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Buxton set to sparkle as a Spa town

May 23, 2017
May 23, 2017 - Buxton set to sparkle as a Spa town

Buxton is built on the river Wye and has an ancient history as a spa town due to its geothermal spring which rises at a constant temperature of 27.5 °C, from 5,000ft below ground. The Romans, who were renowned for their hygiene and love of taking the waters, were quick to take advantage of the geology of the area. In around AD 78 they developed a settlement there known as Aquae Arnemetiae, or “the spa of the goddess of the grove”.

In Medieval and Tudor times people continued to travel to Buxton to take the waters, with famous visitors including Bess of Hardwick and Mary Queen of Scots. However, it wasn’t until the Georgian period that Buxton really flourished as a spa town.

Buxton as a Spa Town

William Cavendish, the 5th Duke of Devonshire, used the profits from his successful Copper mine at Ecton, to revive Buxton as a spa town. The Crescent was the centrepiece of the Fifth Duke of Devonshire’s plans; built between 1780 and 1784, it was modelled on Bath’s Royal Crescent and designed to showcase the importance of the town and attract the wealthy socialites of the day.

The Crescent BuxtonThe Crescent originally incorporated a hotel, five expensive lodging houses (so the Dukes friends could stay in town), and a grand assembly room with an ornate painted ceiling.

The ground floor arcade included shops such as coffee house, a hair and wig-dresser, and there were kitchens in the basement. The Assembly Rooms were very grand and soon became the social heart of 18th-century Buxton, and “The In Place" to be seen.

Full Circle

The Crescent being restoredBuxton’s star fell, and for decades The Crescent lay empty and unloved, as you can see from the video. However the Grade 1 listed building is set to spring back to life, due to the ambitious restoration project to reinstate Buxton’s status as the spa capital of Britain.

The Crescent’s iconic building facade forms an arc of a circle facing southeast, and it will once again be an amazing showstopper when finished - I think the 5th Duke of Devonshire would be positively beaming at the idea!

The renovated spa will bring together the very best of the traditional and the modern. At the heart of the complex will be the original thermal pool, fed by mineral water from the nearby ancient spring St Ann’s Well.

In addition, there will be pampering treatments featuring mineral-packed mud, specially tailored healthy lifestyle programmes, and a host of relaxation and leisure facilities. There will also be an indoor/outdoor pool with water features, a sauna, steam and ice rooms, a fitness studio and a beauty salon. Can you picture yourself enjoying this amazing swimming pool?

Buxton spaCrucial to the success of The Buxton Crescent and Thermal Spa Scheme is a £23.8 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, together with a £2 million grant from the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, and £0.5 million from Historic England.

A sparkling five-star stay

Adjoining the spa complex will be an 80-bedroom five-star hotel, allowing guests to enjoy a truly luxurious spa break. The magnificent Assembly Rooms and Mineral Baths will be restored to their former glory, and there will be 6 retail units in the front ground floor.

The Natural Mineral Baths

Buxton archade glass ceilingThe original Natural Mineral Baths designed by Henry Currey, were opened in 1854 on the site of the ancient Roman baths. The building incorporated an incredible barrel vaulted stained glass canopy designed by Brian Clarke, which is the largest in Britain. The arcade was redeveloped in 1987 as a shopping centre and is worth a visit just to look up at the electric blue decorative glass ceiling.

Taking the waters at The Pump Room

Insode The Pump Room at BuxtonThe Pump Room, also designed by Currey, was built in 1884 opposite The Crescent and next to St Ann’s Well.

Whilst you could drink spa water free of charge from the public well, the Pump Room enabled genteel visitors to sip the waters away from the hoi polloi, for the charge of one penny.

The Pump Room BuxtonThe Pump Room was presented by the Duke of Devonshire to the town in 1894 and continued as such until 1981 when it became home to the world's first Micrarium. This housed 44 special microscopes to study close-up microscopic organisms, plant life and geological specimens. The dream of Dr Stephen Carter, a researcher with ICI Pharmaceuticals, the Micrarium attracted an enthusiastic following and became a popular place to visit until it closed in 1995. Many of you may also remember it as The Tourist Information Centre.

The Pump RoomThe exciting news is that The Pump Room is also currently being refurbished as part of the National Lottery-funded Buxton Crescent and Thermal Spa re-development.

Pump Room with DomesAs you can see in this early photo, the building originally had twin domes or cupolas which disappeared at some point, probably due to the high cost of maintaining them. Sadly these will not be replaced, but it will still be an impressive building when completed.

Stained glass windowThe restored Pump Room will imaginatively bring to life the many fascinating stories about Buxton, it’s relationship with the water, the Crescent and Natural baths in a creative mix of performances, installations, interpretations, events and programmes.

When fully opened the pump room will once again enable visitors to taste the pure Buxton water and provide space to discover more about Buxton’s spa history.

So as you see Buxton is set once more to sparkle as a spa town - odd how history often repeats itself!


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Hoe Grange Holidays Tripadvisor Comments...

  • star rating  We stayed in Skylark, one of the two glamping pods available at Hoe Grange in February 2020.

