Who are you?
Nigel Hutson, regular contributor to Practical Caravan.
Why are you a local authority on this area?
I was born in Chesterfield, my parents still live there. We’re only a few miles away, and for the past 43 years I have been in the choir at the famous Crooked Spire parish church. My wife, Kay, is from Hope Valley, but we both regard our nearest town as being Chesterfield.
What do you love about it?
Chesterfield is a lively, bustling market town, with regular outdoor markets. Of course, personally, I love the musical tradition of the Crooked Spire – choral and organ. There are also great industrial links, too. The Midland Mainline railway runs through the town, and steam locomotive hauled ‘specials’ are a common sight, to the delight of heritage rail enthusiasts!
What’s your favourite place to visit here?
Without doubt, Chesterefield’s biggest attraction is its famous Crooked Spire. You can’t help but be amazed at how it manages to remain upright – it’s not only crooked, but twisted, too. There are regular tours up the tower (narrow spiral stairs, so not for the less able), and you can look up inside the spire from inside and out.
There are many stories about how the spire became crooked, but I’ll let you decide which of them might be true when you visit!
There is much redevelopment going on in the town centre and the canal basin (near the railway station), with new bars and restaurants being built or planned. Barrow Hill Roundhouse railway museum is worth a visit, as is Revolution House at Old Whittington, where it is alleged that plots against James II were hatched by the Duke of Devonshire and others. Chatsworth House, Bolsover Castle and Hardwick Hall are all nearby, too.
Which campsites would you recommend?
Poolsbrook Country Park Caravan and Motorhome Club Site is the nearest to Chesterfield, although Teversal Camping and Caravanning Club Site isn’t far away, either.
Built on the site of an old colliery, Poolsbrook is now a wonderful country park, with plenty of pleasant walks around the late (and a good cafe). It has easy access from the M1.
What food and drink is the area best known for?
Just “over t’ill” from Chesterfield is Bakewell, which is, of course, famous for its delicious puddings.
Another local delicacy, which also makes the perfect accompaniment to a full caravan breakfast, is the Derbyshire oatcake, a kind of pancake.
Tell us somewhere great to eat or drink!
Chesterfield has a good selection of chain pubs and food outlets, as well as a wide choice of Indian, Thai and Chinese restaurants, among many other excellent eateries.
Kay and I like the Sicily Restaurant, just half a mile from the town centre on Sheffield Road.
For fish and chips, there’s the Union Jack on Chatsworth Road.
Our daughter has just told us about a new Greek restaurant, Odyssey, in the town centre, which has had lots of great reviews, so it’s one for us to try.
Where can you get spare kit?
The nearest specialist leisure dealership is Robinsons Caravans, on the road from Poolsbrook into Chesterfield.
Where can you find the cheapest petrol/diesel in the area?
All major supermarkets are represented in and around Chesterfield, with all bar Asda having filling stations.
Where should you avoid?
Chesterefield’s roads can get very busy. It can be tough trying to cross in any direction, especially when popular Chatsworth House happens to be holding any kind of public event.
Share a highlight only a local would know…
George Stephenson, the great pioneer of railways, lived on the outskirts of Chesterfield at Tapton House, a fine Georgian mansion that now serves as private offices and a conference centre, although the parkland and gardens are open to the public.
Stephenson is buried in Holy Trinity Church, near the town centre. It its rarely open, and the memorial to the great man is rather small, but there is a a statue of him at the railway station.
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Chesterfield is a lively, bustling market town, with regular outdoor markets