Monday, September 25, 2023

Get Set For The Summer Holidays! − Activities For Youngsters Throughout Derbyshire

With the summer holidays rapidly approaching, families are looking for activities to do during their spare time. Derby County Council have compiled a list of activities and places to visit that will surely stave off the boredom and get you exploring some of the best Derbyshire has to offer.

This year’s fun-packed programme includes events to mark the 50th anniversary of our countryside service. Derbyshire pioneered the way in 1966 ahead of the Countryside Act of 1968. Over the next 50 years we’ve created country parks, established greenways and cycle trails, helped to restore the Chesterfield canal and much more besides. The sites have often been reclaimed from former industrial use.

During the summer holidays events to help celebrate include:

  • a photography competition and workshops for the under 16s – themed on the Chesterfield Canal and organised by the Tapton Lock Visitor Centre
  • at Elvaston Castle in July there’s the annual Teddy Bear’s picnic and the chance to see the Gothic Hall in the castle which is not normally open to the public
  • Shipley Country Park is holding activities such as trails and treasure hunts every day from 31 July to 4 September between 11am and 3.30pm.
  • at Middleton Top Visitor Centre ‘Wild Wednesdays’ and ‘Forest School’ Thursdays offer outdoor activities for children during August including environmental art, wildlife, nature and woodland skills.

There is more information about these events and all the other activities on our countryside pages where you’ll also find links to the new Facebook pages for Shipley, Elvaston and Middleton Top/High Peak junction.

Our outdoor education centre at Lea Green near Matlock is set in 25 acres and is open all year round. It offers:

  • a large range of activities and courses for schools, youth and community groups, families and private businesses
  • Adventure Days for 5 to 12 year olds in the summer holidays and offer an affordable, active alternative to childcare. Children are welcome on their own or with friends to take part in a wide range of activities
  • Activ-ability days are for children and young people with disabilities, learning difficulties and additional needs.

There are preferential prices on all Lea Green activities for Derbyshire residents. Find out more at

Lea Green’s sister site, White Hall, near Buxton, also has a programme of summer activities for children at preferential prices for Derbyshire residents.

There are various summer family learning activities at our adult community education centres and these are often free of charge:

  • in Belper the Leisure Centre is providing a Summer Activities Club for children ages 5-11 and Summer Holiday . Chucklebutties is open throughout the summer with an offer running up until the end of August.
  • in the south of the county they are centred on Swadlincote and include crafts, nature and literary events
  • further north Staveley, Bolsover and Shirebrook venues are hosting healthy cooking, reading and craft events
  • the Eco Centre near Wirksworth has indoor and outdoor activities for children using natural and recycled materials including den building, woodland crafts and bike maintenance.
  • at the Eco Centre parents can sign up for taster sessions in things like pottery, gardening, drystone walling and aromatherapy. The costs of any taster sessions can be put towards longer courses starting in the autumn.

Find further details of all adult community education service courses.

Another way to keep children active over the summer is getting them involved in our annual Summer Reading Challenge run by our library service. Children are encouraged to read up to six books over the summer holidays and earn medals and certificates.

Once children are back at school there are still events to look forward to including:

  • the Derbyshire Woodland Festival now in its 16th year. It takes place on Sat 24 and Sun 25 September. This popular event celebrates traditional and contemporary woodland crafts within the historic grounds of Elvaston Castle
  • Heritage Open Days on the Cromford Canal
  • Halloween themed activities during the half term holiday
  • Young people aged 15 to 19 considering their options after school can visit the Derbyshire Skills Festival to get careers information and help from a wide range of experts. Two free events are being held – in Chesterfield on Thursday 15 September and in Derby on Wednesday 21 and Thursday 22 September.

If you have any more events that you would like adding, let us know at and we will put them up on the site for you.

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