and history that permeates every corner. After a day of exploration, indulge in the city's thriving cocktail scene, where mixologists craft innovative concoctions and classic favourites. Unwind in stylish bars and lounges, savouring handcrafted drinks and soaking in the city's vibrant atmosphere. Derby offers a unique fusion of past and present, inviting you to experience its heritage, culture, and the art of mixology. Dive into our article and embark on a journey that will stimulate your senses and leave you with unforgettable memories in Derby.

Making is in Derby’s DNA, as one of the birthplaces of the Industrial Revolution and home of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site: Derby has produced everything from silk to fine bone china to planes, trains, and automobiles.

Royal Crown Derby

Royal Crown Derby

Start your trip at the Museum of Making, formally Derby’s Silk Mill, which is widely regarded as the site of the world’s first modern factory. Discover the region’s 300-year history of making and history of innovation or try your hand at some of the making activities in the many workshops. Highlights include an exploded Toyota Corolla car suspended mid-air in the entrance hall and a seven tonne Rolls-Royce Trent 1000 engine hanging above visitors’ heads in the Civic Hall.

Just around the corner from the Museum of Making, in the historic Cathedral Quarter, is the stunning Derby Cathedral, towering above the city, with the second highest perpendicular church tower in England at 212 feet. The light and airy interior is home to the awesome tomb of Bess of Hardwick – a creation designed by the powerful lady before she died. Listen out for the bells, they are the oldest set of 10 bells in the world, one of which was cast in 1520, during the reign of Henry VIII, and is still in use 500 years later, making it one of the oldest working objects in Derby.

Image for Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill (UNESCO World Heritage Site)


Museum of Making at Derby Silk Mill (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

Silk Mill Lane, Derby

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Derby Cathedral

18-19 Iron Gate, Derby

Stroll down scenic Iron Gate, famed for its historic buildings or the cobbled streets of Sadler Gate both offering a myriad of specialist stores and independent retailers, with arcades and hidden entrances.  Or head to the indoor shopping malls of Derbion, a vibrant hub of retail, leisure and dining facilities and home to some of the world’s biggest brands.

Derbion shopping centre

Head for The Strand and get a cultural fix at Derby Museum and Art Gallery, home to a fascinating range of nationally important collections, including the world’s largest collection of work by the 18th Century Derby-born artist Joseph Wright of Derby. Finish off with refreshments in The Coffee House, the museum café situated within the Ceramics Gallery, serving wholesome, hearty food from local suppliers.

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Derby Museum & Art Gallery

The Strand, Derby

Image for The Coffee House at Derby Museum & Art Gallery


The Coffee House at Derby Museum & Art Gallery

The Strand, Derby

Take a ‘real ale trail’ to discover Derby’s historic pubs and magnificent microbreweries. Highlights include the award-winning Exeter Arms, the 16th century Ye Olde Dolphin, the city’s oldest pub, and The Tap, featuring the legendary ‘Rack’, a great induction to the art of ale tasting. Or discover the Old Bell Hotel, a coaching inn built in 1650, rich in history and once considered to be one of the most prestigious Inns outside of London.

Image for Exeter Arms


Exeter Arms

Exeter Place, Derby

Image for Ye Olde Dolphin Inne


Ye Olde Dolphin Inne

5a Queen Street, Cathedral Quarter, Derby

Image for The Derby Brewing TAP House


The Derby Brewing TAP House

1 Derwent Street, Derby

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The Old Bell Hotel

51 Sadler Gate, Derby

Cocktails at The Mixing House

Cocktails at The Mixing House

Or if you prefer a good Martini, Daiquiri or maybe even a cheeky Cosmopolitan, well look no further! Derby offers a great choice or bars and restaurants serving extensive cocktail menus with something to suit everyone. Try The Mixing House, with their Cloud 9 Roof Terrace, Blacksmith’s Lounge, who hold ‘Live at the Lounge‘ acoustic evenings and cocktail masterclasses or The Cottonworks, located in Darley Abbey, enjoy riverside seating and great cocktails. It’s so good that it recently featured in The Times national round up of the ‘30 best cocktail bars and terraces in the UK’. Don’t forget to check out ‘Happy Hour!’.

Image for The Mixing House


The Mixing House

19 - 20 Friar Gate, Derby

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Blacksmiths Lounge

19 - 20 Sadler Gate, Derby

Spend your evenings with a film at Derby QUAD or a show at Derby Theatre, then explore Friar Gate’s vibrant bar and restaurant scene, which offers door-to-door options ranging from tapas to fine dining delights including The Dining Room 121. Other favourites are The Wonky TableThe Forge Blackrock Steak House and Darleys in Darley Abbey.

Image for Derby QUAD & Cinema


Derby QUAD & Cinema

Market Place, Cathedral Quarter, Derby

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Derby Theatre

15 Theatre Walk, St Peter's Quarter, Derby

Image for The Forge Black Rock Steakhouse


The Forge Black Rock Steakhouse

Blacksmiths Yard, Sadler Gate, Derby

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Waterfront, Darley Abbey, Derby

To truly make the most of your visit, stay the night and tick-off more must-do activities including, indoor track cycling at Derby Arena’s velodrome, the thrill of beating the clock at one of Derby's many escape rooms, or you can even make a splash on a kayak or canoe experience on the river Derwent.

Kayaking on the River Derwent

Kayaking on the River Derwent

Stay over in Derby at The Coach House, a stunning boutique bed and breakfast or at The Stay Company, serviced apartments set in a Grade II listed Georgian building.

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The Coach House Derby

185A Duffield Road, Derby

Image for The Stay Company Friar Gate


The Stay Company Friar Gate

63 Friar Gate, Derby

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