“ Bakewell is a small market town in Derbyshire, England, deriving its name from 'Badeca's Well'. According to the UK 2001 census the civil parish of Bakewell had a population of 3,979. The only town included in the Peak District National Park, it is located on the River Wye, about thirteen miles (21 km) southwest of Sheffield, close to the tourist attractions of Chatsworth House and Haddon Hall. It is well known for the local confection, Bakewell Pudding (often confused with the more widely known Bakewell Tart, which is very different). „
Whilst camping in the Peak District we visited the town of Bakewell on two occasions and found it was a very pleasant town full of beautiful shops and holds a big gem in form of the museum 'The old house museum'. We had a lovely time here in what was a very touristy town.
Arriving into the town you notice it is a very popular place and I would warn depending on the time you arrive you can expect to queue if you are in a car. The great thing about this town is it recognises how popular it is and it shows in the amount of car parks available. There are several large car parks available and they cost about four pound for four hours or more which we felt was reasonable. They are all located near the centre of the town giving you a minute or two walk over the river and into the town.
The river Wye
The river Wye meanders through the centre of the town and they have used this to their advantages. Our first stop was to the river and to walk along it into the centre. Our holiday was in the summer holidays and we found the best time to go was early morning as people seemed to be late risers. Walking along the river was lovely in a morning looking over into the river to not only see ducks but very large fish too. MY eldest son loved watching the fishes in the river and was amazed by the size of them. There are plenty of benches along here for you to sit and enjoy the view. By the river is a riverside sensory garden that seems to be hidden out the way. It is only small but is lovely and pretty. It does look on first inspection like someone's back garden but there is a sign explaining it and that the public are to enjoy it. At the time of going in we were the only ones walking round it. There were plenty of benches to sit and have a rest on and grass to. It was full of beautiful plants which both my boys fully enjoyed smelling.
The riverside playing area
Further along the river as you follow it down you find there is a wonderful green open space for everyone to enjoy. I love these places you find in a large tourist town. This large open area is fantastic. Up there, there is a cricket pavilion with pitch so I guess there are times you can enjoy watching a game of local cricket although whilst we were there no action was seen. Past the cricket pavilion there is a lovely treed walk way with open grass either side down to the bottom where a children's play area is positioned. It is a good sized secure play area. As well as a slide, swings, rock climbing plastic frame, small metal climbing frame for toddlers with slide, seesaw, springy animals there was also in one corner a small water sprinkler area great for children to cool off in the sun. Within the park was a nice grassed area for parents to sit and watch your children. It did also have a number of benches to sit on. Both my boys fully enjoyed the park especially the toddler climbing frame. My youngest found his confidence on this piece of equipment striding across sections which had little holes in. A bit further out of the way in this open space a little bit hidden is a nice water area. We found ourselves having a little paddling in it and chilling by the edge in the sun.
Bakewell is full of lots of lovely independent shops. There is a large co-op which I found had a good selection of everyday food. So if you find yourself staying in or near to Bakewell it is something to bear in mind. Unfortunately for us we didn't have a lot of spare money to spend but if you do this town is a great place to spend it. There are lots of shops selling wonderful items not your chain store shops. I would highly recommend it is a place to shop for different gifts for adults and children. We did go in a lovely children's shop that stocked a lot of lovely wooden toys and I had to tear myself away from it. One shop we couldn't resist was the 'The Bakewell Tart coffee shop'. Its display of Bakewell tarts and slices in its window just drew us in. Who can resist not buying a Bakewell tart whilst in Bakewell we couldn't. We ended up buying a couple of different Bakewell slices and have to say they were lovely.
Another shop you have to try is the Bakewell Pudding shop to buy an actual Bakewell pudding. I have never tried one before and even though I wasn't too keen I am glad I had the experience of trying one.
We did visit Bakewell's tourist information twice and unfortunately I felt this let the town down. There was a lack of leaflets to access and I found the shop was taken over by things to buy. I know Tourist Information's do have books, maps and souvenirs but that is all this seemed to have. A big shame about the town is it doesn't have a town trail to do I would have liked to explore the town's history a little more especially as it has the river Wye running through it. On the second occasion of visiting the shop we asked for assistance with the Monsal trail we were after a bus from Bakewell that would take us out to the other end so we could walk back as we wanted to park the car in Bakewell. The women behind the counter pushed a bus time table over gave us a quick look at a hand drawn map of how to get onto the Monsal from the bus stop which she quickly removed from the desk to back under it and moved us on our way. To say she was useless to us was an understatement. Luckily my fiancé used to be a keen walking and had an OS map of the area so was able to roughly work out were we needed to be. It didn't seem to be just us who got the lack of information from the lady the gentleman before us was struggling to get a list of hotels he could stop at in the surrounding area she just kept saying try the 'Rutland Arms Hotel' which is situated in the centre of Bakewell. In the end the man left saying he would see what he could find. I would say this is the only negative bit I felt about Bakewell everything else was perfect.
