Buxton: Tourist Attractions and Places to Visit in the Peak District - Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire

A directory of tourist and visitor attractions near Buxton in the Peak District area of Derbyshire, Staffordshire, Cheshire and Yorkshire. Historic houses, churches, dams and reservoirs, theme parks, museums, railways and castles

Visitor Attractions around Buxton

historic interest

 Buxton Crescent

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360 degree view
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Buxton Crescent
Buxton Crescent
In the late 18th century Buxton followed the fashion of Bath and other centres and was developed as a spa by the great local landowner, the 5th Duke of Devonshire. At the time, he was making vast profits from his copper mines at nearby Ecton in the Manifold valley, and these are reputed to have paid for his building work in Buxton.

The most famous building of the time is The Crescent, consciously modelled on that of Bath. It was built for the Duke between 1780 and 1784 by John Carr, out of locally quarried gritstone, and included a ballroom and an Assembly Room as well as a town house for the Duke and shops along the ground floor. Sadly this magnificent building has now been empty for over 20 years. There are ambitious plans to reopen it as part of a spa complex, and work is currently in progress to complete this - it is due to re-open in 2018 as a 5-start hotel and spa.

Inside the old Thermal Baths
Inside the old Thermal Baths
Above it, on the west side, the Duke built a fine circular set of stables, which the 6th Duke gave to charity in 1859 to be converted into the Devonshire Royal Hospital. The architect, Henry Curry, covered the circular exercise area in the centre of the stables with a huge iron-framed dome roofed in slate. Until recently this was the largest unsupported dome in the world.

The hospital closed about 2000 and the building has converted by the University of Derby, as the centrepiece of their Buxton campus.

Buxton Opera House
Buxton Opera House
Next door to The Crescent are the former Thermal Baths (built 1851-3 and currently closed to visitors), and then the Old Hall Hotel - once the town house of Bess of Hardwick and her husband the Earl of Shrewsbury, the jailers of Mary Queen of Scots. This is where she stayed when she visited Buxton, though the building has been much altered since.

Around the corner is Buxton Opera House, built by Frank Matcham in 1903, the period of Buxton's heyday as a spa. It is an exquisite building with beautiful decoration and superb acoustics. Fortunately it was rescued from near ruin in 1980 and restored. It has since formed the centre for an annual festival of opera, music, arts and literature, which takes place from mid July to early August, and there is a year-round programme of other events ranging from Opera to plays to rock tribute bands.


 
Buxton Crescent Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Buxton Crescent
0 - Buxton Crescent
Buxton Crescent in snow
1 - Buxton Crescent in snow
Buxton - inside the old Thermal Baths
2 - Buxton - inside the old Thermal Baths
Buxton Old Hall Hotel
3 - Buxton Old Hall Hotel
Buxton - St Anns well
4 - Buxton - St Anns well
Buxton - St Johns church
5 - Buxton - St Johns church
Buxton - the former Devonshire Hospital, now Derby University
6 - Buxton - the former Devonshire Hospital, now Derby University
Buxton's Edwardian Opera House
7 - Buxton's Edwardian Opera House

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK057735


See location on Streetmap.co.uk



How to get there

By Road:
Buxton lies on the A6 Manchester - Derby road. From Leek take the A53 and from Macclesfield the A537. From Chesterfield, the A623 Chesterfield - Stockport road joins the A6 a few km north of Buxton. From Sheffield, take the A621 and A619 roads to Bakewell, then follow the A6.

By Bus: the Trans-Peak bus runs from Derby to Manchester via Matlock, Bakewell and Buxton.

By Train: trains run from Manchester to Buxton approximately hourly.
When is it open?

The Crescent is currently (2017) closed, as it has been for several years, and is fenced off as it undergoes renovation. It is intended to re-open it soon as a luxury spa-hotel. It is possible to visit the former Devonshire Hospital building, by arrangement with the University of Derby.


historic interestgood for children

 Buxton Museum

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Buxton Museum entrance
Buxton Museum entrance
Buxton Museum is housed in the buildings of the former Peak Hotel, almost opposite the Town Hall. It is small but well worth a visit.

It is an excellent place from which to begin to appreciate the landscape and history of the Peak. Upstairs there is the Peak District display, which deservedly won a 'Museum of the Year' award in 1990 - this is an excellent show which illustrates how the landscape of the Peak District developed, and the animals and people who lived here in ancient times.

