Bakewell guide of the Peak

At the heart of the White Peak and capital of the Peak National Park is Bakewell.

The Peak District is renowned for many things – one of them being the sleepy, peaceful nature of the majority of its settlements.

Bakewell, the town synonymous with puddings (not tarts!), is nothing of the sort. Known as the capital of the Peak District, this popular market town on the banks of the River Wye is a bustling hive of activity for seven days a week.

Oddly, Monday is usually the busiest day of the week, for Monday is market day – featuring both a regular market and the livestock equivalent.

At one time the livestock market, which originated in around 1330, was situated alongside the regular market in the town centre, but its distinctive, rich aromas have since been moved to the purpose-built Agricultural Business Centre across the river, which ambles through the centre of town. If you want to have a look around, the safe bet is to follow your nose!

At the same venue on every last Saturday of the month is Bakewell’s Farmers’ Market, where fine local produce does a roaring trade. Weekends are of course very popular with visitors as Bakewell bustles with tourists and locals alike.

Bakewell Show

The highlight of Bakewell’s calendar is their Annual Country Show, a hugely popular affair where big marquees packed with exhibits and entertainment, dog shows and other country show staples are the order of the day.

The town itself is a classic country market town – resplendent with a fistful of pubs (most of which serve cask ales as well as offering B&B accommodation), restaurants, tea rooms and cafés.

Shopping in Bakewell is a rare treat – happily bereft of identikit High Street stores, independent outlets rule the roost, with curiosity shops, specialist stores and boho boutiques dotted all over town.

And it wouldn’t be a country town without a few bespoke country outfitters, where you can find quintessential British clothing of the highest order. Why not treat yourself to that tweed hacking jacket you’ve always secretly coveted. When in Rome...!

Another of Bakewell’s selling points is its location; fairly central in the Peak District, blessed by a close proximity to Chatsworth, Chesterfield and Sheffield, and positively enveloped by delightful villages, hamlets and beauty spots.

As well as Bakewell itself, it’s in those surrounding villages and hamlets where you’ll find a wealth of holiday accommodation from which to choose. Hotels, both big and boutique, holiday cottages of all kinds, bed & breakfasts and campsites are in plentiful supply – many of which are pet-friendly.

Knoll Cottage is an enchanting little holiday home, located just a short stroll from the centre of Bakewell. Sleeping four and dog friendly, this is ideal for a family.

Another pet-friendly property is Brew House, a three bedroom, ‘upside down’ let which can be found in an enviable position in a courtyard just 500 yards from the town centre.

Bakewell - the only market town in the Peak District – is one of the finest country towns in the UK. A great place for a day trip, and an even better place to stay.

Sean Cummins

November 2010

Last Updated: 28 Apr 2015