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After journeying to this picturesque region of England, park up on the high street and wander to The Bakewell Tart Shop and Coffee House. The famous traditional Bakewell Tart consists of pastry, eggs, jam, sugar, ground almonds and margarine. The exact secret recipe is locked away from public knowledge; however, it’s no mystery that whatever’s in them keeps the shop bustling with people. The shop is fairly narrow but don’t let that put you off as what waits inside is worth the polite shuffling around fellow visitors. Go ahead and treat yourself to a special, large tart from the right-hand side of the shop which always looks amazing, stocked well with all the varieties. The lemon bakewell, the jam and coconut bakewell or the chocolate-dipped flapjacks are highly recommended.
Foodies like several things when they dine out: variety on the menu, reasonable prices, large portions and friendly staff. The Grouse and Claret excels on all counts. The classic British dish of fish and chips complete with mushy peas, or the gammon steak and fried egg accompanied by sweet potato chips, are the perfect dishes to complete a day in the Peak District.
The Grouse and Claret, Station Road, Rowsley, UK, +44 1629 733233
To engage with the local art scene, head to The Buxton Pavilion Gardens, 23 acres of sculpted lakes, bridges, a bandstand, flowers, lush green grass and dawdling ducks. It caters well for families; benches and sculptures for parents, an adventure playground for the young ones and as for the older siblings, the outdoor gym equipment serves as the perfect cover for when they want to join in on the playground should anyone turn and look! The gardens are home to the Gallery in the Gardens. Here, the work of 40 High Peak Artists are displayed and if you’re lucky you might even be able to meet the artist/craftsperson if they happen to be staffing the gallery the day you visit. The area is world-renowned for its beauty, and local artists and craftspeople take great inspiration from what they see around them. From paintings to turned wood, look out for the patterns, colours and emotions inspired by the surroundings. It is also worth wandering to the Art Café and admiring the work of exhibitors such as professional silk painter, Pauline Townsend, who creates colourful silk pieces, as well as fused glass jeweller Sally Bristow, who makes unique glass necklaces.
When my family first holidayed in the Peak District, we took a trip to the Blue John Cavern. As a child, I was quite scared of the narrow, winding stairs and truth be told found the whole experience a bit claustrophobic. However, now that I’m an adult, I’d like to think I’m a little braver and perhaps it would be good to give the geological history talk another go. For those who shudder at the thought of caves but like minerals and rocks and want to see some Blue John up close, there’s no need to fret. Make a trip to visit the Buxton Museum and Art Gallery, where you can view mineral collections of Blue John and Ice Age animal remains from caves in the Peak District. You can also find out details about local social history to find out how people in the Peak District used to live and how this has impacted upon the community life now.
Chatsworth House, home to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, is in a stunning location and is often picked as the backdrop to weddings for those lucky enough to be able to afford it. While it may be known for its history and for its gorgeous gardens, art lovers may be pleased to hear that it also houses an eclectic collection of contemporary art in the form of paintings, sculptures and photographs which visitors can come to admire acquisitions old and new. The only drawback is that you can end up feeling like you’re in a real life game of Pacman while you try to enjoy the gardens right up until the last minute while avoiding those who are warning people that they are about to close. Be sure to take a photo with the beautiful water cascades.
Chatsworth House, Chatsworth, Bakewell, Derbyshire, UK +44 1246 565300