Chesterfield is the perfect English settlement to visit, located 18 kilometers (11.2 miles) south of Sheffield City. Get away from the hustle and bustle of city life and step foot into this market town, situated at the confluence of the River Rother and River Hipper. Atop a coalfield, whose trade contributed much to Chesterfields’ growing economy until the 1980s, Chesterfield has much to offer away from the modernity of urban living.
Receiving its “Market Charter” in the 13th Century, Chesterfield still boasts a moderately sized market of approximately 250 stalls, that operates three days per week. A casual walk along the streets enables visitors to unravel the rich culture and history of Chesterfield. Read on to learn more about the best things to do in Chesterfield:
1. Hardwick Hall
Designed by Robert Smythson and built between 1590 and 1597, Hardwick Hall is an architectural gem of Chesterfield and one of the earliest examples of the English interpretation of the Renaissance style of architecture. Hardwick Hall was built for Bess of Hardwick, English nobility and a shrewd businesswoman, whose wealth was second to that of Queen Elisabeth I. After her death in 1608, ownership was passed on to her son and generations after, until it reached the hands of the 10th Duke of Devonshire. Upon his unexpected death, ownership was handed over to the National Trust Fund, in 1959.
Today, Hardwick Hall is an attraction of Chesterfield and is open to the public. Do drop by this house and have a look at how Hardwick Hall resonated with power back in the 16th century and take a look at the tapestry and furniture that dates back to the 16th and 17th centuries. If you have time, take a walk in the garden and snap some pictures by the herbaceous borders. Do note that Hardwick Hall is further divided into the “Old Hall” and “New Hall”, for visiting. Check out the website for more information on ticketing and the different sections of Hardwick Hall.
Address: Doe Lea, Chesterfield S44 5QT, England
Contact: +44 1246 850430
Entry Fee: USD 10 to USD 20, depending on which section of the hall you are interested in visiting
Website: Hardwick Hall
2. Bolsover Castle
If Hardwick Hall impressed you, get ready to be blown away by the magnificence of Bolsover Castle, which dates back to the 12th century. 10 kilometers (6.2 miles) east of Chesterfield, be greeted with a view that may leave your jaw hanging. With massive round Romanesque vaults in the basement and Gothic-inspired architecture near the entrance, you will be left awestruck.
Move along now, to the upper floors and be greeted with panoramic views that serve as a great Facebook cover picture. With a range of activities lined up for both children and adults, Bolsover Castle is a great location for families to visit. Check on the website listed below for ticket prices and ongoing events. Not to worry if you forgot to pack food, for there is a cafe situated within the castle.
Address: Bolsover Castle Castle Bungalows Castle Street, Bolsover S44 6PR, England
Contact: +44 370 333 1181
Website: Bolsover Castle
3. Chesterfield Canal
Stop for a break at Nona’s Café, located near the canal. Prices may be a bit steep, but you’ll enjoy the tea, cakes and biscuits, with much tranquillity. Not hungry? This location is also perfect to wind down after a long day of walking around the city.
Perfectly well-maintained, this isn’t your typical dirty canal. If the day is still young, go and take a trip down the canal on a boat, run by the Chesterfield Canal Trust. Check out the website if you are keen on the boat trips.
Address: Hollingwood Lock, Hollingwood, Chesterfield, Chesterfield, England
Website: Canal Boat Trips
4. Chesterfield Museum and Art Gallery
With its informative and interesting displays, learn about the history of Chesterfield at the Chesterfield Museum and Art Gallery. The museum informs visitors on how Chesterfield, formerly a Roman fort, flourished into the gorgeous town that it is today. This place is definitely worth stopping by if you are in the vicinity, for you’ll leave with a better understanding of Chesterfields’ heritage. The staff is both friendly and knowledgeable about the exhibits.
Admission to the museum and art gallery is free! If you thoroughly enjoyed the visit, do leave behind a donation for the upkeep of the place. Note that the museum and art gallery is closed on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays.
Chesterfield Museum and Art Gallery
Address: St Mary’s Gate, Chesterfield S40 1LP, England
Website: Museum and Art Gallery
5. Linacre Reservoirs
Explore the oak woodlands of Chesterfield by the network of trails and footpaths. If you are an avid birdwatcher, this is the place for you! Come by early and you might catch the birds feeding. If you are in Chesterfield in the autumn, you’ll see the reservoir painted in hues of reds and yellows – bringing about much warmth. Take a romantic stroll with your significant other and see if you can spot any squirrels.
