On a recent camping holiday we (me, my fiancé, and two son's aged three and a half and twenty two months) went to the beautiful Peak District and with all our holidays we love to do a bit of exploring of the surrounding areas. We were camping just seven and half miles away from Buxton so did visit this town on a few occasions during our stay, especially since it had a Morrison's on its out skirts. We did however spend a full day at Buxton exploring its many gems as it is well known for its history of a spa town. There is certainly plenty to do in this beautiful town.
On arriving in the town by car finding a car park was relevantly easy with good sign posts. For four hours plus it cost three pound fifty which for the Peak District seemed about average. The first stop for most tourists if it isn't the toilet is the tourist information. I have had many different experiences with TI's before and I have to say this one was pleasant the gentleman on the desk was very helpful and went out of his way to find us things that would be suitable for us having two young children and a pushchair. He was also very helpful on the surrounding area and what other activities we could do in the Peak District. There are a large amount of free leaflets at this TI and as usually a large selection of books, gifts and maps on sale here. One gem we found here was a town trail booklet for one pound sixty. The size of the town is large and I would say this booklet is well worth the money to appreciate such a wonderful place with a lot to offer all types of people. The town trail certainly made us appreciate this town to its full potential as it is staved in history.
Buxton appears to be split into two, either side of the beautiful town hall. At one side is the high street shops along 'Spring Green' which is a pedestrian only street. We found there were many walking style shops and at the time of our visit they were all having sales competing against each other. On the opposite side of the town hall which is higher up consists of more independent shops and some beautiful pubs. It is here you can find a couple of the oldest pubs in Buxton like the Sun Inn and Cheshire cheese.
Also at this end of the town is a shop I loved and had to return to towards the end of my holiday 'Scriveners' Bookshop with what was left of my holiday spending money!. This shop is a must for any book fan. Over five floors there are thousands of books and a miniature museum in the cellar. The shelves are lined with old books and as you walk into the shop you get that smell of books. I loved the children's section seeing books from my childhood it brought back a lot of memories. As my sister and her husband joined us towards the end of the holiday I took her here and she lost herself in the Enid Blyton section and found herself buying one of her old favourites. The shop also stocks some rare first edition books so if you are a collector it is worth a look in. The staff are very friendly especially the elder gentleman who was excellent with my eldest son who is three. There is an old fashioned puppet he was showing my son and keeping him and my fiancé amused whilst I looked round. This shop is one of many gems lurking in Buxton.
For a town it has a lot of greenery in it. There are the slopes in the centre of the town. The slopes rise above the crescent which currently is part of the national lottery heritage fund. They do have steps but not too many so we managed to lift the pushchair up them and went up the slopes to peer down on the shops and buildings below. There is a memorial at the top too. The boys had great fun up here and enjoyed a run around and sitting on the benches at the top. Below the slopes is the St Ann's well which every time I went past it had people queuing with empty bottles to fill with water from the running well.
An even more open place is the Pavilion Gardens where there is lots of greenery to appreciate. As we were away in the summer holidays it was full of families having picnics and playing with their children. I found it was a lovely place to let my boys free and have a run around and also a great location for a picnic. It is a very large area and the gardens are beautiful. There is so much to enjoy in these gardens with a play area, miniature railway around the gardens, fountain, band stand and lots of open grass. There are two play areas, one for young children which is secured with railing and a gate and an area for older children with a zip line and more bigger fun things. My children went in the secured play area and although it was very busy there was still plenty for the boys to do. It had two slides, a roundabout, a small ship to climb on, a frog house to go in and a motionless train with carriage to climb aboard. Whilst we were there a bloke spun his child so fast on the roundabout she was sick whilst sat on it, parents looked on horrified I had to have a little laugh the bloke upped and left with his child pretty quick!
