When compiling the 8 things to do in Bakewell I found myself listing more things than I anticipated. Bakewell is in the heart of the Peak District and is a timely reminder of a traditional English town. Before travelling it was obvious that the two main things to do were eat a Bakewell tart and a Bakewell pudding. Now, this could not be all that I would do during this bank holiday trip surely? Of course not, but eating was a big part of it.
With the weather being overcast, could you blame me for sitting in the various cafes and restaurants Bakewell had to offer? My 8 things to do in Bakewell are not all about food, you may be happy to hear. Surrounded by the green land of the Peak District there is much to admire in the outskirts of Bakewell also. As briefly mentioned I travelled to Bakewell during a bank holiday weekend. This offered plenty of time to explore the town, which is the ancient capital of the Peak District.
Here are my 8 things to do in Bakewell:
Have fish and chips from Riverside
For a traditional dinner, you can’t go wrong with fish and chips. Judging by the long queues, Riverside is a popular establishment with the people of Bakewell. I opted for a small cod and chips with mushy peas. The food was crammed into a compact container, which I took back to my hotel. A pleasing dinner on my first night in Bakewell.
Have lunch at The Bakewell Tart Shop
This shop is known as the home of the traditional Bakewell tart. As this is what Bakewell is famous for, the shop attracts many people from far and wide. It has a selection of tarts from individual sizes to larger family ones. I brought a large tart for my team at work and they loved it.
Besides the takeaway options, you can sit in the coffee shop further inside (or outside weather permitting). Here you can browse through the extensive menu that includes; breakfast, sandwiches, jacket potatoes, pies and home cooked specials. As it was lunchtime I choose the Homity Pie (apparently their local speciality). On the menu, it was under light bites and sides but there was nothing light about this lunch. In case you don’t know a Homity Pie consists of cheese and potato. It was served with a generous portion of salad and coleslaw.
Of course, I couldn’t sit in The Bakewell Tart Shop and not try a Bakewell tart. I opted for the Iced Cherry Bakewell Tart with cream, containing fondant icing with a cherry. The icing was very sweet and therefore not totally edible but the rest of the tart was very good. You will also find a very questionable amount of icing sugar lavished all over the plate.
Relax at the Bakewell Book & Coffee Shop
This bookshop is a nice place to relax in town. Its coffee shop is integrated with the two areas of the bookshop. In some areas, the tables and chairs are next to the bookshelves making it a little harder to shop. Being the nice guy that I am, I helped a lady get a cookbook, which I was sat in front of. I sat in here a few times during my trip, as it is a good place to relax.
Visit the Bakewell Love Locks Bridge
As I walked around the town I found a bridge crossing the River Wye. The bridge was covered in locks, thus giving the bridge the name Bakewell Love Locks Bridge. Being quick access to a nearby car park, the bridge gets a lot of footfall. The bridge attracts a lot of attention, with the popularity of the locks now leaving no space for anymore.
Have dinner at the Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop
If you were wondering about the origins of the Bakewell pudding the best place to start would be here. As the story goes, a new pudding was created around 1860 after a misunderstanding. When making a strawberry tart, a cook spread the egg mixture on top of a jam layer instead of stirring it into the pastry. The pudding was a success that was the cornerstone of a business. Despite this interesting story I actually didn’t try a Bakewell Pudding here. There is only so much I could eat in one day!
The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop is a popular place. On my first night in Bakewell, I came here late for dinner and tucked into a roast dinner. I came back on the bank holiday to try the pudding, however, it was a full house. The ‘shop’ has a cafe downstairs by a bakery shop with seating outside. Upstairs is where you will find the restaurant. In some areas of the building there are original features, just be careful you don’t hit your head on the low ceilings.
Visit The Old House Museum
The Old House Museum is a short walk away from the centre of town. Be prepared to walk up a few hills. Along the way you will pass by All Saints Church. Originally built as a tax collector’s house, the museum showcases items from the Bakewell area. It is a nice place to visit to get away from the busy town centre.
Upstairs Cafe & Gift Shop
Before leaving Bakewell I sat at this cafe to enjoy one last treat, a Bakewell pudding. The Upstairs Cafe is above a couple of shops, with a random staircase next to them leading to the cafe. I had custard with my Bakewell pudding and I was pleased I did have it before leaving.
Take on the Monsal Trail
This trail goes through the Peak District and has been made suitable for cyclists, walkers and wheelchair users. The trail follows an old rail line passing the old Bakewell Station. Along the trail, there are many interesting things to see including the Monsal Viaduct, Cressbrook Mill, Litton Mill and Lime Kilns.
Where did I stay?
For this long weekend, I stayed at the Rutland Arms Hotel, in the centre of Bakewell. Local stories say that Jane Austin wrote part of Pride and Prejudice, whilst staying at the hotel. I wonder which room that would have been? Probably not mine, as I stayed in a room across the road. The hotel has comfortable rooms and is in a great location to easily explore the town.
It is fair to say that I ate well in Bakewell. Choosing between the tart and pudding is a hard choice. However, as I had to remove the fondant icing from the tart I’d say that I enjoyed the Bakewell pudding more. Bakewell is a cute town that offers beautiful scenery and plenty of places to relax.
Have you visited Bakewell?
Do you prefer a Bakewell tart or a Bakewell pudding?
No need for postcards, feel free to write a comment…