I had a really lovely 27th birthday and had to share it with you. It’s always hard to decide what to do for your birthday but it’s a tradition for me and Ollie to always make a trip out of it! This year we booked a lovely hotel (which tuned out to be a castle!) in Cromford near Matlock Bath and enjoyed a wonderful day out at Heights of Abraham.
This was the second visit to Heights of Abraham; the first being 2 years ago and I was very impressed. I’d always seen the cable cars having been to Matlock bath so many times as a little girl but never been up there. There’s so much more than just cable cars and the experience alone is worth it, in my opinion. Yes the prices are higher than average (£17.00 adult) but it’s a special occasion sort of day out.
Birthday Celebrations: Matlock Bath & Heights of Abraham Review
Day one: Cromford & Hotel
There is a (very long) bus from sheffield but we prefer the train to Matlock Bath, but on the train I was reading a visitor guide for Matlock and Cromford. There’s so much to see and do around there, so we got off the train in Cromford and decided to have a picturesque walk to Matlock Bath. The hotel turned out to be much closer to Cromford than Matlock bath, so in hindsight, we should have done it backwards! Birthday Celebrations: Matlock Bath & Heights of Abraham Review
Cromford is small but lovely for an afternoon. We had a picnic on Cromford Canal in Wheatsheaf Warf which had a cafe, art gallery, gift shop and an old cheese shop. I’m sure there is a canal walk, too but it was far too hot for that on the day. Just nearby is Cromford Mill with gift shops, cafes and at the time, a pop up sand pit beach which was free. Very fun! And good that it was under shade because it was nearly 30 degrees on that day.
I wouldn’t really recommend the walk from Cromford to Matlock Bath that we did, along the main roads, because especially with a toddler it’s long and quite boring. Once we reached Matlock bath, the Gullivers Kingdom side, tiredness had reached us (and overhot!) but we managed to find some playgrounds.
Along that side of the river Derwent the walk is lovely along a flat path with some pretty “fairytale” lily pad gardens and areas, boats on the river and quite a lot of shade, plus 2 playgrounds.
For dinner we ate the The Fishpond Pub, family friendly and had vegan options. Birthday Celebrations: Matlock Bath & Heights of Abraham Review
Now the hotel was fantastic and a real surprise. I found it just on booking.com: Willersley Castle Hotel, it was actually the cheapest price for our dates which is why I booked it. £58 including pool and breakfast. It used to be a church (I think) so it has only opened up to the public quite recently. Because of this the customer service is quite strange, it’s very formal yet family friendly (I know, hard to combine the two, yet they do) but a very, very nice hotel.
It’s in an old castle set in acres of countryside with the most fantastic views over Derbyshire. The hotel rooms are spread out over a few acres of land with little paths leading to the separate areas. It was very secluded, totally quiet and a real escape.
Included in our stay was use of the pool and breakfast. The pool was miles better than I thought it would be and reminded me of the log cabin style pool back at Sandybrook Country Park. A lovely warm pool in a log cabin building, fluffy towels, very clean and the view of trees out of big windows. There was a little basic pool for kids which Eric loved splashing around it, it was such a nice end to the evening.
Breakfast was buffet style and plenty to eat. We are vegan and filled up with cereals and soy milk, toast and preserves, beans, hash browns and tomatoes. It definitely set us up for the day before heading to heights of Abraham. We stopped for photos and to admire the view before going there, though, it really is a fantastic view. I would definitely go back here.
Day Two: Heights of Abraham
Heights of Abraham in Matlock Bath is conveniently located next to the train station. The impressive cable cars can be seen high above the roads in the sky near the rocks and caves. Not many people seem to be know that the attraction is a lot more than the cable car ride. I didn’t before I went for the first time a few years ago. I loved it! Better this time as Eric was able to enjoy doing more so it felt like we got more for our money. 🙂 Birthday Celebrations: Matlock Bath & Heights of Abraham Review
The first part of the day out is actually getting up to the country park which is by the cable car! The cable car ride is short but does stop half way up for good views. It’s veryyyyyy high up and if you’re scared of heights this won’t be for you. The cabs are quite roomy and can fit most pushchairs folded up which is convenient!
Eric loved the cable car! He was busy spotting cars down on the roads and thought it was amazing how high up we were just flying around, he called it.
Once at the top you pop out and there’s loads to do! It’s all included in the entry with no hidden extras (well, apart from the cafe and bar). We did a cave tour (there are two) great fun and Eric wasn’t too scared, 2 playgrounds one is a big adventure playground, museum, walks, wondering around is enough to do. In the big adventure playground there’s two little single slides (big!) right next to each other which is just perfect!!
There’s a waterfall, some dinosaurs hidden in the trees, paths to walk around on, gift shop and hunting lodge.
Sometimes during school holidays and special events they have extra activities on for kids. Whilst I wouldn’t really say it’s a day out for toddler there’s enough to do for toddlers… the playgrounds are great, there’s room to wander around, the views are good, rocks to climb, woodlands, caves are interesting, dinosaur heads, plus a picnic… you’re good to go. There was enough for us to do and we didn’t do everything.
We spent around 4 hours there and the cable car ride back down was the only reason Eric was keen to leave. I liked how it was fun for adults and kids, even though it was my birthday day out Eric had a good time and there’s something to suit a wide variety of ages. Birthday Celebrations: Matlock Bath & Heights of Abraham Review
My favourite part was the cable car ride. 🙂 The cave was fun, too. 2 show caves are included but we only made one! On such a hot day it was great to cool down, I must say!
In total just a lovely time and I really recommend everything. I’ll be back to that hotel most definitely, it’s really conveniently located and I think next time we go we might try out Gullivers Kingdom.
Have you been to anywhere I mentioned? Can you recommend any other countryside places to stay and enjoy close to sheffield? 🙂
Birthday Celebrations: Matlock Bath & Heights of Abraham Review
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