Derbyshire

A Guide to Bakewell, Derbyshire

A charming market town in the Peak District, Bakewell is located in the UK’s oldest National Park. Perched on the banks of the River Wye in Derbyshire, it’s a hugely popular destination for its plentiful pubs, green spaces, local events and family-friendly attractions. It also happens to be famous for a particular dessert: the Bakewell Pudding. Well, now we’ve caught your attention…

 A view of Bakewell Bridge crossing over a wooded valley in the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire

Cobbled streets, yellow-stone cottages, traditional pubs, quaint tearooms and manicured public gardens all make up the centre of the town of Bakewell in Derbyshire. A market town with a thriving local community and steady stream of visitors, it’s the kind of place that immediately wins you over. Whether you plan on staying local to discover the many attractions nearby, heading out to explore the National Park or simply gorging on Bakewell Pudding, it is easily one of the best places in the Peak District to enjoy a well-deserved holiday, be it for a solo trip or en famille. To get you acquainted, here’s our go-to guide to Bakewell. 

History

Bakewell’s roots are set in the Anglo-Saxon times and, thrillingly for history enthusiasts, two 9th Century crosses can still be found in the churchyard of the town’s Grade I listed All Saints’ Church today. Increasing in size and status over the years, it had become an established market town and trading centre by the 13th Century – the same century in which the town’s famous five-arched bridge over the River Wye was built. Centuries later, in the 1600s, a chalybeate spring was discovered in the town and an attempt was made to turn Bakewell into a spa town. Ultimately though, it was nearby Buxton that achieved success in that department. Today, there are nearly 200 listed buildings in the town, including its 17th Century Holme Bridge.

Bakewell Pudding

A Bakewell Pudding, the famous pudding that originates from Bakewell town and inspired the Bakewell tart

Bakewell Puddings are the originals when it comes to jammy, almondy mouthfuls of deliciousness. Arguably Bakewell’s most famous association, these puddings were originally created in the town in the 1800s and were the inspiration behind the very similar (but not the same) Bakewell Tarts. A must try if you are in Bakewell, these puddings are available to purchase from a number of bakeries around the town. That said, if you don’t actually like them (deep inhale), you can also choose from a range of other delicious offerings too that will satiate your sweet tooths.

Shopping

Bakewell’s shops cover every want and need, from local produce to beer to artwork. Bundle up a basket of Bakewell Puddings to take home to your family and friends or peruse the number of shops and stores throughout the town centre. For vintage finds, the Rutland Antiques Centre is particularly popular, while many visitors and locals alike enjoy flocking to the town’s bustling outdoor market held every Monday. For a real taste of Peak District life, you can also head to the town’s Farmers’ Market, which is usually held on the last Saturday of every month and is one of the largest in England.

Places to Eat and Drink

There is so much choice when it comes to eating and drinking in Bakewell that you could easily spend your holiday flitting between the town’s cafés, pubs and restaurants without going back to the same place. If you fancy traditional pub vibes, the Manners, the Rutland Arms and the Castle are just some of the great places serving up local, seasonal dishes alongside well-stocked bars. The Woodyard and Piedaniel's are both well-known restaurants in Bakewell, while the Gallery, the Lavender Tearooms and the Lime Lounge are popular cafés. Of course, it would be remiss not to mention Thornbridge Brewery too, a dog-friendly taproom and shop serving locally brewed beer and freshly baked pizzas.

Attractions

Surrounded by countryside and full of history, Bakewell offers a huge amount to see and do. Some of its top attractions include fascinating historical sites that reveal intriguing secrets into the town’s yesteryears.

Chatsworth House 

A view of Chatsworth Park, one of Derbyshire's most famous country houses

Just 5 miles from Bakewell is Chatsworth House, one of the biggest estates in the Peak District. A private home with over 30 rooms open to the public, it invites visitors to stroll back in time through its Painted Hall, State Rooms and Sculpture Gallery. With its collections featuring everything from Ancient Egyptian artefacts to contemporary modern sculpture, it provides a complete journey of discovery. Outside, you can also walk or cycle your away around some of the estate’s 105-acre grounds, decorated with manicured gardens, extravagant water features, outdoor art installations and more. There’s even an old Aqueduct with a spectacular 80-ft waterfall just outside of the gardens.

Haddon Hall 

One of the country’s best-preserved Medieval houses, Haddon Hall is a truly unique attraction that will appeal to all generations. Owned by the same family for nearly a millennium, its doors were closed for almost 200 years – leaving inside a perfectly undisturbed vision of Medieval life. Untouched by time and saved from passing trends, it provides a fascinating insight and allows visitors to explore its real Medieval kitchens, chapel, chambers and more. For added exploration, there are also beautiful Elizabethan walled gardens outside that can be enjoyed through guided walks.  

