About Cromford Mills

Cromford Mills is the Northern Gateway to the Derwent Valley Mills UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Built in 1771 by Sir Richard Arkwright, it is the world’s first successful water-powered cotton spinning mill and a cornerstone of the Industrial Revolution.

During your visit explore the history of Cromford Mills and the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site and discover the captivating story of how the Derwent Valley changed the world in the 18th Century with the growth of the British cotton industry.

Sir Richard Arkwright’s invention of the cotton-spinning machine, the waterframe, revolutionised the cotton industry, transforming it from a small cottage industry to one of large-scale factory production. Arkwright became known as the ‘Father of the Factory System’ for launching the world’s first production line. These ideas lead to the growth of hundreds of Arkwright style cotton mills across the country and by the early 1800s cotton was Britain’s major import and export.

A visit to Cromford Mills will introduce you to this amazing moment in history as you explore the mill yard and adjacent workers village.

Cromford Mills is free to enter and is nestled in the beautiful Derbyshire countryside, awaiting your discovery. You can buy tickets to access the tours, Visitor Centre and to meet Sir Richard Arkwright inside the original 1771 mill in the ‘Arkwright Experience’.

In the mill yard, there are a variety of independent shops inside the old mill buildings. There are two cafes; Arkwright’s Café in the mill yard and Wheatcroft’s Wharf on Cromford Canal Wharf, where there is also the takeaway Counting House Coffee Stop.

There are a variety of local walks that start and finish at Cromford Mills, so you can begin and end with a reviving coffee and cake! The area ‘Beyond the Mill Walls’ between the mill and the River Derwent is awash with wildflowers in spring and summer, with picnic benches and woodland sculptures to find. Cromford Village, built by Sir Richard Arkwright to house his mill workers, is a 5-minute walk; here you can discover the earliest industrial housing in Derbyshire along North Street and see the amazing water management system Arkwright built.

Cromford Mills is owned and managed by The Arkwright Society – an educational charity devoted to the rescue of the industrial heritage buildings and helping to preserve the precious built and natural landscape in and around Cromford.