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Bakewell - a beautiful town ideal for shopping and having fun not to forget the Bakewell tarts!
Bakewell in general
Member Name: claireylulu
Bakewell in general
Advantages: lovely independent shops, lots of greenery, the old house museum
Disadvantages: the tourist information
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 fiancÚ 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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Summary: a must visit when in the Peak District