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East Midlands Bakewell, Derbyshire

Bakewell is an attractive small market town of gritstone buildings set on the River Wye.


It is the main service town for the area and is also popular with visitors, especially on Mondays when the weekly market with over one hundred and fifty brightly coloured stalls selling everything under the sun, line Granby and Market Streets.
Bakewell Market.jpg

It still has a thriving livestock market on the edge of the town. There is a monthly farmers market as well as the yearly food festival. The blight of the chain stores has yet to hit Bakewell and it has many small family owned shops. It is a shopaholics paradise.

Mention Bakewell to anyone and they will immediately link the name with that of the tart, but this is very different to the original (and genuine) Bakewell pudding. This was the result of a misunderstanding between the Mrs Graves, landlady of the Rutland Arms and her kitchen assistant. A nobleman had asked for a jam tart but the kitchen assistant made a mistake with the recipe and instead of stirring the egg and almond mix into the pastry base, piled it on top of the jam. The Bakewell pudding was born and is still made in Bakewell today and the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop is a popular stop for the tourist. Be warned, the pudding is much richer than the more usual sponge topped Bakewell tart.
Original Bakewell Pudding shop.png

When tired of shopping, Bath Gardens in the centre of the town, overlooking Rutland Square, is a lovely place to drop out and relax. The name reflects the tepid mineral springs found in the town and the unsuccessful attempt in the early C19th to promote Bakewell as a Spa town.
Bakewell, Bath Gardens.jpg

The Rutland Arms Hotel in the square is a splendid stone building dating from 1804 and is thought to be where jane Austin stayed while she was writing ‘Pride and Prejudice’.
Rutland Arms Hotel, Bakewell.png

There is a lovely walk along the river with its ducks. The C13th bridge, one of the oldest in the country is still in use today although it was widened in the C19th.
Bakewell Bridge.jpg

Further downstream near Holme Hall is a C17th packhorse bridge, used by people coming from Monyash to avoid paying tolls as they entered the town. Several of the later footbridges across the river are decorated with love locks and there is even a shop in the town selling them.
Love locks, Bakewell.jpg

There is a town trail too.

The C13th All Saints' Church with its tall spire stands proud above the town.
All Saints' Church, Bakewell.png

This has a long history since the C7th and has a couple of early Christian cross shafts in the graveyard as well as Norse/Anglian carved stones in the porch and back of the church.
All Saints' Church.jpg

Inside the church is the burial chapel of the Vernon and Manners families of nearby Haddon Hall, with their splendid tombs.
Vernon Chapel.jpg

Just a short walk from the church is Old House Museum. The lovely stone house dates from the early C16th and was built for the tithe collector and was later extended. In the late C18th it was converted into five cottages for mill workers. By 1950 the cottages were condemned as unfit for human habitation and were in danger of being pulled down. They were saved by the local history society as a folk museum. Displays cover the history of the house and its occupants, complete with Tudor toilet and Victorian privy. There is a mill worker’s kitchen as well as displays of textiles and costumes. There are doll’s houses and information about the famous pudding.

The M&C Collection of Historic Motorcycles is on Matlock Street. With over 50 exhibits it shows the development of motor cycles since the early days of motor cycling along with associated memorabilia.

There is lots of information available from the Tourist Information and Visitor Centre in the old market hall on Bridge Street. This also sells locally produced arts and crafts and there is a photographic gallery on the first floor. Visitor Centre above the Old Market Hall on Bridge Street. Bakewell is thriving and a full list of events in Bakewell. can be found here.

Bakewell is also a good centre for exploring the Peak District. Chatsworth House and Haddon Hall are close by. There is also the spa town of Buxton or the plague village of Eyam, with Eyam Hall within a few minutes drive. For those wanting to walk or cycle, there is the Monsal trail along the disused railway line that takes you across viaducts and through tunnels.
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