This time last year, I was at a friends reunion. We rented a great house with lots of space to hang out and play games. We’re spread all over the place now and I hadn’t seen some people in more than a decade but with good friends, time doesn’t matter. Especially when the intervening years have produced babies!
We chose Buxton in Derbyshire as it is pretty central in the UK and close to an airport for those of us coming from overseas. And, with its position on the edge of the Peak District National Park, Buxton offered so many options for getting out and about.
Buxton itself is an attractive spa town and the highlight for me was the Pavilion Gardens, home to the Pavilion and Conservatory. Inside the Pavilion, there is a retail arcade featuring artworks from local artists and a great shop with local foods. But, best of all, there are 23 acres of landscaped gardens, a boating lake and, of course, an ice cream parlour. There’s even a miniature train.
In a town full of impressive Victorian architecture, including Buxton Crescent which was inspired by the Royal Crescent in Bath, I particularly liked the Opera House. Well, it actually opened in 1903 so not quite Victorian. In any case, I think going back to see a show there needs to be added to my travel to-do list. And I’m sure with Buxton being a spa town, I could find something else to do as well!
Another attraction, situated half a mile outside Buxton, is Poole’s Cavern. The tour of the cavern lasts about 50 minutes and it’s a cool thing to do on a hot day (it’s constantly 7 degrees celsius in the cavern). There is also a woodland trail leading up to Solomon’s Temple with views of the surrounding area. (Or so I’ve been told, I was having too much fun in the caves!)
Buxton has strong links with the Dukes of Devonshire, and both the land for the Pavilion Gardens and the woodlands round Poole’s Cavern were donated by the family. So it made sense for us to visit the ancestral home of the Dukes of Devonshire – Chatsworth House. The house is beautiful and set in magnificent grounds. With 105 acres, there was so much to explore. We ended up spending the whole day there. And, even though we were a diverse group, there was something to interest everyone. Including Bakewell Tart – we were in Derbyshire after all.
Happy memories of good times with good friends. Maybe we shouldn’t wait so long before getting together next time…