Bakewell is the only market town within the Peak District National Park boundary and its attractive courtyards, independent shops, cafés and its location on the River Wye make it a hugely popular destination for tourists to the Peak District.
Named after Badeca's well, indicating the importance of the springs, Bakewell almost became a spa town. The Bath House, built by the Duke of Rutland in 1697, still retains the original 16ft x 33ft bath in the cellar. However, the temperature of the water would always have been against the town's development as a spa – at only 11ºC/52ºF, it was less then half the temperature of the spring at neighbouring Buxton! You can see the tufa rock formed by the spring water in the walls of the porch in front of the building.
Bakewell is best known for a confection made by mistake. In the 19th century a cook at the Rutland Arms was baking a jam tart but misunderstood the recipe and so Bakewell Pudding was created. Now almost every visitor to the town samples this culinary delight. The fine spire of All Saints Church looks down on the town, where there are some grand old houses, notably the Market Hall, The Old Town Hall and the Almshouses on South Church Street. The ancient five arched bridge is much painted by artists, upstream from this is the ancient packhorse bridge near Holme Hall. New buildings in the 1990's have generated much interest, including the Agricultural Business Centre, which replaced the old cattle market that dominated the centre of the town for over 600 years.
Things to do
The Annual Bakewell Show is now much more than just an Agricultural event, held over two days in early August it attracts thousands of visitors. Bakewell is never quiet for long; Well Dressings, Carnival Week and an Arts Festival are all important dates in the calendar. The riverside walk from the bridge downstream to the Recreation Ground has been popular to generations of visitors, who have stopped to feed the ducks. The Old House Museum behind the church houses, occupies one of the oldest buildings in Bakewell and dates back to 1543. It gives a fascinating glimpse into the towns past. Market Day is on Monday, when the town is at its' busiest. Farmers Markets are held in the Agricultural Business Centre on the last Saturday each month.
For more details on visiting Bakewell visit http://www.visitpeakdistrict.com/