Cheap Activities at Attractions in and around Derby and the East Midlands
From beautiful countryside to quirky attractions, there’s loads to keep people of all ages occupied on a shoestring.
We’ve rounded up some of our favourites below, some are near to the city and some a little further afield.
Although we’ve not factored in travelling costs or parking, most are free to do – or at very least just a few quid. And all are plenty of fun.
New Walk Museum and Art Gallery
- Markeaton Park has lots of space with plenty of opportunity for families to enjoy a day out together.
- During the summer there is a free paddling pool and in the grounds there is always something going on.
- Feed the ducks at Markeaton Lake and for a price, you can hire a rowing boat or pedalo.
- Entry is free and there are refreshments available on site.
Location: Markeaton Lane, Derby, DE22 4AA.
The National Forest
- The National Forest stretches across Leicestershire into Staffordshire and has loads to do with the kids.
- We suggest grabbing your bikes and heading out to some of the amazing cycle paths in the area:
- Such as the Cloud Trail from Worthington towards Derby, or
- The Ashby Woulds Trail you can take from Measham to explore the extensive Donisthorpe Miners Welfare site.
Location: Off High Street, Measham, Derbyshire, DE12 7HR
Matlock Derby Aquarium and Exhibitions
- Splashing out on a trip to see some sea life at Matlock Derby Aquarium needn’t break the bank.
- The Matlock Derby attraction is £3.30 per person to get in, with children four and under free.
- There’s more than 50 species of fish to see.
- As well as a hologram exhibition.
- A petrifying well and gemstone display, and more.
- Plus Matlock Derby itself is well worth a wander around to boot.
Location: North Parade, Matlock Derby, Derbyshire, DE4 3NS.
- In the shadow of East Midlands Airport, near Castle Donington, is the Aeropark museum and viewing area where you can study the aeronautical technology of yesteryear, or
- Just watch the modern jets of today landing and taking off.
- It’s run by volunteers, and costs £4 adults and £2 for children five and over.
- There’s also the Airport Trail sculpture walk around the airport’s perimeter to explore.
Location: Hill Top, Castle Donington, Leicestershire DE74 2PR
- The first country park in England, Elvaston Castle and its surrounding parkland is a beautiful spot on the outskirts of Derby.
- The park has around 321 acres of open parkland, woodland and more formal gardens and it’s won a national standard Green Flag Award for five years running.
- Sadly, the house itself, described as a “gothic revival masterpiece”, is not open to the public.
- Entry to the park is free.
Location: Borrowash Road, Elvaston, Derby, DE72 3EP.
Belper River Gardens
- Belper River Gardens are great.
- Little ones can play in the play area and explore the band stand and,
- There are great views over the Derwent.
- You can hire a rowing boat for a small fee but it can be as much fun to watch inexperienced rowers struggle.
- There is no charge for admission.
Location: Matlock Road, Belper, Derbyshire. DE56 1BE