You'll be surprised at what
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Ashbourne c.1050: where paths cross, and people have gathered for a thousand years

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Discover Ashbourne

Ashbourne is not only a unique place to live, but also a special town to visit; to experience the shopping and cafe culture, the intriguing history, stunning architecture and outstanding countryside in the heart of the Peak District, with an abundance of local amenities as well as its marked proximity to exceptional visitor attractions across the Midlands. Ashbourne has a lot to offer residents and visitors alike – why not come and experience it for yourself?

How to reach Ashbourne

Ashbourne is situated in the Derbyshire Dales, near the centre of England, nestled in beautiful countryside on the southern edge of the Peak District National Park. It is close to a multitude of amenities and tourist destinations and has easy access to transport links.

The simplest way to get to Ashbourne is by car.  The nearest major city is Derby just twenty-five minutes away, whilst Stoke-on-Trent, Sheffield and Nottingham are all around one hour’s drive.  

The closest railway station is Derby, which has connections to most of the UK, including frequent direct services to London and Edinburgh.  Uttoxeter station connects to Crewe and Derby whilst Buxton station connects to Manchester and Sheffield.  

There are good bus links to Ashbourne from Derby, Uttoxeter, Buxton and Matlock as well as less frequent services from some of the surrounding villages.  See our community pages for more informationon buses.

Ashbourne's location

Ashbourne is situated in the Derbyshire Dales, near the centre of England, nestled in beautiful countryside on the edge of the Peak District.  It is close to a multitude of amenities and tourist destinations and has easy access to transport links.

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Shopping in Ashbourne

Ashbourne has a thriving independent retail community with traditional butchers, bakers, greengrocers and hardware stores alongside high end boutiques, bespoke jewellers, galleries, antique shops and gift shops to name just a few. The cobbled market place forms a bustling, historic centre to the town and is surrounded by a latticework of streets that entice you to explore.

Ashbourne is especially renowned for antiques with a row of shops nestling amongst the grade-1 listed buildings on Church Street.  The shop windows are something to behold, including one usually drawing crowds with a carefully curated display of vintage motorcycles.

Ashbourne is also destination shopping for lovers of designer fashion and bespoke jewellery with a surprisingly large selection of high-end shops for such a small town.  Mid-price and vintage shops are mixed in with the boutiques so there really is something for every taste and every budget.

Shopping in Ashbourne

Ashbourne has a thriving independent retail community with traditional butchers, bakers, greengrocers and hardware stores alongside high end boutiques, bespoke jewellers, galleries, antique shops and gift shops. The cobbled market place forms a bustling, historic centre to the town and is surrounded by a latticework of streets that entice you to explore.

Learn more

Ashbourne sports & activities

Ashbourne attracts residents who like the outdoor life and there are sporting clubs and societies to suit most interests as well as a multitude of activities for older or less active residents.

Sporting clubs and facilities range from running to football to cycling to fencing, several gyms, a leisure centre with facilities for squash,badminton and swimming pool, golf and tennis. Hobby/interest clubs include a U3A, WI, camera club and arts groups.  There is something for everyone.  

The annual Arts Festival now hosts more than 40 events and exhibitions across many genres.  There is live music most weekends and a new community cinema has proved a roaring success. Other keynote events include the Ashbourne Show, a triathlon, a marathon and half marathon, a soap box race, a Christmas lantern parade, a fireworks display and much more.  

Ashbourne sport & activities

Ashbourne attracts residents who like the outdoor life and there are sporting clubs and societies to suit most interests as well as a multitude of activities for older or less active residents.

Learn more
Ashbournes rich history

Ashbourne's history & architecture

Ashbourne's medieval architecture of yards and alleyways, fine Georgian houses, the old Elizabethan grammar school with its splendid Grade I listed facade, the almshouses and St Oswalds Church all combine to make Ashbourne a notable destination for lovers of architectural history.

There are more than a hundred listed buildings and structures in the town centre and it is well worthwhile setting aside a few hours to explore.

The church is one of Derbyshire’s treasures, named after the Anglo Saxon Saint Oswald, with parts of the building dating back to the 1200s. The magnificent 212ft spire was built in the 14th century and dominates the town’s skyline. 

The charming cobbled market place dates back to early medieval times. The building now hosting fish& chip shop has been there since the 1420s and several others are known to herald from that same century.

Thetimber-framed gingerbread shop - now a cafe and bakery - can be seen in St JohnStreet where the Original Ashbourne Gingerbread can still be bought.

Ashbourne's history & architecture

Ashbourne's medieval architecture of yards and alleyways, fine Georgian houses, the old Elizabethan grammar school with its splendid Grade I listed facade, the almshouses and St Oswalds Church all combine to make Ashbourne a notable destination for lovers of architectural history.

Learn more

Ashbourne's vibrant cafe scene

Add together the many cafes in central Ashbourne, plus a few more on the outer edges of town plus the many bars that also serve coffee and nibbles, and you could visit a different establishment every day of the month They vary from quiet & intimate to loud & bustling, and from bacon butty to designer brunch,so there are options to suit every mood and taste.  

As well as cafes, Ashbourne has an ever-increasing selection of boutique bars, set up by passionate owners to serve craft beer, real ale, fine wines and cocktails. For the traditionalist there are sports bars offering big screen viewing as well as darts and dominoes.

