Exploring the Heights of Abraham

JoAdventures, Days OutLeave a Comment

Heights of Abraham cable car

Set above the picturesque town of Matlock, Derbyshire, lies a brilliant family day out that promises adventure: Heights of Abraham. This unique attraction offers visitors an opportunity to escape the day-to-day and embark on a journey through nature, history, and breathtaking vistas.

I set about exploring the Heights of Abraham when on a weekend away trip with my 9 year old.

A Scenic Ascent

The adventure for us began in the town of Matlock, which I was keen to include in our visit. From there we walked to the ticket office (top tip – Blue Peter badges are currently accepted) and hopped on a scenic cable car ride that took us from the valley floor to the summit of Masson Hill. As the cable car ascended, we could see down into the Derwent Valley below. On a fine day there are panoramic views; when we visited it was raining so views were impeded. That said, we could see the lush greenery, rugged cliffs and meandering River Derwent. It’s a great start to the day, my 9 year old was captivated by spotting people, cars and creatures from our cable car position.

Cable car views at Heights of Abraham

Exploring the Caverns

Upon reaching the summit, visitors are greeted by a beautiful café with stunning views (some of which were visible!), a shop, an adventure playground, small museum and a puppet theatre entertainment area. Beyond that and not to be missed, are a network of awe-inspiring caverns carved deep within the limestone hills. Guided tours offer an immersive experience. My son was chosen to hold a tool that children would have used when they worked in often extremely cramped conditions in the caves. He said it was very heavy! Areas of interest were pointed out to us as we walked through. I think it’s safe to say that a number of us were extremely impressed with the knowledge of our guide and the geological wonders that lie tucked beneath the hilltop.

Cavern at Heights of Abraham
In the Heights of Abraham caverns

Heritage Trails

For history enthusiasts, Heights of Abraham also offers a network of walking trails that lead past historic landmarks and remnants of a bygone era. From the remains of a 17th-century lead mining industry to the Victoria Prospect Tower, the paths were clearly marked. We chose not to walk them all, although we did venture up to the tower which, built in 1844 in honour of Queen Victoria, was impressive. If you’re feeler braver than we were, you can scale the old spiral staircase to the top.

The view from the top at Heights of Abraham

Nature’s Playground

Of course, as with any natural attraction, Masson Hill is abuzz with natural life too. Heights of Abraham encompasses 60 acres of woodland, where birdwatchers can see a variety of avian residents including woodpeckers which have even been spotted on the bird table at the café! Outside the exit of Masson Cave is Tinkers Shaft. Now a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) this area hosts a rare species of orchid.

Family Fun

We went in the summer holidays, arriving on a Monday shortly after lunchtime. Admittedly it was raining, but I found it to be quieter than expected. This meant that we could make the most of the facilities.

My 9 year old enjoyed the museum and looking at ways people would have dressed through time. The adventure playground near the cable car exit and entrance was also a big hit. Despite the weather he loved the views from there. If you venture down the hill a fairly short distance (around three to five minute walk) there was a bigger playground with a high slide which he was delighted by too. It felt as though some visitors may have missed the presence of this area as there was only one other family there at the same time as us.

I’ve mentioned above about our cavern guides (one for each of the caverns we visited there). Both were thoroughly engaging for visitors of all ages and had children and adults mesmerised by local tales and unusual history.

The café served a good selection of food and drinks which I was relieved about after my son’s (homemade) sandwich fell in a puddle – oops! There are plenty of picnic areas as well.

Due to the nature of the attraction, I would suggest that it is best suited to children aged 5 and over. That said, if younger families wanted to visit there is still plenty to do.

Quick note about dogs, they are welcomed at Heights of Abraham but not able to venture into the caverns. We saw plenty around having a nice wander though.

Heights of Abraham site museum with 1845 dress

In Conclusion

Our day out at Heights of Abraham in Matlock was lovely. Caves, adventure playgrounds, walking trails and historical exploration – what more could you ask for. From the thrill of the cable car ride to the wonder of the underground caverns, every moment found us being close to, and learning more about, the natural world. So, whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or simply a day away from the ordinary, Heights of Abraham offers a fantastic day out for all the family.

Scenic playground at Heights of Abraham

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *