Looking for activities, attractions and things to do in Bakewell? Read on…
Idyllically situated on the banks of the River Wye, Bakewell is a lovely market town for an afternoon stroll past mellow stone buildings to quaint courtyards showcasing local art work, before popping into a cosy café for a pot of tea and slice of Bakewell pudding.
This article contains affiliate links. Should you click to purchase, it is at no additional cost to you, but I receive a small commission.
It’s the most popular (and busiest) town within the Peak District National Park. But if you’re looking for things to do in the Peak District with kids, Bakewell makes for a lovely stop after a family walk.
A top local tip: don’t try and park in Bakewell town centre, especially on a weekend or during the school holidays. Instead, head to the car park next to the Agricultural Business Centre (click here for location). A short footpath leads you back into town.
Here are our top things to do in Bakewell:
1. Eat Bakewell Pudding
Bakewell Puddings are what has put the market town of Bakewell on the map, and you can’t visit Bakewell without trying one. It would be like going to Brighton and not having a stick of rock, or going to Grimsby and not having fish. And sorry Mr Kipling, your Bakewell ‘tart’ recipe just isn’t right.
There are a handful of bakeries selling the famous pudding, and it is questionable as to which is the original. Your pick of which one to go to may simply come down to which one has the shortest queue if visiting at the weekend or during school holidays.
In all honestly, my kids don’t really like Bakewell Puddings (and neither do I… shhhhhh!) But the bakeries offer lots of alternative cakes and treats if you also fall into this category.
2. Visit All Saints Church
Perched on the hillside overlooking the town centre, All Saints Church is one of the finest medieval parish churches in England, with a history dating back to the Saxon period. Even that church was probably not the first, for the area was settled by Roman Christians as early as the 2nd century.
It is absolutely beautiful and bursting with history. The Saxon carved stones in the doorway are especially interesting. More historical background to the church can be found here.
This is also the starting point of our Bakewell to Ashford-in-the-Water walk.
3. Let off steam at Bakewell Recreation Ground
If you’re visiting Bakewell with kids, there’s a huge recreation ground for kicking a ball around and generally letting off some steam. It’s a fab place to bring a picnic (including treats picked up from the bakery).
Here you will also find two tennis courts, a cricket pitch, a marked football pitch, and a fantastic playground complete with outdoor splash area for a warm summers day. The splash play area is open 1 April to 1 September and available 7 days a week 10 am to 5 pm with a one hour break (12.30 – 1.30).
4. Visit the outdoor and livestock market
Bargains galore are on offer every Monday at the bustling outdoor market. Give the kids a shopping list and allow them to shop for all the items (amount of supervision will obviously depend on the child and their age).
For an extra buzz, head for the livestock market to experience the action in the theatre-like auction ring! This Farmers Market is generally held on the last Saturday of the month and includes over 70 stalls. Check here for dates and times. It is the second largest in the country (Winchester has the top spot).
5. Pop to one (or more!) of Bakewell’s pubs
There are no less that 9 pubs and bars in Bakewell town centre, and each one is very different to the next:
- The Manners (click here for website)
Slightly out of town on the Matlock Road this small and local pub has a small kid’s play area at the back and quirky outdoor seating. There is parking behind the pub.
- The Woodyard (click here for website)
Built in 1810 as a marble works The Woodyard has a long history in Bakewell, and is now a restaurant / bar serving fantastic woodfire pizzas. Cocktails are two for £12 from 5pm to 7pm every day. A bit pricier than the pubs, but a classier vibe.
- The Castle (click here fore website)
A characterful and spacious pub next to the main bridge in Bakewell. Serves classic pub grub quickly, but the range of beers on tap is limited.
- The Queen’s Arms (check their Facebook page)
A popular haunt for locals. For a tourist town, this feels exceptionally un-touristy.
- The Peacock (click here for website)
Oozing with character and charm with a good menu and an extensive selection of beers; the landlord is a character unto himself. The old-school juke box is a nice touch.
- The Wheatsheaf (click here for website)
Part of the Wheatsheaf chain where kids eat free (for under 8’s when ordered with an adult main meal). It’s a polished chain pub, that’s airy, with good décor, and friendly staff.
- The Red Lion (click here for website)
The oak beams and stained glass windows add to the charm of this 17th Century Coaching Inn, popular with locals. The hearty Sunday Roasts are worth the visit alone.
- Joiners Arms (check their Facebook page)
A specialist ale bar where the beers on tap are always changing, showcasing local specialities, including a superb gin menu. The contemporary vibe is a refreshing change for the Peak District.
- Rutland Arms (click here for website)
It’s class and elegance all the way with this Bakewell high-brow institution. The high end customer service, is the perfect end (or perhaps start) to any Bakewell pub crawl.
6. Afternoon Tea at The Rutland Arms
With it’s contemporary twist on the history of this 19th century coaching inn, The Rutland Arms is the perfect spot for Afternoon Tea.
Available from 2pm to 6pm every day (pre-booking is advised), The Rutland Arms offer classic cream teas from £7.50pp as well as traditional afternoon tea from £17.00pp. For those special occasions you can add a glass of fizz from £7pp.
They also do a fantastic breakfast. The eggs florentine are a personal favourite.
7. Feed the ducks at Lovelock Bridge
Since 2012, lovers have attached engraved locks to the pedestrian bridge in Bakewell to declare their commitment to one another, and it’s now become part of local wedding ceremonies. You can purchase a lock and get it engraved from the engravers in the town. However, this is no longer recommended for environmental reasons.
