Bakewell is the biggest town in the Peak District and is perfect for those seeking a quaint market town. Known almost exclusively for the Bakewell pudding, the town of Bakewell has, certainly, much more to give besides a flaked tart desert.
One of the defining features of Bakewell is its look, with many idyllic scenes to be found throughout the town; from the banks of the River Wye, and the medieval bridge built across it; to the towns defining mellow stone buildings, many of which are complimented with tranquil courtyards.
Bakewell is also good for its social aspect, as, given its size, it’s easy to integrate into its vibrant community spirit. Having been a market town since 1330, Bakewell retains all the qualities of a community-led market, providing local farmers and grocers with a platform to sell their high-quality produce, which allows for visitors to feel welcomed and part of the camaraderie shared between stall-owners and shoppers.
Bakewell’s positioning next to the Derbyshire Dales lends the town beautiful backdrop scenery and makes the town an ideal starting point for some Peak District hiking.
Bakewell is also within close locality to some of the better-known stately manors, including the medieval Haddon Hall, and the Baroque-style Chatsworth House.
Thornbridge Brewery -Craft beer has truly hit new heights in popularity in recent years but what you might not know is that Bakewell’s very own independent brewery, Thornbridge, were on the scene long before the likes of Brewdog. Emerging from humble beginnings in 2005, Thornbridge were forced to invest in a bigger, 30-barrel brewery in order to meet the uptake in demand. Having made a name for themselves through brewing several hoppy delights including the beers Tzara, Halcyon, and Brother Rabbit, visiting Thornbridge Brewery is a must for anyone interested in the modern craft beer scene. The brewery offers a 90-minute tour, where visitors can learn all about the brands genesis, the fermentation process, and even get to try a few complementary samples along the way.
Bakewell Market – Bakewell prides itself in a varied and extensive market, which takes place every Monday between the hours of 09:00 and 16:00. Claiming to be the biggest market in the Derbyshire Dales, Bakewell’s markets have garnered a quality reputation amongst both the local community and the Peak District at large, having been a market town since the year 1330. Every week, over 100 stalls set themselves up to sell fresh food, jewellery, clothes, ornaments, yarn, and everything else you’d expect at a local town market. Additionally, on the last Sunday of the month, Bakewell also welcomes in the second largest farmers market in the UK, brimming with a wide variety of local farm foods and produce.
Old House Museum – Bakewell’s aptly titled Old House Museum is exactly what it says on the tin, showcasing Bakewell’s local history in an old tax collectors dwelling, constructed during the reign of Henry VIII. Focusing on both industrial and agricultural life in Bakewell from Tudor to Victorian times. On display there is a wide range of artefacts including a Victorian Privy and a Tudor toilet, with dress-up and games available for younger visitors. The museum has been noted by formal visitors as being informal, with beamed rooms creating a welcoming, homely atmosphere.
The objects on display married with the historic setting of this museum is sure to make for an unforgettable and enhanced learning experience. The house opens its doors every day from March through to November, and tickets are valid for the whole year.
Walks & Hikes
Monsal trail – the Monsal trail in Bakewell is an exciting 8.5-mile walk, partially through some former railway tunnels, and is the best way to take in Bakewell’s surrounding area. The tunnels opened to the public for the first time in 2011, and have since been popular amongst hikers, bikers, and horse riders; with four tunnels in total, each being roughly 400 metres in length, this long walk is kept interesting through its variety of terrain. Alongside the Bakewell Mill, this route passes several local landmarks, and certainly features plenty of the famed Peak District limestone dales.
Haddon Hall – Haddon Hall is a stately medieval manor house, located on the River Wye, Bakewell. One of the best-preserved examples of its kind, this Tudor style manor showcases the development of British architecture throughout the middle ages, with some of the building even dating back as early as the 12th Century, and features gargoyles perched around the building’s exterior. Inside, fascinating original murals and a carved-alabaster retablo can be marvelled at, alongside a Tudor-style banqueting hall, set up to look like it did in the 14th Century.
Haddon Hall has been used extensively in film and television, including the 1996 film ‘Jane Eyre’, 1998’s ‘Elizabeth’, and, most notably, the 2005 academy-award winning ‘Pride and Prejudice’.
The house is open to visitors all year, with free guided tours happening throughout the day every Monday. The 17th century stable block has been renovated into a restaurant, which offers gourmet food, alongside afternoon tea.
Chatsworth House– Chatsworth House is an English Baroque-style stately home located in Bakewell, Derbyshire. The 105-acre estate was originally procured by Sir William Cavendish and his wife Bess of Hardwick in 1594 and is today the residence of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, having been passed down through 12 generations of the Cavendish family.
Through the centuries, Chatsworth has played host to a vast number of the country’s rich and powerful, from noblemen to royalty; most notably, Mary Queen of Scots was held prisoner at Chatsworth regularly between 1569 and 1584.
The building has undergone reconstruction regularly since its inception, having been last modified in the 19th Century under the eye of then-Duke of Devonshire, William Spencer Cavendish, who contributed the newest part of the house, the North Wing.
Visitors today can explore over 25 rooms of the history-rich house, which includes restored guest bedrooms, the Victorian theatre, and the sketch gallery. Home also to Devonshire Collections-one of the largest private art collections in Britain- the house boasts paintings and artwork by the likes of Rembrandt, Veronese, and Reynolds, alongside ancient Roman and Egyptian artefacts and sculptures.
The surrounding grounds, too, are worth exploring; complete with an exotic plant-decorated Victorian rock garden, a yew maze, and several bright and decorative floral gardens. For younger age groups, there is a modern wooden adventure playpark. There is also a working farmyard, which offers daily cow milking demonstrations.