Must Visit Playgrounds

Fun for the kids, coffee for the adults


We love a good playground. I am particularly fond of the ones where it’s easy to park and where I can combine it with getting a good coffee! Here’s are some of my favourite Derbyshire playgrounds.


Carsington Water: There are several children's play areas at Carsington, plus loads of open space to play, in addition to walking and cycling. Most of the paths are well surfaced and suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs. Large car park (automatic number plate recognition) at the visitor centre. Toilets including baby changing facilities. The ice cream parlour and café is open every day from 10am.


Chatsworth Estate Farmyard and Playground: Unlike most of the other suggestions on this list of Derbyshire playgrounds, you do need to pay an admission charge to access these facilities but they are probably worth it, especially for a special afternoon out. Current costs: £7 for adults and children or a family ticket (2 adults, 3 children) for £26, all of which includes car parking.


This gives access to a working farmyard with plenty of animals to see and then an extensive woodland playground with a rope park, trampoline, slides, water and sand play. There are toilets, a farmyard café and gift shop.


At the time of writing this, tickets must be booked in advance and visits to the farmyard and playground are limited to three hours, with tickets available at either 10am or 1.30pm. The tractor trailer tours and animal handling sessions are currently suspended In line with Covid guidelines


Holmebrook Valley Park: Has an adventure playground, including zip wire and open playing fields. You can do a nice walk around the lake (the paths are bumpy and I wouldn’t recommend taking a pushchair here). There is a café with a limited menu. Lots of free parking (use “Watermeadow Lane” off Newbold Road, Chesterfield for sat nav).


Holymoorside: This picturesque little village has a lovely playground and there’s a large playing field with some picnic benches next to the stream, a very idyllic setting and usually nice and quiet. Free parking.


No café but right next to the Bulls Head pub (although note they are very much separate and you couldn’t sit in the pub and see the playground), or you could combine it with a trip to the fabulous Mamaccino play cafe, who normally have a lovely little play area, which I imagine will need pre-booking when it re-opens, but the café itself is very family friendly and the coffee and cakes are both excellent.


Cliffe Park, Dronfield: Cliffe Park is a beautiful large park with a really great playground and large sandpit. Normally there’s a lovely café, I think they’re currently offering takeaways from a kiosk. Free car park at S18 2XU although I imagine this is busy at popular times.


Hall Leys Park, Matlock: A lovely big Victorian park in the centre of Matlock town. The paths are really smooth, nice for pushchairs and I assume wheelchairs. There’s pretty planting, lots of seating, a lovely duck pond and great playground facilities. In normal times there is a splash pad for children. There’s a lovely little café in the park and of course plenty of lovely, independent, businesses in Matlock itself (which is right next to the park). There are fairly well-maintained public toilets with disabled and baby changing facilities, a drinking fountain and water bottle filling station to reduce plastic waste. I tend to park in the large pay and display car park near the station (DE4 3NA) – from there cross the road and then go over the bridge and you’ll soon see the park.


Queens Park: A quintessentially English, Victorian park with two playgrounds, one for smaller children is on sand and then there’s a more adventurous one for older children at the other end of the park. There is a large duck pond and lovely smooth paths so perfect for buggy walks. In normal times they have a ride-on train and a lovely Cafe. Pay and display car park (although residents can use their permit for free parking early morning and late afternoon), and if you are lucky some free street parking.


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Words: Molly Scott

Images: Molly Scott, Karen Jarvis, Sean Whelan, Emily Mills


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