The Heights of Abraham have loomed imposingly over the Derwent Valley and Derbyshire Peaks for millennia, keeping a watchful eye on the Victorian seaside-esque town of Matlock Bath.

Opened as an attraction by the Simpson family in 1787 it has stood the test of time and become a true tourist hotspot, in fact the oldest attraction in Derbyshire! Still family run and now in the trust of the Pugh family 236 years later!

You might wonder why Visit Nottinghamshire took a trip out to the heights? Well, situated less than 30 miles from Nottingham city centre, and easily accessible by road and rail, this is a tourist attraction that we would encourage all visitors to Nottinghamshire to visit. It is magnificent, and a natural wonder not to be missed.

With my 5 year old daughter accompanying me, both tourists for the day, we arrived in Matlock Bath by train, in just over an hour from Nottingham. Making our way over to the valley cable car station we were greeted by enthusiastic staff who got us seated on the cable car. We had come on the first day of the season and were honoured to be taking one of the first ‘flights’ of the year up to the summit.

The hill top summit is around 339 metres above sea level and is accessed by a fleet of cable cars that rise majestically from Matlock Bath, offering the most incredible views of Derbyshire and beyond. My daughter was so excited and loved every minute of climbing higher and higher, like nothing she had ever experienced! When the heights first opened, the route to the top was a hard climb up…thank goodness there is another way up now otherwise I might not have made it! As a child I remember visiting Matlock Bath and staring in wonder at the cable cars slowly making their way up the hill side, but I never actually made it into one until now.

Once we were at the summit we headed over to join the first cave tour of the day at The Masson Cave. Lead mining was active for over 400 years on site and the caves date back over 350 million years. Two guided tours are available to experience, The Masson Cave and The Rutland Cavern tour. Both offer fascinating insights into the lives of the miners and conditions they worked in, allowing the visitor to immerse themselves in an underground world, with natural wonders such as the huge deposits of calcite crystals only just revealed but that have been forming for thousands of years. Colourful light displays fill the cave, illuminating the amazing natural rock formations and mineral deposits. Our guide was Bradley, and a better guide you could not have found. He engaged all, old and young, regaling us with jokes and historical fact in abundance!

After a lovely lunch at the Terrace café, one of the two cateriing facilities, set against a stunning backdrop, we were off, this time to the children’s adventure play area. With two huge slides built into the hillside it took me all my time to prize my small companion away…she loved it, as did all the children there on the day.

Woodland paths and trails zig zag across the hill top and as you can take dogs up in the cable cars, your furry friends needn’t be left behind either.

With many new elements to see, such as the Willow sculpture trail created by Caroline Gregson, depicting moments in the site’s history, the High Falls Film Theatre, with fascinating short films created for audiences in 2022 and in addition the Masson Pavilion, opening to the public in May 2022 with its exhibitions exploring the rich past of the heights, there is something for everyone. This is an attraction that is constantly evolving and can capture the imaginations of young and old alike; we certainly had a fantastic day out!

So, what makes the Heights of Abraham so special? Perhaps it’s the iconic cable car ride to the summit, or maybe the breath-taking views from the Victorian prospect Tower or from Tinker’s Shaft. It might be the fantastic food to be had at either the Terrace Café or Vista Restaurant, the woodland walks, children’s playgrounds, the cave tours, the vast history to explore…whatever your opinion, the Heights of Abraham is an attraction that will provide a full and varied day out, and one that will dominate the landscape and welcome many more visitors for centuries to come.

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Review written by Anna Scott, Commercial Partnerships Executive 


Heights of Abraham
Heights of Abraham | Visit Nottinghamshire

Towering above the pretty village of Matlock Bath, in the Derwent Valley, is The Heights of Abraham, one of Britain’s top visitor attractions. The estate has been welcoming tourists for over two centuries, but it wasn’t until 1984 when an ambitious plan to install a cable car transport system was realized, that visitors could literally take off to The Heights.



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