Our cafes are open for takeaways and all of our fabulous independent shops are open! From Monday 17 May we are offering guided tours, including the Arkwright Experience, and you can sit inside our cafes again! Click Book Tickets for our guided tours.

Visitor Centre @ Building 17 and Arkwright Experience

Discover more about this unique valley in the Visitor Centre @ Building 17 with interactive displays, games and puzzles providing you with everything you need to know to make the most of your visit to the area.

Our stunning interactive scale model of the 15 mile long Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site allows you to explore all of the key heritage and wildlife sites before you head off by canal boat, train or on foot to see this incredible valley first hand. There are over 20 attractions within walking distance of the Visitor Centre and our helpful volunteers are on hand to guide you as you plan your day.  Watch our introductory film revealing why this amazing place was inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and discover how the textile industry developed in this once rural valley over 250 years ago.

The exhibitions continues with the story of the Derwent Valley's global impact on the cotton industry and you can meet Sir Richard Arkwright himself in the world's first water powered cotton spinning mill where he brings the building to life in the CGI Arkwright Experience.  Hear how he created his cotton spinning empire and watch as floors and machines appear in front of your eyes. 

Discover what happened to the site after it finished spinning cotton in the 1840s and the life of the mills since then, including the restoration challenge faced by the Arkwright Society to bring the buildings back into use and create the heritage attraction you can see today. 

Opening Times 

  • The Arkwright Experience will reopen on 17 May as part of our new guided tour offer.  For more information and to book your ticket click here.  The rest of the Visitor Centre will remain closed until after 21st June.  


Disabled toilets are located in the Visitor Centre with full wheelchair access throughout the Visitor Centre, shop and Arkwright Experience.


Dogs on leads are welcome in the Visitor Centre, but are not permitted to go into the Arkwright Experience as the show contains flashing lights and loud sounds. Assistant dogs are allowed everywhere on site.