Heights of Abraham (Matlock Bath)
Updated: Apr 5
A few years ago I was looking for places to visit close-by, I decided to check it out, and since then I've been going back at least once or twice every year.
Located in Matlock Bath, close to the Peak District, the Heights of Abraham offers the peace and quiet of a break in nature one might want or need every once in a while. Whether you drive there or travel by train, from the car park or from the train station there's only a short walk until you reach the cable cars. I'm sure there's a way to get there by bus, but unfortunately, most of the time busses are not an option for my motion sickness.
The place has been open since 1787, being Peak District's oldest tourist attraction. The cable car was installed in 1984 and it is the first alpine style cable car built in Britain. You travel for about a third of a mile in the cable car, and it does stop for a few seconds while you're high up, so take advantage, take all the pictures or just enjoy the view. I would usually recommend this but especially nowadays, with extra precautions in place due to the pandemic, please make sure you book your tickets in advance.
The view going up the hill is great, and it keeps being great all the time while you're there.
From Matlock Bath, you can walk all the way up, on a steep-ish zig-zag path, but I like the cable car journey too much to change my habit now.
When you get to the top there are two show Caverns to see: the Rutland and the Great Masson Cavern, both having guided tours. You will definitely learn a few interesting things about the life of lead miners in the 17th century in the area, as well as how these caverns came into existence.
If you want more information about how the Peak District formed, about fossils or rocks, you can find it in The Fossil Factory, close to the Great Masson Cavern entrance. As it turns out, Matlock Bath was underwater about 300 million years ago so if you're curious about what you could have found in these places around that time you can get more info there.
If you're there just for the views, there's plenty of stuff to enjoy.
You can climb up the Victoria Prospect Tower (built in 1844 to celebrate Queen Victoria's reign) for a 360 view of the area, or you can just roam around the grounds between the two caverns.
I would suggest allowing yourself at least 2-3 hours for the visit, if you want to visit both caverns and if you want to pay a little visit to the restaurant or cafe for a little break.
You can pack a picnic if you want, then sit down and enjoy the scenery, or you can dine in the Vista Restaurant, Terrace Cafe or the Tavern next to the Rutland cavern.
As you can see above, I chose chocolate cake with a view, at the Cafe. Delicious cake, nice staff, and I was lucky enough to have lovely weather, I honestly cannot complain.
It seems to be a good place for the whole family as I usually see some kids running around, having fun, people walking their dogs and pretty much everyone queueing at the ice cream kiosk. I've seen the caverns many times, and unless I'm showing someone else around, I only go there to enjoy the view, get some fresh air or to have some nice food.
I wish I could spend more time outdoors and learn a bit more about the places near me and I like having a few places (such as Scarborough) where I can always go back to and feel great no matter the weather. I don't know about you, but whenever I spend a couple of hours outside, surrounded by tall trees and hills while breathing in the fresh air, I come back home feeling a thousand times better.
For more info, opening times and whatnot please check the Heights of Abraham website.
Have you ever been to the Heights of Abraham?
I hope life treats you well.