Derby is a vibrant and cosmopolitan city with a population of a quarter of a million and rising. Derby's vast industrial and cultural heritage – from the silk mills of the 1700s to the present day manufacture of Rolls Royce engines and Bombardier trains – make it stand out from other cities. Being only a 45 minute drive to both the National Forest and the Peak District, there is something here for everybody. Derby itself is known as the most haunted city in England, and there are regular ghost walks for those brave enough to go on their trail.
Derby Cathedral dominates the landscape of the city centre, as does the recently built Westfield Shopping centre and Showcase Cinema. There are distinct areas of the City Centre; the Cathedral Quarter contains mostly independent retailers, ranging from music shops to cafes; the St Peters Quarter contains a vast array of bars, restaurants, shops and markets, as well as Westfield, which houses major retailers such as Marks & Spencer and Debenhams.
There are three theatres in the city centre. Throughout the year the Assembly Rooms holds shows, live music events, a beer festival, classical music concerts, comedy shows and pantomimes. The Derby Theatre is situated inside the Market Hall of the Westfield Shopping Centre, and produces a variety of cultural shows while the Guildhall Theatre can be found on top of the Guildhall Market in the St Peters Quarter. It holds an annual Arts Festival, giving local children and adults the opportunity to win awards for dancing, prose and verse readings.
Of the museums in Derby, Pickfords House and the Derby Museum and Art Gallery are worth a visit. Pickfords House was the residence of the industrialist, Joseph Pickford, and transports visitors back to the 1800s. On the first Saturday of December the house is given its Christmas makeover and brought back to life as staff and volunteers welcome the visitors with carols, activities and mulled wine.
Derby Museum and Art Gallery contains the mummified remains of a cat... and a preserved mummy! There is also a Bonnie Prince Charlie room which depicts the evening Charles III spent in Derby whilst fleeing his enemies.
In addition to all this, there are monthly farmers markets in the market place, music groups, parks and a wide range of hotels, pubs, cafes and shops to enjoy.