Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Belper - my new favourite place.

On our way home from Kedleston Hall, as we zipped up the A38, I mentioned to hubby that I had never been to Belper - could we call in and take a look? Certainly! As we parked up, I knew that this was going to be lovely. The town is perched either side of a valley with the river Derwent running through. I guess it featured a fair bit in "Peak Practice"!! It has a market square fairly typical of ones around the Amber Valley.

The town is so wonderful because it is full of little independent shops and cafes etc. A lady in one of the shops told us that they were fighting to keep a large Sainsbury's being built close by. We called in at this cafe - I should Cocoa - an artisan chocolate shop .....
with a wonderful little cafe at the back.
I can thoroughly recommend the Portugese Rice Cakes. And the coffee was delicious too.
I was reliably informed by the lady in the shop across from the cinema, that you could watch films here, sat on settees with coffee and cake or a glass of wine! (sounds a brill idea, but when I do this at home, I end up asleep and snoring!). Anyway, it looked a great cinema.

And I though I had died and gone to heaven in here. Fabulous goodies, fabrics and the nicest lady ever serving. A wonderful shopping experience.
We wandered through down through the town to the Victorian Pleasure gardens by the side of the river.
I discovered that Helen Macarthur's boating skills for someone raised in landlocked Derbyshire were not such a mystery after all!
This part of town is dominated by Strutts Mill, now a world heritage site. We didn't arrive early enough to look around the mill museum, but as its only 40 minutes from home, I shall be revisiting.
The mill building is spectacular and at one time almost all of the townsfolk would have worked here.

I loved wandering through the lovely old streets - row after row of mills workers cottages.

I loved how all of these tiny cottages had gorgeous dry stone walls around their gardens.
Belper has won my heart, and is currently one of my favourite local towns. I could so easily live here. If you've not been, give it a whirl.

29 comments:

Von said...

I love Belper too, your post quite took me back to another lifetime........

Sheffy said...

This is just a few miles from where we live. i love it too. The cinema is fab but difficult to get in as it is so popular. They have wonderful films there. Also agree that the little shops, eg. Fresh Ground are fantastic. Also great butchers and greengrocers!

Anna at the Doll House said...

Hello Diane

There is a very trendy coffee bar in an old cinema in my town: so much nicer than a bingo hall I think.

John Gray said...

I have already put it on my list!

greenthumb said...

What a pretty little town, glad you stopes off for afternoon tea. Looks good.

greenthumb said...

Meant to say stoped

The Girl said...

ARGH! NO!

The ex who broke my heart and smashed it into tiny smithereens a few years ago was from Belper. Bleurgh bleurgh bleurgh.

And this post has come a few hours after I found out that he's married the woman he cheated on me with and she's pregnant with his baby.

Talk about bad timing for a post!

Louise said...

I love belper too. We usually go to the fresh basil deli cafe. There are some nice walks around it as well as the cinema and interesting shops to tempt you!

topchelseagirl said...

It looks lovely. If ever I get up that way I'll try to remember to visit.

sarah-jane down the lane said...

I love that you love to wander strange streets - so do I , it is my favourite thing to do when I go somewhere new, I love to get a feel for a place, and everywhere has it's own scent too! Mr.Lane finds this aspect of my curiosity too weird! Your posts are so warm Diane. Glad you enjoyed a vicarious trip to Cornwall with me!

Sarah x

Jo said...

What a lovely town. I love places with independent shops, so much more interesting than high street shops. Why oh why do supermarkets have to move in on places like this?

MorningAJ said...

I discovered Belper quite recently too! Lovely place isn't it?

Michela said...

The mill looks alike the one featured on my blog a few posts ago!
xxx

Kathy said...

What a lovely little town. I'll put it on my 'list'.
xxx

Louise said...

I used to work in Belper a couple of years ago and so miss little lunch time wanders around the town.
You've really done Belper justice with your post ....we went at the start of the summer but I'm well over due another visit.

Jean said...

Belper is on my old stomping ground, being born and raised just a few miles away. I like it very much for its numerous independant and family shops and businesses. The old mill was still working when I was still at school not far away.

As you are now a jewellery-making person, did you spot the wonderful bead shop just down the hill from the market square - it's a positive Aladin's cave for beady people and an excellent source of everything you could possibly need for making jewellery.

elsy said...

what a lovely place Diane.....one to add to the long list of your recommendations. we up to Sheffield this Saturday for the big drop off.... York first for eldest , then we staying in Sheffield for one night for a little explore of our own. cant wait!

Jewel said...

Wow I love the look of the chocolate shop and little cinema! Shame it's so far from me or I would be visiting! x

Lisa said...

Fab shop names!
Looks very picturesque.
Lisa x

harmony and rosie said...

Those walls, wonderful. What a charming town, just my sort of place and I really hope they do manage to block Mr Sainsbury and all the other giants who like to muscle in and destroy lovely communities like this one.

Jaggerfan1 said...

Wow, those pictures are just lovely. That's why I want to see England, not just because of the whole music scene, but because of the gorgeous little places like this, stuff like that is what makes traveling fun!! Man, when I get a chance to see this place, I won't know where to start, with all these lovely pics, it'll be hard to choose where to start.

noelle said...

It looks fab, I think i would like the shops there. Fancy them having a shop named 'I should Cocoa' there too!!! xx

Sandie said...

I was born in Belper, now, not many knew this, they do now!
Did you go to the Antiques and curiosity shop, right at the top of the town? It's all 'up hill and down dale' inside, fascinating!
There's also Thorntons factory shop, right down the bottom of the hil....Make mine an 'Alpini' or maybe champagne truffle....

Sandie xx

Carol said...

It looks a lovely little town, hope they win the battle to keep out the supermarket.
Carol xx

Little Blue Mouse said...

It looks really lovely there.
'I should cocoa' is a great name for a shop!

Rosie said...

I love Belper too; like Louise (Roachling) we also go to the fresh Basil Deli for coffee before wandering around the shops. It will be Derwent Valley Mills heritage days in October - lots of super events of an Industrial History nature with quite a few things happening in Belper:)

Darren Holden said...

What a nice blog post. Coming from Belper sometimes you forget what a nice place it is!

Angela said...

It's a Tesco we are fighting to stop arriving in Belper not Sainsburys.

It must be a recent visit as the primitive shop is new.

Hilary said...

I have to admit I'm glad I moved here,not only are the shops and cafe's etc lovely, but we have some wonderful walks for anyone who likes the countryside. There is also Wyver Lane with it's pond and nature reserve. Not only is the place picturesque the people are lovely too. I'm glad you enjoyed your visit, the photographs are lovely, hope to see another post soon xx