We saved the best till last

The shadows of the tree reflected by the illuminations.

Yesterday was a day of two halves and we certainly saved the best for the last day of my holiday.

On a whim we decided to visit Papplewick Pumping Station where, we discovered when we got there, it was hosting a 1940s day. It was amazing, so many people in character for the event. Man and I had a great time practicing our “May I take your photograph please?” skills to great success.

But you can’t see the photos today because I’ve got something else to show you.

Matlock Bath is one of Man and my favourite places. It’s in the Derbyshire Dales, the Peak District and it’s a beautiful little town at the bottom of a gorge.

Designed by the Victorians, it was a favoruite haunt for promenading and recreation – and for taking the water. There are petrifying properties in the streams running down through the cliffs and it is home to one of the quirkiest little museum’s I’ve ever been to which lives above an amusement arcade.

Here you can see optical illusions, an aquarium and petrified boots and barbie dolls (among other ridiculous items).

You can take a cable car up to the Heights of Abraham, visit a mine, visit a little theme park called Gulliver’s Kingdom or just admire the motorbikes. Because of the roads into and out of the village, it is a mecca for bikers.

It is reminiscent of a seaside town – probably because it is the brainchild of the Victorians as most traditional seaside towns are.

But yesterday we were there for the illuminations.

I love quirky English traditions (in fact I sense another little mini series coming on here) and this is one that is particular to Matlock Bath. It doesn’t happen anywhere else in the country.

As a 13 year old, the young Princess Victoria visited Matlock Bath and stayed in a hotel at the top of the gorge.

She was said to have been struck by the twinkling lights of the village and the river she could see below.

When, many years later as Queen Victoria, she celebrated her Diamond Jubilee, the villagers decided to commemorate the event with an illuminated parade of boats along the river.

The tradition has been going every year since and is now in its 115th year.

Row boats are used and, whereas the creations used to be lit by candlelight, they are now battery powered works of art.

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And it is beautiful.

The riverside is illuminated and the boats parade every Saturday and Sunday throughout September and October.

It’s quite difficult to photograph because it’s so dark that you need a long shutter speed but the boats move (albeit quite slowly).

There are a few fairground games and I bought some light sticks and Man very kindly waved them around a bit so I could play with light trails.

It was a lovely evening :)



  1. We have an evening Christmas parade in our village with illuminated floats, hot chocolate, hotdogs, food drive and music in our heritage park and we also have a friendly competition decorating our yards and homes for the event…i must get those lights up soon,,,,parade is early November.
    Have enjoyed your account of your holiday!

    • That sounds fabulous. and thanks, I have enjoyed writing it :)

    • It is just such a lovely spectacle, I enjoy it very much :)

  2. eof737 said:

    That is an excellent photo.. Love the leaves in the shot. ;-)

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