If the name Bakewell conjures up a tempting picture of a delicious tart, you are probably salivating at the thought of visiting the place itself. But don’t worry because you will not be disappointed. The small market town of Bakewell in the heart of the Peak District does indeed lend its name to a very famous pudding, but the name is actually derived from an ancient cluster of thermal springs that first attracted settlers to the area. Until the 19th century, Bakewell was just another small market town, but thanks to its picturesque location on the scenic River Wye, people soon began to come from far and wide to explore the local area, browse in the pretty shops, or simply relax. Modern Bakewell is no less attractive, although the streets are no longer as narrow and modern shopping arcades have replaced many of the original thatched roof timber buildings in the town centre. There is plenty for visitors to see and do, so if you are planning a trip to the Peak District, Bakewell is the perfect place to begin your tour.
Things to See and Do
The town of Bakewell is extraordinarily pretty and like many picturesque towns in the Peak District, it has its fair share of quaint cafes and real ale pubs. The Rutland Arms boasts Jane Austen as one of its former guests. Parts of Bakewell church date back to Saxon times, although the majority of the building was extensively rebuilt in the 1800s, but nevertheless, you should make a point of seeing it. Close by is the Old House Museum, which will tell you all you need to know about the local history of Bakewell and the surrounding area. The Monday Market in Bakewell dates back to the 1300s and is definitely something you should make a point of sticking around for. Visitors come for miles around to browse the large numbers of market stalls and on a warm summer’s day, it makes for a great day out.
Places to Visit
There are lots of interesting places to visit in and around Bakewell. The Peak District is one of the most stunning locales in the UK and many people use Bakewell as a base for hiking and cycling tours of the area. Stanton Moor contains lots of traces of Bronze Age occupation and one of the best views of the area can be seen from Monsal Head. But if you are not feeling quite so energetic, there are still a number of very scenic (and less strenuous) walks starting from the centre of town and heading out along the River Wye. Caudwell’s Mill is a few miles from Bakewell and is an excellent example of a working flour mill. There is also a café and arts centre on the site. Beautiful Chatsworth House is within easy driving distance of Bakewell, and definitely worth a visit, if only for a wander around the magnificent gardens. And if you want to learn more about lead mining in the Peak District, go to the Magpie Mine near Sheldon.