My parents introduced me to this place. We’ve been coming for years and it just gets better and better. Whilst it’s a really interesting independent book shop, I’m always drawn to the café anywhere I go, but this is a particularly good one. It’s definitely worth the drive out! We’ve been known to treat High Peak bookstore and café as a trip out destination in itself, but you could easily combine it with a walk or a trip to nearby historic spa town Buxton. Here’s what to expect.
Bargain book shop
The shop part of High Peak bookstore is a treasure trove of books. Many of them are discounted. In fact, most of the books are less than half their original price. If you see something you like, snap it up, as chances are, it won’t be there on a return visit.
There’s a lovely children’s room. Previously jungle themed, it’s recently had a makeover to a more British wildlife theme. It features murals by local artist, Gina Watkinson, who also painted the lovely mural at Riverside Kitchen in Bakewell. Her gorgeous work depicts a range of fauna, flora and lots of endearing creatures great and small. There are reading benches for little ones. It really is a lovely space to help foster a love of reading.
I loved seeing a display dedicated to local authors. There were at least half a dozen children’s books written by local writers.
The theme of supporting local also extends to the gift section. There’s a good range of gifts and stationery available. I was delighted to see a whole display of the Peak District Candle Co products for instance.
The café at High Peak bookstore
The café at High Peak bookstore is great and therefore popular. You may need to queue, something I am never a fan of, but the queue does generally seem to move fast. It was good to see somewhere well-staffed. All the staff were lovely – keen to have a little chat but also working swiftly and delivering a good level of service.
The food and drink is of a really good quality. The vast majority of it is locally sourced. Local suppliers include Dalton’s Dairy ice cream, Peak Ales, Ashover Cider, Peak Feast bakes and Buxton Coffee Roasters coffee.
It’s an order at the counter system, although food and drinks are brought to your table.
On this occasion I enjoyed a goats cheese, homemade pesto and sundried tomato panini. In a dream world I’d have liked it grilled a bit more so that the cheese melted, but the combination of flavours was just wonderful. I always enjoy the side salad here. Far, far superior to the usual few leaves and cold cherry tomato one encounters at too many establishments; the salads at High Peak bookstore are a pleasure in themselves. Beautifully colourful, topped with jewel like studs of pomegranate and a sprinkling of seeds. I also highly recommend the homity pie and the Derbyshire oatcakes.
The café here would be a good option if you are consciously trying to eat more healthily since there was a really appetising range of fresh, healthy options (and no possibility of chips!). There were also a good range of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free options.
There’s a great selection of cakes. I’ve become increasingly picky about cake in the last few years but there were several options I could have happily enjoyed. After agonising for a while I plumped for pistachio and banana cake. It was delicious, the buttercream particularly moreish.
The drinks were of similarly high quality. It was a perfectly executed flat white. And the tea was loose leaf. There’s also a drinking water station to help yourself to.
Both the book shop and the café are dog friendly.
An interesting book shop with lots of bargains to be had, a lovely children’s room and a brilliant café.
Situated on the A515 Asbourne Road – SK17 9PY
Open seven days a week, 10am – 5pm (10.30am on Sundays).
Ample, free parking.
Dog friendly. Free dog treats available by the drinking water station next to the cake counter/till.
Good baby changing facilities – as well as a toddler toilet.
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