Welcome to the charming little town of Bakewell, nestled in the heart of the Peak District. This guide is your perfect companion to uncover the simple yet delightful activities Bakewell has to offer.
From its famous Bakewell Pudding to its scenic surroundings, we’ll take you on a journey through the best experiences and fun things to do in this quaint market town.
Top Things to Do in Bakewell
Bakewell may not be overflowing with activities, but what it does offer is rich in charm and tradition. Here’s a quick glance at what you can enjoy in this peaceful town:
- Best for History Lovers: Bakewell Old House Museum & All Saints Church
- Best for Outdoor Enthusiasts: Go on a local walk – a top pick is the Monsal Trail
- Best for Food Lovers: Try a Classic Bakewell tart & visit a local pub
1. Get a Bakewell pudding
A visit to Bakewell isn’t complete without tasting the famous Bakewell Pudding!
Originating from an 1800s recipe mishap, this delightful dessert, with its buttery pastry, strawberry jam, and almond custard, is a Bakewell icon.
Don’t miss trying the Bakewell Tart as well, a sweet twist on the original with a fluffy almond sponge top.
Any of the local bakeries that line the streets will be able to hit the spot. I personally visited the Bloomers of Bakewell, but some of the other popular include:
- The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop
- The Bakewell Pudding Parlour
- The Bakewell Tart Shop and Coffee House
Even if the local classics don’t take your fancy, there are plenty of other sweet treats on offer.
2. Bakewell Old House Museum
Address: Cunningham Pl, Bakewell DE45 1DD
NOTE: The Museum is closed in the winter from November 5 to March 25.
Dive into 500 years of history at the Bakewell Old House Museum in a picturesque Tudor building. This museum, a treasure trove of stories and artefacts, is perfect for history enthusiasts of all ages.
- Opening Times:
- Tuesday to Saturday: 11 am to 4 pm
- Adults: £6.50
- Children (5-16 years): £4
- Children (under 5): Free
Explore diverse collections ranging from Tudor artefacts to intricate patchwork quilts, each telling a unique story of Derbyshire’s heritage.
View more info at: https://www.oldhousemuseum.org.uk/
3. Bakewell Love Locks Bridge & Bakewell Bridge
Address: 2 Bridge St, Bakewell DE45 1DS
A couple of iconic bridges in Bakewell cross over the river Wye in Bakewell’s town centre.
Weir Bridge, or “love locks Bridge” as it’s locally known, has been home to padlocks since 2012, with this bridge connecting the main car parks in Bakewell to the centre.
As you can tell by the large number of padlocks, there are plans to remove the love locks at some point soon, but the official date is not yet known.
The second, “Bakewell Bridge”, dates back to the 14th century and is built with ashlar gritstone and has some nice v-shaped standing points, giving you a nice view of the river.
4. All Saints Church
Address: S Church St, Bakewell DE45 1FD
All Saints Church in Bakewell is a captivating blend of history and architectural beauty. This medieval parish church, dating back to the Saxon era, stands proudly on a hillside overlooking the town.
Known for its extensive collection of Saxon carvings and ancient stone coffins, it offers a unique glimpse into England’s early Christian history.
This historical treasure trove, combined with its picturesque setting, makes All Saints Church a worthwhile visit for anyone exploring the rich heritage of Bakewell.
5. Vist a Local pub or Restaurant
Walking around Bakewell will definitely make you hungry, and a Bakewell tart won’t quite fill the hole.
Thankfully, Bakewell is home to some of the best restaurants and pubs in the Peak District.
Below, I’ve listed a range of top-rated options, from classic pub grub to takeaway fish and chips:
Traditional pub with a modern twist serving a wide selection of well-kept cask ales and pub food.
A historic coaching inn that doubles as a cosy pub and offers elegant afternoon tea, blending tradition with modern comforts.
Fish & Chip Shops
The Woodyard – Coombs Rd, Bakewell DE45 1AQ
A former Marble Works with a unique, high-quality restaurant offering fresh, seasonal, homemade food in a historical setting. With a charming beer garden overlooking the River Wye, it provides a relaxed, friendly atmosphere perfect for dining in the heart of the Peak District.
Indian, British, fusion restaurant offering healthy vegetarian and vegan cuisine.
Pizzaria Bakewell – 1A Market St, Bakewell DE45 1HG
A highly-rated pizzeria in Bakewell, offering both takeaway and dine-in options for those craving Italian.
6. Visit a local hall or stately home
Just outside Bakewell, there are a couple of famous, grand homes. The most famous is Chatsworth House, which is one of the most instagarmable spots in the Peak District National Park. The lesser-known Haddon Hall is also just a short drive away.
Those who are interested in a long hike can also walk to the estates from Bakewell town.
It’s known for its impressive art collection and beautiful gardens. The family of the Duke of Devonshire has lived here for centuries, and it’s open for visitors to explore and enjoy. It’s not just a house; the grand estate can take hours to visit.
Haddon Hall is one of England’s best examples of a medieval manor house. The house, with its old-world charm, takes you back in time. Its romantic gardens and the rustic beauty of its stone walls have made it a favourite spot for filmmakers, including the likes of Harry Potter.
7. Go for a Walk in the Local Area
- The Monsal Trail: The Trail, which starts just outside the town, offers a unique walking experience, as it follows the path of the old Midland Railway line. This trail takes you on a journey through history, letting you imagine the steam trains that once chugged along here. It’s a flat, accessible path, making it perfect for all ages and abilities by bike or foot.
