A day trip to the Peak District – Matlock Bath and Bakewell

A day trip to the Peak District – Matlock Bath and Bakewell

We woke up on Easter Sunday having received an very generous visit from the Easter Bunny. We had also been paid a visit by spring! Having had the worse weather over the past few weeks, the sun was finally shining so we decided last minute to make the hours drive to the Peak District National Park.

I’m ashamed to admit that even though we have this gorgeous part of the world on our doorstep. We very rarely visit.

We made our way to Matlock Bath, this historic spa town is home to the lofty Heights of Abraham, Gullivers Kingdom, amusement arcades and almost as many fish and chip shops as people. It’s a little like the Scarborough of the Derbyshire Dales. Parking is a bit of a nightmare in Matlock Bath but we managed to get parked on the main street for free.

Our priority as always was food! So we headed for the nearest fish and chip shop. Where we ordered jacket potatoes, yes I know. After a simple and delicious lunch we headed for the Matlock Bath Aquarium. L was super keen to visit because he was convinced there would be sharks.

Matlock Bath Aquarium is located on the high street and has to be the quaintest, cutest and generally curious Aquarium we’ve ever visited. At just £3 per person we didn’t know what to expect. Don’t be fooled by the word aquarium, this little place has more than just fish. Under one roof you’ll find 50 species of fish, Matlocks fascinating petrifying well, one of Europe’s largest collections of holograms and a huge thermal pool filled with giant Koi Carp. Sadly no sharks though.

We absolutely loved visiting the aquarium. There is a hint of Victoriana and endless amounts of charm.

We couldn’t escape with out a visit to the penny arcades. L is a huge fan of the arcades and he definitely has the knack when it comes to winning.

We decided at that point that we’d head the 9 miles to Bakewell. As the name suggests this town is the birthplace of the Bakewell Pudding (later developed into the Bakewell Tart). We parked in the cattle market after scrambling for change, then headed over the stunning medieval five arch bridge that traverses the River Wye into town.

We had one thing on our minds, and that was coffee and cake. Firstly L insisted on visiting the first sweet shop we came across. This cute little traditional sweet shop was filled to the brim with treats. The usually very indecisive L knew exactly what he wanted though, Lemon Sherbets!

Bakewell is rich with Tearooms, independent shops, bookshops and much more. The actual town centre is quite small so it’s perfect for an afternoon visit.

We popped into Bloomers Bakery, who lay claim to the original Bakewell Pudding recipe. Graham ordered a traditional pudding and L went for his favourite, a Bakewell Tart. We decided we’d save these for later and headed to the nearest tea rooms. Unfortunately our experience at Byways Tearoom was not great. Its a lovely little tearoom on the 1st floor of a 17th century cottage but the service was appalling. We ordered three drinks and three cakes and it took nearly an hour to arrive! It was very nice when it did arrive but I don’t think we would return.

We decided that as it was already mid afternoon and we had one more stop on the agenda that we would head off over the amazing lovelocks bridge to the car. Unfortunately the sun had disappeared and a grey gloom had descended.

Last year we visited the stunning Lumsdale Waterfalls which is just outside Matlock. We were keen to visit more falls in the Peak District National Park and I’d read about Swallet Falls and really wanted to visit. We headed off toward the falls, taking in the truly awe inspiring scenery. Green dales, deep valleys and quaint villages.

Swallet Falls are located between the tiny villages of Eyam and Foolow in the Hope Valley. The falls are formed by water running from streams and rainfall into a swallow hole the feeds the vast underground cave networks (I’m no geologist though). There is no parking nearby, you just need to find a safe spot or walk from the villages. The falls are located on private land, I definitely don’t want to encourage you trespass but I think the owners are very used to people exploring the falls. My official recommendation is view them from the road. It’s virtually impossible to get down to the base in the winter. It’s so steep and very dangerous. We enjoyed taking in the grandeur of the falls from the safety of the nearby field.

Time to head home. Taking in more gorgeous scenery along the way. Graham took me to YHA hostel in Eyam where he stayed on a school trip a million moons ago. A little childhood nostalgia!

L was thoroughly exhausted after great day in the Peak District. Thankfully the rain stayed away for us. We really must explore more of this breathtaking part of the world.

Thanks for reading

L x

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