More open space
Right in the centre of town there are more small pretty gardens to walk through and enjoy, The Bath Gardens. This particular garden is full of colour where ever you look. They honestly couldn't have fitted another plant in there. There is a strong smell of the flowers as you walk through. There again are benches to perch on and enjoy the surroundings. Within the gardens there is a crown green bowling green which is mainly secluded from view apart from a small corner. My eldest son loved standing and watching them play until I got a little fed up and moved him on!
The Old museum and Bakewell Parish Church
The gem in Bakewell has to be the Old house museum which is tucked away further up Bakewell. It is a bit of a steep walk but is certainly worth it. It is very children friendly with lots of things for the children to interact with and lots for the adults to read. Admission to the museum is very cheap and well worth it. Both my boys enjoyed their time at the museum. The staff were extremely friendly and welcomed us as soon as we arrived. Not far from the museum is the beautiful church which opens its doors to the public to admire. The gargoyles hanging up near the spire are joyful to look at.
I enjoyed both my days at Bakewell we found there was plenty to do maybe not quite as much as Buxton but that town was full of its own history. I would love to see Bakewell make a town trail so tourist can enjoy the history here. Never the less we found our own way around. At many points around the town is a dispenser you can pay to get a town map out which I would recommend you do as it does point a couple bits of interest out to you. This town is very much a shopping town with its wonderful selection of shops. It is certainly worth a visit and there is plenty of greenery too.
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If a visit to Derbyshire is on the horizon then it would be well worth adding Bakewell to your list of places to visit.
Bakewell is a market town that sits in the middle of the Peak District and in the Doomsday Book of 1085 Bakewell was referred to as `Badequella`, which is interpreted as Bath-Well.
A town is only as interesting as its background and Bakewell is steeped inimmense tradition and a wealth of fascinating history.
Bakewell sits on the west banks of the river Wye and you can get some excellent vantage points of the town from the edge of the river bank.
If you are able to set aside time to explore the old Roman market town then you will be pleasantly surprised at the amount of local history it has behind it.
When the Romans left Britain the country underwent what we would today call a power struggle. The Vikings, the Anglo Saxons and the British all battled to gain control but it was Edward The Elder of Wessex who won the day and in 924 AD Edward was crowned king, his foes from North of the border acknowledged his superiority.
Kind Edward had a fortified borough erected at Bakewell but the exact location of the fortified borough is unclear. In recent years archaeologists have come across an area of ground that lays near the banks of the river Wye that may well be the remains of the borough.
Just stop to think about that Fortified borough, King Edward asked all whom he had defeated to join him at that Fortified Borough in Bakewell and when they were all gathered together a treaty was signed to cement the deal.
Bakewell Church was constructed in 920 AD and the Anglo-Saxon place of worship is known as All Saints church. At some point during the 18th century it became clear that the church was top heavy, enormous cracks started to appear in the spire and the huge stone arches. Clearly the situation had to be dealt with, there were two choices, the existing church could be demolished and replaced or extensive renovation work could be carried out to salvage what was left of the original church and restore it to its former glory.
The latter plan was chosen and today All Saints church in Bakewell is a beautiful place of worship that serves the community well.
The impressive stained glass windows date back to the late 1800's and in the north aisle you will see the dazzling Henry Holiday `Lamb of God` window.
As you walk through the churchyard look out for the ancient Saxon Cross, the carving is exquisite.
Just a few yards up the hill from All Saints church is the Bakewell Old House museum, a 16th century house that was once home to the renowned industrialist Richard Arkwright.
There is a charge to enter the museum but it is worth paying.
Adults pay £3 and Children pay £1.50.Under 5's go in free.
The museum does have bumpy floors with changeable levels so it may be a challenge for anyone who has poor mobility although there is still a certain amount of wheelchair access on the ground floor with the aid of ramps. There are touch facilities for the blind, an area that is designated for private study and a gift shop.
Although the bulk of the parking is in the centre of Bakewell the museum allows Blue badge holders to park in front of the museum.
The Bakewell Old Town Museum is open from April 1st - November 5th.
The opening times are 11am - 4pm.
This museum has received a grant from the Heritage Lottery fund and it has won the prestigious title of Derbyshire's Museum Of The Year.
In the museum you can see just how the Victorian Mill workers used to live.
There are a number of old beamed rooms to explore, these rooms have the original wattle and daub walls.
While you are looking at the costume display the children can enjoy dressing up in some Tudor clothing or they can play with the dolls house.
There is also a good textile and lace display and you can also enjoy looking at the historical toys.
The museum offers great value for money.
Bakewell is a very busy town and it is always filled with visitors. On a Monday the streets are packed for Market Day. The Bakewell Market first came into being in 1330 and it was King Edward 3rd who signed the necessary documents for the market to be held.
On the last Saturday of every month there is also a Bakewell Farmers Market.
This market is held at the Bakewell Agricultural Centre which is a couple of minutes walk way from the town centre.
There is a Pay and Display car park beside the Agricultural centre and the market is wheelchair and pushchair friendly.
It would be impossible to pay a visit to Bakewell without sampling a Bakewell Tart and there are a few independent bakeries that purvey the delicious sweet tart.
As with every famous recipe there is a great story behind it and the Bakewell tart has its very own tale to tell.
In Bakewell there is a hotel that is called The Rutland Arms but in the early 1800's it was known as The White Horse. The landlady of the Rutland Arms was a Mrs Greaves. Mrs Greaves must have been quite a wealthy landlady because she had her own cook.
Mrs Greaves was otherwise engaged entertaining her guests so she entrusted the making of the pudding to the cook. However, the cook was unable to grasp her instructions and the pudding recipe was jumbled up and the guests were served a tart instead of a pudding.
The tart went down a storm and the landlady asked her staff to continue to produce the tart in favour of the pudding.
The Rutland Arms in Bakewell exudes both charm and elegance, the three star hotel has thirty five bedrooms. The hotel caters for weddings and special events.
The hotel also has its own claim to fame, it is said that the author Jane Austen was paying a visit to Chatsworth House and she stayed overnight at The Rutland Hotel.
A converted stable block at The Rutland arms has been transformed into a stylish antiques centre. The spacious contemporary converted building is on two floors and it houses hundreds of antiques.
This is a must for any collectors, it makes good browsing.
The Bakewell Tart Coffee House on Matlock Street is the ideal place to enjoy a good cup of coffee and a slice of that famous tart. The coffee house is quaint and very busy.
The Bakewell Tarts reputation goes before it and The Coffee House will send a Bakewell Tart as a present to wherever you choose. If you have friends or family on the other side of the world The Coffee shop will endeavour to send them one of their delicacies.
You can also order personalised Bakewell Tarts for Christmas, Valentines Day, Anniversaries or birthdays.
The sweet almond pastry tarts are delectable and a visit to Bakewell would not be complete without trying a slice.
If you go into Bakewell via the A619 then you will go over the 14th century bridge, the bridge is 700 years old and it is built on a base of five mammoth Gothic arches.
Once you have crossed that bridge you are then on Bridge Street which has some architecturally beautiful Victorian and Georgian houses, the Old Market hall ( Bakewell Tourist Information centre) being one of them. Beside the Bakewell tourist information offices there are some public toilets.
Well dressing is an old fashioned custom that is unique to Derbyshire and in Bakewell this coming year they will dress five wells.
Well dressing is the art of covering an old well with floral art, the work is time consuming and it must take the patience of a saint but the end results are spectacular.
Well dressings in Bakewell will take place in the last week of June and on the 27th of June there will be a Blessing service at the Royal British Legion Well Dressing site.
Just north of Bakewell on the A6 is the Magpie mine. This is a place that all of the family can enjoy and there is no entry fee either.
The land is rough and ready and the team have tried to recreate the feeling of an old lead mine. The children can pretend to be lead miners and they can go on archaeological tours.
In the 1800's the site was a working lead mine but it shut down in the 1950's.
There are some good walks along the river Wye, head upstream and you will come to the ground on which Arkwright's Mill used to stand. In 1868 Arkwright's Mill went on fire and it was wiped out but there are a small row of mill workers cottages still standing.
Bakewell has plenty of shops to explore, there are the normal run of the mill shops and stores and then there are the up market gift and clothing shops.
If any of you are keen needlewomen then Wye Needlecraft is a shop that you must stop and look in, they stock tapestries and needlepoint, embroidery thread and wools.
On the 4th and 5th of August 2010 the Bakewell show ground will be home to the 180th Bakewell show.
The Bakewell Show is one of Derbyshire's highlights, the show ground will be jam packed as thousands upon thousands of people flock to visit the show.
One main attraction of this years show will be a display by the Royal Artillery motorcycle Display Team.
The show entertains the crowds with all kinds of everything from Vintage cars to Floral Art or even a goat show if you wish.
You can try your hand at Dry Stone walling with the National Trust or take a Rodeo Bull ride.
A visit to Bakewell Show is an action packed day with non-stop fun and entertainment but you must be prepared to break your piggy bank!
Just a short distance from the centre of the town there is a holiday park. Greenhills Holiday Park is set in twelve acres of ground and it accepts tents and touring caravans.
The park has electric hook-ups , a shop, a small club, a children's playground and a good field where you can play ball games.
The site is open from February until the end of November
Bakewell is ideally situated for travelling to other places of great interest.
Two miles to the south of Bakewell stands Haddon Hall, a wonderful medieval house.
Five miles from Bakewell will take you to Chatsworth House, home to the Duke of Devonshire.
Only three miles to the south of Bakewell lays the Peak Shopping Centre and that has something to interest all of the family.
Then again three miles south of Bakewell is a village called Rowsley , here you can visit Cauldwell's Mill. This old flour mill is Grade Two listed
If you only manage to see Bakewell and a fraction of the main attractions then you will have done well. The entire area is outstandingly beautiful.
Take a wander, take a picnic and drink in the clear cool fresh air.
Bakewell is a pretty little market town in Derbyshire, a nice little tourist destination diverting enough for a day out regardless of your age.
I live in Sheffield so Bakewell is not too far a trek for a good day out. Although you can technically get there by bus, don't even think about it on a Monday morning, you could queue for hours! Driving is fairly easy as it's well signposted form both Sheffield and Chesterfield and once you enter the town, the car parks are easy to find. If you visit on Market day (Monday), I'd recommend driving through the town following the signs for Matlock and you'll find that the field in the agricultural centre has been opened up as a large car-park. It's £3 for the full day although it was closing at 4pm when we went last week.