Instead, take some frozen peas down to the bridge to check out the locks and feeds the ducks there. Alternatively, grab some fish ‘n’ chips from Bakewell Fish Restaurant to enjoy along the river. There are a handful of benches to perch.
Then take a short stroll up to Bakewell Bridge, a medieval five-arched stone bridge.
8. Wander around Bakewell Old House Museum
Set in a Tudor House, this award winning museum tells the story of the Peak District. From Tudor artefacts found encased in the walls, to Macedonian ceremonial swords to an elephant’s foot, there are all sorts hidden away in every nook and cranny.
The museum is open 11 am to 4 pm daily from March 25th to November 5th. Adults are £5, children (5-16) are £2.50, family ticket is £14. Children under 5 go FREE. Family includes 2 adults and up to 3 children. Tickets are valid for 12 months, so you can visit as many times as you would like within the year. Check the website for up to date opening times and admission prices.
9. Go for a swim at Bakewell Swimming Pool
Bakewell Swimming Pool is situated within the Arcade next to the library. It is a lovely 20 metre by 10 metre pool with lots of fun family sessions on offer.
They run specific family fun sessions, including ‘Floats and Fun’ (with lots of floats and small inflatables in the pool) and ‘Toddler Splash’ (a session for parents with children under 5 years). There is also ‘Aquarun’, which is extremely fun.
Please visit their website to check opening and session times.
10. Cycle or walk the Monsal Trail
Bakewell also marks the start of the Monsal Trail, which runs along the former Midland Railway line for 8.5 miles to Chee Dale. This traffic free gravel path is a popular cycle and walking track and is our favourite family cycle trail in the Peak District. If you haven’t got your own bikes, these can be hired at nearby Hassop Station Bike Hire. There’s also an excellent cafe with play area here.
Everything you need to know about cycling the Monsal Trail with kids can be found here.
11. Walk to Ashford-in-the-Water
Our Bakewell to Ashford-in-the-Water walk (7km), starts from All Saints Church in Bakewell, and follows the River Wye to the picture-perfect village of Ashford-in-the-Water. It then leads you up into the hills along a quiet track for superb views down into the village, to then cross open meadows back to Bakewell.
It’s worth timing your walk with a pub lunch at The Bulls Head in Ashford-in-the-Water, or grabbing a tea and cake at Aisseford Tea Room. Or you may just want to pop to the Ashford village playground to let the kids run riot and enjoy a picnic at one of the picnic tables.
Click here for full details of this walk.
12. Walk to Haddon Hall
Haddon Hall is a fortified medieval manor house dating from the 12th century, just outside Bakewell, and is the home of Lord and Lady Edward Manners whose family have owned it since 1567. If you would like to go into Haddon Hall and have a look around, you need to purchase a ticket (visit the Haddon Hall website). Children under 16 are free, but adult tickets are £23.90. There’s a 30% discount for Derbyshire residents.
Our Bakewell to Haddon Hall walk leads you along the picturesque River Wye. For a circular return to Bakewell, the walk then leads you up into rolling hills for lovely views back to Haddon Hall and then back down into Bakewell via the cemetery.
Click here for full details of this walk.
13. Walk to Chatsworth
Our picturesque Bakewell to Chatsworth walk is one of our longer family walks in the Peak District. It will lead you through pretty woodland to the sweeping open pastures of the Chatsworth Estate, where you’ll perhaps spot deer and sheep, then along the River Derwent, before heading to Edensor for cake at the tea room, and back over to Bakewell.
The walk can be muddy and slippy through the woodland, so please wear appropriate footwear, and there are steep climbs in places. Allow a good five hours to enjoy the walk with kids, but in the summer months, this walk can easily fill a whole day.
And if everyone is feeling energetic, you may want to extend this Bakewell walk to include our Chatsworth Hunting Tower and Aqueduct walk. This leads you behind Chatsworth House to the magical woodland of Stand Wood (we also have a pram friendly Stand wood walk). Although make sure you have enough steam for the climb up from Edensor to Bakewell (cake helps).
Click here for full details of this walk.
Things to do near to Bakewell
Interesting places not far from Bakewell include:
- Thornbridge Hall Gardens in Ashford-in-the-Water – fantastic café and outdoor play area where kids can paddle in the fountain and hook a rubber duck, as well as the stunning gardens to explore.
- Haddon Hall (2km away) – a 900 year old stately home which retains many original features and is open to visitors. Explore the medieval kitchens, chapel and chambers before wandering around the exquisite Elizabethan walled gardens. Family events are often held in the school holidays.
- Lathkill Dale (4km away) – a stunning picnic spot along the River Lathkill. You may want to try this Lathkill Dale walk from Monyash, or this Over Haddon walk to Lathkill Dale.
- Chatsworth House (5km away) – Another grand estate in the Peak District, but on a much bigger scale. The grounds are free to walk (and drive) through, and as mentioned above, you can even walk to Chatsworth from Bakewell. Families may want to make a beeline for the Farmyard and Adventure Playground, or try our Chatsworth Hunting Tower and Aqueduct walk.
- Peak Adventure (6.5km away) – indoor play centre for a rainy day.
Where to stay in Bakewell?
For families, our top recommendation is Haddon Grove holiday cottages, managed by Bakewell Retreats, just 2.5 miles out of Bakewell along the road to Monyash. Set amongst picturesque farmland, there’s a beautful remoteness here, yet still with the conveniences of Bakewell down the road. The heated indoor swimming pool, games room, and small playground, make it a winner for kids!