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Wirksworth Heritage Centre

Type:Heritage Centre

31 St Johns Street
Wirksworth, Matlock
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Tel01629 707000

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A lady and some children look at a display about lead mining in Wirksworth.


Quirky. Different. Special. Words often used to describe this fascinating Derbyshire town on the southern edge of the Peak District, where the geology and landscape have shaped its character and its people for generations.

Lead was being mined here in Roman times, and by the 12th century it was one of the most important centres for lead ore in England. By the 19th century lead was all but exhausted and limestone quarrying provided new work for the town’s inhabitants. Wirksworth also became the biggest producer of red tape for Whitehall, its weekly output equalling the circumference of the earth.

George Eliot, in her novel Adam Bede, based her fictional town Snowfield on Wirksworth and the character Dinah Morris on her aunt, who lived in the town. D.H. Lawrence lived with his wife Frieda on the outskirts of Wirksworth and whilst staying here in the bitter winter of 1918–19 wrote the short story A Wintry Peacock.

Wirksworth is now known for its independent shops and cafes, annual arts festival, bustling music scene and for the dozens of artists and creative people who live and work in the town.

This new museum brings to life the stories of this fascinating town, illustrating Wirksworth’s long history, the town’s quirky qualities, famous characters, industries and its long-established rural customs and celebrations. A monthly program of regular events and activities offers lots to do for visiting groups, children and families, including walks and talks, workshops and entertainment.

The Heritage Centre is open daily from 9am to 4pm (except Monday and Wednesday). The centre’s in-house Webster’s Café is open daily from 9am until 4pm, offering hot and cold drinks, a selection of cakes, snacks and delicious home-made meals, including vegetarian/vegan options. Walkers and cyclists very welcome.  Dog owners are also welcome to bring along their pooches to the outdoor cafe courtyard.

Book Tickets

Guide Prices

Free entry to the centre, admission charges apply to museum, special events and activities and workshops in our studio. Please see our website for bookable and drop in activities. We also hold free (donations accepted) monthly evening activities such as Poetry, Book Club, Acoustic Night and Board Games. Bar available.


  • Other AwardsSelf-assessed Accessibility Information Self-assessed Accessibility Information 2020



  • Assistance dogs welcome
  • Disabled access
  • Disabled toilets
  • Facilities for hearing impaired
  • Staff are dementia aware
  • Video/virtual tours


  • On-site catering
  • On-site light refreshments


  • Baby changing facilities
  • Children welcome

COVID-19 Response

  • COVID-19 measures in place
  • COVID-19 risk assessment completed
  • COVID-19 staff training completed
  • Face mask essential (not provided)
  • Hand sanitizer available to visitors & staff
  • One way system
  • Online booking possible
  • Open now
  • Outside seating
  • Regularly sanitised high-traffic areas
  • Staff required to regularly wash hands


  • Education/study area
  • Facilities for educational visits
  • Facilities for groups
  • Guided tours for groups

Meeting, Conference & Wedding Facilities

  • Air conditioning
  • Board/Flipchart
  • Facilities for corporate hospitality

Property Facilities

  • Dogs Accepted
  • Gift shop
  • Onsite Catering
  • Passenger lift
  • Smoking not allowed
  • WiFi or internet access

Target Markets

  • Accepts groups
  • Coach parties accepted

Opening Times

Open Christmas
Open New Year

* CAFE, MUSEUM & SHOP: Open everyday (except Monday and Wednesday) 9am to 4pm. (Last orders taken in cafe at 3.30pm, last entry to the museum 3pm). Private bookings for large parties can be organised any day, please contact us.


Map & Directions

Road Directions

Wirksworth is around 3 miles south of Matlock Bath and 2 miles east of Carsington Water. The Heritage Centre itself is a 2 minute walk from the Market Place in the centre of Wirksworth, and a 5-10 minute walk from Wirksworth Railway Station (if arriving by train on Ecclesbourne Valley Railway). Pay and display parking is located on the town's Market Place, and time-limited on-street parking is available on St.John's Street near the Heritage Centre itself. A free car park can be found on nearby Canterbury Road opposite Anthony Gell School, and additional unlimited on-street parking is also available in this area. Wirksworth is served by two bus services - the 'sixes' travelling between Derby and Bakewell and the 110-111b between Matlock, Ashbourne and Wirksworth. Coaches are advised to drop-off and pick-up groups on St. John's Street.

Public Transport Directions

The centre in less than a minutes walk from the nearest bus stop (St. John Street) and a 5 minute walk to Wirksworth Ecclesbourne Valley Railway.

There are various car parks around the town and on street parking also.

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