Buxton and the Peak District
The wonderful Buxton is one of our great historical Spa towns. It is also the highest market town in England. With the gathering fame and quality of its summer festivals and the new development surrounding the re-opening of the pump room and the Georgian Crescent, these are exciting times for local and visitor alike. Though still a place of enduring elegance and peacefulness, modern Buxton pulses with modern cultural activity.
It also makes a great base for a Derbyshire holiday. The A6 and A515 roads take you quickly and scenically to the pretty towns of Bakewell and Ashbourne, and to Chatsworth, the seat of the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire, and Haddon Hall, a marvellous Elizabethan house. For those with a real love of country houses, you can reach the superb Hardwick Hall near Chesterfield in about an hour. Lovely Kedleston Hall near Derby is also well worth a visit and is reachable in just under an hour. For those with a passion for industrial history, the World Heritage town of Cromford, the birthplace of Britain’s industrial revolution is only a 40 minute drive away.
The Buxton Festival has become one of Britain’s best. Held annually through two weeks in July it draws many famous national and international names from the worlds of literature and music (of the opera, chamber and classical variety). A flourishing fringe runs parallel with the festival proper and is now the biggest in England. It includes a fascinating range of events: music; theatre; poetry; comedy; fine arts and much more, a special time to be in Buxton.
Buxton Opera House Designed by the renowned Frank Matcham in 1903 is a gorgeous Edwardian building well worth a visit to enjoy the architecture and a show. There is a varied programme of performances throughout the year – ranging from Shakespeare to stand-up comedians, from Opera to folk groups. See the Opera House website for more details.
Poole’s Cavern & Buxton Country Park – This magnificent natural cavern features spectacular stalactites and crystal formations. Regular guided tours take you through spacious, well lit chambers where you will be introduced to Derbyshire’s largest stalactite and the unique ‘poached egg’ stalagmites. The Country Park features woodland trails to stunning panoramic views. Contact: +44 (0)1298 26978.
Above ground is the awesome Go Ape tree top adventure course.
Buxton Museum & Art Gallery – Explore the Wonders of the Peak, discovering the geology, archaeology and history of the Peak District through seven time zones. Enjoy a changing programme of exhibitions of art, craft, local history and photography and step into a Victorian scientist’s study. Contact: +44 (0)1298 24658.
The Pavilion Gardens – The beautiful 23 acres Pavilion Gardens are enjoyed by residents and visitors alike. The combination of walks, lakes, water fowl, well presented play areas and miniature train ensure that they remain a firm favourite with the whole family. Within the historic buildings is the Octagon exhibition hall, a unique gift shop, the gallery in the gardens, a coffee shop and restaurant and the swimming pool and fitness centre.
The local visitors information centre has relocated in 2019 to the beautiful Pump room on the Crescent.