Exploring the delights of Bakewell, Baslow and Tideswell
- Credit: Ashley Franklin
A market town to celebrate, Bakewell is so much more than its famous pudding
It is widely believed Jane Austen wrote her timeless classic Pride & Prejudice while staying in Bakewell, probably at the Rutland Arms – although some claim she may have been at nearby Haddon Hall when she penned arguably her best work.
In the novel, Bakewell is believed to be the inspiration behind Lambton, while Pemberley was modelled on Chatsworth House. Austen is also credited as saying: ‘There is not a finer county in England than Derbyshire’.
WHERE TO EAT AND DRINK
Head to the vibrant town centre and you’ll not get far before the unmistakable smell of fish and chips fill the air, while quirky cafes and quaint sandwich shops are readily available, catering for all tastes.
You’ll also find a fine artisan offering – with shops offering the best produce in areas such as cheese, chocolate, wine and gins and even ice cream.
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For something more substantial, and for those wishing to take the weight off their feet, both the Castle Inn and The Manners offer good pub food and on-site parking; the latter with an outdoor play area.
The Red Lion, situated a stone’s throw from the famous Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop, is another option with a tempting menu of hot and cold traditional food.
While Bakewell is a quintessentially English market town, it doesn’t disappoint on its continental offerings, with Indian and Italian cuisine amongst others available, set in delightful, picturesque locations in and around the town.
THINGS TO DO:
Bakewell Old House Museum
This delightful Tudor building houses a wide and eclectic range of historic items. Walk the Tudor rooms with large open fireplaces and beamed ceilings while learning all about Bakewell’s long, illustrious and proud past.
Starting just north of Bakewell, the Monsal Trail is set in the heart of the Peak District National Park, running for 8.5 miles along the former Midland Railway line. Popular with walkers, cyclists and horse riders alike, it offers some of the most breath-taking views our county has to offer.
Overview: Known the world over for its famous Bakewell Pudding, it would be short-sighted to assume that’s all this elegant Derbyshire town has to offer.
Seldom can you visit a town surrounded by such majestic settings on its doorstep as Bakewell.
The town, which gained a charter for its weekly Monday markets way back in 1330, boasts esteemed neighbours – from Chatsworth, Youlgreave, Ashford in the Water and many more.
As beautiful as these places are, you need not leave Bakewell’s boundaries to feel fulfilled.
While the likes of the not-too-distant Buxton are more famous for their natural springs, the name Bakewell actually comes from ‘Bad-well’, meaning ‘bath-spring’ and the town originally had as many as 12 mineral water springs which proved essential to early settlements in the area from as far back as the Iron Age. Most no longer exist, but Bakewell doesn’t lack for natural water and a walk along the River Wye and over the old packhorse bridge – dating to around 1300 - where rainbow trout swim in the crystal clear waters below is as delightful as it sounds.
Leave yourself enough time to explore every intricate nook and cranny of the town. The cobbled stones streets and charming buildings combine a bygone age with the contemporary in perfect balance and for every ‘main’ throughfare, you’ll find countless other side streets to explore, all offering something different and usually comprising traditional, independent stores. Visitors come from near and far to experience the delights of Bakewell and it’s easy to see why.
As for the Bakewell Pudding... claims, counter-claims, stories, fact and fiction abound – some suggest the accidental recipe dates as far back as the 1500s, others point to the 19th century. Where was it created? What happened to the original recipe? Where was it first produced? That’s all for another day but whatever you do, don’t get it mixed up with a Bakewell Tart!
A STONE’S THROW AWAY
Baslow and Tideswell
Distance from Bakewell: 5.3 miles (Baslow), 7.8 miles (Tideswell)
Background: Situated on the edges of Chatsworth Park, Baslow is home to a church, St. Anne’s, which dates back to 1200. Nestled by the River Derwent, this small and welcoming village is an ideal place to visit and unwind while taking in the delights of Michelin-star-standard food, traditional tearooms and independent shops with walking routes aplenty. Vibrant and interesting, Baslow is a perfect stop off point to other parts of the Peak or, equally, worthy of a longer stay in its own right.
Tideswell, too, boasts a historic place of worship – its St. John the Baptist, dating from the 14th century, widely regarded as the ‘Cathedral of the Peak’. With numerous scenic walks on offer surrounding the village, it’s well worth taking advantage of Tideswell’s excellent hospitality – it’s traditional pubs and tearooms will leave you feeling suitably refreshed. If you time it right, the village’s well dressings are also well worth a look.
Must visit place: St. John the Baptist in Tideswell stands proudly in the centre of the village. A close inspection of this ‘Cathedral of the Peak’ will reveal plenty of areas of interest – including old wooden carvings, brasses, monuments and a number of tall, unstained glass windows.
Famous for: Its long, enviable stretch of trout fishing along the rivers Derwent and Wye (Baslow); Its popular yearly Food Festival, originally set up by the Taste of Tideswell Project (Tideswell)