Travel: Bakewell – the land  of puddings and tarts

The River Wye at Bakewell
The River Wye at Bakewell
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This picturesque town in the Peak District is a treat for those visitors with a sweet tooth

Bakewell has been a name that has long been familiar to me in a pleasing manner, perhaps I am thinking of the delightful Bakewell Tarts and Cherry Bakewells...

Bakewell Tart

Bakewell Tart

But the cakes actually originate from a small town called Bakewell, situated in the picturesque Peak District, Derbyshire.

Hodder Travel, which operates coach trips from the east Lancashire area, was offering an excursion to Bakewell – a place I had never visited.

So, one bank holiday, my mum and I embarked on such a journey to this popular tourist spot.

Traffic ran smoothly until we entered the boundary of the popular Peak District.

Bakewell Pudding Factory

Bakewell Pudding Factory

And then there was a queue of cars heading much of the way into Bakewell.

It was a bank holiday after all and it appeared everyone had the same idea.

Lovely hot day, time off work and school – let’s go to Bakewell.

Normally, I find busy roads stressful when driving, and then there’s the matter of trying to finding a parking place.

The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop

The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop

Today, however, there was no such issue.

Sitting back in my comfortable seat, looking out of the window at the beautiful Peak District scenery, I left such traffic concerns to the coach driver.

Despite the delay, we arrived in plenty of time for lunch, sightseeing and a bite to eat before heading home.

Ready for a cup of tea and even more so for a slice of Bakewell Tart (what else?!), we picked a small contemporary but cosy vegetarian cafe and gift shop called Because I Like It.

All Saints Church

All Saints Church

Despite the fact Bakewell is not a large town, and despite the fact the town was heaving with day-trippers and tourists (there also seemed to be a large proportion of canine companions too – it is, after all, in the midst of walker’s paradise aka the Peak District), it still felt as if we were spoilt for choice when it came to eateries.

Obviously, Bakewell Tart was a must-have for lunch – but what was this Bakewell Pudding I kept seeing?

We stuck to ‘just’ the Bakewell Tart, although maybe for reasons of writing this review, I should have sampled the pudding too...

Anyway, once refreshed with the local delicacy – with the famous layers of jam and frangipane and almond covering – we had a wander around town.

And after a little shopping, it was time for culture.

All Saints Parish Church is a venue of much interest.

Dating from the 13th and 14th centuries, but originally founded in Anglo-Saxon times, the current church was mostly rebuilt in the 1840s.

Amongst its historical curiosities are a 14th century font and a parish chest dating from the same period.

The originator of Bakewell Pudding, Ann Greaves, is also buried here. (It seems the puddings were first made by accident around 1860).

Interestingly, the west wall and the first set of nave arches are the only remains from the 1100s Norman Church.

A craft fair, five minutes away from the town centre, was our next port of call. Walking through a delightful small park to get to the fair, we meandered around the stalls where there were many quality handmade goods for sale.

Back in the town centre, we ventured into The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop, a large establishment combining an upstairs restaurant, a deli and cafe, complete with outside sitting area.

We opted for quiche and salad, eating it outside in the pleasant courtyard.

And it was scrumptious.

According to the Pudding Shop’s website, the cafe was once a cottage, lived in by a Mrs Wilson, wife of a tallow chandler.

She obtained the recipe of the Bakewell pudding and began to sell them.

The building is believed to have been built in the 1600s and originally owned by the Duke of Rutland.

We didn’t go into the Bakewell Pudding Factory, although I was intrigued by the sign.

A pudding parlour, how quaint and old-fashioned!

Another point of interest is the 1200s five-arched bridge which crosses the River Wye and was widened in the 19th century. It’s also possible to stroll along the river, although we did not have the time.

I usually drive to places but taking a coach trip is a relaxing way to travel, especially to places which are further afield. No worries about driving or parking, just time to concentrate on sight-seeing.

I would definitely go back to Bakewell. It’s obvious why it’s so popular, it’s a lovely little town full of character.

And I haven’t sampled all of the town’s heritage yet, most importantly, the Bakewell Pudding!

Hodder Travel picks up and drops off passengers in the East Lancashire area, including Chatburn, Clitheroe and Whalley.

Prices vary according to trip. Bakewell cost £17 for adults and £11 for children.

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