Eyam is one of the best-preserved villages in the vicinity and is the famous 'plague village', which went into voluntary quarantine when the plague was imported from London in 1665. Above the village lies Eyam Moor which is a fine area for walking, with good views across the Derwent valley and many Bronze Age remains and monuments.
The church in the centre of the village has many relics of the Plague, including Mompesson's chair, gravestones of Plague victims and the Parish Register recording the deaths. Within the church there is a small exhibition about the Plague. The church has two Norman columns, and may be built on Saxon foundations, but dates mostly from the 13th and 14th centuries. In the churchyard there is a magnificent Saxon cross dating probably from the 9th century and carved with a mixture of pagan and Christian symbols. There is also a fine sundial on the wall of the church.
The Rectory next door to the church was the birthplace in 1747 of Anna Seward, the 'Swan of Lichfield', a noted literary character of the 18th Century who wrote poetry in the 'Augustan' style, which is now thoroughly out of fashion. Amongst many other works, she wrote a touching poem 'Eyam' which was about the village, and she was a friend of Sir Walter Scott amongst others.
There are many fine old houses in Eyam and parts of the village have been kept as they looked several centuries ago, especially the area at Townend, around the Miner's Arms. Many of the buildings also have plaques giving details of their history and the part their inhabitants played in the Plague saga, notably the Plague Cottages, where the outbreak began, which are on the main street on the west side of the church.
Also on the main street lies Eyam Hall, built in 1676 but in a style which was already out of fashion, so it looks like an early Jacobean mansion. It is the home of the Wright family who built it and have lived there ever since, and the house is open to visitors in the summer months, as well as housing a small craft centre.
The local industries were lead-mining (the lead-miners were noted Non-Conformists and Wesley preached here), silk weaving and shoe-making. The discovery of the Hucklow Side Vein in 1777 led to a boom in lead mining in this area for the next hundred years and next to the village school is a mound which still houses the shaft of Glebe Mine, a lead mine which was later worked for fluorspar until 1965. At the West end of the village is Townhead factory, built as a silk mill, and there is a former shoe factory in the centre of the village. Eyam had one of the earliest public water supplies of anywhere in the area (1588) and parts of this system can still be seen around the village.
To the West of the village, off the road to Foolow, lies Little and Greater Waterfall Swallet, good examples of natural potholes. The water which disappears into these swallets reappears near Stoney Middleton.
Eyam has several shops and tea rooms, plus one pub, the Miner's Arms. This is dated 1630 and is the former meeting place of the Barmote Court, which dealt with lead mining disputes. It is also is reputed to be one of the most haunted buildings in Derbyshire, which would surely add interest to a night's stay! Just outside the village is a public carpark and toilets with a small museum opposite. On the edge above the village there is a Youth Hostel.
Eyam has a well-dressing in late August.