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Review: The Heights of Abraham

A visit to the ‘Heights of Abraham’ in Matlock Bath starts with a magical cable car ascent into the sky. The smooth, slow ride is the perfect way to enter this hidden gem of an attraction – the thick fog accompanying our journey up made it feel even more like we were entering another world. Once at the summit, the views are truly breath-taking, and you can enjoy seven panoramic scenes of the Derbyshire Dales across the site.

A highlight of our visit was the two guided Cavern tours. Entering the illuminated underground caves and learning about the history of lead mining kept both adults and children engaged. The Great Rutland Cavern was particularly fun, with the staff in Victorian costume and character as they shared information in an entertaining style.

There really is such a lot to learn here! The costume exhibition in the Masson Pavilion houses reproductions of period costumes, giving a fascinating glimpse into the past. There’s also an interactive exhibition telling the full story of the history of the ‘Heights of Abraham’, and a film theatre for a chance to view stories about how the caverns were formed and the construction of the cable cars. If you prefer to stay out in the open, the Willow Sculptures dotted across the grounds are a great addition and another reflection of the rich history of Masson Hill.

There are plenty of other outdoor activities too – our three and four year olds particularly enjoyed exploring The Woodland Adventure playground, one of two Adventure Playgrounds included in the ticket price. With gardens, walks and butterfly trails, we fully appreciated the escape into nature that the surroundings offered us.

Another impressive feature was the food options on offer. The Terrace Café had an amazing (and tasty!) array of cakes, as well as tempting snacks, including delicious loaded fries and hotdogs. The Vista Bar and Restaurant has a wider range of meal choices and gives visitors a chance to dine whilst enjoying those spectacular views.

Our visit coincided with Chinese New Year, so we were treated to fortune cookies, colourful lanterns across the site and a stunning performance from a Chinese Dancing Lion. With a range of extra celebrations offered across the year, it’s definitely worth checking the calendar if you are planning a visit. I imagine the ‘Lights of Abraham’ Christmas attraction is a fantastic way to see the picturesque beauty on offer.

With under 5s free to enter, a very affordable Parent and Toddler Pass available for purchase (for unlimited visits Monday-Friday during term time), and a reduced family ticket price or annual pass, the ‘Heights of Abraham’ is a must-visit attraction in Derbyshire. There’s so much to do and see that it’s a location families can return to again and again.

Hetty Waite is an author who lives in Derbyshire with her husband, 4-year-old daughter and Cavapoo. She is currently writing a dystopian teen fiction trilogy.

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