Visit Buxton: The Highest Market Town Nestled in the Peak District Hills

  • Post category:England
  • Post last modified:March 8, 2024
  • Reading time:10 mins read

At first a childhood memory of days out and now looking through adult eyes, Buxton is steeped in history, charm and impressive architecture. Not only is Buxton England’s highest market town measuring 1,000ft (300m) above sea level, it is also an ancient spa town. Buxton is a fantastic place to visit and stay in with lots to do in town.

How to Spend Your Time in Buxton

Shopping in Buxton

Buxton is the best of both worlds in terms of independent boutique shops as well as high street brands. In the area of Lower Buxton around The Square, Circus Parade, the Crescent and the Cavendish Arcade, you’ll find a huge variety of independent shops selling fashion, food, homeware and gifts. The Cavendish Arcade once housed Buxton’s historic Hot Baths but was converted in the 1980s. You can still see some of the original features such as glass panels in the floor, Minton tiling, a plunge pool and a new stained glass canopy (Britain’s largest) making shopping here a very beautiful and special experience. For more high street shops, head to the traditional shopping street in Spring Gardens and Springs Shopping Centre.

Whilst at the Crescent, make sure to cross the street to see St. Anne’s Well. It has been providing Buxton’s famous thermal water for centuries, at least as far back as 1678. The best bit is you can still fill up your water bottle from this ancient well today!

Eating in Buxton 

As you can imagine, Buxton has every cuisine on offer. You can find British, Continental and Asian flavours in a variety of styles. Cosy tearooms, cafes galore, family friendly restaurants, fine dining establishments and warm country pubs scatter the town. So whatever mood you are in, whatever time of day, there is something to tingle your taste buds. The quality of food and atmosphere is so good, you may even find yourself going to the same place more than once!

Spa, Health and Wellness in Buxton

Still, to this day, Buxton truly lives up to its historical origins as an ancient spa town. For centuries, people have been travelling to Buxton for rest and recuperation and you can too. There are three exceptional spas in Buxton:

  1. the award winning, The Devonshire Spa, 
  2. the very grand Victorian building, The Palace Hotel and
  3. the Buxton Crescent Wellness Spa, fed by thermal mineral water coming from a nearby ancient natural spring
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Buxton also hosts an annual Health and Healing Festival in mid-June in the Octagon Hall in the Pavillion Gardens. Here you can find inspiration in art, music, psychics, holistic and eco living and exhibitors across the sector.

Pavilion Gardens in Buxton

Buxton’s Pavilion Gardens is yet another nod to its Victorian past. The main building within the gardens is a stunning Victorian Grade II listed building often used as a venue for weddings, conferences and special occasions. Inside, you will also find an art gallery, cinema, shops, cafes and a Winter Conservatory complete with a botanical garden and fishpond. It is open every day except Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day. The promenade surrounding the building is the perfect place to relax and take a seat overlooking the river, bandstand and bridges. Serenity is what you will find here.

The garden itself is beautiful in all seasons and provides fun for all the family, whatever your age. Flower beds, garden paths, boating lake, fountain, bandstand, children’s play area, miniature railway, outdoor gym and even a swimming and fitness centre – everything you expect from traditional gardens and more! Bear in mind that some features in the Pavilion Gardens are seasonal. For example, the brass band plays at the bandstand between 2pm-4pm on Sunday afternoons and Bank Holiday Mondays between March and September. Hiring boats for the lake and going on the miniature railway takes place on weekends and school holidays throughout summer and can be based on the weather.

Beyond Buxton – Where to go near Buxton

Solomon’s Temple

Just outside of Buxton lies an ancient folly called Grin Low Tower also known as Solomon’s Temple. It lies at the top of Grin Low Hill and is well worth a visit. The tower that stands there today was built in 1896 however, it was built on top of ruins of a previous tower built by Solomon Mycock of which it is named after.

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Make sure you climb to the top of the tower and take in the breathtaking views across the Peak District. The steps are narrow and steep so do be careful.

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The car park for Solomon’s Temple is Grin Low Car Park, Grin Low Road, Buxton, SK17 6UJ.

You can walk from here to Poole’s Cavern (more details below) through the woods and it takes just 20-40 minutes. You’ll see signs along your way directing you to Poole’s Cavern.

Poole’s Cavern

This limestone cave dates back to the carboniferous era and showcases millions of years of rock formations. People have been visiting the cave for centuries, even Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots explored the cave. The guided tour takes 45 minutes and is the best way to learn the history of the cave and experience the majesty of it. Information regarding the tours, their availability and booking can be found here: https://beyonk.com/uk/dx5xlivj/poole-s-cavern-guided-cavern-tour. There is also a visitor centre, cafe, gift shop and small exhibition on site. The car park for Poole’s Cavern is: Poole’s Cavern, Green Lane, Buxton, SK17 9DH.

Any trip to Buxton won’t be complete without a trip to Solomon’s Temple and Poole’s Cavern. They are so close to Buxton town and really worth exploring more of the history and landscape around Buxton.

How to Get to Buxton

Getting to Buxton by Car

There are many main A roads leading to Buxton and various car park options. Here are a few of the main ones:

  1. Pavilion Gardens Car Park – St. John’s Road, Buxton, SK17 9AR, pay & display, open 8am-6pm, upto 1 hour £1.60, 1-2 hours £2.20, 2-4 hours £3.60, over 4 hours £5.40.
  2. Spring Gardens and Wye Street – Wye Street, Buxton, SK17 6BW, pay & display, open 8am – 6pm, maximum stay 4 hours, upto 1 hour £1.20, 1-2 hours £1.80, 2-4 hours £3.10.
  3. Market Street – Market Street, Buxton, SK17 6LD, pay & display, open 8am – 6pm, upto 1 hour £1.20, 1-2 hours £1.80, 2-4 hours £3.10, over 4 hours £3.90.

Getting to Buxton by Train

Buxton train station is located towards the north of the town centre and within walking distance of Buxton’s main attractions listed above. The trains come from Stockport (a 45 minute journey) and Manchester (a 60 minute journey).

Getting to Buxton by Bus

The main bus station in Buxton is located on Market Place and services come from Stockport, Glossop, Sheffield, Derby, Bakewell and Macclesfield. For bus timetables, please visit www.derbysbus.info and www.highpeakbuses.com

Final Thoughts on Buxton

Buxton is that perfect mixture of a traditional Victorian spa town with all the modern spa, health and wellbeing amenities you would expect nowadays. It is a beautiful town to take a stroll in, shop exclusively and eat in fantastic quality establishments, whatever your budget. After all that, you can take a relaxing break in the stunning gardens or let the kids run around and burn off energy. Buxton really is the place to be for anyone at any age.

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