Dubbed the ‘gateway to the Peak District’, Buxton spa town is famed for its beautiful Georgian and Victorian architecture, its natural thermal springs and laid back vibe. But perhaps the most appealing thing to visitors is its proximity to the beautiful Peak District hills.
So whether you’re planning to stay around the town, or venture further afield, here’s our pick of 10 things to do near Buxton when you’re looking to get out and about.
1. Take a trip underground at Poole’s Cavern
Known as the “First wonder of the Peaks”, Poole’s Cavern is one of the finest show caves in England. Wander through the vast limestone chambers and see how crystal stalactites have formed over millions of years. You’ll be astounded when you enter the beautifully lit 300m main chamber and feel the history around you. It’s even rumoured that Mary Queen of Scots was one of the first visitors. Perfect when you’re wondering what to do in Buxton on a rainy day.
2. Take a stroll to Solomon’s Temple
While you’re visiting Poole’s Cavern, why not take a wander up to Solomon’s Temple – one of the loveliest little walks around Buxton?
Offering panoramic views of the town and surrounding hills, this Victorian viewing tower was built in 1896 and perches on the summit of Grin Low at a lofty 1440ft. There is a car park fairly close by, but you can walk further taking a pleasant route through woodland if you prefer. Either way it’s fairly steep so you’ll need sensible outdoor footwear, particularly in wet weather.
Make sure you save some energy to climb the spiral staircase up the 20ft tower. And while you’re up there you could spot which of the Buxton points of interest you’d like to visit next.
3. Cycle the Monsal trail
A cycle tour, complete with picnic of course, is one of the best days out in Derbyshire with the family. With a multitude of flat routes on offer, grab your bikes and get exploring. The Monsal trail runs 8.5 miles along the former Midland Railway line and is a great way to see the local beauty. Totally traffic free, it’s a stress-free way to explore the local area with the kids in tow. But don’t forget a lightweight rucksack to carry your picnic. Cycling is hungry work.
And if course, there are plenty more cycling routes for both beginner and more advanced cyclists in the Buxton, Peak District area.
4. Choose one of the many stunning walks around Buxton
The beautiful Peak District surrounds Buxton on three sides, so what better place to escape to the hills. For a challenging 8-mile walk with breath-taking views, hike from the centre of Buxton into the Goyt Valley. Or if you’re not feeling quite that energetic, you can join the trail at Goyt’s Lane for a shorter version of the walk. At only 3 ½ miles long, you’ll get heaps of views for minimal effort. But don’t be fooled – make sure you take the right kit. If the weather turns, the hills can be a lonely place. And remember your walking poles – the ground can get boggy in places.
With such variety, from stunning vistas to shady woodland, this truly is one of our favourite walks around the Buxton Peak District.
5. Explore Buxton Country Park
A short walk from Buxton town centre is Buxton Country Park. It may be home to Poole’s Cavern and Solomon’s Tower, but there is plenty more to explore if you’re looking for things to do in Buxton on a sunny day.
With beautiful parklands and woodlands to roam, it’s easy to while away the day following some of the many walking routes that cross the park, or by finding a perfect picnic spot overlooking some of the finest views in Derbyshire.
6. Take a tour around Buxton’s points of interest
Why not let someone else guide you? There are plenty of tours of the area so you don’t have to work out the best places to visit in Buxton.
Hop on-board a Victorian tram to learn about the area’s interesting history, or get your boots on and take part in a walking tour to learn about the natural history of the region. These tours take in beautiful walks around Buxton to discover the hills, woods and Wye River Valley. There are also costumed tours if you’re after something slightly different, as well as fully accessible guided tours.
7. Spend the day at the Pavilion Gardens
You’ll find plenty to keep you occupied in the 23 acres of this grade II listed Buxton attraction.
With domed buildings, bandstands, parks, eateries, a tropical greenhouse and even a miniature train, there’s something to keep all the family entertained.
Don’t forget to check out the numerous Buxton events and fairs that take place in the gardens year round. And you can always pop along to the tourist office to find out more about what’s on in Buxton.
8. Enjoy the Buxton International Festival
If you’re able to time your visit just right, it’s well worth attending the Buxton International Festival – one of the UK’s leading arts festivals. A huge Buxton attraction, the festival takes place annually in July and welcomes the very best in opera, music and literature.
Giving you the opportunity to experience beautiful venues such as the Buxton Opera House, built in 1903, you can enjoy a two-week programme of Buxton events ensuring you get to see a completely different side of the area.
9. Check in on the redevelopment at The Crescent
A short walk from the Pavilion Gardens, you’ll find the grade I listed Crescent grade I listed Crescent. Said to be one of the most architecturally significant buildings in the country, The Crescent is centred around the original Buxton Spa baths, fed by natural mineral waters that emerge from the ground at 27˚C.
Currently being refurbished, it is hoped that the pump room and thermal spa baths will be brought back to their former glory and preserved for generations to come.
10. And after all that…relax at the Devonshire Dome
Just because holidays shouldn’t be all about action, we thought we’d throw this one in. The grade II listed Devonshire Dome has to be seen to be believed and boasts the largest unsupported dome roof in Europe.
Here you’ll find spa, beauty and dining opportunities so you can treat yourself to a little well-deserved pampering in stunning surroundings. Definitely one of the most relaxing things to do around Buxton.
So what do you think – have we given you some ideas for what to do in Buxton spa town? Are you inspired to visit some of the attractions near Buxton? Want to extend your stay? Discover even more things to do in the Peak District.