Bakewell is quite picturesque with pleasing little stone cottages and shops dotted around. The town is built on the banks of a river and has a pleasant little walkway which runs alongside and on busy days is filled with tourists throwing bread to the ducks Geese and Swans. It's a lovely spot to eat your packed lunch if you have brought one, provided you can find a spare bench.
The town itself has the usual array of touristy shops and an unusually large amount of bakeries, each claiming to have the best or the original Bakewell puddings and tarts (Yes, there's a difference and it's VERY important apparently!). There are a few nice little gift shops also. The market on a Monday is fairly average stuff but there are some nice jewellery stalls to wander around and the marketplace is cordoned off by the police so that you don't have to dodge traffic. My new favourite attraction in Bakewell is a retro sweet shop which has opened. It also houses one of those weird and wonderful milkshake counters where you can turn peanut M&Ms or Jammie Dodgers into a (rather expensive) drink. However the true joy of the place is the rows and rows of sweet jars filled with old favourites like Rainbow Crystals and bonbons as well as more modern classics like Millions and Jelly Belly Beans. There's a nice little corner to sit and sip your shake too.
There are plenty of nice places to eat with a good selection of Paninis, jacket potatoes and the like for a quick lunch. If you don't want to eat your Bakewell pudding or tart with your lunch there are plenty of places which sell ones to take home and even one shop which will post a pudding to any address you like!
This is a lovely place to take visitors for a quaint day out in the countryside.
Bakewell - Easy to Reach, Hard to Leave!
Where Is It? - Follow the A6 to the north of Matlock. The A6 runs right through the centre of Bakewell, with car parking clearly sign posted to the south of the town centre.
If you are using satellite navigation then try using postcode DE45 1AH - this should take you straight to the main pay & display car park to the south of the town, which is in easy walking distance from the main shops.
Where can I Park? - There are two main car parks, one is summarised above and is situated to the south of the town. The other is to the south-east / east. Both are quite clearly sign posted although I would avoid going into the centre as parking is tight and always crowded!
What is There to See/Do?- Bakewell is a great place to stroll around whether you are making a day of it or just stopping off for a bite to eat whilst passing through. The river which winds through the middle has plenty of benches and an ever-present ice cream van!
The famous Bakewell pudding is this town's most famous creation, with several shops claiming to be the proud owner of the original recipe!
As an alternative, there is an amazing Austrian sausage and tea/coffee shop tucked away near the centre of Town. It's seemingly never crowded but the food and drink on sale are amazing!
After you have refuelled you can take a wander around the many shops in Bakewell. If you are lucky you may also be able to visit the regular farmer's markets which are a delight for food & drink fans!
A couple of weekends ago, we spent a lovely Saturday in the Derbyshire town of Bakewell. This is only about thirty minutes from where I live so it was conveniently located for a day out that didn't require us to travel too far to get there and back.
We arrived around lunchtime and had trouble finding a car park spot that was anywhere near the exit as lots of other people had had the same idea of spending the day in the sunshine there! Fortunately, there are several large car parks so finding a spot in general shouldn't be a problem.
Once we eventually parked the car, it was only a short walk down one of the quite quaint streets to get to the main road. Walking this road, we could immediately smell chips, and pinpointed the chip shop as being just across the road. On this road, there was a decent-sized Boots store, which I couldn't resist popping in and having a look around.
Bakewell's back streets look quaint as I've already mentioned, and they have a bit of a feel of the type of quaint back streets that you can find in Spain. These streets are full of gift shops and cafes and are much more tourist-orientated than the main roads through (one of which has the aforementioned Boots store). On one of the main streets, we found a card shop that was selling cards for half price and picked up a few bargains. There is also a rather large Co-op store along there too.
Stopping to buy some of the chips that we smelt earlier, this was the only real disappointment of the day. The chips had smelt very mouth-watering but were quite dry in reality. Perhaps if I had drowned them in salt and vinegar, they would have been more appetising! I can't complain about the price though as a rather large cone of chips only cost £1.60 which is quite a bit cheaper than I've paid in the past on holidays and the like.
Moving on, the next aim was to find a coffee shop. On one of the main roads was an ice cream shop that had a coffee shop above. It was a rather strange set-up as you had to climb a winding staircase of metal steps to get to the limited seating set-up upstairs and the staff had to carry your drinks and/or snacks up to you. The floor was almost transparent too, which meant that you could see everything that was happening below and probably vice versa. If you needed the toilet, that was a further few steps above the seating area.
We decided to take the scenic route back to the car park at the end of the day via the river. As this was a lovely, sunny day, this was very picturesque. An ice cream van was parked near to the river and we purchased two very delicious vanilla ice cream cornets with flakes that I would thoroughly recommend.
