Museums in the Peak District

Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution

At the heart of Derbyshire’s history is the birthplace of the factory, which ushered in the Industrial Revolution. Arkwright's Cromford Mill is part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site and allows you to see inside the world’s first water-powered cotton mill! Discover this great monument of the industrial revolution - a fascinating and unique historical marker to experience today.

You can also step back in time and visit the remains of the area’s lead mining history at the Peak District Mining Museum or in the show cavern at The Heights of Abraham- the Peak District & Derbyshire is full to the brim with history just waiting to be explored…….

Discover the wonders of the Peak at Buxton Museum & Art Gallery - with over 1,200 objects on display, covering 360 million years of history.

(photo credit: Derwent Valley Mills)

Crich Tramway Museum 

Just a 15 minute drive from Matlock, is one of those perfect multi-generational family days out as kids will love the Woodland Walk and Sculpture Trail, as well as the adventure playground and indoor play area, parents and grandparents will enjoy the history, and everyone will enjoy the unlimited rides on the trams! 

Buxton Museum and Art Gallery 

A museum collection 360 million years in the making…

Buxton Museum has permanent galleries showcasing a core collection of Peak District archaeology, geology, art and local history. Take a journey through time and place in the Wonders of the Peak gallery. They also have a great interactive webpage Wonders of the PeakFor art lovers, they have regular exhibitions on from local and visiting artists and from their own collections in our two exhibition galleries. Free entry, please check website for opening times.

(photo credit: Buxton Museum)

Caudwell's Mill

Caudwell’s Mill is a historic flour mill situated in Rowsley, Derbyshire, in the heart of the beautiful Peak District. Set in the stunning Wye Valley. Caudwell’s Mill is a fascinating working example of a historic 19th-century turbine-driven roller mill and offers a fun and educational visit for all. It is free to walk around the mill and marvel at the state-of-the-art Victorian technology that was installed in this unique example of a roller mill. Caudwell’s Mill is believed to be the only roller mill in the world with an almost complete set of machinery.  Free guided tours are also available if booked in advance. 

The riverside setting is  also perfect for a spot of lunch in the Hlaf cafe (Anglo Saxon for loaf) and visit the gift shop and artisan workshops. 

Heage Windmill

Presiding over spectacular views towards the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site, the windmill was lovingly restored in 2002 and looks as good as when first built in 1797. A Grade II* listed building, it is now a major Derbyshire attraction with a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award and the only working six-sailed stone tower windmill in England.

(photo credit: Heage Windmill)

Magpie Mine

The atmospheric remains of Magpie Mine are one of the best places to visit in the Peak District and one of the top industrial heritage sites in Derbyshire. It was the last working lead mine in the Derbyshire orefield and is one of the best surviving examples  in the UK of a 19th century lead mine. The mine has a fascinating history spanning more than 200 years of bonanzas and failures, of bitter disputes and fights resulting in the “murder” of three miners, and a Widows’ Curse that is said to remain to this day. Free entry to the site however donations are welcome to support the volunteers and upkeep of the site.

Bakewell Old House Museum

Tucked away in a quiet corner of Bakewell is this little museum that is packed full of Bakewell history. Built in the reign of Henry VIII as a tax collector's cottage, the building was expanded into a gentleman's residence in the Elizabethan period - complete with ​a garderobe (Tudor toilet). In the Industrial Revolution, it was repurposed as mill workers' cottages, by none other than Richard Arkwright himself who had built his third cotton spinning mill in Bakewell at Lumford. As well as the wonderful collection of artefacts they also offer guided tours of Bakewell, taking you back through the history, secrets and legends of Bakewell.

Eyam - The Plague Village

The small and rural village of Eyam became famous after the Black Death of 1665 and 1666. A deadly outbreak of the plague was contained when the villagers decided to isolate themselves from the surrounding communities leading to one of the most well-known stories of ultimate sacrifice. Many people in the village died but some of the village population were genetically unique and naturally immune to this very deadly disease. The best place to start your tour of Eyam is at the museum, it not only tells the Plague Story, but also relates the earlier development of the village, and its recovery after the Plague, as a centre for farming, mining, and, at various times, for the manufacture of shoes and silk products.

Visiting Eyam is definitely a great day out for all the family, as not only can you learn about the gruesome village history there is lots of lovely shops cafes and pubs as well as lovely walking countryside all around.

Peak Rail, Churnet Valley Railway and Ecclesbourne Railway

Peak Rail

Shelter from those rainy days with a ride on an old steam train on this preserved railway line between Rowsley South Station and Matlock Platform 2. Peak Rail welcomes you to experience the thrill of our preserved railway whilst travelling through the delightful Derbyshire countryside. 

Other notable heritage railways that offer a wide range of train rides on their steam locomotives:

Churnet Valley Rail

Ecclesbourne Rail