Fortunate enough to have grown up in Darley Abbey and having spent the majority of my life here, I can’t help but have a strong affiliation with this little village I call home. Everywhere you look there seems to be something new and exciting happening, with the mill buildings in particular fast becoming a hub of cool and quirky office spaces, gyms, small independent businesses and interesting places to eat and drink. The setting is both beautiful and historical, with bags of character and a unique charm that permeates the walls of each and every business within them, leading to a collection of inspiring individuals as interesting as the setting they inhabit.
Below are just a few of the reasons why a wander around Darley Abbey will be an afternoon well spent…
Founder Ben started making knives back in 2012 as a little experimental project in his cellar at home to keep him busy in his spare time. Fast forward six years and Ben’s hand crafted knives have led to him taking bespoke orders from the likes of Sat Baines for his Two Michelin Star restaurant in Nottingham and creating the trophies presented at the Observer Food Monthly Awards for the past four years. As one of their new projects for 2018, the team at Blok HQ in Darley Abbey have set up a kitchenware shop in the front section of their effortlessly cool workshop. Go down and check it out if you haven’t already, the team would love to say hey and share what they’re working on at the moment!
Check out their instagram
Darley Abbey Wines
The overwhelming reaction to Darley Abbey Wines since its opening in December 2017 is testament to its unique charm that cannot be found elsewhere in Derby. With its cosy log fires, candlelit tables and abundance of fairy lights, it is easy to see why it has become the go-to location for those hunting down the perfect spot for a drink with friends. Its impressive wine list has been carefully selected by local wine merchant Andy and his wife Nichol, whose knowledge and passion for their trade is evident. Perfectly partnered cheeseboards and warming bowls of boeuf bourgignon can be found on the menu at various times throughout the week, as the bar finds the perfect balance between relaxed week nights and sleepy Sunday afternoons, through to lively Friday and Saturday nights. The place speaks for itself – go once and we can guarantee you’ll be finding yourself heading back time and time again.
Check out their Instagram
The West Mill
Strictly speaking you cannot just wander into the West Mill for a nosey around (tempting as it may be) – you may find yourself caught up amidst the I Do’s! – but it really is too beautiful not to mention here. This majestic building has been brilliantly refurbished from a disused cotton spinning mill into an elegantly industrial, super cool wedding venue. So if you are on the hunt for the perfect place to tie the knot then do check it out. It’s also been shortlisted for best city wedding venue at this year’s Wedding Industry Awards, a well-deserved nomination we think!
Check out their gorgeous website
Set on the banks of the river Derwent, Darley’s offers an unparalleled location for fine dining. When the weather allows you can enjoy coffee, cocktails and food on the terrace and listen to the sounds of the water toppling over the weir below – bliss. Using only the finest and freshest ingredients, the food is delicious and so it’s not surprising that this Michelin recommended restaurant has held its position with two rosettes in the AA Restaurant Guide and has received recognition in the Good Food Guide for over 15 years.
Check out their menu
Prima Velo (formally Love Velo) are based in the heart of the complex of mills here in Darley Abbey. Producing custom-made bikes as well as supplying a wide range of cycling accessories.
The team at Prima Velo ensure the bike you ride fits exactly how it should, offering a personalised one-to-one service that ultimately results in a faster, more comfortable ride. The perfect place for the discerning cyclist looking for a specialised service.
New website coming soon here
The team at Mackney are highly skilled, creative and super lovely too. Offering an array of portrait and makeover photography sessions, in styles ranging from contemporary cool, to unfaltering fine art, as well as their signature POP portraits. They effortlessly capture personality, immortalising those priceless moments you’ll want to cherish forever. Why not tie in a family photoshoot when you are visiting the area? The Mackney Photography studio is a unique space with a cool, boutique feel and is well worth a visit. You could even make the most of the beautiful surroundings and have a portrait right here in Darely Park. With butterfly gardens, knotted trees and an abundance of outdoor backdrop ideas – what more could you want in a location shoot?
Visit the Mackney Photography website to see what they do and arrange a photoshoot, and have a look at the studio tour for a glimpse into the work of this awesome business.
If the beautiful bouquets created by Charlotte from Albertine Gifts aren’t enough to draw you in from the outside, perhaps the impressive selection of local Derbyshire produce will be. In addition to hand crafted cards and a gorgeous collection of gifts, this little shop boasts pyclets from Derby Pyclet Parlour, Morgan’s cheese from the Market Hall, sausages and bacon from Barry Fitch Butchers, Bluebell’s Dairy ice cream… I could go on. Local gin Shining Cliff is stocked in all 4 flavours, in addition to Darley Abbey Cider, Derbyshire’s Renishaw Hall wine, beers from the likes of Deventio and Shiny Brewery and a special selection of Darley Abbey Wines. This really is the hub of the village bringing together the very best that it has to offer in terms of local producers and suppliers – pop in to say hello to Sarah and her lovely team!
Check out their facebook page
Take a walk in the park
Darley park is situated on the River Derwent and acts as the gateway to the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. Hosting many major events throughout the year, such as the hugely successful Darley Park Concert which takes place each September, it really does have something to offer everyone. As you walk through this stunning park, complete with nature reserve, cricket and rowing clubs, beautiful butterfly gardens and the largest hydrangea collection in the UK, it is hard to believe that you are just on the outskirts of Derby city centre. A hugely popular destination with dog walkers from far and wide, the sweet little café makes a perfect pitstop during a long walk at all times of year. During the summer months you can even take part in outdoor yoga and pilates sessions courtesy of the Body in Mind studio located in The Old Stables – what better way to spend an afternoon than to be surrounded by nature. The park really is a special gem.
Keep your eyes peeled for The Cotton Works…
Coming to Darley Abbey Mills in Spring 2019 is the next project brought to you by Darley Abbey Wines in partnership with Lorentes, an incredible, traditional tapas restaurant located on Friar Gate in Derby. The Cotton Works will be a café by day and Mediterranean restaurant by night, satisfying the village’s need for a quiet coffee spot at lunchtime whilst playing to the strengths of Lorentes in their evening menu. If the popularity of both the 1750 Wine Bar and Lorentes are anything to go by, it’s set to be an immense hit!
And, of course… if you’re popping down to Darley Abbey we’d love to see you in the showroom, too. We have a gorgeous selection of our bespoke, hand crafted furniture on display for you to come and take a seat in, as well as our ever-increasing range of stylish homeware, including cushions, lighting, weaver green rugs, candles from Lawry Betty, art work from Inky Partridge and much more. Come and say hello, we’ll have the kettle on ready.
Words By Sophie Brentnall