A small town with a big claim to fame, Ashbourne stands firm at the southern end of the Peak District. On every side the breathtaking Henmore Valley threatens to swallow this Derbyshire town.
It’s a typical example of a quaint English town and a broad selection of Georgian and Tudor history, plus true quirkiness in its traditions and celebrations.
Ashbourne is most famous for the medieval annual Royal Shrovetime Football game. This game attracts thousands of visitors from around the world who get stuck in to score "goals" by kicking a cork ball against one of two stone plinths. These are a mere three miles apart, and all parts of the town become props in the game, with residents from opposing halves of the town competing. Not something you’ll see everyday!
If you are looking for something a little more sedate, the Ashbourne Festival runs from the end of June to early July and the Highland Gathering is set for late July. The festival is a home to poetry, drama, open air opera, jazz and classical concerts and much more.
Nature lovers should make time also for Ashbourne Agricultural Show, a traditional country affair, held in mid August at the Polo Grounds in Osmaston. On display are competitive shows around horses and goats, cattle and sheep, and also a famous dog show.
The town itself hosts the popular Tissington Trail where walkers and cyclists can enjoy travelling through the surrounding hills over a distance of 13 miles.
Walking or taking a short car ride north will place you well within the Dovedale Nature Reserve where you can visit the breath-taking Dovedale Valley. Ashbourne is known as the gateway to Izaak Walton country, thanks to this luscious valley and the land which inspired the famous writer.
Carsington Water offers a fun day out where visitors can explore the surrounding area, go horse-riding or hire boats to go on the reservoir.
The area also boasts a number of beautiful stately homes such as Sudbury Hall and Tissington Hall which are well worth a visit, as is the 158-acre Ilam Park just north of Ashbourne and St Oswald's Parish Church.