Also upstairs is an art gallery used for regular exhibitions of work by local artists, while downstairs there are a range of important geological and historical finds (such as the Boyd-Dawkins material), but displayed in the familiar musty cases of traditional museums.

The museum is opposite the Town Hall in Higher Buxton.
 
Buxton Museum Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge
Buxton Museum
0 - Buxton Museum

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK059735


See location on Streetmap.co.uk



How to get there

By Road:
Buxton lies on the A6 Manchester - Derby road. From Leek take the A53 and from Macclesfield the A537. From Chesterfield, the A623 Chesterfield - Stockport road joins the A6 a few km north of Buxton. From Sheffield, take the A621 and A619 roads to Bakewell, then follow the A6.

By Bus: the Trans-Peak bus runs from Derby to Manchester via Matlock, Bakewell and Buxton.

By Train: trains run from Manchester to Buxton approximately hourly.
When is it open?

Open all year: Tuesdays to Fridays 9.30 am to 5.30 pm and Saturdays 9.00 am - 5.00 pm. From Easter to end September it is also open on Sundays from 10.30 am to 5.00 pm.


What does it cost?

Admission is free. For school parties, telephone: 01298 24658

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary.

Website: http://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/leisure/buxton_museum/

good for childrengood for exercise

 Buxton's Pavilion Gardens

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360 degree view
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The Octagon
The Octagon
Behind the Buxton Opera House, close to the centre of Buxton, lies Pavilion Gardens, which was built by Edward Milner in 1871 - probably based upon his earlier work with Paxton.
View across the boating lake
View across the boating lake


The gardens cover 16 acres and are quite well landscaped, with the River Wye meandering through. They make a pleasant place to relax with walks, lakes, ducks, swans and a minature railway which runs in summer and offers rides to children.

There is also a hot house with a range of tropical plants, tea rooms with a function room which offers occasional entertainments and a bandstand, which on summer Sundays is normally occupied by a local brass band.

Next to the bandstand is the Octagon building which is a favoured location for antiques and craft fairs and hosts a wide range of other activities all year round.
 
Buxton's Pavilion Gardens Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Buxton's Edwardian Opera House
0 - Buxton's Edwardian Opera House
Pavilion Gardens - Inside the hot house
1 - Pavilion Gardens - Inside the hot house
Pavilion Gardens - the River Wye and Bandstand
2 - Pavilion Gardens - the River Wye and Bandstand
Pavilion Gardens - The Octagon
3 - Pavilion Gardens - The Octagon
Pavilion Gardens - The minature train
4 - Pavilion Gardens - The minature train
Pavilion Gardens - View across the gardens
5 - Pavilion Gardens - View across the gardens
Pavilion Gardens - View across the boating lake
6 - Pavilion Gardens - View across the boating lake
Pavilion Gardens - the Octagon and the River Wye
7 - Pavilion Gardens - the Octagon and the River Wye

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK055735


See location on Streetmap.co.uk



How to get there

By Road:
the Gardens lie in the centre of Buxton and a few minutes walk from the railway station. Reach Buxton from Manchester or Bakewell-Matlock-Derby by the A6. From the west, the A53 road from Leek and the A537 road from Macclesfield go to Buxton. From Chesterfield, the A623 road joins the A6 a few miles north of Buxton. From Sheffield, take the A621 to Baslow and there join the A623.

By Bus: the Trans-Peak Derby-Manchester passes through Buxton. The 66 bus from Chesterfield and the 65 bus from Sheffield go to Buxton.

By Train: the Manchester - Buxton train service will take you to Buxton. Pavilion Gardens lies about 400m from the railway station.
When is it open?

Open all year, all day.
What does it cost?

Admission free.

Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary.

historic interestgood for childrengood for exercisegood scenery

 Poole's Cavern and Grin Low Country Park

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View of Buxton from Grin Low
View of Buxton from Grin Low
Poole's Cavern lies to the south-west of Buxton centre, below Grin Low and Grin Low woods. The whole area is a country park in the care of Buxton Civic Association.

In Pooles Cavern
In Pooles Cavern
The cavern was formed by the action of the river Wye, which rises on Axe Edge and flows across Stanley Moor to the south side of Grin Low. Here it sinks into Borehole Swallet and follows an underground course right through the hill, emerging in Poole's cavern but going underground again before reaching the cavern entrance. It finally resurfaces 400m away, on the north side of St John's Road.

