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.