What to do in half a day
Masson Mills and Masson Shopping Village
At Masson Mills a fascinating working textile museum boasts historic working textile machinery and a bobbin room with over 680,000 bobbins – the largest collection in the world. Visitors can take a self-guided tour, using leaflets, or smart phone apps and watch the machinery demonstrations twice a day.
Next to the museum is the Masson Shopping Centre, located in a later addition to the mill complex. One floor has been converted into a restaurant.
Cromford Mill and Canal
After a guided tour of Cromford Mill, you can take a leisurely stroll through the beautiful countryside along the Cromford Canal built in the 1790s to capitalise on Derbyshire’s immense mineral wealth.
The canal is now a haven for plants and wildlife. Follow the tow path until you reach High Peak Junction Workshops (about 30 minutes) where an audio guide will take you back to the days of steam on the Cromford and High Peak Railway.
Carry on a little further to see the Leawood Pumphouse, after which you carry on along the towpath to Whatstandwell or Ambergate, and catch a train back to Cromford, or turn left up a side arm of the canal to visit the village of Lea.
The North Mill and Belper
Enjoy a guided tour of Strutt’s North Mill, and discover how the Derwent provided water-power then and still does today. Tour guides are available to take you back in time to learn about the lives of the mill workers, the development of cotton spinning in Belper and Strutt’s invention, the Derby Rib, which transformed the hosiery industry.
After a visit to Strutt’s North Mill take a stroll to the nearby Belper River Gardens and enjoy stunning views across the River Derwent. During the summer you can hire a boat and take a short trip up the river. Alternatively cross the bridge and take the riverside path southwards for a short but pleasant walk.
While in Belper take a look in De Bradelei Mill on Chapel Street where you can see the impressive building once used by major hosiery producer George Brettle and Company. Alternatively, take a wander around the town centre, and through Strutt’s historic millworkers’ housing.