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Peak District Online presents Matlock . If you don't know the area and are passing through Matlock Bath on the busy A6, you are in for quite a surprise. You would be forgiven for thinking you had taken a wrong turn somewhere, been mysteriously bungled into a time machine and deposited in a 1960's seaside town. And no wonder, with typical Victorian buildings, fish & chip shops and amusement arcades lining the esplanade, and even illuminations in October, this jolly village has all the appearance of an English holiday resort.

The only difference is that instead of the sea, it has the river Derwent gushing through the steep gorge on the other side of the road. If you divert your eyes from the long line of eateries, hostelries, shops etc. and take the time to look around, you will note the imposing cliffs and wooded hillsides which form the spectacular backdrop to Matlock Bath; it is easy to see why this place became so popular - not just for the scenery, but for the medicinal waters found here in the late 1600's; a bath was made in the waters - hence the name of the village. The Victorians also loved their spa towns and therefore the place flourished in the nineteenth century - even Queen Victoria visited in 1832.

Today, it has something for everyone, whether it is a family with younger children visiting the theme park "Gulliver's Kingdom" set on the hillside above; a family with perhaps slightly older children wanting a thrill usually only reserved for ski-resorts - namely, a cable car ride up to the spectacular Heights of Abraham; couples of all ages wanting a delightful river stroll; inquisitive folk wishing to visit the Peak District Mining Museum; shoppers, window-shoppers, and hungry hoards. The earlier mention of fish & chips shops and amusement arcades may give a wrong impression; there is much more to Matlock Bath these days - especially in the summer time when there is a distinctly Bohemian feel to it. Smart cafés and bars are slotted in between more traditional pubs, restaurants, tea shops, ice-cream parlours and gift shops - so even gastronomically, it has appeal for all.

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