Where to stay in Bakewell?
There are a number of options of where to stay in accommodation in Bakewell from cosy pubs, to neat little B & Bs to full on hotels offering bed breafast and dining options. There are also a number of luxury self catering apartments in Bakewell that offer guests the flexibility of being able to cook and cater for themselves as well as go out and enjoy the extensive range of places to eat and drink in the town.
The main hotel in Bakewell is the Rutland Arms located at The Square, Bakewell DE45 1BT which dates back to 1804 is based in the centre of town and was where the world famous Bakewell Pudding was produced by accident by cook Ann Greaves (see below). The hotel is located where the original market square is and now fronts onto the main roundabout in Bakewell.
Luxury self catering accommodatin in the town is at a premium given Bakewell's proximity to Chatsworth House and it's grounds. The are several options for people looking to stop in Bakewell and cater for themselves. Bagshaw Hall located up Bagshaw Hill, Bakewell DE45 1DL has commanding views over Bakewell. The Hall itself can be traced back to 1640s and offers luxury accommodation. It also has more modest self catering accommodation within the Sleep Lodge in it's grounds and which were formerly Bakewell's Youth Hostel.
Luxury self catering accommodation Bakewell
For those looking for luxury self contained Bakewell accommodation theres is the new Riverview apartment located on the banks of the River Wye with commdanding views over the River.
Bakewell 'Insiders' guide
Bakewell in the Peak District is a charming unspoilt town with surprising hidden attractions and gems around every corner for those in the know.
A town built on water
The town is old...really old. Our friends at Wikepedia puts the first settlement as far back as Anglo Saxon times. The name Bakewell means a spring or stream. That's not surprising because their is plenty of water around the town. The most prominent is the River Wye which meanders it's way through the centre of Bakewell bisecting the town with the Agricultural Centre and Showground on one side and the historic core and original market place on the other. Many people don't realise that the discovery of a chalybeate spring and the subsequent building of a bath house in 1697 led to a failed bid of Bakewell becoming a rival Spa Town to Buxton. The bath house still exists and is currently empty but viewable having being purchase by a local developer. Ironically, Bakewell's attempt to rival Buxton as a spa town has more recent history too. At the start of the Millenium a multimillion scheme to develop and new luxury Spa and gym was partly built in the Rutland Mill complex but never completed because of the economic fallout following the 'credit crunch".
Following the building of Lumford Mill in 1777 by Richard Arkwright much of the town was rebuilt in the 19th century and remains largely intact which underlies it's historic charm. There is another mill just through the town on the Buxton Road known as Victoria Mill which is listed and now largely converted to residential apartments. It was built c.1800 and was originally a corn mill formerly known as the Victoria Mill, Mill Street. At the rear of the mill is the original water wheel and you can see the force of water that originally powered the milling process.
A market in Bakewell dates back to 1254 and resulted in Bakewell developing as a local trading centre. Nowdays Bakewell has two main markets. The regular Monday market and the monthly Farmers Market which now ranks as the 2nd largest farmers market in the UK. The Bakewell Farmers Market takes place on the last Saturday of the month and reinforces Bakewell's reputation as being a bit of a foodie hotspot in the Peak District.
A foodie hub
One of Bakewell's hidden foodie gems is Hartingtons School of Food which is also located in Rutland Mill. This is also located within the historic Rutland Mill and is one of the UKs premier Artisan School of Food. It also hosts one of the UKs largest craft beer brewing schools Brew-School and regularly welcomes brewing students from across the globe.
Bakewell Farmers Market
As I've already mentioned the Bakewell Farmers Market is a mecca for foodies far and wide. The monthly Saturday market now features over 80 artisan food and drink producers. To find out the dates of Bakewell Farmers Market then visit the Derbyshire Dales website. What are my favourite stalls to visit on Bakewell Farmers Market? This is difficult because having organised artisan food fairs for many years I would hate to offend anybody by missing them out but these are some of the stalls not to be missed.
Stalls not to be missed
The Loaf is an artisan baker from Critch producing a range of artisan loafs including their delicious range of sourdoughs. You must try their Critch Special or the fig loaf. Their take on the classic portorguese mini tart the pastel de nata are devine. If you want to spice up your food pay a visit to Glynn at the Fruit & Herb Company. Glynn who is not only the happiest and friendliest guy at the market has a passion for his craft of flavoured oils, vinergar dressings and chutneys. If you are looking at tasty spicey or authentic indian cookery try Vipan at the Tasty Samosas Company with his gujarati indian food cooked at home by his mum. If you have never tasted an indian dessert make sure you try his Shrikhand made of yoghurt, cardamon and saffron. For more on the range of food stails available at Bakewell Farmers Market.
