Famous for its eponymous almond and strawberry jam pudding, Bakewell is the largest town in the Peak District and sits in a delightful position on the banks of the scenic River Wye.
Beautiful in its own right, Bakewell also serves as a wonderful base for exploring the best of the Peak District, England’s first designated National Park.
Stone buildings and a fine five-arched bridge alongside charming streets and traditional shops and pubs create the quintessential Derbyshire market town.
With Buxton to the north and Matlock to the south, this remains an important town locally, continuing a long history stretching back more than 1000 years.
Bakewell Parish Church dates from 920 and a market has been held in the town since at least 1254. Today, the major attraction is tourism, with visitors enjoying historic architecture, foodie highlights and of course, access to the natural wonders of the Derbyshire countryside.
Where to stay in Bakewell
Chatsworth Park CAMC Campsite is a beautiful site located in a walled garden on the Chatsworth Estate. Children will particularly enjoy the farmyard and adventure playground.
Another option is Dale Farm – it’s just a mile from Monsal Head and the Monsal Trail and only a few miles from Bakewell. The rural park is on a working farm and makes for a wonderful getaway.
Alternatively, there is Greenhills Holiday Park. Dog-friendly and with a stylish stable bar, this park set in 12 acres of Derbyshire countryside is surrounded by the lush and inviting slopes of the lower Wye Valley.
What to do in Bakewell on Day 1
9am – Breakfast in Bakewell
Enjoy a bite to eat at The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop, a Bakewell institution. Breakfast, brunch and lunch are served in a bright room on the first floor with exposed wooden beams and smart décor. Don’t forget to pick up a takeaway Bakewell pudding for later!
10.30am – Follow the Monsal Trail
This wonderful traffic-free cycling and walking route starts just north of Bakewell and follows the former line of the London Midland Railway.
You can travel through four train tunnels which are around 400m long – they are also lit during the day. Some visitors prefer to begin at Hassop Station (a half-hour walk from Bakewell or take the 218 bus), where you can hire bikes.
It’s a four-mile round trip to enjoy views of Monsal Viaduct and Monsal Head. Adult bikes cost £17 for two hours, or you could go for a tandem instead, costing £34.
12.30pm – Lunch at Hassop Station Café
The café and bar at the elegant Old Station building makes the perfect rest stop, with a menu of toasties, pizzas, burgers and sandwiches. Try the Korean chilli chicken with loaded fries! Vegan options available.
2pm – Visit Chatsworth House
Explore the ‘Palace of the Peaks’, seat of the Dukes of Devonshire and home to the Cavendish family since 1549. There are more than 25 rooms open to the public, including the Painted Hall, the State Rooms and the Sculpture Gallery.
You’ll also find 105 acres of glorious gardens to explore, along with a farmyard and a playground. And don’t miss Radical Horizons: The Art of Burning Man, a free exhibition of monumental sculpture.
To get here, you could extend your bike hire – it’s around 3.5 miles from Hassop Station. Alternatively, it’s a one-hour walk from Bakewell or 15-20 minutes on the 218 bus. Adult tickets cost £29.
7pm – Dinner at the Woodyard
Relax at the Woodyard, on the banks of the River Wye. In a beautiful 19th-century building, it offers plenty of choice from a menu of fish, burger dishes and pizza. There’s a lovely beer garden, too
What to do on Day 2
9am – Gardens and riverside
There’s so much to enjoy in Bakewell itself, particularly along the Wye, where you can take a stroll in the beautiful Bath Gardens, overlooking Rutland Square and the Riverside Gardens.
Don’t miss the famous Five-Arch Bridge, and Bakewell Love Locks Bridge, which has been covered with padlocks attached by couples declaring their eternal love.
11am – This Old House
Step back into the reign of Henry VIII at the Old House Museum, which once served as a traditional dwelling, with almost 500 years of occupation before its rescue from demolition in the 1950s.
It’s now home to a fascinating range of artifacts, from objects found encased in the walls from the Tudor period, to fine Macedonian ceremonial swords, ceramics, textiles and costumes. Adult tickets £6.
1pm – Lunch à la France
We’re tempted to return to the Pudding Shop for another Bakewell treat!
Instead, try Piedaniels, for traditional French cuisine with a European twist, and delicious dishes such as pork and mushroom wellington, or bouillabaisse of mixed Mediterranean fish fillet.
2.30pm – Historic Haddon Hall
See how the other half live at Haddon Hall (two miles south of Bakewell), the grand private residence of the Manners family. The building dates back some 900 years and highlights include rare 15th-century fresco-secco on the walls of the Medieval Chapel, and a Medieval Banqueting Hall with a tapestry gifted to the family by Henry VIII. While here, you can enjoy views of the Peak District from the terraced Elizabethan Walled Gardens. Adult tickets cost £23.90.
7pm – An evening at the Wheatsheaf
The Wheatsheaf is a family- and dog-friendly pub serves traditional fare, such as hunter’s chicken, beer-battered cod, and steak and ale pie. Complete your short break with a cocktail or an excellent pint.
Lead image: Getty Images
Wondering where else you can head to for a weekend getaway? Then head to our Best of British: Weekends Away section, for more great ideas!
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