The picture-perfect town of Bakewell, with its beautiful setting on the River Wye, is often referred to as the ancient capital of the Peak District. It is a relatively small market town with a population of less than 5,000, but its wealth of historic buildings, shops and restaurants make it a very popular destination for visitors to the area. It’s a wonderful place to explore, with pretty riverside walks, old stone cottages, narrow lanes and hidden courtyards.
As you enter Bakewell from the north, take note of the beautiful bridge with its five Gothic arches and triangular quoins. It dates from 1300 and is one of the oldest bridges in England.
Bakewell has a thriving, busy community and the town hosts a number of annual events. Like many Peak District towns and villages, it has a well dressing ceremony every June, as part of which local people decorate the town’s wells and springs with large clay pictures made entirely of natural materials, usually flower petals, leaves, seeds, and pebbles. Carnival week, culminating in a procession through the town, is held at the beginning of July.
The Bakewell Agricultural Show, held every August, is one of the largest agricultural shows in the UK, bringing around 65,000 visitors to the Showground.
Bakewell also hosts an annual Arts Festival every August, as well as the Peak Literary Festival in Spring and Autumn. The town’s literary connections include its setting as Lambton in Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice.
The Christmas Market brings the town square to life every December with festive food, craft and gift stalls.
Bakewell is close to the tourist attractions of Chatsworth House, Haddon Hall and Arbor Low. The nearby Monsal Trail is a traffic-free walking, cycling and horse-riding route out of the town into some of the most stunning scenery in the Peak District.
Bakewell to Ashford-in-the-Water Walk
To explore further, why not try our beautiful Bakewell to Ashford-in-the-Water walk (6 miles)? It takes you along the banks of the River Wye from Bakewell into the picture-perfect village of Ashford-in-the-Water. From there the route heads up through pastureland onto the Monsal Trail, before returning on quiet field paths to Bakewell.