Bakewell Visitor Centre

Bakewell Visitor Centre is situated within the 17th Century Old Market Hall in the town centre and offers plenty of information about the town and the Peak District National Park. Supported by knowledgeable staff, the centre provides material and updates on local attractions, events, transport and more. It also has a small gift shop with guidebooks, maps and local literature, as well as housing a gallery on its upper level which displays wildlife and landscape photography from local photographers. 

Thornbridge Hall

Just outside of Bakewell you will find Thornbridge Hall, a Grade II listed stately home surrounded by 13 acres of beautifully kept gardens. Nestled within the heart of the Derbyshire Dales, the house is open for guided tours that can be booked in advance, while the dog-friendly gardens are open most days for leisurely exploration. Designed in the Victorian times, these gardens are famed for their thousand shades of green and feature various dedicated sections including an Italian garden, water garden, a Koi Lake and terraced lawns. Catering for all ages and interests, the hall also has a children’s play area, plant shop and café.

Magpie Mine

A view of Magpie Mine, a former mining site in Bakewell and one of the best surviving examples of a lead mine in the UK

With a history spanning 200 years, Magpie Mine was once one of the most important mining sites in the UK and, even today, remains one of the best examples of a 19th Century lead mine in existence. Though all of its underground works and tunnels are now closed off for safety, there are numerous public footpaths weaving their way through the site, which is very popular amongst history buffs and walkers alike. One of the site’s most striking features is the remains of its Cornish Engine House and circular chimney which were built in the 1800’s, while locals like to share tales of the mine’s fraught history and the Widower’s Curse.

Bakewell Old House Museum

The award-winning Bakewell Old House Museum is a must-visit for those looking to learn more about the area. Set within a 500-year-old Tudor House, the museum is a portal to a fascinating world, filled with all sorts of curious collections that will intrigue and enlighten. From artefacts unearthed from within the house’s walls to Macedonian ceremonial swords to period costumes, there are all sorts of fascinating curios to discover. For added insight, guided walking tours also depart from outside of the museum on select days throughout the year.  

Things to Do

Comprised of patchwork fields, flowing rivers, wooded valleys, moorland and hills, the landscapes of the Peak District provide unrivalled inspiration. With plenty of places near Bakewell and lots to see and do within a stone’s throw of the town, you can easily commit yourself to whole days of adventure or simply dip in and out, sampling all the best things to do. 

Walk from Bakewell to Ashford-in-the-Water

A view of Ashford-in-the-Water, a picturesque town near Bakewell in Derbyshire

Particularly popular amongst walkers, the town is at the centre of loads of great routes which branch off into the countryside and connect nearby towns. A just over 4 miles long, the Bakewell to Ashford-in-the-Water circular walk is at the top of the list, starting from All Saints Church in Bakewell and following the course of the River Wye to Ashford-in-the-Water. Winding up hills and cutting across meadows back to Bakewell, it’s a real gem.

Explore Buxton 

If you feel like branching out, then you can journey from Bakewell to Buxton in around 20 minutes. A famous spa town known for its Buxton water, this thriving hub is home to a huge array of independent shops, cafés, spas and attractions. Head underground with a trip to the two-million-year-old Poole Cavern caves, watch a thrilling performance at Buxton Opera House, attend a race day at Buxton Raceway or simply indulge in some retail therapy in the town. 

Discover Matlock

A road trip from Bakewell to Matlock takes all of 20 minutes and is another great thing to do if you’re looking to further your exploration of the Peak District’s delights. Another of the Park’s famous spa towns, Matlock is well-known for its striking aesthetics and stunning landscapes. Dissected by the River Derwent and the gateway to the award-winning Hall Leys Park, it’s as popular for outdoor enthusiasts looking to get out and about in the fresh as it is amongst foodies and shoppers looking to soak up the town’s chilled vibes. A must is a cable car ride from the Heights of Abraham for breath-taking views. 

Enjoy Bakewell’s Green Spaces

Overlooking the town of Bakewell, with All Saints Church in the foreground and the town's houses and buildings in the background, surrounded by greenery

There are lots of beautiful green spaces in Bakewell that provide wonderful settings in which to sit back and slow down. Easily accessible from the town, Bakewell’s recreation ground is set within 13 acres of grounds and includes a children's play area, football pitches, croquet lawns, a pavilion and more. Also in the town, the award-wining Bath Gardens overlook the River Wye and is the perfect spot to nestle down with some fish and chips or a Bakewell Pudding.

Bike the Monsal Trail

A wonderfully traffic-free route, the Monsal Trail runs for 8.5 glorious miles between Bakewell and Blackwell Mill. Winding through countryside and cutting through tunnels, this former railway line is suitable for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and wheelchair users and is waymarked along the way. With an abundance of things to see, including wildlife and industrial relics, as well as cafés en route, it is understandably popular with all ages, both two-legged and four. 

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in the Peak District and Derbyshire here

Ssshhh... don't tell anyone

We can let you know about our newest retreats, exclusive offers, featured luxury properties and what's on. Just let us know your email address and we’ll keep you in the loop.