Newest Review: ... the one next to the butcher was very expensive and of dubious quality, whereas the one across the road which I think was called simply E... more
Eyam definitely worth a visit.
Eyam Village (Derbyshire, England)
Member Name: pumfster
Eyam Village (Derbyshire, England)
Advantages: Quaint Derbyshire village. The plague trail.
Disadvantages: Local public transport liks are not great.
Whilst looking for a destination for a recent holiday, I came across the small Derbyshire village of Eyam. It is located approximately 7 miles from the tourist hotspot of Bakewell in the popular Peak District and although it can get quite busy, it's generally a quieter location in the area.
On our visit we rented a small cottage that we found on the Internet and made our way to the village. It's very easy to find Eyam, as it is only a minute or two off the main Buzton to Chesterfield road up a steep hill. The village itself is very small and so parking in the heart it is ana premium with only a few sides of road available. A few minutes walk away towards the evidential part of the village is a pay and display car park which is a better option if you are on a day trip and don't mind a short walk to the heart of the village. There are local buses from Buston and Bakewell which both serve the village although not on too regular an occasion. There is no train station in the village, with the nearest ones being in either Buxton or Bakewell, and again using the bus to getty Eyam.
The village centre itself has a local convenience store which had a good supply of everyday items. There is also a well stocked butchers which is a good way of supporting the local farming community. There are also two tea rooms in the village, literally across the road from each other. We sampled both of them, and found that the one next to the butcher was very expensive and of dubious quality, whereas the one across the road which I think was called simply Eyam Tea Rooms was really nice and friendly with very good quality food. There was also a village pub called the Miners Arms which although never really busy seemed to have a nice atmosphere and wasn't too expensive.
There are also a couple of tourist attractions in the village which aren't well promoted in the Peak District but are worth pointing out. Firstly there is a museum which documents the history of the village and is worth checking out. There is also a very small craft centre which although has a couple of nice local trades represented is actually a little bit boring and has too many bigger companies selling windows etc. I was very disappointed by this and wouldn't recommend going here if you have a choice! There is also Eyam Hall which we didn't visit at the time but seemed to be pretty popular locally. It is located next to the craft centre so hopefully that isn't a marker of the quality of the place! One of my favourite things in the village, although slightly silly are the village stocks. With a witty little story about how misbehaving tourists or kids can still be locked into them, they are a cute little addition to the village, retaining a slice of its history, and I couldn't resist the temptation to put my foot into them!
The main attraction of Eyam however lies in its rich and quite frankly tragic history. The village is best known as one of the places outside of London which suffered badly from the bubonic plague in the middle ages. The story goes that the local tailor took possession of a package of supplies from London which was infected with the black death and then became very unwell shortly thereafter. Unbeknownst to the rest of the village they had unwittingly exposed themselves to the biggest killer in the whole of Europe and drastic action was needed to prevent the further spread of the bacteria. As a result the villagers decided to go into self inflicted quarantine which would have been unheard of at the time. When they required supplies, they were provided at a pre arranged location and any payments were thoroughly scrubbed before being accepted. The village itself and the villagers in particular paid a heavy price for their courage. Many of them died and again trying to contain the illness many of them were buried in the grounds of their own houses. These graves are still here today for you to see, and there are many little plaques on houses and in fields explaining what happened at various locations which as a history fan I found particularly appealing. It's nice to see a village proud of its past and not exploiting it for mass tourism, yet still explaining it in a clear and interesting way. The story is very sad and heart wrenching at times, but I found it to be a heartwarming story of courage over adversity particularly at a time in history which you generally don't associate with positive human stories.
There are a number of cottages to rent in Eyam, as well as a youth hostel on the outskirts of the village, although there is no hotel. There are many walks that start or end in the village and so it is not unusual to see large groups of backpackers or ramblers strolling through the village streets. A five minute car journey or fifteen minute walk down the hill is a small Indian restaurant called Little India which is built into the mountain side in the wonderfully named nearby village of Stoney Middleton (no relation to Pippa or Kate before you ask!). We dined here once and found the quality of the food as well as the service to be of a high standard and is well worth a visit if you are staying in the area.
So to sum this one up I would definitely say that if you are looking for a quaint Peak District village to stay in for a few days then Eyam is definitely a place to consider. The location is ideal for trips to nearby attractions such as Buxton, Bakewell as well as Chatsworth House. If you don't fancy staying in the village it is well worth taking a trip here to learn more about the history of the place and in particular take the plague walk through the village. It's both fascinating and educational and I thoroughly enjoyed the way in which the information is presented. All in all it's definitely worth a visit in some capacity and I would recommend it to anyone in the area.
Thanks for reading this review and it may also appear on Ciao under my same username.
Summary: Definitely worth a visit for any history enthusiasts and for all others too!