Top 5 things to do in Belper

Belper in Derbyshire is on the edge of the Peak District national park, if you are heading from Derby and avoiding the A38 then the A6 will take you through this special little town and its well worth a stop.

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Credit: Rhys Adams

Belper won High Street of the Year in 2014 and for a very good reason, the town and high street is very traditional, even now in 2019 we’ve got the fantastic Gummers greengrocers, Jerry Howarth’s butchers and a fair amount of hairdressers including Laura Elizabeth’s and Authentic Self.

I’ve lived in Belper for 4 years now and my wife was born and bred, I love Belper as it is a community similar to what you see on soaps. Every morning we go for our morning coffee, say hello to a lady with a cat on Campbell Street, wave to Dean at 45 degrees as he is opening his doors, have a quick chat with the lovely guys at Gummers and stroke a lovely poodle outside Costa Coffee whilst saying morning to its owner.

In Costa Coffee (Yes we know its a chain, but the staff make it) we have a laugh and a joke with Jay and Becky, we don’t even need to ask for our usuals, as they just make it. On the way out a quick wave to the gents at Lester & Nix before we then head up to our offices on Holbrook Road.

At lunch its a toss up between Perfect Cuppa or Beaurepaire Patisserie, If its Perfect Cuppa we say hello to the Big Issue lady before heading in for one of Susan’s delicious cakes and a coffee. Beaurepaire Patisserie is a must for Scone lovers, Chris and James freshly make them in the wee hours and they are fresh and tasty.

Home time arrives and a quick trip to the Post Office within the Co-operative on Strutt Street is brightened up by the lovely ladies who sort all of our work letters out.

The whole town feels very much a society, all with the same belief that Belper should remain a town, not letting large chains come in and take it over. They managed to over turn a Tesco plan a few years back and rightly so, it would have been the beginning of the end of Belper’s high street.

For those visiting Belper…

I’ve already mentioned a few of my favourite places to visit on a regular basis, but there are many more. Those visiting Belper will want to see and read about the history so here are my top 5 things to do in town:

  1. Belper River Gardens — For over 100 years, these beautiful gardens have been a place to visit either by locals or those visiting. Even as a young boy we went on a regular basis. Whether it’s for rowing a boat or taking the kids to the park, it’s not a place you should dismiss. Also the new Swiss Tearooms building will start to be constructed soon, we can’t wait to try it out.
  2. Strutt’s North Mill — On the UNESCO World Heritage List, Strutt’s North Mill when built housed some ground-breaking technology, apparently stolen from abroad, but this mill signified the industrial revolution. At one point the North Mill and surrounding buildings employed in excess of 2,000 people. Today it sits next to Belper River Gardens and has a museum where you can learn about the mill and the Strutt family behind it.
  3. Heage Windmill — Whilst not technically in Belper itself, just a short bus ride, car ride or hike away is Heage Windmill. Built in 1797 and restored in 2002, this grade II listed building is worth a visit. They offer tours of the mill for a small admission price and you can even by some flour on the way out.
  4. Arts and Food Festivals — Belper over the last few years has really put itself on the map for its Belper Art’s Festival and the amazing Belper Food Festival, both annual events and attract hundreds of people from around the UK to visit this amazing little town. The Food festival is generally July and the Belper Arts Festival is May/June time. There is also the Belper Arts Trail to look out for.
  5. Shopping in Belper — I’ve mentioned a few shops above, but a wander around Belper’s eclectic array of shops is a full afternoon, visiting places like Belle la Vie for its high quality goods such as ladies wear and brands such as Second Female and Nookie Designs of London. Derwentside Mill will take a good amount of time, visiting many different businesses in one place from collectibles to antiques and those offering their own creations through crafts. The for those with a sweet tooth you’ve got Oh So Sweet, a traditional sweet shop where you choose from the glass jars and weigh your little treats. It really is a great town for this.

More websites on Belper

Here is a list of other websites of interest for Belper, its great to do some research on websites such as Tripadvisor before arriving. That way you can really make the most of a long weekend in Belper and the surrounding areas.

About me and my work

I’ve lived in Belper since 2015, I’ve actually always wanted to move this way since spending most of my childhood near Belper in the Peak District, in the end I married into a Belper family. I’ve moved my offices to the town and live near the beautiful mill. I love the community feel of the town and that I can walk down the high street and greet people I see on a regular basis, some I know by name some by face.

I set up Belper Directory with my wife Rebecca to help promote the businesses in the town and maybe assist in bringing a few more tourists into the area. Its free for all Belper businesses and we get roughly 100 hits per day, which isn’t bad based on a website thats not advertised. We also run High Heel Creative, a website designer business based in Belper, helping local firms get an online presence.

What do you think of Belper? Have you been? Have I missed something to do in Belper? If so drop it in the comments below and I will try and answer everyone I can.

I live in a beautiful town called Belper on the edge of the Peak District with my wife Rebecca. I enjoy writing, photography and gadgets.

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