Bakewell – The History
In our latest blog post, we take a look at Bakewell, in the heart of the Peak District.
Bakewell is a small market town in the centre of the Peak District, set on the banks of the River Wye. The town developed around several thermal springs which attracted Iron Age settlers. It is mentioned in the Domesday book at ‘Badequella’ or ‘Bath-well’, but the town would always have struggled to develop as a spa town. At only 11ºC, the temperature was half that of the spring in Buxton. Later, the town became fortified, with reminders of this being the Castle Inn on Castle Street, as well as ‘Castle Hill’ across the river.
Nowadays the town is a main administrative centre but is perhaps most famous for its Bakewell Pudding. The story goes that a hotel cook at the Rutland Arms accidentally invented the recipe in about 1860. The cook misunderstood her instructions and spread the egg mixture on top of the jam, rather than stirring it into the pastry. Inadvertently she created a local delicacy which is available widely. However, this may not be the complete trut. There were other similar recipes going back to 1835 and 1849 for a Buxton pudding, and a Derbyshire pudding. However, today it’s very much Bakewell’s Pudding regardless of history! One thing to note is that the Pudding shouldn’t be confused with the Tart. It may carry the name of Bakewell but has no association with the town.
The Rutland Arms has some more history to it – it is thought that Jane Austen stayed here and that nearby Chatsworth was the setting for the big house of ‘Pemberley’ in Pride and Prejudice.
Things To Do in Bakewell
Today, there is lots to do in Bakewell, with many shops, cafes, pubs, and gift shops. There is a Co-Op in the centre of town, and also a tourist information. There is plenty of parking, which is clearly signed from all directions. Other things to do include the Old House Museum where you can find out more about the history of the town, but it’s the day to day events that draw in the crowds.
Bakewell Market takes place every Monday, with a Farmer’s Market held on the last Saturday of each month. Bakewell Carnival is the first Saturday in July at the end of Carnival week, but perhaps most famous is the annual Agricultural and Horticultural Show. Held on the first Wednesday and Thursday in August, it attracts thousands of visitors. Staged in 32 acre grounds close to the town centre, it hosts a superb programme of events and displays.
Walks Around Bakewell
If you’re heading to the Peaks and staying in Bakewell, it’s a great place for walking. There’s plenty from the door, or being centrally located you can get to the best parts easily. We can help you with our personalised walk guides – click here for more details.