Wednesday, 28 September 2011

A Little Corner of Bakewell

Being within striking distance of Bakewell is one of the loveliest perks of being on the edge of the Peaks - my first proper visit was just as tourist season was kicking off.  Never again. Shops were so packed that you were less a browser more a sardine, getting something to eat involved a wait long enough to grow a beard (well the men anyway) and just walking along the street was a test in agility; dodging small children, dogs on leads, walking sticks and those dawdlers who stop dead in the middle of the pavement causing pedestrian gridlock. This probably makes me sound grumpy but I'm not big on crowds and I'm really not a lover of heaving tourist spots in season. 

Bakewell in September though is just my cup of tea!  There is enough life and bustle, but fewer people which means plenty of time to browse and wander.  My friend Lulu and I took a trip last Friday, the weather was sunny and breezy and we had a brilliant afternoon.  A few doors down from one of the famous Bakewell Pudding bakeries is a little courtyard set back from the street with a handful of gorgeous shops - the Tsar Emporium (loved the name) a vintage-cum-antiques shop, a handmade chocolate shop, two shops selling handmade and shabby chic loveliness and the tearoom we were searching for; The Lavender Tearoom.  I'd thought it sounded promising when I did a bit of pre-trip googling the night before and wasn't disappointed.  Handwritten menus, a huge selection of teas, cakes and light lunches and the tearoom itself had that eccentric, quintessential British feel of shabby grandeur - miniature portraits on the wall, glass cake cloches on the counter, a touch of gingham and vintage crockery all against a warm cream background in an old building full of character.


Beautiful though it was inside we made the most of the weather and sat in the pretty courtyard.  The wrought iron chairs and tables were flanked with greenery on one side and a path to the collection of small shops on the other, it was like sitting in a not-so-secret walled garden.  We loved it.  I had every intention of trying one of the specialist teas on the menu until Lulu ordered hot chocolate with 'the works' and I had to make it two.  No idea what powder they use it but it was the best hot chocolate I have ever had!  Shavings of dark chocolate and tons of mini marshmallows on top and I'm sure there was a sprinkling of cinnamon and honeycomb in there somewhere too as it had that extra warmth.


It wasn't until we'd ordered our food - Derbyshire rarebit for me and a stilton and cranberry sandwich for Lulu - that I clocked the 'Lavender Tea' blackboard, sounds intriguing and is on the hit list for my next visit. 


We washed it all down with some dandelion & burdock and elderflower pressé before exploring the rest of the courtyard and the shops that had provided such good people-watching. 


The smell coming from the chocolate shop was almost hypnotic so we had to go inside and take a closer look!  I really wish I'd taken better pictures inside the shop so I could show you the range of handmade treats on offer but as the lighting wasn't brilliant my iPhone didn't do too good a job of capturing the tastiness.  The window shot gives you an idea of the traditional sweets for sale at least, I came away with a bag of turkish delight for T who loves the stuff.


How gorgeous is this birdcage?  I was immediately smitten and can't wait to go back - if only to pass more time in this little courtyard and take better photos :-) 

Tomorrow I will draw the winner of the giveaway from the plant pot (once I've tallied up and written down all the entries!) so if you're yet to enter there is still time. 

Happy Wednesday! 

24 comments:

  1. That place looks gorgeous! No wonder you want to return already. I'm with you on the crowds thing, it make me grumpy.

    E :)

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  2. I totally agree about crowds. It does worry me though, for the owners of these lovely teashops and gift shops. For them, trying to scrape a living from the tourists, the dwindling numbers in the Autumn are cause for concern. I love Derbyshire and Bakewell in particuar. As a child growing up in Nottingham, our Sunday treat would be a Derbyshire picinc outing. The gingham-tableclothed teashops were around then too, usually called ‘The Singing Kettle’ or similar, but this was long before ‘vintage’ and ‘shabby chic’. As a rather partronising aside, I do ebnjoy reading your well-written (and gramatically correct) descriptions.Keep up the good work.

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  3. I LOVE Bakewell! I last went there last Christmas, it was quiet and misty, with snow on the ground, very Christmassy atmostpheric for my husbands first winter christmas shop and we loved the chocolate shop and that little arcade too although it was too cold to sit outside! Your so lucky to live so close x
    ps did you go to the little scandinavian shop?

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  4. Definitely adding that to my to-do list next time I'm in the area - I think the last time I was in the Bakewell was before I was married. I remember it all being very pretty. You're right though, a September stroll in nice weather is perfect.

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  5. Your trip sounds perfect, I'm away to see how far bakewell is from me, I want to go to that tearoom!!

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  6. Is that where the tarts come from?

    p.s. OMG!I want one of those Hot Chocolates! Please.

    x

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  7. A beautifully written post with equally pleasing photographs.
    I want a day out with you, and I want to indulge myself completely in tea, cake and prettiness!

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  8. reminds me of when i went to the Bath Christmas Markets on a coach trip. 500 coaches went to bath that weekend. Never.Again. queueing to get in the shops! and you couldnt get near the market stalls! i much prefer just out of season too !

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  9. Did you notice my little deliberate typo whilst eulogising about writing correctly?:)

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  10. Looks like such a lovely place to visit and you post makes it sound like the perfect day out, im not keen on massive crowded tourist places either so out of season is always the best time to visit :o) Scarlett x p.s I do love that birdcage x

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  11. This sounds like a most perfect day! OH MY I would go all the way to Derbyshire just to get that hot cocoa--drinking delicious hot cocoa is one of my most important purposes in life and that one sounds amazing!
    Thank you for your welcome to the country! xx

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  12. That hot chocolate was the best ever! Thank you for a lovely day and look forward to our next outing :D xxxx

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  13. Hi Jem! Just found you ... great bird cage, and happy to be your newest follower :)

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  14. Wow it looks like you had a lovely time... I've never been to Bakewell, maybe one day I should.

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  15. OMG, I am soooo glad (for the sake of my love handles) that those hot chocolates are on the other side of the world.

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  16. Bakewell is a favorite place! And not just for the tarts...which I DO love!It just is a fun place. Haven't been to that tea room, will have to look next time. The hot chocolate looked utterly divine!
    Ruth

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  17. Ohh, the bird cage is so gorgeous! <3


    x
    Lost in the Haze

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  18. I have never been to Bakewell but will not have to put it on my list along with the Lavender Tea Room. What a wonderful adventure!

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  19. Sorry, I meant NOW have to put on my list!

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  20. How delicious! Also loved your previous blog about the charity shoppe finds. Fun fun fun.

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  21. sounds like my kind of tearoom! gorgeous bird cage and that hot choc looks heavenly, Jem! i love the tea room blackboard too oh can see a touch of gingham too, heaven help me if i lived close by there! would make it my hang out place or worst hehe...x susan

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  22. Ooh that looks like my sort of place - if i ever get round your way I will have to go to Bakewell as I've heard good things and this tearoom sounds brill!

    By the way, I love the birdcage too. I once went to an old house in Tunisia with a big courtyard filled with loads of those of differing sizes. They are beautiful!

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