Derbyshire and Peak District family attractions eye Easter holiday reopening as coronavirus lockdown restrictions ease

Family attractions across Derbyshire and the Peak District are gearing up to reopen – if lockdown restrictions allow.

Friday, 12th March 2021, 9:54 am

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has outlined his roadmap out of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic – with non-essential retail, including museums and theme parks, set to reopen on April 12, providing a series of tests are met, including Covid hospitalisations continuing to fall.

The date marks the start of the second week of the Derbyshire school holidays, with children due to break up on April 1 and return on April 19.

Matlock Farm Park is among the attractions aiming to reopen as soon as possible.

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A spokesman said: “Following the Government announcement, we are aiming to reopen Matlock Farm Park on April 12.

“However, the Rainforest indoor play centre and the Garden Room Cafe will remain closed until May 17, pending confirmation from the Government.”

May 17 marks another landmark date in the Government’s roadmap out of lockdown, when “most businesses in all but the highest risk sectors will be able to reopen”, including indoor hospitality and entertainment venues.

The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway, which operates heritage trains from Wirksworth to Duffield and Ravenstor, plans to restart services from April 15.

Chatsworth is set to announce its post-lockdown reopening plans in the coming days.

A railway spokesman said: “The signal has gone green for us to reopen and it is planned for heritage trains to be running again from April 15.

“We have made changes to our timetable and ticketing arrangements to help us ‘bounce back’ and keep you safe during your Escape to the Countryside.”

Crich Tramway Village has announced plans to open its outside areas and operate limited tram rides from April 12, with indoor areas due to reopen from May 17.

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The Ecclesboume Valley Railway, at nine miles, is Derbyshire's longest heritage railway. The line runs through some of the most pleasant scenery in the White Peak, from its joint station with the main line at Duffield to its northern terminus at Ravenstor, close to the High Peak Trail and the National Stone Centre.

Cautious and Covid-safe manner

Eddie Traper, director of the Midland Railway Trust, Butterley, said: “The board of trustees determined only this week that Midland Railway, Butterley will reopen in a cautious and Covid-safe manner once stage four is achieved, not before, and possibly after the provisional June date published by the government.

“This is because many of our people are of an age and, while they are likely to have been vaccinated by then, there is still the unpredictable effect of new variants to consider.”

A spokesman for The Heights of Abraham, Matlock Bath, said: “We look forward to welcoming visitors back as soon as Government restrictions allow.

Matlock Farm Park is aiming to reopen on April 12. Volunteer Aaron Hughes is pictured with three-day-old Suffolk cross Highland lambs.

"Details will be announced on our website shortly.”

Creswell Crags hopes it may be able its outdoor attractions in April, with more reopening in May.

Rebecca Morris-Buck, Creswell communications and programmes manager, said: “We are putting our plans in place, but it’s quite complicated in terms of making sure we are both safe and sustainable when we reopen.

“As we’re an outdoor site with a cafe, but also a museum with a gift shop, we're having to interpret the guidelines as best we can.”

Chesterfield Museum is targeting a May reopening.

A Chesterfield Council spokesman said: “It is hoped the museum can reopen from May 17, in line with Government guidance. The situation is under review.”

A family having fun on the Gully's Pirate Adventure ride at Gulliver’s Kingdom.

A spokesman for Chatsworth said its reopening plans are set to be confirmed in the coming days, while Gulliver’s Kingdom theme park, Matlock Bath, is taking bookings for April 12 onwards.

A Gulliver’s spokesman said: “We look forward to seeing families experiencing some Gulliver’s fun soon.”

A message from Phil Bramley, Derbyshire Times Editor…

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