Overall, Bakewell was a really nice place to spend the day, especially if the weather is favourable. There are plenty of touristy shops that you can mooch around in and a good selection of cafes and coffee shops should you need to take a well earned rest from walking around. If you want to sample the famous Bakewell tarts, these were being advertised on boards outside most of the shops that sold food and drink. You can even nip into Boots or the Co-op if you've run out of something. The river is a lovely attraction if you want to sit by the side of it and just watch the world go by.
If you're in Derbyshire a visit to the historic town of Bakewell is a must. We spent a few days in a B&B in Bakewell and rather than just being the base we'd thought when we booked, we ended up spending most of our time in this pretty little town.
Bakewell was first mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1085 and has one of the oldest surviving markets in the country, as well as a thriving cattle market and, of course, the Bakewell Pudding was first devised here.
What I love about this town is the fact that it looks so old and untouched by time; if I had to describe the place in three words they would be picturesque, quaint and traditional. It's absolutely gorgeous.
There's lots to do shopping wise; I particularly liked The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop where I bought some puddings (obviously) and had a delicious meal in the upstairs café. There are also several excellent souvenir shops full of Bakewell inspired merchandise I picked up a Bakewell pudding shaped thimble for my mum which is now the centre piece of her collection! I also found a fantastic outdoor clothing store quite by accident while exploring a narrow side street; this shop sells some brilliant Helly Hansen and Berghaus gear including gorgeous kids' weatherproof suits. The prices were no cheaper than your average outdoor clothing store, but compared to Blacks and other such places the selection of colours and styles was excellent.
There are many food shops in Bakewell including sweet shops, bakeries, a Co-Op and several places selling ice creams. The Co-Op is great for buying your bread and basic bits and pieces during your stay, and I love the way that although it's ultra modern inside the designer has made it blend in with the prettiness of the town. Funnily enough, the only thing I couldn't find in Bakewell was an off licence so I had to buy very expensive bottles from the Co-Op!
When you're hungry head to the restaurant in The Rutland Arms Hotel, the very place that claims to have invented the Bakewell Pudding. An evening meal will cost you around £40 for three courses plus coffee and mints at the end, the meal is delicious and well worth the money. We visited on our last night and it really made our stay all the more special. Service is fabulous and I left, after eating Prawn Cocktail, Duck la Orange and Chocolate Melting Cake, feeling like the staff really cared than I'd chosen to eat in their restaurant.
For a more down to earth meal I'd suggest a wonderful little chip shop called Bakewell Fish & Chips on Water Street. We found ourselves here most evenings after a few drinks in a local pub and shared whale size Cod & Chips out of a tray, and the chips are absolutely gorgeous. Alternatively there are lots of places for very good pub grub, including The Red Lion in The Square which does a great line in steaks at reasonable prices.
Bakewell is truly beautiful. The River Wye runs through the town, and is crossed by a 700 year old arched bridge and the narrower but just as pretty Packhorse Bridge. From the arched bridge my fella was enthralled by the massive trout which were enjoying the sun and literally basking on top of the water. The scenery is definitely impressive; we walked along the river in both directions and it's so lush and green that it's hard to think we weren't that far from the major cities of Leicester and Nottingham. It's an idyllic place with the outskirts of town being beautifully green with an abundance of wildlife and plants. One night we walked along the river and saw a badger and fox within 100 yards of each other good wildlife too, none of the mangy foxes I see sometimes in Birmingham!
Rabbits are plentiful in the area around Bakewell too, much to the delight of some campers we got talking to one day who had feasted on rabbit stew for a week! Lovely little creatures and so tame they didn't stop munching the grass as we walked past which explains why the campers were so well fed!
Bakewell Church is definitely worth a visit if you're in the town. It's a beautiful church, almost of cathedral grandeur, with a fascinating history. Originally a Saxon church built in 920AD; fragments of this ancient building are still visible today in the porch area, although the church was added to by the Normans and eventually was practically rebuilt in the mid-nineteenth century. It's a very majestic place of worship both inside and out, I found it a particularly beautiful backdrop to Bakewell when the sun was setting and the church seemed lit up in the evening sun.
There are some beautiful tombs in the Vernon Chapel dating back to 1377; with this oldest tomb being the most beautiful, a fantastically detailed likeness of a local dignitary and his wife sculpted into alabaster. It was mesmerising, and amazing how clean and well maintained the tomb is after all those centuries.
Accommodation is plentiful in Bakewell. We stayed in a small B&B just off The Square which cost £18 each per night, although you can find one further away from the hub of the town for half this price. Also there are a couple of large, more exclusive hotels which cost upwards of £40 a night and several campsites in the beautiful surrounding Derbyshire hills.
Bakewell is easily found from all directions, located on the A6 and very clearly signposted as soon as you enter Derby. Parking is available, but be prepared to pay in certain areas even in some pub car parks. I found it easier to park further away from town in the residential part of Bakewell and walk through to town as it's always hit and miss whether you're going to get a space. We were given a parking permit for the street our B&B was located in, although this didn't come into force until after 7pm so we usually left our car in the safe spot we'd discovered.
One word of warning, don't say Bakewell Tart. I did and was chastised by a passing elderly gentleman who was seriously stern as he explained the difference between a tart and a pudding "
I visit Bakewell (quite) regularly and have been there for a variety of reasons, both by day and night. Having lived in the area for most of my life I think I am in a position to impart some knowledge about this tourist destination.
