As a weekend excursion from London, I traveled with my family to Bakewell, a small town in Derbyshire in the heart of Peak District National Park. It was their first trip to the United Kingdom, and my parents were eager to see the countryside of this region as well as the grand estate of Chatsworth House, the setting of Pemberly in Joe Wright’s 2005 film adaptation, Pride and Prejudice (also my mother’s favorite Jane Austen novel).
We took to our destination by public transportation, setting off at London’s St. Pancras to catch the East Midlands train to Chesterfield. From there, a 12 minute walk through town brought us to the 170 Hulleys of Baslow bus stop to Rutland Square in Bakewell. In total, the trip from London took about four hours.
Where to stay:
Although tired, we were met with warm hospitality by our Bed and Breakfast hosts, John and Marie, of Melbourne House. The rate for a double room is 70 GBP/night.
A short distance from the town’s center, the rooms within were clean, comfortable, and spacious. Each morning, we were cooked a full breakfast, consisting of eggs, ham, sausages, tomatoes, mushrooms, and toast, accompanied by coffee or tea.
Bakewell is best discovered through its many walking paths. Traversing along the bank of River Wye, through the many gardens and footpaths over the rolling fields of green, brought us to stunning pastoral scenery.
After hours on foot, we rewarded ourselves with the famous Bakewell pudding at the “Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop.” I can’t claim for sure if this recipe was created here. But I will say that eating their Bakewell pudding was a delectable treat that everyone in my family loved. Bakewell Pudding is an English pastry that has a base layer of jam and topped with an egg and almond paste filling.
Food options for dinner were plentiful during our weekend stay. Our favorite pub that served generous portions and good pints of beer was the kitchen and bar of the Peacock Inn. There are options for a variety of palates; the menu offers a wide spectrum of choices from classic pub fish and chips to Krahi curry with naan.
The old part of the bar dates back 200 years, and their selection of local ales from Bakewell brewers and peak ales were quite delicious. My favorite was the Chatsworth Gold, a beer made with honey from the Chatsworth Estate.
Visit to Chatsworth House:
One cannot leave Bakewell without visiting the home of Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. From Bakewell, we caught the hourly bus that picks up passengers at town center, Rutland Square, and took it to the Estate for the opening at 11am. The House, passed down through 16 generations, has over 30 rooms to explore. These rooms are connected by staircases, hallways, and corridors that leave viewers in awe by the art on its walls and ceilings. Within, Chatsworth contains the masterpieces of Rembrant, Reynolds, and Veronese, among others.
The gardens are just as beautiful outside. We spent a lot of time just walking through the grounds, with highlights that include the Emperor Fountain, the Greenhouse, Salisbury Lawns, the Cascade, and the Maze.
With only a weekend, we just saw a small piece of the beauty within the Peak District. But it was well worth the effort. I am already awaiting to return to see more.
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Author: Jenifer Lam
Featured Photo: Flick – John Dalkin