    Felicity & David welcomed us when we arrived to show us around... read more

    February 6, 2020

    star rating  We spent four nights at Hoe Grange and had a lovely time. The location is fantastic and right next to the High Peak Trail. The cabin was very clean and... read more

    July 16, 2019

    star rating  We stayed for a night in one of the cabins . The cabin was spotless and very well equipped , lots of extra touches were added like fresh eggs and... read more

    February 3, 2020
  • star rating  Recently spent a week in "Pinder" and had a lovely time. The location is stunning - the site is nestled in a beautiful valley on the edge of the Peaks... read more

    July 16, 2019

    star rating  Myself and my sister travelled to Costa Rica and Panama via Viva Holidays Ltd. The holiday was exceptional and one to be treasured forever. Andrew at Viva Holidays... read more

    Paula C
    July 4, 2019

    star rating  We stayed in Rainster cabin for a long weekend 6 th to 9 th September. This was my 5 th visit to the amazing Hoe Grange. I had visited before... read more

    Jan Horsman J
    September 17, 2019
  • star rating  A beautiful place to stay! Amazingly run family business! Everyone were very welcoming, friendly and cozy! The skylark pod we stayed in was very clean, cozy and well equipped! The... read more

    January 2, 2020

    star rating  Stayed last week, from 6th to 13th September in the log cabin called Hipley. This was amazing, it was our first visit but certainly not our last. Gold standard disability... read more

    September 14, 2019

    star rating  What a lovely weekend away! We stayed in the lovely gypsy caravan, which was a wonderful and really unique experience. We took along our two horses, who also had a... read more

    June 18, 2019
  • star rating  Second visit to the accessible holiday cabins at Hoe Grange. David and Felicity were as helpful and friendly as ever. We had a welcome pack of freshly baked bread, butter,... read more

    Charlotte M
    August 7, 2019

    star rating  Arrived and was shown to our pod, fantastic location and the pod was very good indeed plus we had home made bread and milk and tea and coffee. A... read more

    July 28, 2019

    star rating  Lovely place to holiday near to interesting locations and easy access to the High Peak trail and Carsington Water. Part of a working farm with fresh produce to enjoy during... read more

    Angie B
    August 3, 2019
  • star rating  Another great holiday at Hoe Grange - such a great place for us all to holiday as a family - this time with a baby, a 3 yr old, a... read more

    October 4, 2019

    star rating  For the second year running, we have had a great family holiday at Hoe Grange. We had one cabin for the week, for two sisters and our elderly wheelchair-using... read more

    June 25, 2019

    star rating  What can I say?
    Absolutely superb!
    We have just returned from a family weekend staying in Daisybank cabin and the Skylark pod.
    It was our first trip away with my... read more

    June 13, 2019
  • star rating  We've just returned from our second visit to Hoe Grange. The suggested riding routes with stunning scenery were enjoyed by my daughter and I while the menfolk were delighted with... read more

    July 11, 2019

    star rating  On arriving at Hoe Grange in a downpour, we doubted if we’d made the right decision to go glamping, but after the warm welcome from David and a quick tour,... read more

    June 25, 2019

    star rating  We wanted a complete break and some peace and quiet and this was perfect. The caravan was secluded with beautiful views over the countryside. Everything was spotlessly clean and well... read more

    joanne B
    June 4, 2019
  • star rating  What a wonderful find. As our first experience of needing accessible accommodation we could not have wished for better. Beautiful well equipped lodges in lovely surroundings. We stayed in both... read more

    April 3, 2020

    star rating  Loved every minute of our stay, and so did the family and friends that came to stay. Excellent facilities in our cosy Hipley log cabin. By far the best... read more

    October 25, 2019

    star rating  lovely surroundings real farm country with chickens paying you a visit nice decking area to chill at the end of the day accommodation very good plenty to do nearby... read more

    vincent s
    July 28, 2019
  • star rating  We had a lovely time staying in one of the incredibly well equipped pods. I bought my pony along and we had some great rides on the high peak trail.... read more

    June 7, 2019

    star rating  We love this place. Very wheelchair friendly, really well equipped and comfortable, with easy access by car to lots of places of interest particularly Crich Tramway Village, Chatsworth, Bakewell and... read more

    David H
    October 25, 2019

    star rating  We love this place. Very wheelchair friendly, really well equipped and comfortable, with easy access by car to lots of places of interest particularly Crich Tramway Village, Chatsworth, Bakewell and... read more

    October 25, 2019
  • star rating  Felicity and David made us feel very welcome right from our booking. The pods are well equipped and spotlessly clean. The area is very peaceful with great views and we... read more

    January 30, 2020

    star rating  We stayed in the Skylark pod last October (2018) and had a lovely time. There was homemade, rustic goods (bread, biscuits etc) when we arrived. Felicity and David who run... read more

    September 15, 2019

    star rating  We stayed in Pinder cabin and had a lovely stay, the cabin was spacious and comfortable, nice and warm after cold days out. The children loved meeting the animals and... read more

    November 5, 2019
  • star rating  We have just returned from a short stay in one of the pods on site at Hoe Grange Holidays. We couldn’t recommend them enough. The pod has everything you could... read more

    August 17, 2019

    star rating  It's been three years since we last visited but once we arrived it certainly didn't feel like it!
    We stayed in Hipley again which had had a refurbished wet... read more

    September 21, 2019

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