The Heights of Abraham

Staying in Matlock Bath, or even just to visit, the Heights of Abraham are a must, for those who don’t mind heights of course!

Since first opening its gates in 1780, the Heights of Abraham have remained one of the Peak District’s most popular destinations, enticing thousands of visitors on a journey in Britain’s first Alpine style cable car system. Originally reached on foot, with visitors having to scale the steep slopes of Masson Hill, now a tourist can see the world below, inside the comfort and safety of the cable car, and watch the stunning views of the Derwent Valley and surrounding Peak District get smaller, as the car transports you to the Hilltop Park above.

Named after the area of Québec, where Major General James P. Wolf died during the seven years War, the Heights of Abraham was originally designed as a Regency style ‘Savage’ Garden, and even 200 years after opening its gates, many of the paths around the garden remain as they were originally intended.

At the top of the hill, there is a wonderful woodland adventure area which is full of rope bridges and swings, and plenty of seats for parents to be able to watch their offspring play in peace. The oldest building on the site is the summerhouse and dates back to 1801 and acts as a gateway to one of the Heights of Abraham caves, Rutland cavern.

Provided as part of the admission, there are guided tours of this cavern and Great Masson cavern, which is home to a collection of what is locally called ‘troll snot.’ This is a wet deposit which is the beginnings of a stalagmite creation, which has thousands of years to grow before it becomes a full-length feature of the cavern. Visitors can explore the lead mines which were a major industry in the area. Some of the oldest sections date back to Roman times and it’s possible to see the pick marks on the wall. Jacob’s well is certainly worth a visit and there is a fine display of crystals and fluorspar. It’s a great adventure and the children will love it as well as the adults too. There is also a Heights of Abraham rock shop, so visitors can purchase a reminder of the day.

There are also 30 acres of woodlands to enjoy and the Victorian Prospect Tower, which gives great views across the valley. There is also a very welcoming chance to get some light refreshment at the Treetops Visitor Centre’s Coffee Shop and the summit bar above the cafe is open on busier days, and provides a range of hot or cold meals, served at tables offering the best view of Matlock Bath down below.

The fossil factory at the Heights of Abraham adds to a great day out but also provides an educational venue school trips which can be booked throughout the year. The displays tell the history of the site and also information about geology of our planet.