Buxton culture meets history.
Buxton is an old market and spa town, nestling amongst the surrounding Derbyshire hills at a height of over 1000ft, making it the highest market town in England. The town offers a variety of accommodation to suit all budgets and tastes, as well as plenty of shops, pubs, restaurant’s and of course the world famous opera house, making Buxton a great place to visit.
Buxton is often referred to as the Festival Town or the cultural capital of the Peak District and with such a diverse mix of festivals and other cultural happenings, there is something too occupy everyone’s cultural tastes. Home to lots of different places to eat and drink, means night times in Buxton has a lot to offer.
Buxton is world famous for its natural spa’s and the life giving properties they provide, this fame dates back to Roman times, when it Is believed a settlement was built, the remains of which were excavated in the 17th and 18th centuries. Over the years Buxton became popular with pilgrims wanting to take the waters and one famous visitor was Mary Queen of Scots who suffered badly from rheumatism.
The 18th century saw Buxton undergo major development with the building of The Crescent by the 5th Duke of Devonshire with profits from his copper mines. The building included a ball room and assembly rooms, completed in 1788 it originally contained a town house for the Duke but by 1804 he had relinquished his accommodation and it became the Centre Hotel with a hotel on each side, St Ann’s to the west and the Great Hotel to the east. Hotel guests were given private access to the baths and spa’s.
The Pavilion gardens lie on the banks of the River Wye and are well worth a visit, containing play areas for children, a boating lake and even a miniature railway. The park is also home to the spa water swimming pool. The pavilion itself, a glass and iron structure was built in 1871. It has been carefully restored to maintain its Victorian feel and looks out over the park and offers visitors refreshments and of course ice creams.
The Pump Room which faces The crescent was built in 1894 and thermal water was served here until 1981. Now the public can sample the water from the drinking fountain next to it, Saint Ann’s Well, which is decorated at Well Dressing time.
The Opera House, completed around the turn of the 20th century acts as a focal point for the annual Buxton Festival, founded in 1979, and held in the last week of July and first week of August at various venues including the Opera House. The festival programme includes literary events, concerts, recitals as well as opera. Another popular event is the Buxton Festival Fringe which features films, drama, dance, music and other cultural events along the same lines but on a smaller scale to the Edinburgh Fringe. The International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival, founded in 1994, also runs for over three weeks from the end of July through most of August. The Opera House has a year long program of drama, concerts, comedy and other events and recently the former Paxton Suite in the Pavilion Gardens was re-opened as a performance venue called the Pavilion Arts Centre and includes a 369-seat auditorium.
A major attraction to the west of the town is Poole’s Cavern, a natural limestone cave, known to have been inhabited by primitive man. Adjoining the site is a country park. Footpaths lead to Solomon’s Temple on Grin Low, half a mile away, providing extensive views over Buxton.
For further information click here to visit the official Buxton tourist website.
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