Famous for its eponymous pudding, Bakewell is the largest town in the Peak District and sits in a delightful position on the banks of the River Wye.
Beautiful in its own right, it also serves as a wonderful base for exploring the very best of the Peak District, England’s first designated National Park.
Traditional stone buildings and a fine five-arched bridge, alongside charming streets, pubs and shops, make up this quintessential market town.
With Buxton to the north and Matlock to the south, it remains important locally, with a history stretching back more than 1000 years. A market has been held in the town from at least 1254.
Today, the major attraction is tourism, with visitors drawn by the traditional architecture, foodie highlights and 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 – just a mile from Monsal Head and the Monsal Trail and only a few miles from Bakewell, this rural park on a working farm makes for a wonderful getaway.
Alternatively, Greenhills Holiday Park is a dog-friendly caravan site with a stylish stable bar. It’s set in 12 acres of Derbyshire countryside is surrounded by the lush and inviting slopes of the lower Wye Valley.
Thinking of heading to another part of the Peak District? Then check out our guide to the best caravan parks in the Peak District.
What to do in Bakewell on Day 1
9am – Bakewell breakfast
Enjoy a bite to eat at The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop. Breakfast, brunch and lunch are served in a bright room on the first floor. Don’t forget to pick up a Bakewell pudding for later!
11am – On the Monsal Trail
This traffic-free cycling and walking route starts just north of Bakewell and follows the former track of the London Midland Railway.
Start at Hassop Station (half an hour walk from Bakewell or by 218 bus), and you can hire bikes. Then 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 hire a tandem for £34.
1pm – Hassop Station Café
The café and bar at the elegant Old Station building makes for the perfect lunchtime rest stop, with a large menu of toasties, pizzas, burgers and sandwiches. Try the Korean chilli chicken with loaded fries! Vegan options are also available.
3pm – Chatsworth House
The ‘Palace of the Peaks’, seat of the Dukes of Devonshire and home to the Cavendish family since 1549, has more than 25 rooms open to the public, including the Painted Hall, State Rooms and Sculpture Gallery.
You’ll also find 105 acres of glorious gardens to explore. To get here, you could extend your bike hire – it’s 3.5 miles from Hassop Station – take a walk from Bakewell, or catch the 218 bus. Adult tickets cost £29.
7pm – Dine by the river
Enjoy a relaxing evening at The Woodyard, in Bakewell on the eastern banks of the River Wye. Set in a beautiful 19th-century building, its menu offers plenty of choice, with a variety of fish and burger dishes alongside the many pizzas. There’s a lovely beer garden here, too.
What to do on Day 2
9am – Glorious gardens
There’s so much to enjoy in Bakewell itself, particularly along the River Wye, where you can stroll in the beautiful Bath Gardens overlooking Rutland Square and Riverside Gardens.
Don’t miss the magnificent Five-Arch Bridge, a Grade I listed monument dating back to the 14th century, and the Love Locks Bridge, covered with padlocks attached by couples declaring their 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, occupied for 500 years before its rescue from demolition in the 1950s.
It’s now home to a range of artifacts, from objects found encased in the walls from the Tudor period, to Macedonian ceremonial swords, ceramics and textiles. Adult tickets £6.
1pm – Lunch à la France
We’re tempted to return to the Pudding Shop for another Bakewell treat! However, try Piedaniels restaurant for a spot of traditional French cuisine with a European twist, and delicious dishes such as pork and mushroom wellington and bouillabaisse of mixed Mediterranean fish fillet.
3pm – Haddon Hall
Take a look at how the other half live at Haddon Hall (just two miles south of Bakewell), the grand private residence of the Manners family.
This historic building dates back some 900 years and its highlights include 15th-century fresco-secco on the walls of the Medieval Chapel, and a splendid Banqueting Hall with a tapestry gifted to the family by Henry VIII. While here, you can enjoy views of the Peak District from the Elizabethan Walled Gardens. Adult tickets cost £23.90.
7pm – To the Wheatsheaf
The Wheatsheaf is a welcoming pub serves traditional fare, such as hunter’s chicken, beer-battered cod and steak and ale pie. Finish your 48 hours in style with a cocktail or an excellent pint.
Head to our Best of British: Weekends Away section for more great touring ideas.
Lead image: Getty
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