My fiancé's favourite bit in Buxton had to be the Devonshire Campus. It is home to the largest unsupported domes in the world with a circumference of two hundred and one metres. Even though it is a university the public are allowed inside the great hall. If we hadn't got the town trail we wouldn't have known about this. You must go and have a look at the dome it is magnificent with the light flooding in. The echo around you is something you must experienced my fiancé was amazed by it. My youngest son really enjoyed hearing his voice boom around him. There is also a Costa Coffee in the hall so you can have a sit and enjoy the experience of the hall whilst have a drink.
Buxton does have an art gallery which is free to entry. We did try to keep our holiday as cheap as possible but were on the lookout for things to do so had a look in the art gallery. The art gallery hosts exhibitions and at the time of our visit it was Andrea Joseph. I really liked her work which is done by just pencils and biros. I would recommend you have a look at some of her work I found it fascinating.
As we spent a full day there we did treat ourselves to tea in Buxton and found a lovely small Italian to have tea at called St Moritz. The food was excellent and the prices were very reasonable. You will not be short of place to eat in Buxton there is a wide range of different cuisines.
I found Buxton a wonderful place to visit and just wish I had more time to explore it. The best buy had to be the town trail I found it interesting to see its history some of which looks better than others now. The town has tried it's hardest to preserve its roots and it certainly shows. I love the fact the trail points out the cute Victorian post box which my eldest son thought was great. Having this booklet made it easy for us to soak up the history. The booklet had a useful town map at the back of it and two planned walks for you to do which unfortunately we didn't have time to do. I wish more towns did trails like this it would certainly make exploring easier. A day is not enough time to explore this town many parts we had to brush past quickly.
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Buxton is an old-fashioned spa town in the Peak District. It has many things in common with other Northern spa towns, such as Harrogate, and tends to be a bit of a haven for the older folks. I can imagine it was once a holiday place for genteel, rich, people, in days gone by, although now it has a slight air of faded glory. * * Relaxing in Buxton ** The most pleasant part of Buxton, in the summertime (or should I say, on a sunny day!) at any rate, is the Pavilion Gardens, an old-style park, which was established in 1871 by Edward Milner. It’s 23 acres, so plenty of room to choose a nice spot for a picnic or to eat an ice cream. The River Wye runs through it so you’re never far away from water. It also includes a Winter Garden, and the spa swimming pool. ’s recently had a lot of work done to it (courtesy a lottery grant). parks, theatre ** Other Attractions ** Many ‘spa town’ features – the Natural Baths, built in the 1850s, now the home of the Tourist Information Centre. St Anne’s Well – a public pump which has a constant supply of water, at a temparature of 28 degrees Centrigade. The Pump Rooms (planned for reopening) built in the 1890s. The architecture is well worth a second glance too – The Crescent, built between 1780 and 1784, is very impressive – even when it was built it was designed as a ind of leisure center for those times. The Old Hall – probably the oldest building in Buxton, dating from 1573, and famous for having been visited by Mary Queen of Scots on more than one occasion. Cavendish Arcade, which features an original plunge bath and chair, and a new stained glass vaulted roof. There is a “town trail” for anyone wishing to discover more about Buxton’s history. ** Entertainment ** The Opera House is very central, next to the Pavilion Gardens, and always seems to have a varied
