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Best of British: top UK baking locations

Updated: August 27, 2014
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Foodies all over the nation are delighted at the return of the Great British Bake Off, now gracing our screens every Wednesday evening on BBC1. In celebration –and to recognise our great British baking heritage – holiday home rental website HouseTrip has gathered together the best 'bake-cation' spots across the country for you to visit this summer.

From the famous location of the Hovis Gold Hill advert to the place where Eton mess got its name from, be sure to pay a visit to some of our favourite destinations and sample some of the most mouthwatering desserts and breads.

shaftesburydorset © Photo: Rex

The most iconic Hovis advert of the 1970s and 1980s was filmed on Gold Hill in Shaftesbury, Dorset, by Oscar-winning director Ridley Scott, thus becoming an important slice of British marketing history. The commercial was voted Britain's favourite advertisement of all time in The Telegraph last year, and the stunning location also appeared as the setting for the 1967 film version of Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd.

Shaftesbury stands as the highest town in its county, one of the oldest in Britain, and offers some of the most romantic views of the Dorset-Wiltshire countryside. One of the neighbouring towns, Gillingham, features in numerous literary works including that of Thomas Hardy, and the nearby market town of Sherborne also boasts a 16th-century mansion, Sherborne Castle, built by Sir Walter Raleigh.

rutlandarmsbakewell © Photo: Rex

Bakewell, Derbyshire Dales - home of the Bakewell Tart

The renowned Bakewell Tart is said to have arisen after a chef mixed the wrong recipe at the Rutland Arms in the small market town of Bakewell in the Derbyshire Dales, northern England. The tart is made up of shortcrust pastry filled with a sponge cake concoction, a layer of jam and an egg and almond mix which is then topped off with white fondant icing and a red glacier cherry. Several shops in the town claim to sell the original recipe:

The Bakewell Tart Shop & Coffee House, The Old Original Bakewell Pudding Shop as well as Bloomers of Bakewell. On top of the flurry of domestic tourists, the area also attracts an international crowd to the nearby stately homes of Chatsworth House and Haddon Hall.

 Bakewell also features in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice as the town Elizabeth Bennet leaves to head to Pemberley.

oldtrafford © Photo: Rex

Eccles, Greater Manchester - home of the Eccles Cake

Named after the English town of Eccles, an Eccles cake is a small, round pastry treat filled with currants, nutmeg and, sometimes, topped with Demerara sugar.

Eccles is located in the City of Salford, Greater Manchester, only 3.7 miles west of Manchester city centre. For sporting enthusiasts who aren't as Bake Off-obsessed, the famous Old Trafford stadium, home to the Manchester United football team, as well as Manchester City's football grounds, can both be found nearby.

eton © Photo: Rex

Eton mess is a typical favourite dessert of the English, mixing strawberries, meringue and cream, and is traditionally served at Eton College's annual cricket game against Harrow School. It was also served in the 1930s in the prestigious boarding school's "sock shop" with either strawberries or bananas and ice-cream or cream – meringue was added later. A recent myth has evolved that Eton mess was first created when a meringue dessert was accidentally squashed by a dog en route to a picnic at Eton College, and what was salvaged of the dessert was served as a crushed meringue with strawberries and cream. The towns of Eton and Windsor offer an eclectic array of traditions, heritage and history along with fun tourist attractions such as Windsor Castle, the Berkshire residence of the Queen, and the Legoland Windsor Resort. The infamous Eton College, founded by King Henry VI in 1440, was also where Princes William, Harry and Prime Minister David Cameron were educated. A similar dessert to Eton mess is the Lancing mess, served throughout the year at Lancing College, West Sussex.

cumbriaclimber © Photo: Rex

Kendal, Cumbria - home of the Kendal Mint CakeKendal Mint Cake is a glucose-based, peppermint flavoured sweet treat. It originates from Kendal, Cumbria, also known as the Auld Grey Town due to its many grey limestone buildings.

Kendal Mint Cake is popular among climbers and mountaineers, especially those from the UK, as a source of energy. The town of Kendal, as well as being famous for its mint cake and local grey limestone, is also renowned for its production of tobacco. Situated south of the Lake District, and just a few miles from the coast, this market town caters to all visitors' needs. It offers a wealth of history with castles, museums, historical buildings and bridges to explore. It is even rumoured that King Henry VIII's sixth wife, Catherine Parr, was born at Kendal Castle.

jurassiccoastdorset © Photo: Rex

Contrary to popular opinion, it is thought that scones may well have originated in Scotland, with the first known print reference being in 1513, from a Scottish poet. However, scones are more widely known as a speciality of Devon and Cornwall and are famously offered in their tea rooms as well as the rest of the UK and Ireland, served with jam and clotted cream. They differ to teacakes and other sweet buns in that they are not made with yeast. The counties of Devon and Dorset are known for their rustic coves, never-ending stretches of sandy beach and rolling countryside full of a variety of wildlife. The Dorset and East Devon Coast, also known as The Jurassic Coast, was the first 'natural' World Heritage Site, spanning 95 miles and full of world-renowned fossils of all types.

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