*Prepared in December 2021 and dependent upon the pandemic and club guidance and restrictions.
North Derbyshire’s largest market town is perhaps most famous for the distinctive Crooked Spire that dominates its skyline.
Stories abound as to why it twisted, but its unusual shape is thought to have been triggered by green timber covered with heavy lead tiles. Whatever the truth, the base of the spire of the Parish Church of St Mary’s and All Saints is a great place to get a panoramic view across the town and beyond.
Back on solid ground, Chesterfield is a paradise for shoppers, with its handsome Market Hall and cobbled Market Place, home to one of the largest open air markets in England, with regular general, flea, farmers’ and artisan markets.
Nearby in the Shambles are a cluster of independent shops and cafés, while you’ll find famous High Street names at the Pavements and Vicar Lane Shopping Centres.
If you’re fascinated by history, visit the Museum and Art Gallery charting Chesterfield’s commercial and industrial past, or take a short drive to Revolution House at Old Whittington, where a plot was hatched to overthrow James II in 1688.
Eating out is a gourmet experience, thanks to everything from Michelin recommended restaurants and welcoming cafes and tea rooms to gastro and real ale pubs. You can also enjoy live drama, music, comedy and much more at The Pomegranate and Winding Wheel theatres.
Right on the doorstep you’ll find the National Trust’s magnificent Elizabethan Hardwick Hall, the last and greatest house built by Bess of Hardwick in the 1500s, and impressive Bolsover Castle, a 17th century fairytale mansion, with its magical Little Castle, enchanting Venus Garden, indoor riding school and breathtaking views.
Also close by are Renishaw Hall & Gardens, ancestral home of the literary Sitwell family, with its formal Italianate gardens, bluebell woods and vineyard, and Creswell Crags, one of the most northerly places on earth to have been inhabited by our Ice Age ancestors.
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It will be my first visit to Chesterfield having somehow managed to avoid it all these years but I know the majority of our fans say it’s a top day out.
And so that means, as in all these match-day guides, a look at the town’s pubs and the ones that are best suited to away fans.
My journey by train will cost £85 and is around four and a half hours duration. It means a tube journey north from Waterloo to St. Pancras. From there it’s an hour before Leicester is the first stop.
It is 1.6 miles from the rail station to the Technique Stadium and if walking, turn out of the station and then turn left. The Chesterfield Hotel will be directly ahead of you, take the road to the right hand side and carry on over the mini roundabout, into Brewery Street, up the hill and over the A61 Inner Relief Road with Chesterfield College on your right hand side.
After 5 minutes walk you will reach the end of the road at the Old Post Office Restuarant. Turn right and after a minutes walk you will come to a mini-roundabout. Take the right turn into Sheffield Road. This road dips down, up and then down again for around 15 minutes.
At the big roundabout with the car showrooms you will see the Donkey Derby pub in front of you and the ground further along Sheffield Road. Visiting fans must carry on past the HTM Products Stand to reach the Printabilty Stand at the north end of the ground.
WHERE TO DRINK IN THE TOWN
If walking up to the stadium from Chesterfield Railway Station and you like good ale, then you may wish to make a small detour to the Chesterfield Arms. The pub which is situated on Newbold Road is listed in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide and has normally ten ales and six ciders available.
Just across Sheffield Road from the Proact Stadium is the Glassworks Pub. This pub has been recently refurbished and has up to eight real ales on tap, four of which are from the local Brampton Brewery, who also own the pub. It welcomes both home and away supporters.
Further up Sheffield Road (a five minute walk, passing a handy Chinese/Fish & Chip shop on the way) and turning right into King Street North is a micropub called the Beer Parlour. As well as ales and ciders it has a number of bottled beers for sale. Although welcoming to away fans it is on the small side.
Further on up Sheffield Road on the right is the well placed North Sea Fish and Chip shop, which was doing a brisk trade on my last visit. Further up on the left is the Red Lion pub, which serves beers from the Old Mill Brewery and shows Sky Sports.
Of course we eat as well and I’m told that a Bird’s Bakery is like a posh Greggs. There’s one in the town near to Vicar Lane shopping centre and between Costa Coffee and the Bottle And Thyme.
Chesterfield’s modern 10,400 capacity all seater stadium is located around one and a half miles north of the town centre. On one side is the Van Yard Main Stand. This stand has a capacity of 2,902 seats on a single tier, with a glass fronted executive lounge at the rear.
This looks state-of-the-art if you like this sort of thing. I’m kind of torn about it. Looks like something you can be proud of and maybe in one hundred years The Rec may be renovated to look something similar. But 10,500, unless they are able to upscale it two-fold, is useless if the club progress to League One in the future; Bournemouth are an example, an 11.5k capacity in the Premier League raised many eyebrows.
The players emerge from the tunnel at the centre of the stand, whilst the centre seating of the stand is taken up by the Directors Box, Sponsors and Legends seating areas, with the press seating situated towards the North end wing section.
The stand has a graceful curved roof with white steelwork and a glazed windshield at the north end, with a ground floor and top level viewing area for disabled supporters and their helpers in the South wing section. At one side of the stand, towards the North Stand is an unusual looking stadium control tower which extends beyond the touchline.
Opposite on the East Side is the Karen Child Community Stand which is similar in appearance, having a curved roof line and a capacity of 3,144 seats with glazed windshields on either side, but with no executive facilities at the rear.
The television camera gantry is situated in this stand below the roof steelwork. Both ends are similar affairs, both being single tiered, covered and housing just over 2,000 supporters. Unlike the other stands the roofs on these ends are not curved, but again glass windshields are in place on both sides.
The only real difference is that the Motan Colortronic (South) Stand has two ground floor level disabled viewing areas as opposed to one in the Harold Lilleker & Sons (North) Stand. The ground is complemented at present by four modern slim corner floodlight pylons which each have 14 lights on four rows.
The stadium has a pleasing balanced feel with no single stand dominating the whole ground. Externally there are some nice touches too, with the ‘wall of fame’ from the clubs ‘buy a brick scheme’, in the South and North West corners and wide pathways that lead through the car park to the turnstile blocks from Sheffield Road.
There is an electric scoreboard at one end of the ground located on the roof of the away fan stand and another larger LED screen in the South East corner. The only minor downside is that one corner of the stadium is overlooked by a Tesco’s store and car park, which detracts from the overall look