~~~WHERE IS IT?
Bakewell can be found in the centre of the Peak District and, like the neighbouring village of Ashford in the Water, built up on the banks of the River Wye. It is around 25 miles from Derby, around 14.5 miles from Sheffield and (most importantly for me) a short hop from Chesterfield. We can get a bus from Chesterfield to Bakewell quite easily (they leave from Beetwell Street) or it is only a short drive away.
~~~A BIT OF HISTORY.
Bakewell dates from Saxon times and is mentioned in the Domesday Book ~ here it is called Badequella which actually means Bath-well (Ive also seen this spelt Badkwell, which means bath springs). Its spot on the River Wye is a good defensive place and the town built up because the river fordable. There was also a plentiful water supply because there were 12 mineral water springs ~ most of which have since dried up (although they still have Well Dressings in June every year around five of the wells).
Bakewell has a regular market on a Monday (Ill mention this more later) which dates from 1330; this is when Edward III granted a Market Charter. There are also many shops in Bakewell ~ as well as a tourist resort it is also a thriving community so there are is a supermarket too.
~~~WHAT IS THERE TO DO IN BAKEWELL?
It is quite a bustling market town and there is always plenty to do. There is also a good range of pubs and restaurants as well as shops, so Bakewell isnt one of those sleepy Peak District places that shuts down once the sun sets! Monday is the best day to visit if you like a bit of bustle but, especially during the summer months; Sundays are pretty brisk what with the car boot sale and the tourists!
Bakewell is a great place to visit in its own right and is also a good base for visiting other Peak District places. There are quite a few guest houses, hotels and cottages in Bakewell, so there are no shortage of places to stay ~ most of the pubs offer B&B too. If you travel in summer months it can be quite hectic, but the tourist information in the town is usually very good at providing lists of accommodation (phone up before a visit to get some numbers). There is also a Youth Hostel for the lower budget option!
Bakewells market is a livestock and standard market selling a good range of goods. It isnt as busy as it used to be and not quite as much fun. The market moved to a modern, purpose built area a few years ago and I personally think it lacks a lot of the charm it once had. Market Day is Monday, so expect the public car park to be pretty full. Expect the cattle market to be quite smelly!
Every August there is a two day show on Bakewells Showground. A day there is great, but the traffic can be awful, particularly in the morning and when everyone leaves at the end of the day. If you are going in a car and have small children my best tip is to make sure they go to the toilet just before you set off because you may have a long time in the car in traffic queues (take something to entertain them for the journey both ways too). For more information about the show, admission charges, the dates for next years, etc, go to http://www.bakewellshow.org/pageview2.asp?cust=443
I have been to the show quite a few times and (sometimes despite awful weather) have always had a great day! It is a proper big show ~ expect lots of stalls, country crafts, livestock and dog shows, big marquees full of exhibits and a thoroughly FULL day!
***All Saints Church***
This church dates back from the thirteenth century, although there has been a church on the site since around 920AD and has since been extensively renovated (as was the way in the 19th Century). It is particularly worthy of a visit to see the views over the valley and for the ancient carved crosses and stones and the unusual spire that is shaped like a crucifix.
****Old House Museum***
You will find the museum in an old medieval building just up the hill from All Saints Church. Its worth a look just for the historical building but it also has a lot of interesting local history exhibits inside. The museum costs £2.50 for adults and a quid for children and is open daily between April and the end of October.
Times do vary seasonally so I recommend giving them a call if you are planning to go (number below). I also advise you to book if there are a few of you because it isnt a huge place ~ it is, however, fascinating and gives a really good insight into the area and town. Inside the museum you will find examples of local crafts, Black Marble (from nearby Ashford in the Water ~ see my previous review), old toys and examples of a Victorian Kitchen, drapers shop and other artifacts, all housed in lovely beamed rooms.
***Bakewell Puddings and Tarts***
Even people who havent been to Bakewell may have tasted or heard of Bakewell Tarts and Puddings. Bakewell puddings are definitely the most famous and the most interesting. The recipe is kind of secret and the three Pudding shops in Bakewell all claim to have the original and best recipe. I have been to one of the shops the Original Bakewell Pudding Shop is on The Square and really tries hard to tempt the tourists. They offer a mail order pudding service and you can even go on a tour and bake a pudding for yourself!
The packhorse bridge over the River Wye can be seen on loads of prints and paintings of Bakewell ~ most people come home with a photo of it too! It was built originally at the beginning of the 14th Century and has five gothic arches over buttresses and corner stones. If you come from Chesterfield on the A619 you will cross over the bridge before either going into the car park or entering the town by bus. Its a really beautiful bridge; it isnt surprising how popular it is with visitors to the area.
There are quite a few pubs in Bakewell; some good and some not so good. I have visited all of them to help compile a Mini guide for drinkers visiting Bakewell (downloadable via http://www.innspire.org.uk/mini-guides/mini-guides.htm) and found them to be variable in quality and price.
