This little spa town in Derbyshire has always been a favourite of mine. I visited Buxton plenty of times as a child so I have many fond memories of eating ice cream, filling up my water bottle at the widely known St Ann’s Well and playing in the Pavillion Gardens.
Well, I haven’t been here in YEARS (at least 11) so I was well overdue a visit. On the first sunny weekend we’ve had in weeks (I’ve been keeping a close eye on the weather forecast), I was up early and on my way.
From Manchester, it’s only an hour train ride, so it’s a manageable day trip. I have to remind myself that I had a four hour round journey to university and back when I lived in Brisbane, so trips like this are absolutely nothing. It’s a lovely scenic ride too, and within a few minutes, you’re out of the city hustle and bustle and passing country greenery and cute train stations along the way.
On arrival, we headed to Buxton Museum and Art Gallery which showcases some of the archaeology, geology and history of the Peak District. It’s completely free and includes a few different exhibitions on local points of interest. My favourite snippet was on Mary Queen of Scots (love that era of history), which discussed how she came to Buxton in the summers and stayed at The Old Hall Hotel. In fact, Mary Queen of Scots was amongst many famous visitors who came to ‘take the waters’ of St Ann’s Well in search of cures, as she suffered badly from rheumatism.
After a further wander around, we were on the hunt for lunch and stumbled across The King’s Head pub which had an amazing deal; a 3-course meal for £4.99. I think I had nachos for starters, fish and chips for mains and apple pie with custard for dessert — bargain!
Later, we stumbled across Scrivener’s Books and Bookbinding, a rustic yet homely style bookstore over five levels. The outside reminded me of the Weasley House and although it looks small, it’s actually massive inside. Just imagine having that as a house! Every level had comfy armchairs and little nooks to read, and there were maps on the walls to show you what genre of books is in that area. There’s even a kettle and biscuits half-way up, so you could definitely settle in and enjoy your time there properly on an easy-going day. Preferably with rain.
By this point, my brother and nephews had followed us to Buxton, so we headed to Pavillion Gardens to play on the park in the sunshine. Funnily, there’s a miniature railway train there that I never got to go on as a kid, so I happily embraced having little ones close by and jumped on-board with them.
The day ended in the Springs Shopping Centre (I’ve developed a passion for treasure hunting in charity shops this year) while eating a Mr Whippy ice cream. I also stocked up on my usual scenic postcards (I must have 100s by now) and Buxton clotted fudge and shortbread.
I hope to return again soon to explore Pooles Cavern and maybe even stay at The Old Hall Hotel myself — it’s famed for being one of England’s oldest hotels and each bedroom has been furnished in keeping with the age of the hotel so it would be a lovely experience. Watch this space!