The history of Chesterfield can be dated all the way back to the 1st century when the Romans built a fort in the Derbyshire-based town only to abandon it not long afterwards. Until the late 1980s, the high quantities of coal found beneath Chesterfield made it a major economic centre for mining, but little visual evidence of this still remains.
If you pay Chesterfield a visit today, you can expect to find street markets with hundreds of unique stalls, fine Elizabethan estates and inspiring architecture. Chesterfield is also home to a museum that pays homage to its most distinguished resident, George Stephenson, who was otherwise known as the Father of Railways.
But there’s a lot more to this English town that makes it a compelling destination for many tourists. Let’s take a look at some of the most interesting attractions in Chesterfield.
Once home to the Bess of Hardwick, this Elizabethan Prodigy House is a definitive example of the opulent architecture of the late 16th century. With imposing tall windows, stunning tapestries, intricate gardens and the original furniture, Hardwick Hall is a worthwhile visit for any English history buffs.
Chesterfield Parish Church
Perhaps the most standout attraction in Chesterfield is The Church of St Mary and All Saints, which is famous for its fantasy-like twisting spire. Legends explaining the odd structure abound, with one claiming that a local virgin was married in the church and the building itself was so bewildered that it spun around to get a better look.
Of course, a more believable explanation is that the spire’s twist is intentional and was commonplace for buildings of its time. Dating back to 1362, the tilt of the spire can be explained by the movement of the imposing grey tiles that line the structure’s surface. Regardless of what you believe, the building makes for a great photo opportunity.
This statement of luxury is located a 15-minute drive away from Chesterfield. It was built in the 17th century atop a castle from the 1100s by the Cavendish family and paid host to King Charles the first, who was spoiled with £15,000 of entertainment during his visit with Queen Henrietta Maria.
Home to world-class T20 cricket matches, no fan of the quintessentially English sport should miss a day at Chesterfield’s biggest park. Queen’s Park is also home to a bandstand, miniature railway, and an eye-popping conservatory. The local brass band can be seen performing in the park at certain times of the year, making it a great destination for lovers of authentic music.
Sutton Scarsdale Hall
In Sutton Scarsdale village lies the ruins of an early 17th-century country house that was put together by one of the finest local craftsmen of the time. Built from sandstone, Sutton Scarsdale Hall was unfortunately stripped in the late 1910s, but the skeleton that remains is still an inspiring example of English heritage.
While you’re in Chesterfield, be sure to also pay a visit to the Open Air Market. Here you can find a variety of fresh produce, jewellery, fashion, crafts, and other interesting trinkets.