University City Spotlight: Derby

By Visit Derby

Helping your child with their choice of university can mean Open Day visits the length and breadth of the country. Plus visits and stays when your child is studying there, of course.

Our ‘Uni Visits’ pages focus on university towns and cities all over the UK, offering local expertise on where to stay, eat and what to do to get the best out of your time there.


Derby is renowned for being a friendly, good value for money city with a compact layout making it easy for new-comers to find their way around. Throw in a good measure of cycling activities, award-winning real ale pubs and a never ending line-up of fun festivals and you’ve got the perfect destination for student life.

Derby’s the most central city in the UK too with excellent travel links and the main city campus on Kedleston Road is just over a mile from the city centre. Experience the best of both worlds here with the city surrounded by the lush countryside of Derbyshire and the Peak District where the Buxton and Chesterfield campuses are based and outdoor adventures await.

It’s a great place for night-life, arts and culture and shopping with a tasty line-up of eateries catering for all tastes and budgets.

Where to stay

Derby has a great selection of popular chain hotels, unique boutiques, cosy B&Bs and serviced apartments, so visiting friends and family will have a great choice. Take your pick here

Where to eat


The world’s served on a plate in Derby, so whether you’re partial to traditional pub grub, spicy dishes or unique home-grown delicacies such as Derby pyclets, you won’t go hungry. Try our award winners as a starter to whet your appetite and if you love burgers, you’ll be spoilt for choice with many eateries specialising in tasty creations of all shapes and sizes.

Don’t Miss: Top 10 things to see and do in Derby

Go ghost hunting

Derby is the most haunted city in the UK. With over 315 sightings of ghosts in the city centre, it’s no wonder that Derby is fondly/frighteningly known as ‘The Dead Centre of England’. Go on a ghost walk, take part in a vigil or stay overnight in the cells of Derby Gaol if you dare!

Discover the perfect pub crawl


Dubbed ‘the best place to drink real ale in the world’ by The Lonely Planet, Derby’s choice of real ale pubs is hard to beat. Micro-breweries are Because the city’s nice and compact, it’s great pub crawl territory too! Here’s a selection of our top ten pubs for you to try

Visit free museums including a World Heritage Site


Derby has three museums and they’re all FREE! Derby Museum and Art Gallery is home to the world’s largest collection of Joseph Wright paintings, Pickford’s House is a Georgian treasure full furnished in fine style and the Silk Mill/Industrial Museum is based on the site of the world’s first factory and is part of the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site! The Silk Mill is currently undergoing development, but is partially open for people to help with the creation of its new displays.

Pedal power indoors and out


Cycling is superb in Derby. Derby Arena is the UK’s most central velodrome and you can book track sessions on the brakeless/gearless bikes to experience the ‘wall of death’ like track that reaches 49 degrees at its highest point! Park Bikeworks is another hot-spot where you can park your bike securely for free, get your bike repaired, enjoy a massage or enjoy some wholesome food.   If BMX is more your scene, Alvaston Park has one of the best tracks in the country or if you simply want to enjoy the great outdoors, Derby is on Sustrans cycle routes 6 and 62 connecting a 154 mile traffic-free route to York. With Derbyshire and the Peak District right on Derby’s doorstep too, this is really a haven for cyclists.

Enjoy the best of both worlds

Balance up city life with a dose of country living with Derby and the Peak District right on the doorstep. National treasures including Chatsworth House and Crich Tramway Village are within an hour’s drive away or if you just want to get out into the wilds for a long hike, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Shop for bargains and brands


The weather can’t spoil the shopping experience in Derby as there are plenty of indoor options at the intu shopping centre and outdoors around the historic Cathedral Quarter. Markets are plentiful for bargains galore and there are regular farmers’ markets and craft markets in the Market Place.

Feel the festival fever


If you’re into festivals, Derby will keep you entertained all year long. Celebrations for real ale, photography, film, the arts, Dr Who, culminating with Derby Feste – one of the UK’s most entertaining street festivals in September.

Take a trio tour

Discover Derby’s trio of most iconic landmarks – Derby Roundhouse (the world’s oldest remaining locomotive turning shed in the world), Derby Council House and Derby Arena (a UFO-like multi-purpose venue and velodrome). Just give the Derby Tourist Information Centre a call to book onto a public tour, or if you have a group of 10 or more, a private date can be arranged.

Pick up a bargain

Everyone loves a bargain and there are always some special deals on offer in Derby. Keep a look out on our website and treat yourself to an offer you can’t refuse.

Feed your inner foodie


Going hungry is not an option here. Tuck into pub grub, café cakes, deli delights and fancy restaurant fayre. Bon appetite!


Need help?

Call into Derby Tourist Information Centre in the Market Place if you need any help, advice, maps and tickets for events, attractions (including discounts for Alton Towers!) and National Express buses. You can even store your luggage here if you need to do some shopping before getting your bus or train home.

Tel: 01332 643411 email: web:

Postcode: DE1 3AH

Photo credits Visit England, Diana Jarvis

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