Are you a pudding or a tart?
History of the Bakewell Pudding
Bakewell is of course famous for it's Bakewell Pudding NOT the Bakewell Tart which has been a modern day introduction by the likes of Mr Kipling. The Bakewell Pudding was one of those historic accidents that has ended up creating a worldwide phenomenon. The story goes that back in 1826 the landlady of what now is the Rutland Arms (the largest hotel in Bakewell) supposedly left instructions with her head cook to make a jam tart. The cook rather than stirring the eggs and almond paste into pastry mixture spread it on top of the jam. Apparently, this culinary catastrophe went down well with the regulars of what was then the Rutaland Arm Inn. It became a regular fixture by popular demand on the Inns menu and over time it's reputation has gained national and international recognition.
PDO classification for the Bakewell Pudding
Despite moves to obtain a PDO classification for the humble Bakewell Pudding at the turn of the millenium politics and infighting amongst the local producers and a failure to agree on a common recipe ajd way forward resulted in the process failing to complete. A shame as potentially Bakewell Puddings can be produced anywhere and to any recipe. As you might suspect Bakewell Puddings and Tarts are available within the numerous cafe and restaurants within the town. However, if you think that each coffee shop produces their own unique version think again. There are 2 possibly 3 main producers of the pudding in the town: Bloomers, Bakewell Bakery (The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop). Both bakeries produces the pudding in large numbers in their bakeries located in Bakewell but just outside the town. If you are desperate to get your hands on one but don't leave near Bakewell you can even get one sent out in the post with Bloomers post a pudding service. The Bakewell Pudding is truely an international brand as is born out by the recent success of Bloomers exporting almost 15,000 Bakewell Puddings to a high end Japanese department store. So moving on to the nitty gritty of who produces the best Bakewell Pudding. this is controversal as both bakers claim to have access to the original secret recipe handed down by ancestors of Ann Greaves. Both may be right?!
Places to eat and drink in Bakewell
We all know that finding nice places to eat and drink are a massive part of making your holiday a truly enjoyable experience and luckily the Peak District and Bakewell have some fabulous places to eat and drink.
Bakewell Coffee Shops & Tea Rooms
For the perfect cappuccino and to watch the world go buy go to Lime Lounge on Bridge Street just over the pack horse bridge. Coffee by Heavenly Coffee Company and it really is good! If you are looking for a warm welcome and a good value spot of lunch where the locals go pop in to Upstairs Cafe (location clue is in the name) immediately right over the pedestrian bridge over the river. Lunches start from just over £6 and use great local produce including Bloomers ham and pies and always expect a warm welcome from John Redfern the proprietor. John will alsways have lots of gossip and information about the latest happenings in Bakewell so be sure to ask him. Early mornings in Bakewell before 9.30 am it can be difficult to find somewhere to get a cup of tea, coffee or a bite to eat because most coffee shops don't open until 10. The one place that is open earlier and later than the other coffee shops is the Costa Coffee at 15 King St, Bakewell DE45 1DZ just up from the Rutland Arms Hotel. It may be a chain but it does have more extensive opening times.
Tucked away in Hebden Court just off Matlock Street is the Lavender Tea Rooms which specialises in vintage teas and has a lovely sitting out area should the sun decide to make an appearance. It is small and popular so during peak holiday season in Bakewell make sure you get there with time to spare.
Bakewell has some lovely pubs to spend an enjoyable evening supping a nice local ale Peak Ales and Thornbridge are both Bakewell based breweries). If you are into “supping” a decent pint then do try the Peacock which also does decent food even if it’s not the cheapest place to eat. For those prepared to walk a little further do try the Manners Hotel under the stewardship of Brian Moran, a well respected local chef. The pub serves a well pulled pint of Robinsons and some very tasty and good value pub food.
In fairness Bakewell is probably not ladened with high quality restaurants being more orientated to day trippers and day time eating. However one place of note if you like classic French food is the husband and wife team at Piedaniels. Eric from Normandy cooks classically tasty French food at a surprisingly affordable price. There is also Rileys which produce classic English food with a bit of a modern twist. If you are looking for the best food locally and are prepared to drive 10 minutes to Baslow there is the Cavendish Hotel or Fischer’s the only Michelin starred restaurant in the Peak District.
More coming soon....