The Rutland Arms (on the town square) is a lovely building frequented by Jane Austen (and used in Pride & Prejudice) but is very expensive for drinks. They do serve Cask Ales though, as do The Peacock (on Bridge Street), The Castle Inn (on Castle Street), The Manners (on Haddon Road), The Wheatsheaf (also on Bridge Street) and The Red Lion Hotel (on The Square). My favourite is The Manners ~ although a little bit further from the main square, it is a comfy Locals local and reasonably priced for a tourist area!
Even Bakewells Tourist Information centre is historical and worth visiting not just to find out whats what! It shares its location (the 17th Century Market Hall) with the Peak National Park Offices on Bridge Street and is also notable because there is a car park next to it AND the Public Toilets! I like this building ~ it has the heraldic arms of the local Manners family on the walls (these are a big local family who also give their name to various buildings; including the local school).
Right! I think Id better leave it there before this turns into a marathon! Suffice it to say ~ Bakewell is a top place to live near and to visit. Theres lots to do, its a great location, is pretty close to larger towns and cities and has a great range of activities for tourists.
I recommend anyone who is planning a visit to Derbyshire make a detour and call in at Bakewell. Im really lucky I live close by and am glad of the chance to share a bit of its charms with you!
Bakewell Old House Museum
Tourist Information Centre
Old Market Hall
Peak National Park Information Centre
Old Market Hall
Many people associate Bakewell with the creation made by Mr Kipling, I wish I had a penny for every person who called me a tart on hearing I lived there! The name’Bakewell’ comes from ‘Badkwell’ meaning ‘bath – spring’. Bakewell evolved around twelve mineral water springs. Most of these springs have now run dry, but there is still one that still gives up its water at 59 F (15 C). The last week in June sees the ‘dressing’ of five of these wells situated around the Market square. All saints church The imposing All Saints church overlooks the town and is host to some fantastic monuments. An 8th century Saxon cross can be seen in the churchyard and a monument to Sir George Vernon ‘King of the Peak’ can be seen inside the church. The architecture of the church itself is unusual – having an octagonal spire. The spire, rather than being a regular octagon is a crucifix shape. The church was first built and established by the Angle Saxons, but then completely rebuilt in the 12th century by the Norman’s. The church is fully functional and hosts many musical evenings throughout the year – the midnight mass on Christmas Eve is particularly well attended by both locals and visitors. Old House Museum The old house museum is 200 metres away from the church, in the oldest standing building in Bakewell. The building is a typical yeoman’s house of the 16th century, sandstone walls on the exterior and wattle and daub on the interior. It was leased in 1777 by Richard Arkwright to house workers for his mills in the town. The house was condemned in 1935 as it had fallen into a state of disrepair – fortunately saved by the work of the Bakewell and District Historical Society and restored. The museum houses a small exhibition of local life and artifacts. The Market Bakewell is the only market town in the National Park, The charter
for this was granted in 1330 by Kind Edward III. The market itself consists of both domestic stalls, where a fantastic array of locally produced goods are on offer and a comprehensive cattle market. The market is held every Monday throughout the year, with Bank Holiday markets being particularly busy. Tourist Information Centre This is located within the 17th century market house, which features the heraldic shields of the Manners family. You can pick up information on where to stay and places of local interest here, as well as well found plans for local walks. The Bakewell Pudding Perhaps the most famous aspect of Bakewell are the puddings – not as many people believe the same things as that infernal creation by Mr Kipling! The Bakewell pudding was actually created by mistake. The landlady of the coaching Inn of Bakewell was entertaining important guests, leaving an inexperienced kitchen hand in charge in the kitchen. The kitchen hand omitted the eggs and sugar from the pastry base, spread the pastry with jam, then topped the base with the mixture of sugar, eggs and secret ingredient. Thus was born the Bakewell pudding. Local legend has it that the pudding was eaten as far back as the 1500’s in truth its appearance was made 300 years later in 1860. The Bakewell pudding can be bought at three bakeries in the town and is also served at all the cafes and coffee shops, with cream, custard or ice cream. Bakewell Railway Line Situated just out of the town is the old Bakewell – Buxton railway line, although the sleepers and rails are no longer in existence, the station house is. The building itself is well restored and very beautiful. There is a small car parking area, for which no charge is made. The railway line is a beautiful place for walking, hacking or cycling giving extensive, breathtaking views of the Wye Valley and Bakewell itself. Bakewell Show B
