a friend (you know who you are) was complaining recently about where to take a visiting ex-pat relative. having thought about it at length here is "what to do with visiting ex-pats in Derbyshire/Nottinghamshire"
1: proper dining out: no question, Cast restaurant at Nottingham Playhouse, with or without a play.playhouse itself closed for August. (big daughter recommended Piccolo, an Italian restaurant which wouldn't let her in)
2: day out with lunch: Belton House, Grantham. National trust cafe/restaurants always do good food. eat too many Walkers crisps and you can get free entry tickets. could also try Hardwick Hall or Kedlestone. prefer Belton myself. it has large adventure playground.
3:day out with lunch:Cromford. take them round Arkwright's Mills, then lunch at the cafe acroos the road at the wharf(not the one in the mills)
4:day out with lunch: Chatsworth. take them round the house, garden(particularly with Sotheby's sculpture exhibition on in September), send the kids to the adventure playground/farmyard, then walk over to the old post office in Edensor for lunch(queues too long at Chatsworth itself)
5:walk with lunch: Monsal dale. walk down the dale, look at the viaduct that Ruskin moaned about, walk back up, lunch or afternoon tea at the cafe(not the pub)