What’s special about the Derby Cathedral Quarter?

View of Derby Cathedral at night
Derby Cathedral

As the name suggests, Derby Cathedral Quarter is based around the city’s cathedral. With its historic and cultural attractions, shops, accommodation options, businesses and eclectic choice of bars and restaurants, it is a key city hub for visitors and locals alike.

Tourist Information Centre

The Derby Tourist Information Centre is based here, making a good starting point for a visit while other points of interest include a bustling market, Derby Cathedral, the Silk Mill, the Guildhall and the Assembly Rooms.

Cathedral Green or the Market Place are venues throughout the year for many outdoor events so, whether you are visiting during the day or evening, this award-winning city quarter has something to entertain you.

Fact file

– Derby Cathedral Quarter won the prestigious Great British High Street Award in 2016.

– England’s first silk mill was built on the quarter’s border in 1718.

– One of Captain Scott’s crew on his ill-fated Antarctic expedition in 1912 was George Clarke Simpson, born and raised above his father’s hardware shop in the city centre.

Attractions in Derby’s Cathedral Quarter

Get a flavour of city and county history by browsing the exhibits at Derby Museum. Paintings by the industrial artist Joseph Wright are on display alongside fine porcelain from the Royal Crown Derby factory.

Near the museum is the Silk Mill which marks the start of the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site. This fascinating attraction showcases Derby’s vital role in the Industrial Revolution of the 18th-century.

Although it’s not one of Britain’s most attractive cathedrals, Derby Cathedral is still worth a visit. Built as a local parish church and only designated a cathedral in 1927, it has an impressive 16th-century perpendicular tower which offers good views of the city.

Beware of the Ghosts door sign
Ghost Tour

The rest of the building is early-Georgian and features a wrought-iron screen by noted local blacksmith Robert Bakewell and memorials to Beth of Hardwick and Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire. Another highlight is the family of peregrine falcons that nest and raise their young on the tower every year. These can be viewed through telescopes provided by local volunteers or online webcams.

Stay in the area until after dark and, if you’re brave enough, join the Derby Cathedral Quarter Ghost Walk. Derby is said to be one of the most haunted places in the UK and this spooky tour takes in the tunnels and ghosts that lurk under the Guildhall.

Out and about in Derby Cathedral Quarter

When you’ve finished exploring the quarter’s historic gems take a stroll through ancient streets full of arcades and alleys that are home to a wealth of unique shops, specialist stores and great restaurants and bars.

You’ll discover shops selling designer and vintage clothing, crafts from around the world, music and art as well as gadgets of all sorts. Pop into Derby’s independent department store, Bennetts, which has been serving customers since the early 18th-century before scooping up some souvenirs in the cathedral shop.

If all the shopping has left you feeling a little jaded, then you’ll find spas, hairdressers and beauty salons where you can de-stress and enjoy a spot of indulgent pampering.

A place for entertainment both day and night

In the Cathedral Quarter, you’ll see the city of Derby at its vibrant best. Make the most of the cafe culture during the day, perfect during the summer months when you can enjoy an al-fresco coffee while indulging in a spot of people watching. The area is full of both well-known and unique eateries, many with fresh local produce on their menu.

After dark, the area comes alive with bars, pubs and nightclubs where you can savour a cocktail or sip a fine quality wine before dancing the night away. If you enjoy beer, Derby is considered a world-leader in craft brewing with many great local brews to sample.

Derby Cathedral Quarter is also the city’s creative hub with venues offering exciting entertainment for all ages. Derby QUAD & Cinema located in Market Place has an evening programme that is diverse in its appeal, ranging from art films and orchestral performances, to live gigs, plays and contemporary dance shows.

On Chapel Street is déda, a leading centre for dance, circus and outdoor performance work.

Local services in Derby Cathedral Quarter

Alongside its shops and cultural venues, you’ll also find a varied range of well-established and respected business and professional services.

Opticians, dentists and pharmacies operate alongside banks, building societies, lawyers, insurance brokers, financial advisors, accountancy practices, estate agents and chartered surveyors.

As well as these traditional businesses and services the quarter is also home to innovative leaders in digital and graphic design as well as micro-businesses and start-ups based at the Friar Gate Studios and Kings Chambers.

Transport in and around the Cathedral Quarter

An excellent transport system means you’ll have no problem getting to and from the Derby Cathedral Quarter whether you’re visiting during the day or in the evening. The centre itself is easy and safe to explore on foot while licensed taxi ranks and plenty of bus stops provide efficient links with the rest of Derby.

Within Derby Cathedral Quarter are several competitively priced car parks while the city’s bus station is only a five-minute walk away. From here, you can pick up a bus or coach to many places in the UK.

Cycle routes cross the Cathedral Quarter while Bikeworks on Full Street provides free and secure bicycle parking.

Regular events in Derby Cathedral Quarter

From summer street performances to Christmas markets there is always something happening in the quarter, creating a friendly and fun atmosphere that everybody can enjoy.

Every Saturday the quarter hosts a programme of live events. Street Circus, on the second Saturday of the month, puts on mesmerising displays of circus skills while every third Saturday sees Knickerbocker Glorious with its performances of music and comedy.

These take place in Market Place while every fourth Saturday of the month is taken over by the Edwardian Themed Street Theatre. This moves around the quarter entertaining shoppers and visitors with music hall scenes and sketches.