- Bakewell Riverside Path: The Bakewell Riverside Path is a delightful choice for a peaceful and scenic stroll. Following the river’s flow, this path provides a tranquil setting for a leisurely walk that can extend all of the way to Ashford-in-the-water.
- Walk to Chatsworth or Haddon Hall: From Bakewell, you can embark on an adventurous walk to either Chatsworth Estate and House or Haddon Hall. These routes will both be lengthy but offer a glimpse into the area’s rich heritage. Chatsworth is known for its grandeur and splendid gardens, while Haddon Hall boasts a more medieval charm. The walks to these historic estates, filled with picturesque landscapes, are as rewarding as the destinations.
8. Farmer Market (Last Saturday of the month)
Generally held on the last Saturday of every month, the Bakewell Farmers’ Market attracts many visitors. Known as one of the best in the area, offering a treasure trove of local produce. Here, you can stroll among stalls overflowing with fresh fruits, vegetables, and artisanal products. Chat with the friendly local farmers and craftspeople who are proud to share their produce and stories.
View this PDF for more information.
Bakewell Parking Options
If you’re looking to park in Bakewell, you’ve got a good choice of spots, especially around Smith’s Island.
Here’s a bit of information about the larger, longer-stay car parks in that area:
Bakewell Bridge Car Park
Address: Coombs Rd, Bakewell DE45 1AQ
This is the smaller option with 150 spaces, but it’s handy because it’s open all day, every day. The real bonus here is that you can pay when you return to your car. This means you don’t have to guess how long you’ll be out and about. Here’s what it costs to park:
- Up to 2 hours: £3
- Up to 3 hours: £4
- Up to 4 hours: £5
- Over 4 hours or all day: £6
There’s also a multi-day parking option, which is great if you’re planning a more extended stay. And if you drive an electric vehicle, charging bays are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Smith’s Island Car Park
You’ll find Smith’s Island Car Park just a bit further down the road. It’s larger, offers more space, and is conveniently located next to the ‘love locks’ bridge.
History of Bakewell
The quaint market town of Bakewell in Derbyshire has a rich history stretching back to Anglo-Saxon times. Its name, originating from the Old English term for a spring or stream associated with a person named Badeca or Beadeca, hints at its early beginnings.
The town, officially documented in the Domesday Book of 1086, was significant enough to be mentioned as having a church and a mill during the reign of King Edward.
Bakewell’s growth as a trading centre was marked by establishing a market in 1254. Its strategic location by the River Wye was further emphasized by the construction of the remarkable five-arched bridge in the 13th century, a testament to medieval engineering.
The town’s history is also coloured by attempts in the 18th century to develop it as a spa town, similar to nearby Buxton.
The discovery of a chalybeate spring led to the construction of a bathhouse in 1697. The 19th century saw significant rebuilding in Bakewell, including the construction of Lumford Mill by Richard Arkwright in 1777 and the alteration of the town’s layout with the creation of Rutland Square.
Today, Bakewell’s rich history is a vital part of its charm and attraction, drawing visitors to explore its ancient streets, historic buildings, and the enduring legacy of its past.
Things to do near Bakewell
If you’re keen on exploring the area around Bakewell, you’ll find plenty more to do in the nearby towns and villages, along with famous landmarks. Some of these include:
Ashford-in-the-water (4 Min Drive OR 30 Min Walk)
This charming village is known for its picturesque views and traditional stone cottages. A stroll through the town offers a peaceful experience, and you can enjoy the famous Sheepwash Bridge, a perfect spot for photography enthusiasts.
Thornbridge Hall (5 Min Drive)
This is another stunning country house set in beautiful gardens. It’s a great place for a leisurely walk, offering a glimpse into the area’s history. The hall often hosts events and garden tours, making it an interesting visit for those who appreciate architecture and nature.
Monsal Head (6 Min Drive)
Known for its breathtaking views, Monsal Head is a must-visit for anyone in the area. It overlooks Monsal Dale and the River Wye, providing a stunning backdrop for walks or picnics. The famous Monsal Trail is nearby, offering a great route for walking or cycling with fantastic scenery that connects to Bakewell.
Lathkill Dale (10 Min Drive)
Ideal for nature lovers, Lathkill Dale is a beautiful valley. Its clear streams and limestone cliffs are perfect for walking and wildlife watching. The Dale offers scenic paths that range from easy to more challenging.
If you’re looking for even more activities, consider visiting the towns of Matlock or Buxton, both just a 20-minute drive from Bakewell. These towns offer a variety of attractions and are perfect for a day trip.
Visting Bakewell FAQs
How do I spend a day in Bakewell?
Spend a day in Bakewell exploring its charming streets, visiting the famous Bakewell Pudding shops, and enjoying a stroll along the River Wye or another Peak District Walk.
Is Bakewell worth a visit?
Yes, Bakewell is definitely worth a visit. It’s known for its picturesque setting in the Peak District, its unique Bakewell Pudding, and its rich history, including the 13th-century Bakewell Bridge. It’s a great spot, but it will only take a few hours to walk around.
What shops are there in Bakewell?
Bakewell has a variety of shops, including independent boutiques, antique shops, and local food stores. You’ll find shops selling the famous Bakewell Pudding, artisanal products, and outdoor gear for exploring the nearby Peak District.
Why is Bakewell so popular?
Bakewell is popular for its picturesque location in the Peak District, its rich history, and its culinary heritage, especially the Bakewell Pudding. Its blend of beautiful scenery, traditional architecture, and the gentle pace of life attracts visitors seeking both relaxation and outdoor activities.