Ashbourne Travel Guide

Explore Ashbourne, a hidden gem in the heart of Derbyshire. This travel guide includes all your need-to-knows on must-visit places, activities, accommodations, safety tips, and more.

Introduction to Ashbourne

Nestled between the Peak District and the rolling hills of Derbyshire, Ashbourne is a small market town within East Midlands region of England.

Although solidly built and enveloped in Georgian and medieval architecture, it is perhaps one of the most picturesque town and hidden gems of the Midlands that seems to have it all.

Ashbourne is packed with a range of historical and natural attractions, including an extensive list of hiking and cycling trails. The town boasts everything from cultural and historical museums to a plethora of outdoor adventures and scenic views, making it the perfect destination for any vacation.

Let us delve into a comprehensive tour guide for Ashbourne including some of the top-visited places to help you plan your visit to this picturesque town.

List of Places to Visit in Ashbourne

Culturally Important Attractions: Museums and Historical Places

There is plenty to explore in Ashbourne for history enthusiasts! A few places worth visiting include:

  1. Ashbourne Heritage Centre: Showcasing the history and heritage of Ashbourne from the medieval era to present day.
  2. Saint Oswald’s Church: A magnificent church attributed to the 13th century and home to various medieval architectural wonders.
  3. The Old Manor: A unique tour around the former residence of the Norman Lord, the 700-year-old building’s exhibits cover the manor’s history.

Natural Attractions of Ashbourne: Outdoor Adventures and Scenic Views

Ashbourne is known for its breathtaking natural beauty and exciting outdoor activities. Here are some of the most popular natural attractions to explore:

  1. The Tissington Trail: A former railway line transformed into a cycling and walking path, offering spectacular views.
  2. Dovedale: Home to the iconic Dovedale stepping stones, this nature reserve is ideal for a scenic walk, hike, or paddle in the River Dove.
  3. Thorpe Cloud: A prominent limestone hill rising to a height of 942 feet, the summit boasts a breathtaking panoramic view of the town and the Peak District beyond.

Hiking/Biking Routes of Ashbourne

Ashbourne features a range of verdant trails suitable for hiking and cycling. Here are a few of our favourite routes:

  1. Thors Cave: An out-and-back trail admired for its stunning views of the Peak District.
  2. The Tissington Trail: A 13-mile paved trail running from Ashbourne to Parsley Hay.
  3. The Manifold Track: An 8.3-mile trail perfect for walkers and cyclists surrounding the Hamps and Manifold Valleys.

Best Things to Do in Ashbourne: Activities and Tours

There’s never a dull moment in Ashbourne with plenty of activities and tours to take part in. A few popular experiences include:

  1. Go Caving in Poole’s Cavern: Explore a natural labyrinth of caves and rock formations with tours running throughout most of the year.
  2. Visit The Royal Horticultural Society’s Chatsworth House: A grand country estate the ranks among England’s best stately homes. Known for its exceptional architecture, gardens, and art displays.
  3. Paint a Pot Studio: This experience located in Ashbourne’s Market Place is perfect for all ages. Spend time painting your favourite ceramic character and have it personalised and fired.

Week-Long Itinerary for Ashbourne

Need some help planning your week-long stay in Ashbourne? Here’s a sample itinerary:

Day Activity
Day 1 Explore The Tissington Trail and Thors Cave
Day 2 Visit Dove Dale and Thortpe Cloud
Day 3 Learn about heritage at Ashbourne Heritage Centre and Saint Oswald’s Church
Day 4 Take a spooky walk at The Old Manor
Day 5 Cycle to Carsington Water, visit the Visitor’s Centre, and participate in numerous water sports
Day 6 Visit the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chatsworth House
Day 7 Eat locally and have a souvenir shopping day in the Market Place

Food and Drink Scene of Ashbourne

Must-Try Dishes

Visitors can experience a wide range of traditional English cuisine throughout the multiple pubs, restaurants, and cafes. A few of the favourite dishes include:

  1. Derbyshire Oatcakes: A savoury oat pancake, often served with cheese.
  2. Bakewell Tarts: A popular dessert throughout the region, this tart is made of shortcrust pastry, raspberry jam, and almond paste.
  3. Derbyshire Gingerbread: A staple dessert in Ashbourne, this biscuit is flavoured with ginger and treacle.

Local Beverages

The Ashbourne brewing scene offers an ever-evolving mix of brews to try out. A few options to consider are:

  1. Wild Beer Co Pogo: An exotic blend of passionfruit, guava, and orange.
  2. Chatsworth House Ale: A classic English ale brewed in the county with a hint of sweet fruit.
  3. Thornbridge’s Jaipur: A highly-rated IPA well-known throughout the UK.

Where to Stay in Ashbourne: Hotels, Hostels, and Guesthouses

Ashbourne offers an array of charming accommodations for all budgets to consider. Some options include:

  1. The Royal Oak Hotel: A beautiful 18th-century coaching inn, located directly in Ashbourne’s Market Place.
  2. Osmaston Park Glamping: Enjoy the serenity of nature while sleeping under the stars in a luxury tent.
  3. The Izaak Walton Hotel: A Grade II-listed country house hotel located on the banks of the peaceful River Dove.

What to Buy in Ashbourne: Souvenirs and Local Products to Bring Home

Want to take a piece of Ashbourne home with you? Here are a few souvenirs and local products worth buying:

  1. Oatcakes and Gingerbread: A local favourite that is perfect for gift giving or indulging on your own.
  2. Artisanal Chocolates: Handmade chocolatiers such as Madame Crempel and Cocoa Box adorn the bakeries.
  3. Local Crafts: The Visitor’s Centre stocks locally made crafts, such as paintings and pottery.

Local Culture and Customs of Ashbourne

Ashbourne has a wealth of local customs and traditions worth watching and participating in. The following are among the most interesting traditions that occur in town:

  1. Shrove Tuesday Football Match: A traditional game dating back to the 12th century whereby the Ashbourne town is divided into two teams that participate in football.
  2. Yew Torches: Parishioners transport flaming torches decorated with yew branches during the Easter Sunday procession.
  3. Ashbourne Show and Highland Gathering: A notable summer event that celebrates the countryside and agriculture with exciting displays and sports events.

Best Time to Visit Ashbourne

The ideal time to visit Ashbourne is between June and September when the weather is mild and perfect for outdoor activities. Visiting during the winter can be exceptionally chilly; however, the Christmas markets and the traditions surrounding the holiday season are worth the trip.

Do’s and Don’ts of Ashbourne


  1. Ensure to participate in local traditions, events, and customs.
  2. Try and sample traditional cuisines from Ashbourne’s various restaurants, cafes, and local bakeries.
  3. Take time to explore the Tissington Trail and the fantastic views of Thorpe Cloud.


  1. Litter, Ashbourne is a beautiful and pristine town often resistant to outside issues like pollution.
  2. Disrespect the local customs and values.
  3. Touch or restrain livestock while traversing through nearby farms.

Safety and Health

The Covid-19 pandemic emphasises that all parties need to take safety measures while visiting Ashbourne.

Safety in Ashbourne

Ashbourne is generally a safe town to visit. However, tourists should keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Be aware of your surroundings in crowded areas.
  2. Never leave your valuables unattended.
  3. Take extra precausions while cycling or hiking in the open countryside.

Health in Ashbourne

Ashbourne has multiple primary healthcare centers and pharmacies located within the town. In case of accidents or emergencies, the nearest hospitals include:

  1. Royal Derby Hospital
  2. Queen’s Hospital Burton

Getting to Ashbourne: Transportation Options and Logistics

Ashbourne is easily accessible by road. Here are some of the transportation options to consider:

Airports Near Ashbourne

The nearest airports to Ashbourne are:

  1. East Midlands Airport, Derby – 22 miles
  2. Birmingham Airport – 42 miles
  3. Manchester Airport – 52 miles

Bus Stations Near Ashbourne

The most frequently used bus stops in Ashbourne include:

  1. The Bus Station - Located on Compton, this is the primary bus station.
  2. Memorial Fountain Bus Stop - Located between Dig Street and Market Place, this stop is next to the local Post Office.

Other Options

Ashbourne does not have a train station, and the nearest railway station is located in Uttoxeter, approximately seven miles away from the town.

How to Get Around in Ashbourne

The following options are recommended for travel around Ashbourne:

  1. Walking: An excellent option while exploring Ashbourne’s narrow and atmospheric streets.
  2. Cycling: The Tissington Trail is perfect for cycling, and visitors may rent bikes from local shops.
  3. Car: Visitors may hire cars from various rental companies located in the town centre.

Where to Go Next from Ashbourne: Nearby Destinations and Excursions

There is no fun in stopping with Ashbourne! Here are a few more nearby destinations to explore:

  1. Seven Trent Waterway: A beautiful network of rivers and canals within Staffordshire, only a short drive from Ashbourne.
  2. Alton Towers: Located 12 miles from Ashbourne, this theme park is one of the most thrilling amusement parks within the UK.
  3. Bakewell Farmer’s Market: A bustling farmer’s market located approximately 17 miles from Ashbourne and a great place to buy fresh produce and craft items.


Ashbourne is the perfect destination for those searching for a unique blend of culture and history and outdoor adventures. This picturesque town in the heart of Derbyshire offers exceptional experiences for every traveller. From hiking and biking to cultural attractions, delicious foods, and local traditions, Ashbourne should be at the top of everyone’s travel list.