10 reasons to live in Derby

derbyWe travel up north to Derby this week as Local editor Julie, with the help of some of Derby's MNers, guides us through her home city, sharing with us the 10 top reasons that make Derby a great place for families.



1. Thing about the area

The people –  'Ey up me duck!' as they say...

  • I live in a beautiful part of the country, close to some of the most fabulous countryside and yet we are only a few hours from London, or Manchester, Sheffield etc. BelperMathsTutor

  • It's a city, but it's small and friendly enough to feel like a town. Very well located for getting around the rest of the UK. mynameisnotmichaelcaine


2. Child-friendly cafémarkea

The Quad is the arts centre right in the heart of the city centre and the food is excellent. There's a wide choice and they also cater for children, so it's the first place I head to. It has a cinema, which runs creative workshops, but the cafe is just amazing!

There are movie showings for parents with babies (cinebabies) and movies for parents whose children have special needs, as well as short creative courses throughout the year.

  • I've taken mine to Sadlergate Cafe and the Book Quarter cafe in town. Both were great and coped well with my lively dc! motherofvikings


3. Child-free night out

Assembly Rooms - there's always so much going on, with shows for families as well as shows for adults ranging from the Hairy Bikers to the Vagina Monologues. It's home to the Camra Beer Festival and annual Christmas Panto. And there are restaurants and bars all around it.

  • I like Pierre Victoire on Friargate. mynameisnotmichaelcaine

  • Darleys is good if you're looking for somewhere special. Bulls Head in Repton or Coopers Arms for good pub meals & Quad for some interesting films. Revolution de Cuba do good cocktails too. JethroTull


4. Outside space

Markeaton Park and Craft Village. It's open all year round but comes to life in the summer when the steam train starts to run. There are paddling pools, a bouncing castle, crazy golf, lakes, football pitches, tennis courts and two play areas.

At a glance

Average semi-detached house price
Derby: £128,447
UK: £201,427

Average class size for primary schools
Derby: 27.2 pupils 
UK: 27 pupils

Average class size for secondary schools
Derby: 19.6 pupils 
UK: 20.5 pupils

Average salary
Derby: £29,802
UK: £26,000

Unemployment rate
Derby: 4.5%
UK: 7.8%

They also hold the November bonfire and firework display here. Other great outside spaces include Alvaston Park

  • Attenborough Nature reserve and cafe and lots of English Heritage places nearby to get value from membership - Bolsover, Hardwick, Ashby etc. Lawrencelivedhere

  • My favourite outdoor space is also a hidden gem I think - the Arboretum. I think a lot of people overlook it because of where it is, but it's really lovely, open and has a lot to do, even with little ones, and is just a hop from the city centre and shops. TheCapLady


5. Hidden gem

Pickfords House is the 17th-century home of Joseph Wright.

It's open throughout the year but they bring the house to life on the first Saturday in December for a day of carols, mulled wine and crafts. There's an air raid shelter in the basement so that you can see what the house was like during the Blitz. 


6. Schools


  • I don't know about primaries but St Mary's, Ecclesbourne and Littleover are marvellous secondaries (outstanding, high attainment and excellent ethos in all three). One of them is in the top 10 schools nationally for attendance figures. 3littleoneskedles


7. Free visitor attractions

Darley Abbey holds an annual concert in the park with a spectacular firework display. It goes on all day and a lot of the local school children get involved. Once you've heard Land of Hope and Glory accompanied by a wondrous firework display, you just have to go back. 

  • Gullivers is good with children and many of the market towns are interesting - Bakewell, Buxton, Ashbourne etc. 3littleones

  • Rosliston is pretty good as you only need pay parking which is about £3. motherofvikings

  • Sudbury Hall is free for NT members and is brilliant. The main museum and Pickfords House are both worth a visit too. mynameisnotmichaelcaine


8. Day out

Kedleston Hall is a wonderful country house with gardens, located towards Quarndon in Derby. It is particularly amazing at Christmas and they hold open air plays throughout the year.

  • My kids don't tire of Derby Museum and Pickfords House. Kids' events at Calke have been OK. Lawrencelivedhere


9. Places to live

Duffield is very cute but rather expensive. Allestree is lovely and has everything you need on your doorstep.


10. Places to shop

The Cathedral Quarter is full of independent shops and cafes. Lunch in Bennetts is a must, as it's Derby's equivalent of Harrods.


About Derby Local editor Julie

I came from a small town in Staffordshire and I felt like I was a fish out of water as Derby is huge in comparison, but everyone I met was so friendly I quickly decided that this was where I wanted to live. Eighteen years later, I'm still here.

It's a vibrant and multicultural city with so much to do and see that I'm rarely bored and the Peak District is a bus ride away, so it's the best of both worlds.

It's a great place to raise a child because it's the people who make a community and this community is wonderful. I'm overjoyed to be a Local editor because it gives me the chance to tell everyone what a fantastic place Derby is.


Last updated: about 3 years ago