Visit Matlock Bath 1
   
         
  Matlock Bath (cobbled-stone climb)
         
    The Jubilee Bridge
         
      Sir John Betjeman  
Click on Sir John Betjeman to see his poem about Matlock Bath.
Matlock Bath (Looking up from North Parade
 
  The pavilion building
         
 

What can you get from a Visit to Matlock Bath?

A visit to Matlock Bath can be very rewarding whatever time of year you choose and whatever the weather. The scenery here is stunning and because the village is a designated conservation area a great deal has being done to conserve and protect the buildings from decline.

There is something in Matlock Bath to suit every taste – from museums to amusements. They live quite happily side by side because the conservation area guidelines keep control of any excessive promotional activity that might jar with aesthetics, while allowing businesses to prosper, along with the historical and scenic side of tourism that has made Matlock Bath so worth visiting and which is nurtured by its other core businesses and attractions.

This web site, presented by the creator of the Life in a Lens museum and The Victorian Teashop, promotes all aspects of Matlock Bath, but particularly the really pleasant aspects Matlock Bath has to offer – being the gateway to the Peak District and blessed as it is with breath-taking scenery. Click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.

History

Matlock Bath is a unique village just south of Matlock in Derbyshire nestled alongside the River Derwent in a steep and beautiful gorge. It developed as a spa town in the nineteenth century and was extremely fashionable and prosperous, with its spectacular scenery adding to the general appeal. It was visited by the then Princess (later Queen) Victoria on 22 Oct 1832 .She was a guest of the Duke of Devonshire staying at nearby Chatsworth House and visited again in 1844. These visits served to enhance the reputation of the resort but eventually the advent of the railway changed all that, bringing 'day trippers' by the score. It was at this time that Matlock Bath developed its inland 'seaside' resort image that it still carries today.

The health spar aspect of Matlock Bath began much earlier than Victorian times. In fact, it was in 1698 that three medicinal springs were discovered. Soon afterwards the first 'bath' was devised and constructed. It was made of wood and lined with lead and it was this that gave Matlock 'Bath' its name.

Other famous people have made comment on Matlock Bath, including Lord Byron and Mary Shelley, who mentions Matlock (Bath) in her novel 'Frankenstein': "We proceeded to Matlock (Bath), which was our next place of rest. The country in the neighbourhood of this village resembles Switzerland; but everything is on a lower scale". In those days, many people used the name 'Matlock' when they meant 'Matlock Bath'. John Wesley found it "pleasant beyond expression"; Ruskin expressed his delight as did Nathaniel Hawthorne. The extremely observant 'Poet Laureate', Sir John Betjeman, wrote a poem about the village, which is actually called 'Matlock Bath'. Click on Sir John's photograph to the left to read it.

In recent years the village has continued to thrive and is a favourite place for tourists visiting the Peak District. The original railway station also exists and this still brings visitors in their thousands.

It is true to say that Matlock Bath has lost a number of its shops recently, but there are other developments, and maybe 'shopping' in a general sense is going out of fashion a little these days. The trade in Matlock Bath now seems aimed towards a 'cafe-culture' and 'attractions', subtle and otherwise, and given the right direction and freedom from the tediously stale 1960's image of 'seaside' and fish and chips, the village could see a wonderful upturn in its fortunes and attract a much broader market base year round – it certainly has the natural setting and the beautiful buildings for it.

Getting the best out of Matlock Bath

There is a lot to be said for visiting Matlock Bath in the 'off season' as well as the main summer season and very many people do so. It can be the best way to see the truly breath-taking nature of the Gorge, particularly when the trees are bare and also the best way of seeing the variety of interesting Georgian and Victorian buildings that give Matlock Bath its wonderful architectural heritage and friendly appeal. Having said that, if you choose the right time to visit, even in the high summer Matlock Bath can be a very quiet and relaxing place – very different from the often over-loaded Sundays when you can't really see anything except who not to bump into next.

In fact, the atmosphere in Matlock Bath changes like the tide – from day to day, week to week, season to season – just like the Derwent River changes in character as it flows through the year, from gentle and placid to occasional raging torrent that washes tree trunks southward towards the city of Derby.

The "Jubilee Bridge", which we featured on our Matlock Bath web cam site, was build in 1897 and has seen many thousands of visitors cross the Derwent river to the fantastic historical park with its 'lovers walks', children's play areas and high paths up the cliff faces. The park is currently the subject of a revitalisation scheme.

This site contains photographs of the 'Matlock Bath' so often missed among the bustle of tourism and traffic that can overwhelm the village and ruin its appeal. As business owners and residents who have found both peace and prosperity in this pleasanter side of the village, we can honestly say it is a 'Matlock Bath' that exists with much greater force that than those hectic days that project its sometimes unfair reputation.

We will continue to add to this site and hope our efforts will help to attract a broader interest in the place and its unique geographic location. We also hope to promote a curiosity for its wonderful atmosphere, which changes subtly throughout the days and weeks of the year. What you may experience here on a given Sunday can be worlds apart from the following Monday, or even a different Sunday in another part of the year – we said at the beginning, there is something here in Matlock Bath for everyone – there is also a time for everyone – come and find yours!

Peter Hague

News about our teashop, museum and other web site developments, such as the amusing Teashop site and the live web cam can be found on www.lifeinalens.com

 

 
         
Jubilee Bridge on the Derwent    
Rowing on the Derwent    
Matlock Bath (cottage)    
         
High Torr
On North Parade DE4
North Parade DE4
Guest houses on North Parade
Victorian Teashop & Aquarium Amusements
Rose cottage  
     
Matlock Bath (Cliff from Derwent Gardens)  
The Derwent & Holy Trinity      
Looking towards the Heights of Abraham
Matlock Bath (Derwent Gardens fountain)      
Hodkinsons Hotel    
         
  Matlock Bath (Derwent Gardens pond)     Matlock Bath (Derwent Garden grotto)   Matlock Bath (Derwenr Gardens Grotto 2)       Matlock Bath (Derwent gardens)  
Matlock Bath (The Pavillion from Temple walk) Matlock Bath (North Parade From Temple Walk)     Six sided cottage   Matlock Bath (South Parade)      
 
View from Holme Road – Matlock Bath Matlock Bath (Memorial Gardens) Temple Hotel – Derbyshire   Temple Hotel  – Derbyshire    
 
           
 
 

This site was created by Peter Hague Concept • Design • Art Direction – (Peter Hague Design Limited)
www.peterhague.com
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