Derby Arboretum

Derby Arboretum - Crocus and boar Derby Arboretum, also informally known as Arboretum Park and The Arboretum, is famous for being Britain's first public park. It is picturesque with a fine collection of trees, and is Grade II* listed. 


Derby Arboretum's facilities

  • café
  • community building
  • nature reserve
  • tree trail
  • children's play area
  • water play area
  • community garden
  • sculptures
  • sports facilities
  • toilets.

What can I do at Derby Arboretum?

  • Have a picnic in the picturesque grounds.
  • Explore the historic park and buildings.
  • Make a splash in the water play area. (Open every weekend from Saturday 23 May 2015 until Sunday 6 September 2015 and everyday during the school summer holidays)
  • Have a coffee in the Heart of the Park community building.


Artcore Invisible Boundaries August 2015/March 2016

To celebrate 175 years of Derby Arboretum, Artcore are holding the following events:

  • Artcore Invisible Boundaries: Artists Residency 24th August - 17th September 2015

Sculpture making events through a residency programme offering an opportunity for talented sculptors to create sculptures in Derby Arboretum.

  • Artcore Invisible Boundaries: Community Sculpture Making 24th August - 17th September 2015

An open studio for all; an amazing and proactive way for people to engage in the sculpture making process.

Heart of the Park building

The 'Heart of the Park' building is used as the centre of community activity in the area. It contains a café, sports changing facilities and community building.

Arboretum Park Café

Arboretum Park Café is the hub for members of Derby's Deaf community. It opened in June 2010 and is managed and staffed by Deaf peple with British Sign Language (BSL) being the main communicated language. 

The café serves affordable hot and cold food, refreshments, cakes, snacks, sweets and ice cream. It also supports projects such as parents and toddler group, health groups, a youth club, themed nights and events, BSL training, and Deaf groups.

For more information, email or text: 0781 6646 704

History of Derby Arboretum

Joseph Strutt, one of Derby's mill owners and former Mayor of Derby, was so thankful to the working people of Derby for helping his family make their fortune that he commissioned work to start on Derby Arboretum.

John Claudius Loudon designed the park, adapting Strutt's original plans for a botantic gardens and pleasure grounds to include landscaped walkways. Work started in July 1839 and the deeds were handed over to Derby Town Council on Wednesday 16th September 1840.

Derby Arboretum first opened its doors to the public on Thursday 17th September 1840. The whole town of 1,500 people took the afternoon off and headed to the park to celebrate.

The park originally charged an entry fee but was free on Sundays and Wednesdays so people on low incomes could still enjoy the park. The entry fee was stopped in 1882.

It is thought that Frederick Law Olmsted took inspiration from the Arboretum for his design for Central Park in New York.


Derby Arboretum's Florentine Boar statueTowards the end of the 20th Century, the Arboretum was in decline. In 2002 the park received funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund to refurbish it and help bring it back to its former condition.

Over £5 million was invested into the park to restore buildings and provide new facilities for toddlers and older children. Work was completed in 2005.

After a lengthy local campaign, a new bronze replica of the Florentine Boar statue, produced at cost by a local engineer, Alex Paxton, was finally put in place in November 2005.

How can I get to Derby Arboretum?

The Arboretum is located in the Rose Hill area, about a mile south of Derby city centre. The nearest postcode to one of the pedestrian entrances is DE23 8FZ.

Useful forms


Contact details

Post address:
Community Leisure
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street
Phone: 01332 640789
Minicom: 01332 640666
Community Leisure
Derby City Council
The Council House
Corporation Street