Furthermore, the canopy serves as perfect shade for picnics, so bring along a picnic basket and enjoy the day out with your family and friends. If you are coming by on a rainy day, careful not to step into puddles of mud! Take note that you need to pay for parking.
Address: Linacre Reservoirs Woodnook Lane | Cutthorpe, Chesterfield S42 7JW, England
6. Queen's Park
Opened in 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee, Queen’s Park still retains its splendor and popularity with both locals and tourists. Do not feel defeated if you can’t make it down to Linacre Reservoirs, for Queen’s Park offers great picnic locations, too! Your children will be well entertained, with both the playground and miniature railway ride located within the park.
If you are coming on a Sunday, there’s a bandstand, where local bands play throughout the summer. If you are not interested in the local music scene, check out the cricket matches that happen in the daytime, by the cricket grounds. Check the website listed below to see if a band is scheduled for the week and the directions to the park.
Address: Boythorpe Road, Chesterfield S40 2ND, England
Website: Queen’s Park
7. Revolution House
The Revolution House is a free public museum, with displays dating back to the 17th century. Three local noblemen, disguised as a hunting party, planned to overthrow James II on this very ground. Find out more about the “Glorious Revolution”, which was fueled by lies, deceit, and betrayal, through a video and display panels within the house.
If you don’t have much time to spare during a stopover in Chesterfield, drop by the Revolution House, for its humble setting enables you to learn a wealth of history within an hour or less. Take note that the Revolution House is not open all day, nor all year. Best to give them a call before heading over!
The Revolution House
Address: 61 High Street | Old Whittington, Chesterfield S41 9JZ, England
Opening Periods: April through to September
Contact: +44 1246 453554
Website: Revolution House
8. Barrow Hill Roundhouse Railway Centre
Constructed in 1869, the Barrow Hill Roundhouse Railway Centre is an example of 19th-century railway architecture. After close to 120 years in service, the railway center was marked for closure and demolition, in February 1991. However, with much effort by the Barrow Hill Engine Shed Society, the Roundhouse managed to escape demolition and instead, was set for refurbishment and preservation. The doors to the Roundhouse opened again in December 1998, and it now serves to inform the general public of the rail industry of the past and present. Check out the website listed below for a wide array of guided tours and workshops available!
Barrow Hill Roundhouse
Address: Campbell Drive, Chesterfield S43 2PR, England
Contact: +44 1246 472450
Website: Barrow Hill Roundhouse
9. Stainsby Mill at Hardwick Estate
Formerly a property that was utilized and owned by Hardwick Hall, Stainsby Mill was handed over to the National Trust for restoration in 1976. Take a walk through the mill and explore the working environment of a 19th-century flour miller, who provided flour for the occupants of Hardwick Estate and the local villages. Within the walls lays a functional water-powered mill and you may choose to purchase freshly milled flour as a keepsake after your visit!
Do note that this attraction is not easily accessible to wheelchair users, as there are steps within. If you are already visiting Hardwick Hall, stop by the mill - it won’t take more than an hour to cover the grounds.
Address: Hardwick Hall, Doe Lea,Chesterfield,Derbyshire,S44 5QJ
Website: Stainsby Mill
10. Pomegranate Theatre
Round up your trip to Chesterfield with delight. Purchase tickets and attend a play or musical at the Pomegranate Theatre. With an exciting line-up, you will be spoilt for choice. Not to worry, there are also children-friendly options that are staged daily. Do not belittle the theatre based on its size. Step foot inside, and be swept away by the splendor of the interior.
Remember to bring a jacket, for it may get a little too cold for comfort. Don’t let the simple exterior fool you, head on in before the lights go out and be amazed by the magnificence of the gold and red interior of the theatre, which exudes an air of royalty. Check out the website for upcoming shows.
Address: Corporation Street, Chesterfield S41 7TX, England
Website: Pomegranate Theatre
So what are you waiting for?
Don’t let the quiet streets of Chesterfield fool you. This little town packs a punch, for there are many activities suited for both young and old. Visit the lakes, or take a hike on through the oaklands. Participate in a workshop, or visit a museum to learn more of Chesterfield. Whatever you may choose to do, you will definitely be back to Chesterfield, asking for more. Don’t forget to bring your camera, for there are many photo opportunities that await!
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