Matlock Bath is often referred to as Derbyshire-on-Sea and it’s certainly not short of attractions for the whole family. A welcome addition to the high street is Bonkers Illuminations Golf, which brings the seaside favourite pastime of mini-golf into the town.
In the heart of Matlock Bath, Bonkers is a fun-filled venue, with nine holes of mini-golf, neon-lights, and challenging holes for adults and kids alike. At the end, you’ll find a licensed bar and café for tasty snacks, giving you the chance to count up the scores and see who the winner is.
Peak District Kids were provided with a complimentary family game and food in return for this honest review.
Check out our guide: Things to do in Matlock and Matlock Bath
Arriving to Bonkers Illumination Golf
Situated along the main road running through Matlock Bath (North Parade), signs sit out on the pavement to signal to passers-by that the blue illuminous light invites you to something more than just a bar. This is a place to play indoor golf!
If walking from Matlock Bath station and you get to Matlock Aquarium, you’ve walked too far.
There’s a warm welcome at the bar where you can sign up for your indoor golfing session.
You’re welcome to have a drink and a bite to eat before your session, but we had two eager golfers that were raring to go and couldn’t wait any longer.
The cleverly designed course isn’t just your standard mini-golf round, instead each hole has a separate theme, with a different technique needed for each. In the past, some courses we’ve played became a bit ‘samey’ after a couple of holes, but we had no such trouble here.
Starting with a time trial to get your eye in, the course winds through three separate rooms, all lit in funky neon lighting. As you progress on your round, you’ll find challenges such as ramps, snooker style holes, slopes, and randomised shots with balls flying out of different pipes.
It’s a lot of fun and the kids especially enjoyed the variation, although some holes were very challenging. Officially, you’re limited to eight shots per hole, although it wasn’t rigidly enforced.
At the beginning, a helpful assistant explains the first few holes to you and gives an overview of how the course works. They’re also very good at keeping a gap between the different groups, so you never feel too rushed.
Food and drink at Bonkers Illumination Golf
After your bonkers golf session, head to the bar to tally up the scores and celebrate the winner. There are a range of drinks on offer from kids’ Fruit Shoots to cocktails, and all reasonably priced.
Whilst it seems tempting for parents to sit and have a quiet drink whilst your kids are playing golf, please note that for safety reasons, all children must be supervised by a responsible adult at all times.
And if anyone’s feeling peckish, there is a selective food menu of bar snacks, including cobs, loaded fries, loaded nachos, as well as kid’s chicken tenders and fries.
Our two boys selected the chicken tenders and fries, Jay chose the Tex Mex loaded fries, and I chose the loaded nachos with bean chilli.
Food is basic, but filling, and the four empty plates were a good sign that everyone enjoyed the food.
How much does it cost and do I need to pre-book?
Children are £5, adults (12+) are £7.50, and under 4s are free. You can pay by card or cash.
You do not need to pre-book and walk-ins are very welcome.
Do check the opening times as during the week they do not open until 3pm, although they open at 10am on weekends. During school holidays and bank holidays, times my vary.
Monday – Thursday: 3pm – 9pm
Friday: 3pm – 10pm
Saturday: 10am – 10pm
Sunday: 10am – 9pm
Where’s the best place to park for Bonkers Illumination Golf?
Parking along the main road through Matlock Bath is limited. However, there is ample parking at Matlock Bath station, Station Yard Car Park – DDDC. Yes, you could get the train here too!
Parking is free for local residents who have the ‘Derbyshire Residents Free Parking Concession’ after 4pm. Otherwise parking for up to 2 hours is £2. After 6pm, parking is £1, which takes you through to 8am.
The machine only takes case. If you wish to pay by card, you need to used the paybyphone app (location code: 806377).
From Station Yard Car Park, it’s a short 4 minute walk to Bonkers Illumination Golf.
Final thoughts on Bonkers Illumination Golf
Bonkers Illumination Golf is a really fun place to escape to for 1-2 hours on a rainy day in Derbyshire and a another idea for an activity in Matlock Bath if you’re a regular visitor to this landlocked, town often referred to as ‘Derbyshire-on-Sea’.
The course is well-thought out and it’s impressive how they’ve fitted it all into the available space. The different techniques and approaches required for each hole keep it interesting, and the kids were still going strong as we reached the ninth hole. Keep in mind that some of the holes (e.g. the sloping fifth hole) were super-tricky and a couple of us had to pick up and accept defeat. On the (w)hole though, the course is perfect for adults and kids alike.
With the friendly bar and café waiting for you afterwards, it makes for an enjoyable couple of hours and a very welcome addition to Matlock Bath.