A Day Out In Bakewell
A day out in Derbyshire has to include Bakewell.
Bakewell is the only market town within the Peak District National Park boundary and its attractive courtyards, independent shops, cafés and its location on the River Wye make it a hugely popular destination for tourists to the Peak District.
Named after Badeca's well, indicating the importance of the springs, Bakewell almost became a spa town. The Bath House, built by the Duke of Rutland in 1697, still retains the original 16ft x 33ft bath in the cellar. However, the temperature of the water would always have been against the town's development as a spa – at only 11ºC/52ºF, it was less then half the temperature of the spring at neighbouring Buxton! You can see the tufa rock formed by the spring water in the walls of the porch in front of the building.
Bakewell is best known for a confection made by mistake. In the 19th century a cook at the Rutland Arms was baking a jam tart but misunderstood the recipe and so Bakewell Pudding was created. Now almost every visitor to the town samples this culinary delight. The fine spire of All Saints Church looks down on the town, where there are some grand old houses, notably the Market Hall, The Old Town Hall and the Almshouses on South Church Street. The ancient five arched bridge is much painted by artists and upstream from this is the ancient packhorse bridge near Holme Hall. New buildings in the 1990's have generated much interest, including the Agricultural Business Centre, which replaced the old cattle market that dominated the centre of the town for over 600 years.
Things to do; The Annual Bakewell Show is now much more than just an Agricultural event: held over two days in early August it attracts thousands of visitors. Bakewell is never quiet for long; Well Dressings, Carnival Week and an Arts Festival are all important dates in the calendar. The riverside walk from the bridge downstream to the Recreation Ground has been popular to generations of visitors, who have stopped to feed the ducks. Scots Garden has an accessible path enabling you to enjoy a quiet, idyllic spot close to the river just off the famous bridge.
The Old House Museum occupies one of the oldest buildings in Bakewell and dates back to 1543. It gives a fascinating glimpse into the towns past.
Market Day is on Monday, when the town is at its' busiest. Farmers Markets are held in the Agricultural Business Centre on the last Saturday each month.
With olde worlde streets and shops it is a great place to wander. Stroll through the park, eating an ice cream next to the river, fish and chips in a bag then feeding the ducks and birds flying frantically to get a nibble. It really is a great place!
Felicini’s is an Accesssible Derbyshire favourite for lunch or why not try Thorntons Coffee shop for morning coffee with afternoon tea at The Rutland Hotel? If you have a large scooter there is access straight into the Wheatsheaf Pub in the centre of Bakewell
On leaving Bakewell, drive 5 minutes and park at Hassop Station cafe (www.hassopstation.co.uk). Join the Monsal Trail (the former Midland Railway), hire bikes or walk and head towards Millers Dale. Pass though the newly opened tunnel to arrive at the Headstone Viaduct, which crosses the River Wye, below Monsal Head.
On your return, you can call at the lovely Hassop Station Cafe for cakes and a cup of tea on the terrace.
Just a short drive from here heading towards Ashford-in-the-water is Thornbridge Brewery which does tours on a Wednesday at 3pm for 1.5 hrs – booking essential. (www.thornbridgebrewery.co.uk).
To finish your day, it is worth taking the short drive up to the viewpoint at Monsal Head car park and have a drink whilst watching the sun set over one of the country’s finest valleys (in our opinion!!).