Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Weekend in Derby

We had seen Michael Portillo alight in Derby and thought it a lovely place, so when we were looking for a place to visit not too far away from home, but with things to interest us at this time of the year, we booked ourselves into a hotel just close by the Cathedral.  The Cathedral Quarter Hotel was in this fine building:

Our first visit to the splendid high ceiling wood paneled dining room which is across the first floor was to have afternoon tea.

The staff were really helpful, and allowed us to settle into our room early, then we set off on foot to explore...close by were Museums and Art Gallery, pretty roads with Georgian Buildings, interesting Victorian facades, independent shops, the usual very good shopping zone with probably the best Marks and Debenhams we have been in for some time.  The City is quite compact and we were so pleased that we had booked the car into a long stay car park for the duration of our stay.

Just a few yards up the road was the lovely Cathedral Church of All Saints.  The clock has a wonderful chime and it was gentle and peaceful and I counted the various quarter hours off during my usual wakeful hours during the night.  The interior was a complete surprise..light and airy, with the most beautiful iron work dating from the 1700s.

I loved the huge memorial to Bess of Hardwick

and was intrigued by the display of The Cavendish Brasses which came from their coffins I presume.

There were just two stained glass windows designed by Ceri Richards, and this one is All Souls.

I sat for a minute or two in the Mayor's Pew in front of which is some more wonderful ironwork into which is set the medallion of the City Badge: "The Buck in the Park".

Along the road I spied some lovely Georgian details, like this bell pull

We walked down the Ashbourne Road which leads to Markeaton Park, where we came across Pickford's House, which is one the best Museums in Derby: Museum of Georgian Life and Historic Costume, which has several interesting collections.  We sat a bit on the top floor and marveled at the collection of toy theaters.  Then we started to work down the house, with its interesting bathrooms built in a 'bathroom tower'.  I loved the costumes with their embroidery.

and how about this for a pair of embroidered baby's slippers from about 1800.

Other rooms were fully furnished

 right down to the kitchens and scullery.  The Museum puts on quite a few activities but sadly not during our few days.

You can buy three leaflets which are well worth having, and with a garden plan and planting schemes, the garden was not to be missed.  The garden theme was even in the about this for a beautifully inlaid side table which included fushia flowers.

On the Sunday we decided to stride out further along Ashbourne Road and admire the architecture, and passed the remains of the gatehouse to the old Vernon Street County Prison with its magnificent gates.

A visit to the indoor miniature railway exhibition at the start of the park

and a nice sit down with a drink at the Orangery tea rooms with a fine view across the park to this lovely tree.

The Old Silk Mill in the Centre of Derby was open, and inside we spied a few interesting pieces of aeronautical engineering

I am sure my friend Liz will be able to recognize some of these, not that she would have worked on the first one!  But I guess this may be too much of a bus man's, sorry air engineer woman's holiday!

This Eagle Engine is one of the two engines that powered the first non stop transatlantic flight in June 1919.

We went into the central Museum and Art Gallery a couple of times...the building alone is interesting

and one of my favourite pieces is this one: part of St Alkmund's cross dating back to about 850AD

We had booked our evening meals at the Cathedral Quarter Hotel, and I must say they were excellent.  There were so many other lovely restaurants around, that it would have been easy to find many good ones to eat out at.  If you go to Derby be sure to taste the pikelets at the stall in the Market Hall.  They are freshly made on the griddle along with yeasted Derbyshire Oatcakes.  We sat at the bar on tall stools as we watched them being prepared: I had one with goats cheese, red pepper and walnuts with a great cup of coffee..Mr S chose the rarebit ones with a pot of tea!  There were a steady stream of customers buying packs to take home.

Yes there are angels in Derby, so look out for these and more!


  1. I'm just doing a bit of catching up around here and have been intrigued to see Derby through your eyes! Like you, we've watched Michael Portillo's series (just working our way through the American programmes on iplayer now) and I remember him dropping into Derby, but can't say it quite caught my imagination as it did with you. How wrong was I? I want to add the city to my list now!

    1. I look forward to reading about your take on Derby Gill. Might be worth trying to coincide your visit on one of the special 'foodie' evenings at the Georgian Museum, and prebook that. We didn't have time to go to the pottery, but hope to go there 'en route' one of these days.