programme of events. Every year there’s the Gilbert and Sullivan Festival, and there’s also a Buxton festival, with a more general selection of arts events – whether its poetry, comedy, jazz or theatre that’s your thing, there should be something to take your fancy. Having said that Buxton is undeniably a more high-brow, classy kind of arts venue – not likely to be much to appeal to anyone looking for grunge / heavy metal / dance music, or much of a buzzing night life. As I mentioned, it’s more for the older set. There again, the Bingo brigade will also be sadly disappointed. ** Shopping ** The main shopping center is the Spring Gardens center, which is now pedestrianised, and has the usual other town shops. There are also craft shops, antique shops and so on around the Cavendish Arcade, and the Old Court House. An open air Market takes place on Tuesdays and Saturdays. ** Accommodation ** Buxton does have some high class hotels, and I’ve only stayed in one of them (see separate review), but I wouldn’t recommend that particular one. SO I’d say, you’re either better of going deliberately down-market, for the B and Bs, or a campsite (plenty of those in the surrounding countryside), or, better yet – why not just visit Buxton for a day? It’s very central, and easy to get to from most parts of England. ** Getting there ** Buxton is around 1 hour’s drive from any of the following: the M1, the M6, Manchester, Sheffield, Nottingham or Derby. It’s on a well-established railway line (regular rains from Manchester, and London Euston), and easily accessible by bus. My rating – I spent 2 days in Buxton, and was charmed by it. We were lucky to have gorgeous sunny weather, which helped. We also visited some lovely places in the area (Chatsworth and Bakewell). A week’s visit and I think I would have got rather bored, but IR
17;d definitely recommend it for a day trip. So, great if you’re looking for a peaceful short break. Not great if you’re looking for a family holiday with plenty for the children to do, though. Buxton Tourist Information Centre The Crescent, Buxton Derbyshire SK17 6BQ Telephone – 01298 25106 Website = highpeak.gov.uk
Buxton a beautiful town that lies just outside the National Park in fantastic rolling countryside, and is host to a wealth of history. At 300 metres above sea level it is the highest town of its size in England as well as probably being the coldest one! I have actually seen snow in May and June so it always pays to take some warm clothing with you on the sunniest of days! If visiting in winter do go expecting the worst. The Romans were first drawn to Buxton in 79AD by the warm springs and built their Roman baths. Buxton was known to the Romans as Aquae Arnemetiae in homage to their love of water. St. Anne's Well and Poole's Cavern were two of the Seven Wonders of the Peak. Buxton was once called "Little Lourdes" by the Victorians seeking relief for their afflictions. The water from Buxton has become one if its most famous exports, along with the limestone that is quarried nearby and the more recently named Buxton Blue cheese. Other places most definitely worth a visit include ~~~The Opera House~~~ Buxton opera house was built and designed in 1903 by Frank Matcham one of Britains finest theatre architects. The doors first opened in June 1903 and attracted visitors from far and wide, the stage being graced by Gertrude Lawrence, Evelyn Laye, Gracie Fields, the biggest name perhaps being Anna Pavlova the Russian ballerina in 1935. The opera house holds the annual international festival of Opera (mid July to early august) one of Britains best-known and largest opera-based festivals, with 119,000 people visiting in 1999. The opera house also plays host to the annual Gibert and Sullivan festival and various plays and pantomimes throughout the year. ~~~Devonshire Royal Hospital~~~ The Devonshire Royal hospital started life in 1785 as stables for the Duke of Devonshire’s horses; it was split in 1857 and partly used as a hospital. Even today the central exercise '
ring' is still there, although a highly polished surface can still be seen rather than sawdust and horse droppings! There are often medical exhibitions in this area, plus this is the main arena for physiotherapy sessions. The arches that depicted the individual horse stalls are still very much in evidence, hosting instead of horses, consultants of medicine – some say they are pretty similar, I say that is derogatory to horses! Later the glass Dome was added in 1880, at the time it was the largest unsupported dome in the world with a span of 154ft. Now it's the largest in Europe. It is still possible to walk around the perimeter of the Dome, although it is best not to be caught by the hospital security! The hospital has been recently bought by the University of Derby - who hope to house the best catering training unit in the country. ~~~St Ann’s Crescent~~~ Buxton's oldest building ‘The Crescent’ is a fantastic building; its construction began in 1780 by the 5th Duke of Devonshire. It took 10 years to complete and is built over the river opposite St Ann’s well. The crescent cost £38,000 to build, and has since undergone an extensive face lift and restoration. Parts of the crescent are now used as hotels and it also houses the Buxton library. ~~~Pooles Cavern~~~ A visit to Poole’s Cavern is a must if you are visiting Buxton, here you take a journey through time, follow in the footsteps of royalty, outlaws, Romans and Celts into an amazing underworld of crystals, rock and water inside Derbyshire's most spectacular natural cavern, deep beneath the hills of Buxton. You will need a good pair of shoes or trainers on to visit Poole’s as the walk itself is quite treacherous – stilettos or high heels are not a good idea. The guides are all local and work at the Cavern, they have a cavernous (groan) knowledge of Pooles and are happy to answer any que