akewell show is held every year on the first Wednesday and Thursday in August. Known as the ‘Little Royal’ visitors and exhibitors venture from all over the world to attend. The show began in the 1830’s and now attracts in excess of 50,000 visitors over the course of the two-day show. There are traditional attractions – fair ground rides, sideshows, countryside exhibitions – sheep shearing and dry stone wall building plus over 250 trade exhibitors. In the centre ring there are parades of military bands, vintage vehicles, ponies and traps and cattle, sheep and goats. There are also small animal competitions including pigeons, rabbits and poultry. Certainly not to be missed is the Bakewell show race to the top of the beer tent – without killing yourself, anyone else or collapsing the tent itself, not a sport I have tried, but have witnessed the hilarious results! Centre ring also plays host to the show jumping – and other horse events often qualifiers for the Horse of the Year Show. There is an extensive dog show on the Wednesday, which is the largest in the North of England. Many of the winners at Bakewell show go on to compete at Crufts. Eating and Drinking Bakewell caters for all palettes and all pockets boasting a huge selection of cafes, tearooms and coffeehouses as well as the below mentioned pubs and restaurants. The Castle Hotel, situated on the bridge offers typical pub food in a young and boisterous atmosphere, home to the local rugby team (The Bakewell Mannerians) who can often be found propping up the bar. There are five rooms here available for bed and breakfast, with very reasonable competitive prices. The rooms themselves are purely functional. The Peacock Hotel – the bar area is very much a spit and sawdust type of place, situated close to the market many farmers are in evidence Monday lunchtimes. The lounge area of the Peacock is small but with a lovely w
arm atmosphere, perfect for a quite drink and chat after browsing the market. The Wheatsheaf – This is similar in style and type to the Peacock above although slightly larger. Host to the Boxing Day hunt meeting.. The Red Lion – Situated directly on the Market Square of Bakewell, this pub takes you back in time. IT is a very small pub, which gives a very welcoming and friendly reception to all visitors. The Tavern – Located at the side of the Rutland Arms Hotel, this pub is not unlike a barn. Simply laid out but with great atmosphere you can eat and drink for a very reasonable price. Aitchs Wine bar and Bistro – A spectacular night can be had in this colourful Mediterranean atmosphere, even when the snow is on the ground. My favorite here are the Thai fish cakes and the char grilled chicken with plum and chili sauce. Just out of Bakewell is my favourite place of all time to eat in Derbyshire – The Druid Inn at Birchover (5 miles from Bakewell) The menu has got be witnessed to be believed to say it is extensive is an understatement more than 100 dishes advertised, on blackboards covering one whole wall. Any visitors to Bakewell thinking they will have rip roaring night out in the evening be prepared for a shock. After 11pm there is NO nightlife at all in Bakewell, the nearest place being either Sheffield for the big nightclubs or Matlock for a rather poor imitation. Shopping Bakewell is host to a number of shops selling tourist type goods, walking sticks, tea towels and key rings, but there are a wealth of more exciting shops to explore. In the Granby Arcade you can find an excellent trout and salmon angling tackle shop – Lathkill Tackle, there is also an excellent cheese shop in the Granby arcade, featuring many locally produced cheeses such as Blue and white stilton produced at Hartington and the relatively new Buxton blue. In the more recently built
Portland Square Arcade is ‘A Wee Dram’ a whisky drinker’s dream – any and every brand and type of whisky your heart desires. Bakewell also has the most fantastic toyshop in my opinion better than ToyRus. The shop itself is very small, but you can find some excellently constructed hand made toys. The prices are surprisingly cheap also – I recently bought an Eddie Stobbart forklift truck for James for £3.99 (previously seen in Nottingham at £9.99). One of my favourite shops in Bakewell is Body & Soul – found on Water Street, just off the main square. They sell the most fantastic range of aromatherpay oils, burners, new age music, candles, self-help books and crystals. It is one of those shops where you could spend a fortune – but thanks to the reasonable prices you leave with a full shopping bag and a low credit card bill! The Riverside The bank of the river Wye is a lovely place to stroll along, with its cacophony of wildlife it always pays to take some offering for the ducks, swans and geese that will follow your every step! Taking you from the beautiful bridge over the Wye right past the open-air animal market and into the Recreation Park. There has been a new footbridge constructed over the river, by the market, which is an absolute monstrosity. How the Peak Park Planners passed this green iron eyesore is beyond me. The river walk takes you out of the town and around the park, past the cricket pavilion and the football and rugby pitches. There is adequate space to have a picnic despite the crowds that Bakewell attracts. The park is well stocked for those of a younger age, with soft ‘tarmac’ and bark chipping surfaces. The river Wye plays host to some strange antics by locals – there is the annual carnival raft race, where the daring and stupid chance their arm and other parts of their anatomy to win a barrel of beer. The wellie and wheelbarrow race also takes place durin
g carnival week, requiring teams of 2 people to run around the pub circuit, drinking half a lager in each one - wearing wellies and pushing their partner in a wheelbarrow, the race ends with everyone … in the river! This also happens on Boxing Day – when usually the same brave (?) souls throw themselves in tied to a variety of floating objects! It is claimed that Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice was written whilst she was staying at the Rutland Arms in Bakewell itself, although others claim she resided at Haddon Hall – a mere 2 miles out of Bakewell. Where ever Austen stayed whilst penning her masterpiece, everyone agrees that the book is based on the surrounding area of Bakewell, with Lambton being Bakewell itself. Despite the crowds that are attracted to Bakewell at all times of the year, especially at Bakewell show times, it remains one of my favourite Derbyshire towns. If you want to spend the day in Bakewell it is advised to get there early as parking is sparse in the town – with heavy penalties imposed upon those who park inappropriately. Parking charges are around 50p per hour. It is always worth asking the locals if you can park in their driveway – most will gladly allow you to do this – although may ‘charge’ a small fee, this fee will be infinitely cheaper than the car parking prices!