Every June we go to Nottingham for a night to watch an international tennis tournament that is held there as part of the grass court season. We spend one day at the tennis and one day doing something else in the area. This year we decided to spend the day prior to the tennis in the small town of Bakewell in Derbyshire before going onto our hotel in Nottingham.
I had never been to Bakewell before despite it being only 65 miles away from where I live and so I was excited about the prospect of visiting somewhere new. The only thing I knew about the place was that it is famous for Bakewell Pudding, which for those who don’t know is an English dessert made of pastry, jam, egg and almond paste (it’s basically a sugary heaven). I was looking forward to seeing what else Bakewell had to offer and whether it could live up to the positive reviews I had heard about various small Derbyshire towns and villages.
WHAT TO SEE
The two main attractions of Bakewell have to be the All Saints’ Church and the Old House Museum. The All Saints’ Church is a Grade I listed building which is the highest grade a historic building can be given in England and denotes a building of exceptional interest. There are over 9,000 Grade I listed buildings in England and this one is 100% worth seeing. I do enjoy looking at a building or two but it isn’t just the actual Church that makes this worth a visit, it’s also the quaint surrounding roads and cottages that just give it a traditional English village feel. They even still have the red phone boxes which are becoming an increasingly rare sight.
The Old House Museum is only a few minutes walk from the Church (albeit uphill) and is also well worth visiting. At just £5 per adult the entry fee is very reasonable and does allow unlimited admission for 12 months from the date of your ticket. The actual museum building, an old Tudor house, is just as interesting and charming as the exhibits inside. One of the most intriguing things in the museum is the foot of an elephant that is more than 110 years old. The story of the elephant is explained in the museum and it is quite a sad one but there is something nice about the fact that the museum is telling that one elephants story more than a century on. We spent a little more than an hour in the museum so if you have little ones with a shorter attention span or just don’t like huge over bearing museums that take all day to explore then this one is ideal.
There is also Bakewell Bridge which is a medieval five arched bridge that goes over the River Wye and this is yet another Grade I listed building! There is also the typical tourist bridge a little further down the river that is covered in padlocks placed there in the name of love. It was a lovely sunny day when we went and lots of people were sat on benches along the riverside just watching to world go by and enjoying the peace and quiet (if only we could have got a seat!).
WHERE TO EAT
The Bean and Bag – We visited this small café in the centre of Bakewell for lunch and the bill was just £15 for the two of us. This was for a sandwich, soup, two cakes and two drinks. They do also offer afternoon tea which looked fantastic but would have been a little more pricey. We didn’t check Tripadvisor reviews before we went but they are positive and I would agree with that. It’s a small independent café in a great central location and has service with a smile. We managed to get a window seat which is great if you enjoy people watching.
The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop – We couldn’t leave without trying the dessert that Bakewell is famous for and there were so many options of places to go. We opted for here because they had a nice outdoor seating area and as it was a sunny day it seemed like a good choice. The pudding did not disappoint! We ordered a sharing pudding for two and struggled to finish it. It definitely could have fed three or maybe even four! The bill was just £13 for the pudding and 2 drinks which we thought was more than reasonable. As the name suggests, as well as being a small café there is also a shop which sells lots of local products and those famous puddings! Why not take one home with you?!
We parked on the Coombs Road public car park which is a couple of hundred yards from the five arched bridge and just a few minutes walk into the town centre. Pricing was very reasonable as you would expect for a small town. Ideally you do need a car to visit Bakewell as it does not have a train station and so it would be a train to a nearby town such as Matlock and then a bus ride into Bakewell if you were without a car.
BAKEWELL IN A NUTSHELL
With parking costs included the day out in Bakewell cost us just over £40 (for 2 people) which included plenty of food, some beautiful English sights and a great museum visit. It may not be somewhere that you would spend a few days as a tourist but I can’t recommend it highly enough for a day trip (or even half a day). It also comes in at a really affordable price which is always a bonus. I was really happy with the decision of visiting Bakewell and because of its location it is easy to do as a day trip from places like Manchester, Derby, Sheffield and Stoke. If you are after a nice day out, get yourself there!
If you want to read about another day out in an English town, maybe try here.