A beautiful place for a wheelchair traveller
111 people found this review helpful
This small ancient market town, snuggling gently by the shallow flowing river Wye, is usually the first signs of the bustling Derbyshire town that is known as the brightest jewel in the crown, of this wonderfully beautiful part of the Derbyshire Dales.
Nestling not sprawling is an apt description as the town hardly covers an area of one square mile in size, despite this, it can boast, more visitor attractions than many a larger towns in England.
This is no idle boast, especially for a wheelchair visitor. It’s secret is in its geography, the whole of the commercial and historical part of the town is flat terrain. The warren of shops in the side streets and courtyards, can cater for the most discerning, eater, drinker or shopper also you will find easy access from these places, to do your sight seeing.
Where to start first is your only concern, I would suggest anyone who will not want to miss anything, will start at the Visitor Centre (Information Office) where you can find experienced staff who can help you plan your day, or holiday, as well and supply you with information on your particular priorities, for your activities.
One tip I would give when you enter the town, is to direct yourself to the local council, free car parks, for Blue Badge Holders, if you are arriving by private car. As I have mentioned, the geographical area of the town, is minimal, as well as level, and you will not have to travel far from a car park to a destination. The easiest place for parking in the town, is to head for the Agricultural Centre, where you will find many acres of car parking space, with a short walk, access to the town centre, 200 to 300 yards. (150 to 200 meters, I would go by meters it’s shorter) by a short bridge over the river Wye, head towards the Co-op go to the right of this shop, down a short road (75metres) ) past the car park, (this car park is municipal also, but houses the market on Mondays, and is usually, notoriously difficult, to get a space at most times of the day) to the Visitor Centre.
What to do! If you feel like some refreshment, either a coffee, snack or a meal, you have the choice of places to choose from, Italian, French, English, German, Swiss, Chinese, in coffee houses, snack bars, pavement cafés, restaurants, hotels, pubs and fresh fish and chip restaurants, most if not all, with take away facilities.
After you are refreshed, how about a short walk, by the riverside, or sit by the water and watch the river go by, along with Ducks, Swans, and a selection of riverside birds, you might see a Kingfisher, or recent visiting Mandarin Ducks, if you can find a quiet spot. The mere sight of a tourist will also bring the biggest Trout you will ever see, to a begging position, for a piece of your Bakewell pudding. Another visitor in the spring summer and autumn, is the “ Owl “ man. In a small clearing by the footpath side of main Bakewell bridge, he will bring a small selection of his birds of prey, for you to admire. This very experienced keeper is a registered breeder of owls and falcons, and also runs a refuge and medical centre injured birds of prey. You may have seen some of his more highly trained owls in the film versions of Harry Potter. Also a few yards on the right, past the above spot, is the delightful riverside garden, to say how many visitors Bakewell attracts, it is a very small and quiet place to catch your breath, before you continue on your way. To continue the riverside walk a couple of hundred meters along, will bring you either back to the town centre, or 50 meters further on. to the park. Within a minuet of reaching the park, the atmosphere will get quieter and as you walk towards the cricket pavilion, if there is not a match in progress, you could watch a quiet game of Croquet, in the shade of the pavilion awning. To continue your walk through the park the landscape opens to reveal more secluded resting places, with lovely views of the quiet gentle riverside. Moving further on the silence will be broken by the chatter of children on the small adventure playground, which on hot days has a multi jet fountain that the children will weave in and out in their playtime, until they are soaked through to the skin, to joy of all, but their parents. To continue on the park path will bring you back to the town centre, maybe purchasing an ice cream from a vendor on the way.
By this time, you maybe ready to part with your money on a spending spree. Or would you rather window shop. Whatever you choose you will be well served by the choice, from fashion of the latest styles, or just a rummage through the local well stocked charity shops, where you can hunt for a bargain for yourself or friend, or you may be looking more carefully for an investment purchase, to sell on eBay, or some antiquities to take to your local Flog It day, or maybe a car boot sale. Whatever your choices you will find 4 charity shops within a few hundred feet (sorry to revert to imperial measurements, but I’m not very well versed in things, metric, my wife says it’s my age). You will find another charity shop a little way up King Street, this is OK if you have someone to help you push up this short incline. It may be that your tastes are more arts crafts and antiques, there is usually craft fairs most weekends, either in the Town Hall, and the Medway Centre, Or other venues such as the Agricultural Centre, also hold car boot sales, every few weeks, also a monthly Farmers Market the last Saturday of every month which is very popular, which local farmers and producers, do a roaring trade with their home grown and quality produce. All these things are happening within a few hundred feet of the town centre. If you happen to be in Bakewell on a Monday, the town is taken over by the historic weekly market day. Over a hundred stalls cover the car park behind the Visitor Centre, along Granby Road, and within the Agricultural Centre, which also houses the animal stock auction sale, where visitors are welcome to attend, the fascinating ritual of selling livestock.
