Lying on the borders of Cheshire to the west and Staffordshire to the south and at an elevation of some 1000 feet Buxton is not only England highest market town, but thanks to the natural spring that flows from beneath the crescent, it is also one of the most well known.
The first inhabitants of Buxton made homes here some 6,000 years ago, however the first people to recognise it as a settlement were the Romans when they arrived in AD80. They gave it the name 'Aquae Arnemetiae' which simply means The waters of Arnemetiae. Arnemetiae was the Romano-British goddess of the sacred grove her name was derived from the Celtic for 'beside the sacred grove'.
Over the years many people have travelled to Buxton to take the healing waters that flow to the surface at a constant 27 degrees celsius, one of the most famous being Mary Queen of Scots who in 1573 travelled here believing the trip would aid her recovery from rheumatism. During her trip she stayed at the hotel now known as the Old Hall (originally Buxton Hall). Built by the 6th Earl of Shrewsbury, George Talbot, whose wife was Bess of Hardwick, in 1550, the hotel replaced an earlier building on the same site
In the 1780s the fifth Duke of Devonshire using money he had made from copper mining built the iconic Crescent hotel in the centre of the town as a centrepiece to establish Buxton as a fashionable Georgian spa town. The original building housed a ball room, an assembly room and a town house in the centre for the duke. Despite its popularity and following various uses throughout the 20th Century, it closed in 1992. In 2003, High Peak Borough Council and Derbyshire County Council who own the building partnered up with the Trevor Osborne Property Group and CP Holdings Ltd (who own Danubius/Ensana Hotel and Spa Group – Europe’s largest hotel and spa operator) and after undergoing substantial restoration, in 2020 the crescent reopened as a hotel and spa.
Behind the Crescent and easily spotted is Buxton's famous Devonshire Dome building. Built in 1790 by John Carr of York its origional use was as stabling for horses. A portion of the stabling block was given over as a hospital in 1857 and became known as the Devonshire Royal Hospital. It was later extended by architect Robert Rippon Duke, who added what was then the world's largest unsupported dome, with a diameter of 44.2 metres (145 ft). It is now the site of the Buxton Campus of the University of Derby.
Just down the road, RAF Harpur Hill became an underground bomb-storage facility during World War II and the country's largest munitions dump. It was also the base for the Peak District section of the RAF Mountain Rescue Service and is now the site of the clubs repeater GB3HH and our beacons.
The Pump Room which faces The Crescent was built in 1894 and thermal water was served here until 1981. Now the public can sample the water from the drinking fountain next to it, known as St Ann’s Well, which is decorated at Well Dressing time.
Other local attractions are Pooles Cavern, a natural limestone cave, known to have been inhabited by primitive man and Solomon's Temple, also known as Grinlow Tower, is a Victorian folly on the summit of Grin Low hill, about half a mile away, providing extensive views over Buxton.
Links to the places mentioned are in the local links page