Day 5 – Bakewell, Chatsworth House (Wed June 26)
Today was a lot less driving, just up into the Peak District. We drove to the tourist town of Bakewell. I could try to describe, but wouldn’t come close to this description from a Daily Telegraph article:
“It is lucky, in a way, that puddings put Bakewell on the map as, without them, it is the original one-horse town. This is Middle England as we know, love and, occasionally, mock it. The town is certainly quaint, with its undulating streets and its cobbles and its weather-worn cottages overgrown with ivy. In the right light, the grey stone buildings have a ghostly quality, almost as if they have been frozen in time.”
In addition to all that, there are many hiking trails from town, a lovely river flowing along the edge (full of HUGE trout that no one is allowed to catch) and a 10th century church on top of the hill. The church was started in 920, pre-Norman. The age of things in Europe never ceases to amaze me. As we were leaving the church, many townspeople where gathering for a funeral, which was interesting to see. We wandered down to the river, around through town, back along the river and walking trails into town and made our way to ‘The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop’ for lunch and the obligatory ‘Bakewell Pudding’ and ‘Bakewell Tart.’ (We got a small of each and split them) After lunch (and a pint from the local Thornbridge Brewery) we slowly walked back to our car and headed over to Chatsworth House.
Chatsworth House is owned by one of the few Dukes in the country and is pretty amazing. We took the house tour and roamed the gardens for a few hours. The family is rich beyond imagining, collects lots of art, and is a group of hoarders. Sure, what they hoard is worth a lot and they have a monstrous house to store it in, but I can spot hoarders when I see them. The photo of the digital color display and the roman bath typifies this. The house is crammed with art and art-like-objects. (PBS did a special on Chatsworth House right after we got home and it was fascinating – JFKs sister married the Duke and is buried there)
The gardens and grounds were worth the price alone. The Cascade (1696) was very cool, along with the rock garden (a huge, constructed garden), maze (which we didn’t find the center of, we gave up!), fountains & pools. After leaving the grounds, we walked up the Hunting Tower for even better views across the valley. It is privately owned and there was a small party going on while we sat up there.
A short drive back to Sheffield, made longer by getting lost, got us back in time for dinner with Vanessa at the Blue Moon Café –a vegetarian break from steak pies & sausages.
Link to the Daily Telegraph article about Bakewell: