Our visit to the Heights of Abraham was probably one of the best spontaneous trips I’ve done.
There’s nothing I regret about driving my 3 year old over an hour to get there – it was a truly amazing day!
The Heights of Abraham is a cable car and hilltop park, taking you up the beautiful Derbyshire hills, giving you views of the stunning surrounding area, overlooking Matlock Bath village below.
We’ve been in cable cars before on snowboarding holidays, but this is such a unique experience in England – and Lily absolutely loved it.
We parked by the Matlock Bath railway station and took the cut-through along the river to the base of the cable car. It was only a short walk along the river itself. Just remember to take coins for the car park.
The staff were really friendly and welcoming at the ticket desk, and really helpful as we got on the cable car too.
The cable car lasted less than 10 minutes to get to the top, where you come to a whole host of fantastic activities.
There are 2 great play areas for the little ones, including a Woodland play area near the cable car, and an adventure playground called the Explorer’s Challenge further up, which includes a toddler play park too. Lily loved the Woodland play area, especially the huge slides and rope climbing!
You can also enjoy amazing views from the top of the Victoria Prospect lookout tower, but the stairs are quite narrow and steep, winding up the old tower, so I wouldn’t recommend it with tiny kids – especially if you are carrying them.
There are several museum areas, including a video tour of the caves and a video about the development of the cable car, but we mostly stuck to the play areas, exploring outdoors and the caves themselves! It was a stunning day to just be up there and take in the views – especially from the amphitheatre area and the top of the mine shaft!
Lily truly amazed me by asking if she could go into the caves for the tour. We went in the Masson Cavern but we didn’t go into the Rutland Cavern. She had seen a photo on the guide book of “rainbow caves”, how they were lit up, and insisted on going in.
I was nervous in case she would hate it and be stuck, but she was great, and didn’t even want to turn back at the start when they give you that option when first inside – from then on, there’s no turning back! She listened quietly to the talks from the guide – who was really quite funny – and enjoyed the light shows along the way too.
The ground was slippy and it was dark in places, but she totally amazed me by not only wanting to take on the adventure, but loved it too.
Your ticket price includes both the tours, which is great value, so it is only any extra refreshments you need to pay for when you’re up there.
I honestly wished I had put more coins into the car park as she really loved it up there and could have stayed longer.
She had a lovely ice cream and I enjoyed a coffee from the Terrace cafe area in the main visitors centre.
Here you can also find a bar and restaurant with views across the valley – but possibly if you’re there for longer and don’t have kids itchy to get on the play areas too!!
Once I’d had my coffee, we’d had our picnic, and I had dragged Lily out of the little gift shop, we made our way back down the cable car.
It was a really great day out for all the family, young and old, and somewhere I would definitely return too.
The staff were great, the views were incredible and it was so family-friendly, nestled in one of the most beautiful places in England!
Visit the Heights of Abraham website for more info and details of the many family-friendly events
Tips for visiting with kids:
- You can take pushchairs on the cable cars and around the hilltop, but not on the cave tour
- For those with wheelchairs, you can fit one into a cable car, and take the virtual tour of the caves. Some areas are quite steep, but it is designed to be accessible to most of the hilltop area for everyone to enjoy
- Younger kids may not like the caves but there are still plenty of play areas outside, or the virtual tour, and you can go to the first few minutes of the cave tour before they ask if anyone wants to head out
- You can enjoy picnics overlooking the hills, as there are plenty of picnic benches – or visit the cafe if you prefer
- Under 5s are free, and if you travel by train, you can get 20% off your ticket too!
- The Heights of Abraham doesn’t have it’s own car park but the Matlock Bath railway station is the closest, or use one of the other ones in Matlock Bath itself – just remember this for the sat nav, as you can’t park at the cable car base!