Danny and I paid a visit to Bakewell back in early February. It is a picturesque little village, nestled away in the Peak District, and made famous by its delectable Bakewell Pudding.
I love places that have hung on to their ancient roots and haven’t got swept away with a need to modernise, and Bakewell is one such place. It does have supermarkets and other 21st century shops but they are cleverly and unobtrusively disguised within the historic buildings of Bakewell so that none of it’s Derbyshire charm is lost.
Bakewell is a market town and is situated on the banks of the River Wye, which meanders peacefully through the centre of the town. The town is so ancient that it was even mentioned in the Domesday Book in 1085; it was known back then as Badequella, which means ‘Bath-well’.
Naturally the moment we arrived we headed straight to a tea room and ordered a couple of Bakewell tarts. Despite popular belief, it is actually Bakewell Puddings that the town is famous for; the Bakewell Tart is a different version of the famous pudding and an entirely different confection altogether.
For those non-English readers, a Bakewell pudding is an English dessert which consists of flaky pastry, a layer of jam and an egg and almond paste filling. Bakewell tarts (which we had) consist of shortcrust pastry, with a layer of jam and a sponge filling with almonds. Delicious in whichever form you pick!
A number of Bakewell tea shops claim to offer the original Bakewell Pudding recipe but unfortunately there is no way of knowing which is the true claimant. We visited the Lavender Tea Rooms, which doesn’t claim to have the original recipe but was just very pretty!
After satisfying our stomachs we dawdled around some of the shops and enjoyed the little nooks and crannies that we found. Bakewell holds a number of interesting events during the year, including an enormous Agricultural show in August, an Arts Festival (also in August) and the Peak Literary Festival in Spring and Autumn each year. They also hold a Carnival procession in July so there are lots of activities which would be fun to become involved with.
Finally, and most importantly, Jane Austen visited Bakewell in 1811! It even gets a mention in chapter 43 of Pride and Prejudice as the town from which Elizabeth travelled to get to Pemberley. Jane stayed at the Rutland Arms and apparently revised some of her manuscripts for Pride and Prejudice to include some of the Derbyshire beauty spots that she encountered in her travels. If it’s good enough for Jane it’s good enough for me.
True to form, after leaving Bakewell, we went to Pemberley ourselves! A perfect end to a very happy outing, and one that I would highly recommend.