Things to do in Bakewell, Derbyshire

by Jan

With honey-stone buildings and a riverside location, Bakewell is oozing with charm and character and perfect for a day out if you’re in Derbyshire.  Whether you are just popping in for a slice of Bakewell Pudding or heading out to one of the nearby magnificent stately homes, you’ll find plenty of things to do in Bakewell.

Bakewell is an ancient market town, located on the banks of the River Wye in the heart of Derbyshire.  It is the largest town in the Peak District National Park and attracts thousands of visitors each year.  If you’re heading to the Peak District for the first time, you really should visit the pretty village of Bakewell.

In our travel guide to Bakewell, we’ll bring you the best attractions, places to visit and things to do, so you can plan your own memorable trip.

Read on for our top things to do in Bakewell.

Walk along the River Wye

Canada Geese on River Wye at Bakewell, Peak District

Let’s start our list of things to do in Bakewell with a walk along the River Wye.

The River Wye flows through the centre of Bakewell and provides several good choices for picturesque, riverside walks.  Firstly, you could do a short family walk which takes you on a circular trail to Holme Bridge and back.

Alternatively, you could do a longer walk to the village of Ashford-in-the Water.  If it’s a sunny day, a stroll by the river is one of the best free things to do in Bakewell.

Explore Chatsworth House

Now, one of the very best places to visit near Bakewell is Chatsworth House, a magnificent country estate on the outskirts of town.

Chatsworth House serves as the seat of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire and has been home to the Cavendish family since 1549.  Today, it remains as one of Britain’s most impressive stately homes and one of the top attractions in the Peak District.  It is definitely one to add to your list of things to do near Bakewell.

View of Chatsworth House terrace with dog statue, Bakewell, Peak District

Jane Austen fans will love a visit to Chatsworth House, home to the gorgeous Mr Darcy!

Start your visit by exploring Chatsworth House with its exquisite interiors and furnishings and impressive collection of fine art.  It’s easy to see why it was chosen as the filming location for Pemberley, Mr Darcy’s house in the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice.

Although the mansion is amazing, allow plenty of time to visit the stunning gardens too.  Chatsworth House is set in 105 acres of gardens, with elaborate water features and giant sculptures.

If you’re visiting with children, they will love the farmyard, maze, and adventure playground.

Stroll over Bakewell Bridge

View from Bakewell Bridge over River Wye at Bakewell. Cascade of water next to quaint stone cottages.

History-lovers should take a moment to visit Bakewell’s historic bridge.  Amazingly, the Bakewell bridge dates from 1300 and is one of the oldest in England.

With its five Gothic arches with triangular quoins, it is a picturesque bridge, which spans the River Wye.  You’ll cross it as you go from the car park into town, but can get a better view from the riverside or Lovelock Bridge.

Visit the Bakewell Old House Museum

If you love history, you should also pay a visit to the Bakewell Old House Museum.

This Tudor house from Henry VIII’s reign has a collection of historical artefacts and exhibits from the local area.  In addition, they host regular talks, demonstrations, and craft workshops.

Visit the Lovelock Bridge

Thousands of padlocks on The Love Lock Bridge, Bakewell, Peak District

Directly opposite the medieval bridge is another famous Bakewell bridge, known as Love Lock Bridge.  Thousands of padlocks adorn the railings of Weir Bridge, that crosses the River Wye from the town centre.  The padlocks have been left by couples as a symbol of their love.

From the bridge, it’s a picturesque view of the weir and River Wye.

Discover Haddon Hall

Long Gallery at Haddon Hall, Bakewell, Peak District

Another of Bakewell’s most significant heritage attractions is Haddon Hall.  This medieval manor house is over 900 hundred years old and has been described as “the most perfect house to survive from the Middle Ages”.

The Tudor manor house sits on a rocky outcrop overlooking the River Wye.  Start your visit to Haddon Hall with a tour of the house, with its grand Tudor hall and treasure trove of early English furniture.  Afterwards, head outside for a walk around the Elizabethan walled gardens.

Visitors can also book guided walks and talks.

Eat Bakewell Tart

Bakewell Pudding Shop, Bakewell, Peak District

Of course, you can’t visit Bakewell without eating some Bakewell Tart (or pudding as it is known here).  Well, I can, as I don’t eat nuts, but I still enjoyed a visit to The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop.

Located in the heart of the town, the shop sells a choice of Bakewell puddings and tarts in all shapes and sizes.  Alternatively, head upstairs to the restaurant for afternoon tea or lunch.

A family stroll on the Monsal Trail

Railway tunnel walk on Monsal Trail, Peak District

One of the best free things to do in Bakewell is an easy, family walk on the Monsal Trail.

The Monsal Trail is a disused railway track, which runs for 8.5 miles between Coombs Road in Bakewell and Blackwell Mill in Chee Dale.  The trail starts at Bakewell’s old railway station, just outside the town centre.

The trail is a popular route for walkers, who want a family-friendly, accessible walk in the Peak District.  It is extremely flat and wide, so ideal for pushchairs and wheelchairs. The trail goes past a disused lime kiln and through several tunnels, making it a fun walk for kids.

The Monsal Trail is also popular with cyclists, and you can hire bikes from several locations on the trail.  I hired bikes on my first visit to Bakewell and had an amazing time, even in the rain!

Read more:  Cycle the Monsal Trail, Derbyshire

Browse the antique shops and galleries

Quaint court yard of shops at Hebdon Court, Bakewell, Peak District

As well as the regular outdoor equipment stores and charity shops, Bakewell is home to several quirky passageways with antiques and vintage goods.

Look out for Hebdon Court, where you can browse the quaint independent boutiques with their hand-crafted goods and tea rooms.  Alternatively, the Square has several antique centres and is great for a mooch!

Bakewell is also home to one of the UK’s largest farmers’ market on the last Saturday of every month.

Useful information for your visit to Bakewell

Places to stay in Bakewell

You’ll find a good choice of charming properties in Bakewell, many of which are walking distance to the town centre and only 10 minutes’ drive to Chatsworth House.

One of the best hotels in Bakewell is The Rutland Arms, a traditional 19th century coaching inn with lots of character.  Another good option with a prime location in Bakewell is Bagshaw Hall, a grand period property with large, luxurious rooms.

If you prefer more contemporary accommodation in Bakewell, try the H Boutique Hotel, which is very modern.  There’s also plenty of options for self-catering accommodation in Bakewell.

Getting to Bakewell

By car

The easiest way to get to Bakewell is by car.  If you’re coming from the South, use the M1 and take exit 29.

By train

The nearest train stations to Bakewell are Matlock, Buxton or Chesterfield.  From here, there are regular bus services to Bakewell.

Getting around Bakewell

Bakewell is really small and compact, so easy to navigate by foot.  However, you will need a car if you want to visit Haddon Hall or Chatsworth House.

Bakewell Visitor Centre

Bakewell’s Visitor Centre is located in the 17th century Old Market Hall in the town centre.  It has a good choice of maps and guide books, as well as gifts and clothes.  You could also head upstairs to learn more about the Peak District and local area.

We'd love to hear from you.

We’d love to hear from you. Have you been to Bakewell in Derbyshire? What were your favourite things to do? We’d love to hear your comments below.

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