Buxton: England’s Leading Spa Town and Gateway to the Peak District – another ‘jolly’ last year
If you pop in here now and again you’ll know that I don’t just ‘do’ pieces about my crime writing or guest author interviews on my blog.
I also post about what I call my ‘jollies,’ which are trips out and about to wonderful gardens, villages, churches and cathedrals, country houses, special events and other places of interest I’ve been fortunate enough to visit throughout the year in England.
I visited Buxton Spa Town in Derbyshire (in the Peak District) last year – along with many places I have yet to write about – and as you know I have been posting about my visits over the past months.
If you go to my menu and click on blog and scroll down you’ll find lots of my ‘jollies’ over the last 5 years I’ve been writing my blog. You can also find them in Archive down at the lower right side of my blog – keep scrolling.
Buxton is famous for its Georgian and Victorian architecture providing an impressive backdrop to a busy and vibrant town.
There are ornamental gardens, a wide range of independent and high street shops, lots of cafes, restaurants, and bars and a rich theatrical and musical scene for young and older visitors.
It is known as the Gateway to the Peak District National Park.
It is famous for its natural spring water.
The town was founded by the Romans who called it Aquae Arnemetiae – Spa of the Goddess of the Grove.
The Town’s rich history features Roman settlers, royal prisoners, outlaws and noble benefactors.
The 5th Duke of Devonshire put Buxton on the tourist map with development in 1780s – the centre piece being the Georgian Crescent which was undergoing some renovations when I was there. It was due to reopen as a 5 Star Thermal Spa Hotel.
The Pavilion Gardens covers 23 acres of award winning ornamental gardens including serpentine walkways, children’s play area, lakes and a miniature railway.
There is the historic Winter Gardens conservatory linking Buxton Opera House, with the main complex. Inside there are cafes, coffee bards, the Pavilion Arts Centre, Art Cafe, Gallery in the Gardens and a large retail area with Tourist Information centre. Fairs and markets are held in the Pavilion all year.
You can take a wander along the Heritage Trail and there is also a Real Ale Trail for those who are interested.
As long ago as the 16th century people came to the heart of the Peaks for a variety of reasons, and especially to ‘take the waters’ at the ‘New Hall,’ the oldest hotel in England.
Mary Queen of Scots in the 1500s stayed at the ‘New Hall’ Hotel – and there is also the grand Palace Hotel, built in the style of the grand spa hotels, and there is the Lee Wood Hotel and many others to choose from if thinking about a visit.
The Tourist Information office: +44 (0) 1298 25106
Visit the Spring Gardens and the indoor shopping centre, The Springs, which is the main shopping area as well as Hardwick Street (obviously named for Bess of Hardwick – see my previous jollies to Hardwick Hall for more on her.
Also interesting is The Cavendish Arcade (more links to Bess) which houses many shops trading from the beautifully restored Grade 11 listed Neo-Classical thermal baths. The building boasts a stunning stained glass barrel vaulted roof designed by the painter and artist Brian Clarke. Make sure you visit the Quadrant and walk down George Street behind the Cavendish Arcade.
In Higher Buxton you can find the traditional Market Place with stalls and also the Green Man Gallery where a community of local artists showcase their art in showcase gallery and workshop.
The University of Derby’s Buxton Campus is set under the Devonshire Dome, which is the largest unsupported dome in Europe, with a diameter of 174 feet. It is open to visitors all year round. I had coffee inside and a wander around, though it was very busy and there were students everywhere rushing to classes. Apparently you can have a guided tour, dine at the bistro, and there is also fine dining available and you can book a spa and beauty treatment there.
The Thermal Spa was created by the 5th duke of Devonshire with John Carr of York – a leading architect from the 18th century – who determined to create a thermal water spa resort. The original layout included two hotels, six lodging houses and a majestic ballroom. Restoration is being carried out by local councils, Heritage Lottery Fund and Historic England. Volunteers are welcome and you can offer your services:
In addition to taking a stroll around the town with its magnificent Georgian Crescent and Pump Room, and heading up the hill past the Town Hall to the highest Market Place in England, you can wind back down the hill through the Pavilion Gardens towards the Opera House, the Dome and the imposing Palace Hotel, taking in the Octagon, Pavilion and other interesting features on the way. The architecture is a delight. This is the Heritage Trail.
There is something for everyone, whatever age. If you crave adventure and physical activities you can enjoy go-karting, golf, swimming and horse riding.
There are the heights with Go-Ape and a journey beneath the earth at Poole’s Cavern, and not forgetting the Peak District which surrounds the town and is perfect for walking, caving, climbing and cycling.
As ever All Photos (c) Jane Risdon 2017 All Rights Reserved.
More ‘jollies’ throughout The Peak District and The Lake District to follow soon.
I hope you enjoy this and will let me have your comments.
I am preparing a new Guest Author Interview coming in the next week, so keep your eyes open.
E.Denise Billups is a former professional dancer and Wall Street financier who gave it all up to write Suspense novels and Thrillers.