Devonshire Dome in Buxton, 1 Devonshire Road, Buxton, SK17 6RY – Visit Now
As you might sense from its striking appearance, especially lit up at night overlooking the rest of the town, the Devonshire Dome is a building with a fascinating backstory. It’s also one of Buxton’s most famous landmarks, sporting what was once the world’s largest unsupported dome – surpassing that of the Pantheon, St Peter’s Basilica and St Paul’s Cathedral.
The Dome began life as the Great Stables, commissioned in the late 18th century by the 5th Duke of Devonshire to service The Crescent, housing up to 120 horses and the servants of guests staying at the grand hotel whilst ‘taking the waters’. In 1859, it was then part converted into a hospital for the ‘sick poor’ of Cottonopolis Manchester and the wider industrialised Lancashire/Liverpool region by the Buxton Bath Charity – a charity founded in 1779 to provide wider access to the healing waters of both spa towns. The feminist writer Vera Brittain trained to be a nurse there during the First World War and helped treat the more than 5,000 wounded soldiers that passed through its doors. The Devonshire Royal Hospital (as it became known) continued to operate until 2000 when it was the last of England’s eight hydropathic hospitals to close.
Following a major renovation project, the building is now owned by the University of Derby and open to anyone wanting to look around or simply poke their head in to marvel at its remarkable domed interior. The Dome also incorporates the award-winning Devonshire Spa and a fine dining restaurant, where chefs-in-training create gourmet-style dishes for a seasonal three-course menu priced at just £10 – if you’re looking for an extremely luxurious lunch on a budget, you’d struggle to find better.
Positioned less than five minutes’ walk from the train station and offering a great view of Buxton from its beautifully manicured lawns, this iconic building is worth including in any visit to the town.