Matlock Bath Illuminations & Venetian Nights


Matlock Bath Illuminations and Venetian Nights is an extremely popular event during September and October where Matlock Bath becomes illuminated by light displays along the River Derwent. Boat parades of illuminated boats on the River Derwent can be seen on Saturday and Sunday evenings throughout the illuminations period. The spectacular boats are built by voluntary groups from a variety of local organisations. In addition to the illuminated boat parades and events now held in Matlock Bath's Derwent Gardens there are firework displays on some Saturdays during this period. The fireworks are set off from the cliff top above Matlock Bath giving everyone at The Temple the perfect viewing point.

2016 Illuminations

The 2016 Illuminations season will run from Saturday 10th September until Saturday 29th October. The fireworks displays will take place every Saturday from 17th September until 29th October at 9pm.

Derwent Gardens

The Illuminations can be seen all week but events are held at the Derwent Gardens from 7pm every Saturday and Sunday during the Illuminations season. The illuminated boats which can be seen from the Derwent Gardens will parade at 7.45pm on Saturdays and Sundays. Tickets for the Derwent Gardens can be pre-booked online giving a small discount on the nightly entrance prices. As entry times and events vary throughout the illuminations period please check times on the Derbyshire Dales Website.

History of Matlock Bath's Illuminations

In the 1800's Matlock Bath was one of the top destinations in the country for many wealthy English tourists, including the Royal family. Matlock Bath Illuminations were originally inspired by the recollections of an earlier visit by a young and pre-coronation Queen Victoria, then Princess Victoria. During her visit, which included Tea at The Temple, she saw candlelight reflecting in the River Derwent and the shimmering lights made a lasting impression. Whilst on her visit Princess Victoria signed a pane of glass in the dining room window, on which Lord Byron had previously etched a poem.

Matlock Bath Illuminations, originally known as Venetian Nights first took place in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. For many years the illuminations were candlelit, and the local residents would line the riverbanks with fairy lights, lamps and oriental lanterns, whilst watching the procession of twinkling boats on the river. In 1950 the event switched to electric lighting although the tradition has been maintained as the Boat Parade continues to feature one candlelit boat.