Other dining options range from pub-grub to gastropub to Thai & Indian.  Plus all the normal takeaway options that you would expect from a town this size. And of course pretty much everywhere now caters for the vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free diets.   Covid has prompted many establishments to open outside seating, so weather permitting, it is easy to enjoy eating outdoors in Ashbourne.

Ashbourne's vibrant cafe scene

Add together the cafes in central Ashbourne, plus a few more on the outer edges of town plus the many bars that also serve coffee and nibbles, and you could visit a different establishment every day of the month.

Learn more
Ashbournes culture and community

Ashbourne's community

Ashbourne has grown significantly this century with new housing, investment by business & industry and a developing infrastructure. It is a friendly and welcoming town,with great schools, plenty of job opportunities and a caring community.  

The secondary school is Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School, founded in 1585, and whilst once a traditional grammar school it is now an academy open to all and is consistently rated as “outstanding” by Ofsted.  

The town has a thriving retail and service sector that has largely survived the attritions of covid.  The airfield industrial estate is expanding which will have a hugely beneficial economic impact on the town.  Thousands of new houses have been added since the millennium and house prices remain consistently above the regional average.

Many residents give up their precious time for the community and the voluntary sector includes transport, litter picking, rotary, scouts &guides amongst many.  The new pavilion for the recreation grounds has been entirely project-managed by volunteers.  

Ashbourne's community

Ashbourne has grown significantly this century with new housing, investment by business & industry and a developing infrastructure. It is a friendly and welcoming town, with great schools, plenty of job opportunities and a caring community.

Learn more

We're new

www.discoverashbourne.com is an exciting new website, launched November 2021 with a vision and mission to showcase everything of interest in Ashbourne. Work is ongoing to improve the site so please keep visiting to see how we are getting on.

Discover Ashbourne's
directory

Discover everything from shops and businesses to car parks and postbox locations;
our directory has it all.
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Discover what's on in Ashbourne

Whether you live in Ashbourne or are a visitor, our what's on page is the best place
to find out everything that's happening in and around Ashbourne.
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Enjoy a leisurely shop with
Free parking
This december
After 2pm
In council car parks

Discover Ashbourne's Attractions

A few of the many things to do in Ashbourne.

The Tissington Trail

The Tissington Trail is one of Ashbourne’s major tourist attractions. This recreational trail starts by the leisure center in the town center, heads through a 353m tunnel, and continues for more than 13 miles up onto the high moorlands, following the route of the former Ashbourne to Buxton railway line. The former stations of Mapleton, Thorpe, Tissington, Alsop, Hartington, and Parsley Hay are now converted into car parks, some also with a cafe & toilets. The route is suitable for cyclists and walkers of all abilities and is also wheelchair and pushchair friendly. The first couple of miles between Ashbourne and Thorpe are often thronged with families, so walkers and cyclists need to take special care in this area. Please see the directory for bike hire information.

The Recreation Grounds

Bordering the countryside east of Ashbourne, the recreation grounds are a place to play and relax without straying too far from the town center. On the corner of Cokayne Avenue and Park Road, you will find the impressive sandstone gateway to the park, comprising a classical arch with pillars and fluted columns, welcoming visitors to the ornate formal gardens planted in memory of Ashbourne’s war casualties. To the north of the gardens, there is a statue of the Salvation Army co-founder, Catherine Booth, who was born in the town. There is a bandstand in the middle(currently closed for refurbishment) and an adventure playground for children. The Henmore Brook flows through the park giving lots of opportunities to spot wildlife on Fishpond Meadow.‍

The Gingerbread Shop

The Gingerbread shop was built around 1492, the building is believed to have been an Inn until the period of the Napoleonic Wars when it became a bakery. It is the spiritual home of Ashbourne Gingerbread. Local legend is that the recipe for this gingerbread was given to an Ashbourne baker by a French prisoner of war, billeted in Ashbourne during the Napoleonic Wars; and you can still buy local gingerbread in the bakery to this day.

St Oswalds Church

The church is named after Oswald of Northumbria with a brass plaque in the chapel on the south side of the church commemorating its dedication on 24 April 1241. Its 212-foot spire presides over the town and was referred to by George Eliot as the "finest single spire in England". It replaced an earlier Saxon church and construction is believed to have started in 1240, probably lasting until the early 14th century. The church is listed as a Grade I building. Impressive stained glass windows adorn the church including a Christopher Whall window dated 1905 with chapels containing historic funerary & monuments which have contributed greatly to the church's renown.

Queen Elizabeth grammar school

Ashbourne’s Queen Elizabeth Grammar School is believed to be one of the oldest schools in the country. It was established under a Royal Charter granted by Queen Elizabeth I following a 1583 petition by Sir Thomas Cokayne (1520-1592) for a free school in Ashbourne, on the grounds that the lack of education meant people were“given over to wickedness and vices”. Construction started in 1585 on Church Street, as close to St. Oswald’s Church as possible, and was finally completed in 1608 with Sir Thomas Cokayne as one of the governors. The original building is now a grade 1 listed private residence, with the school moving to its current site on Green Road in 1909. For much of the 20th century, the school was a selective mixed grammar but has now morphed into an Academy, open to all abilities. It continues to expand and develop, providing ever more impressive opportunities for today's students.

Ashbourne historical gas outlet from 1864

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Ashbourne c.1050: an ancient town where paths have crossed and people have gathered for a thousand years.

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