stions you may have. ~~~Pavillion Gardens~~~~ The Pavillion Gardens is a beautiful landscaped park and woodland, with 2 ornamental lakes boasting a vast array of wildlife. The land was originally ‘given’ to the people of Buxton by the 7th Duke of Devonshire and designed by Edward Milner (pupil of Sir Joseph Paxton). There is an excellent play park and a must ride miniature railway. As well as the beautiful and enormous Pavillion built in 1871 and based on the Crystal Palace, which hosts a multitude of plants and flowers and butterflies. Within the Pavillion itself fairs auctions and flea markets are held most weekends and Bank holidays. ~~~Buxton Spa pool~~~ You can actually swim in the Spa water in Buxton, although it appears to be a normal indoor swimming pool, it is actually filled with the Spa water. ~~~Buxton Town Hall~~~ Situated on the Market Place in Buxton the Town hall is still in everyday use, it was designed by William Pollard and built by James Salt in 1887. The clock was donated by the Duke of Devonshire's tenants in memory of the assassination of Lord Frederick Cavendish in Dublin, 1882. There is also a memorial plaque to the men of The Royal Forester's who fell in the Great War. ~~~The Cavendish Arcade~~~ The Cavendish Arcade once housed the Thermal bath complex, designed by Henry Currey, and housed all the treatments the Victorians used to perform in and with the spa waters! The building was developed in 1987 into a shopping arcade hosting some lovely but expensive items! The arcade still boasts a myriad of original features, such as a plunge bath chair used to lower disabled people into the spa waters. Much of the original tiling has been preserved including a fantastic stained glass roof designed by Brian Clarke – the largest in the UK. There is a lovely restaurant in the Arcade where you can marvel at the ro
of and enjoy a costly meal! ~~~St Ann’s well~~~ No visit to Buxton would be complete without a visit to St Ann’s well, although it is not the original well; it does still provide the spa waters for all to taste – for free! The well has the inscription ‘A well of living waters’. The water itself runs out of the lions mouth at a constant 28 degree centigrade, all year round. Personally I think the water is revolting, but this does not stop people queuing up to take water home with them, in a wide variety of vessels and that includes the locals! My father actually uses it to water his roses! As well as all the beautiful buildings there are a number of interesting shops to visit including Antique shops, book shops and gift shops. You can certainly while away a few hours not to mention several pounds browsing around. ~~~Where to stay~~~ There is a huge amount of Bed and breakfast accommodation in Buxton and a large number of hotels to cater for every pocket. If you are planning a visit during the Opera Festival it is worthwhile making an early bonking as accommodation is highly demanded.
A population of 20,000…Buxton, the highest town in England, is situated in the heart of the Peak District. It is a good place to be in because it is never lack of beautiful scenery nor well-preserved natural forest reserves. There are as many as 8 short walks around Buxton, many of which only need about 2-3 hours. And you will be well-rewarded with breathtaking views. Being not too-densely populated, there is rarely a traffic jam even in the heart of the town, and you rarely face a problem with parking should you decide to have an outing with family and friends. Buxton boasts of its Opera House, one of the oldest of its kind in the United Kingdom, the renowned Pavillion Gardens, the Crescent, the Devonshire Royal Hospital which used to be the King’s stables, with its huge dome, and most importantly its natural spring water! Even the local swimming pool uses natural spa water, which is rich with minerals, which is therapeutic for the skin! The best thing is the highly reliable railway network between Manchester and Buxton which runs hourly 7 days a week!