The Peak District National Park’s largest town offers scenic camping—and a tasty pudding.
If you’re planning a holiday in the Peak District, Bakewell is a great place to consider as a base. As the only town in the national park, it’s a hub of independent shops and eateries where you can stock up on camping supplies and refuel with a sticky Bakewell pudding. But just because it’s the busiest part of the Peak District, doesn’t mean it’s any less picturesque. Situated on the banks of the River Wye, its stone buildings, medieval arched bridge, and weekly market will have you reaching for the camera. Campsites in Bakewell and the surrounding countryside also put you within easy reach of one of the Peak District’s most-visited attractions, Chatsworth House, seat of the Duke of Devonshire. Of course, the best attraction of all is the stunning countryside that surrounds nearly all campsites. Campers can find lots of great places to stay, from simple stone-walled meadow camping sites to modern, luxury glamping sites.
Bakewell is in the Derbyshire Dales region of the Peak District National Park, which is characterised by its high moorland plateaus, steep limestone valleys, and cliffy outcrops, as well as relatively high peaks. Wild camping isn’t allowed in the park, as landowner permission is required, but campers can stay in formal campsites and caravan parks throughout the park.
A rocky outcrop south of Bakewell, Robin Hood’s Stride makes a nod to the legend, but campers interested in Robin Hood should head east to Sherwood Forest. The royal forest is inextricably linked with the Robin Hood story in addition to offering excellent walking trails and ancient oak trees. Visit on a day trip from Bakewell or find a campsite or caravan park on the edge of Nottingham city.
South of Bakewell and between the towns of Cannock and Stafford in Staffordshire, the Cannock Chase Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) is a lovely area of woodlands, forests, canals, and rivers, plus some fascinating history, too, as it was the hunting forest of William the Conqueror almost 1,000 years ago. Visit on a day trip from Bakewell or stay at a caravan park around Cannock or Stafford to walk, cycle, or ride horses along the Cannock Chase trails.
Spring and summer are the best times to camp in and around Bakewell and the Peak District. The days are long in midsummer, especially this far north in England, and the weather is most pleasant for camping and outdoor activities. Winters can be cold in the Peak District, and snow isn’t uncommon in the hilly area. Some campsites and caravan parks close for winter, but booking a cabin or cottage may be possible for off-season visits.