I would now like to give you an overall picture of the main events and features you may wish to explore while you are a visitor In Bakewell, and also give you information you may require if you decide on making Bakewell a base for a longer holiday visit. Some of the things I will be mentioning will be verbatim from the free guides you will find in the Visitor Centre.
What’s On ,and what you may decide to see or watch in the town.
Armed with your Miniguide, you get from the Visitor Centre, you will locate several local sites of interest, Packhorse Bridge, Victoria Mill, Bakewell Bridge, one point about the bridge I must stress, this is not a place to travel across in a wheelchair, the narrow pavement either side is integral to the bridge, and not wide enough for a wheelchair , even a very narrow one, it is really only wide enough for a narrow baby carriage.
Castle Street, an easy short walk along this quiet road leads to Milford, over a small picturesque bridge, along a private road with public access. This will give you an alternative view of the river, following the road, over another small bridge you will reach Victoria Mill, if you turn left down the charming mill stream path, approximately 200 meters later you will be back on Castle Street. Walking away from the ancient bridge down Bridge Street, you will come to Bath Gardens, situated behind the new Town Hall (1860s) where you can find the historic unused Bath House, where the warm spring is housed that gave Bakewell its name.
What’s on throughout the year in Bakewell.
Derbyshire’s Championship Poultry Show. April – Bakewell Food Festival, the last weekend of the month.
Showground Spectacular, first weekend in the month, fun family day out, funfair, food, live entertainment, and more check dates and activities at www.spectacularweekend.com. Also in May, a new event to the town. Dog Agility events staged throuout the month, visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk
Bakewell Baking Festival more details www.bakewellbakingfestival.co.uk. Also in June, the very exciting to children and their fathers, The Wingfield Railway Group – Peak Exhibition, model railway exhibition. More at www.wingfieldrailwaygroup.co.uk. Ashgsate Hospice Celebration – visit www.ashgatehospicevents.co.uk. Another great event in June, featuring man’s best friend, Dogs Unleashed The ultimate dog’s day out, visit www.dogsunleashed.co.uk. The highlight of a great month of events is the International Day of Dance, this day is not to be missed, this exceptional day celebrates the dances of the world from ballet to appellation mountain music and dance, more at www.bakewelldayofdance.co.uk.
Blessing of the Wells is the start of Bakewell Carnival Week. Details of dozens of local villages around Bakewell who create these fabulous dressings from flower petals, depicting historical and religious themes are available from the Visitor Centre. Bakewell Carnival week, the best and biggest carnival in Derbyshire. Fun runs, fell races, pet shows, raft race, duck race (yes duck race) whippet races where any dog who can fit in the traps can take part, don’t miss this event it’s hilarious. The following Saturday is the grand procession, including the May Queens float followed by many others, plus bands and clowns, cumulating in the park, with fairground attractions.
The world renowned Bakewell Show, one of the oldest agricultural shows in the country, a multi spectacular event, not to be missed with free entry for accompanied children under 16. www.bakewellshow.org August follows July for having loads of great attractions for visitors, with the Bakewell Music Festival with great music from a multitude of styles from all over the world. More info at www.bakewellmusicfestival.com.
Bakewell must be the world of dogs favourite holiday venue, Once more September host’s the “Dog Agility “for a weekend of doggy Olympics.
November / December:
Bakewell Christmas Weekend. Switch on of the Christmas lights, and carol singers provide the atmosphere of the season for the seasonal street markets, food and whiskey tasting and will get you in the mood for this family festival of Jesus’ Birthday.
With the weekly traditional markets, monthly farmers markets, craft and gift fairs, www.craftwise.net antique and collectors fairs, www.blueskyantiquesfairs.com car boot sales www.ladymanners.org.uk and on Bakewell Showground. Caravan rallies, www.caravanclub.co.uk.
I hope you have enjoyed reading and finding out further info about the Peak District, and the wheelchar friendly Bakewell.
111 people found this review helpful
This review is solely based on the opinion of a Silver Travel Advisor member and not of Silver Travel Advisor Ltd.