The Peak District conjures lush green foothills cloaked in a damp mist which lifts as the sun moves across the sky. It is also a landscape filled with relics of the industrial revolution, towering chimneys and once popular Victorian holiday haunts, now rejuvenate to capitalise on a rejuvenated glamour.
Buxton is the highest elevated market town in England and makes a good place for exploring the Peak District. It’s fame built on the natural geothermal springs which lie beneath it. Home to the bottled water behemoth of the same name, there’s disgruntled rumble from Buxton citizens regarding the company’s activities, but you can still taste the naturally warm water at St Ann’s Well straight from the spring for free.
It was these mystical hot springs which attracted the Romans and people from every era since. in 1750, the 5th Duke of Devon used his vast wealth from copper mines to develop the town as a spa resort in style of Bath, building the dominating royal crescent as a luxury holiday home. After the old building was evacuated four years ago due to foundation subsidence, it is now being restore into a five star hotel.
In fact the spa town had public thermal baths until the 1960s until they were closed due to lack of use. Now the 1920s splendid baths, akin to the Gellert baths in Budapest, have been sympathetically restored into shopping arcade of boutique shops.
We only had an afternoon in Buxton and I’d certainly recommend the town tour bus. A converted milk float, the driver/guide of the Victorian tram is a mine of information, and once you get over the cheesy introduction, it’s a really great way to get to know the town in a short amount of time – plus it was a bargain at £6.
Get the knack
Best Western Lee Wood Hotel – provides the creaky stair wooden ambience and is well located. Plus can be bought with Tesco clubcard points.
St. Mortiz Italian Restaurant comprehensive pasta menu, recommend the crab tortellini.