Melbourne is a small Georgian market town on the edge of the National Forest, with a village atmosphere and an attractive range of shops, restaurants and pubs.
At the heart of the town is Melbourne Hall, a medieval rectory, rebuilt by the Coke family in the early 18th Century. Lord Melbourne, Prime Minister to Queen Victoria, inherited the house and estate in 1828. The town also incorporates a fine Norman church and the remains of a castle ruined in the 16th Century. Thomas Cook, the travel agent, was born in the town.
Melbourne is often bracketed with Kings Newton, a hamlet within a mile or so of the town centre. The combined settlement has around 5,000 residents, but this is swelled in season by many more tourists and day visitors attending local heritage sites, art galleries and the Melbourne Festival.
With a variety of B&Bs and other visitor accommodation providers, Melbourne is two miles north of Ticknall, home of the National Trust’s Calke Abbey, and two miles south of the ancient causeway that runs from the bridge over the River Trent at Swarkestone to Stanton-by-Bridge.
The main shopping area is bolstered by several courtyard developments, offering boutiques, crafts and gift shops, with further retail outlets at Melbourne Hall Courtyard. Melbourne has an above average retail offer for a small town and includes some exclusive shops offering high quality products, such as furniture, clothes and homewares. The centre includes a range of service businesses, such as estate agents, opticians and hair and beauty salons.
The absence of chain stores, aside from a small Sainsbury’s supermarket and Birds bakery, add to its character and distinction. The town, much of which lies within a Conservation Area, is recognised for its cafés, tea shops, restaurants, farm shops and delicatessens. Parking is free in the town.
Opportunities exist both in the town centre, which has been strengthened through infill and the conversion of older buildings, and on the nearby Castle Lane Industrial Estate. Commercial vacancies in the town are rare but opportunities can be found.