The cavern gains its name from 'The robber Poole', who is reputed to have lived in the cave in the 15th century. However, the cave has been used by Man since Neolithic times and archaeological digs have revealed Stone Age tools and artefacts, Bronze Age pottery and a wealth of Roman material. It seems that at one time in the Roman period the cave was used as a workshop by a craftsman who made bronze brooches and other metal items. Many Roman coins and pottery were also found.

The cavern has attracted visitors for hundreds of years, and there is a local tradition that Mary Queen of Scots came to visit on one of her trips to take the waters at Buxton during her imprisonment at Chatsworth. However in 1854 the 6th Duke of Devonshire, who owned the cave, made it into a show cave and entrusted its operation to a certain Frank Redfern, whose family were responsible for it until 1976. The cave was closed to visitors in 1965 and only re-opened in 1977 after its purchase by the Civic Association.

The entrance to the cave was once filled with a bank of debris, but this was removed by Frank Redfern in 1854. Beyond this there is an area which was once covered by flowstone. This was excavated by Boyd Dawkins in 1900, and again in 1982, uncovering a range of animal and human bones and Roman pottery. Some of the finds are on display here and at Buxton Museum.

The passage then leads into 'The Dome', a 12m high chamber with abundant flowstone. Beyond this is a boulder choke where the River Wye disappears - but only in winter, for the cave is usually dry in summer. Further into the cave we pass a large stalactite called the 'Flitch of Bacon', and rimstone pools, before the path crosses s bridge to the other bank of the stream. This leads to the 'Poached Egg Chamber', which is full of wonderful formations which have been coloured by minerals leached out of the lime-tips on the hillside above. These include manganese (blue-grey) and iron (orange).

Continuing onwards, there is the 'Queen of Scots Pillar', a stalactite boss approximately 2m high, and around the corner lies the last gallery, where there is a fine flowstone called 'The Grand Cascade', and 'The Sculpture' - a group of boulders which have been calcited together. Around here the accessible part of the cave ends, where the Wye flows into it from a boulder choke, but potholers have penetrated some distance further.

Solomons Temple
Solomons Temple
The woods above on Grin Low were once pock-marked with lime works and lime kilns, in which the stone was heated to change it to lime, so the whole area became covered with waste from these kilns. To remove this eyesore the 6th Duke of Devonshire planted it with trees in the early 19th century, which has now led to a mature wood of beech, ash and elm. The top of Grin Low, which once had a Bronze Age tumulus, is now capped by Solomon's Temple, a folly built in 1895 by public subscription to provide work for the local jobless. It makes a fine viewpoint.

Go-Ape have a 'tree-top adventure course' in Grin Low woods. For more details see this link. Courses cost around £30 per head.
 
Poole's Cavern and Grin Low Country Park Photo Gallery - click on the images to enlarge- Click Here for a slide show
Buxton - Pooles Cavern
0 - Buxton - Pooles Cavern
Buxton - Grin Low - Solomons Temple
1 - Buxton - Grin Low - Solomons Temple
Buxton view from Grin Low
2 - Buxton view from Grin Low

Ordnance Survey Grid Reference: SK050725


See location on Streetmap.co.uk



How to get there

By Road:
the cavern is on Green Lane, and lies approximately 1.5km from the centre of Buxton. From St John's church (opposite the Devonshire Hospital) take St John's Road for 300m and turn left onto Burlington Road, along the edge of Pavilion Gardens. At its end this joins Bath Road - continue straight on and cross Macclesfield Road via an awkward dog-leg, then turn right immediately onto Temple Road, which lead directly to the Cavern.

By Bus: the 193 bus goes to Pooles Cavern, and the 194 bus passes within easy walking distance.

By Train: the Manchester - Buxton train service will gte you to Buxon - from the station Poole's Cavern is a 2km walk.
When is it open?

Pooles Cavern and the visitor centre and cafe are open:

March to October daily from 9.30am - 5.00pm. Cavern tours daily every 20 minutes.

November - February daily from 10.00am - 4.00pm. Cavern tours weekends only every 20 minutes.





The country park is open all day every day.


What does it cost?

Pooles Cavern - Adult £9.50/ Child £5.25/ Family £26.00 (2 adults and up to 3 children)/ Concession £8.50 (Seniors, Unwaged and Students)



Prices and opening times are shown as a guideline only and may vary. See this link for more information on prices and opening

Website: http://www.poolescavern.co.uk

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