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Literature and Locations

Derbyshire has inspired many artists, writers and film makers; you can follow in their footsteps at some of these locations.

Scarthin Books: a book lover’s paradise, 5 floors of books, every nook, cranny and stair tread packed with new and cherished books. Regarded as one of the best bookshops in the United Kingdom. Set within the Derwent Valley World Heritage Site, you can combine this with a visit to Cromford Mill, Matlock Bath and John Smedley, makers of the finest knitwear in the world, and they do have a factory shop!

Also visit Wirksworth: an ancient Saxon settlement and once a major lead mining centre, Wirksworth is a gorgeous jumble of Georgian houses, and was the setting for George Eliot’s Adam Bede.

Matlock Bath the seaside town without the sea, Matlock Bath is often called Little Switzerland. The town was already a tourist magnet in the 18th century, although then the gentlemen of the Enlightenment came to marvel at Sir Richard Arkwright’s Cromford Mill, 2 miles down the Derwent Valley and today a World Heritage Site. At The Temple Hotel can see where Lord Byron scratched his name on a window pane, and Dr Victor Frankenstein tracked the monster on his travels to Matlock Bath in Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein.

Haddon Hall: ‘the most romantic country house in England’, and seen in both the Franco Zefferelli and BBC productions of Jane Eyre. It is Princess Buttercup’s castle in The Princess Bride and features in The Other Boleyn Girl.

Hathersage: A 15 minute drive from Baslow leads you to Hathersage, a pretty village in the Hope Valley. It is where Jane Eyre seeks refuge after her wedding is halted, and in the churchyard you’ll find the grave of Little John, trusty comrade of Robin Hood.

On sunny days, or for the more hardy soul, enjoy a swim at Hathersage Lido, Britain’s best lido, complete with bandstand and stunning views.

A visit to Hathersage is not complete without a stop at the fantastic, iconic David Mellor’s Factory Shop. There is so much more than cutlery; David Mellor was a genius who designed much of the street furniture we take for granted today, he designed the machines he needed to manufacture his cutlery and you can tour the factory on certain days. We cannot recommend this highly enough for any keen cook, architecture fan or design buff. Children love the tractor and the toilets!!

North Lees Hall: In 1845 Charlotte Bronte visited the Hall several times while staying with her friend Ellen Nussey at the Vicarage in nearby Hathersage. It became the principal inspiration for Thornfield Hall in the novel ‘Jane Eyre’, described as: “three storeys high; a gentleman’s manor house; battlements round the top gave it a picturesque look”. They still do!

Litton Dale: another Princess Bride location.

Buxton: an ancient town, home to the Romans, England’s leading spa town and home to Vera Brittain, author of Testament of Youth.