It’s hard not to gravitate towards The Crescent as soon as you arrive in Buxton. The striking Grade I listed Georgian building is considered one of the finest in England for its elegant architecture and sweeping terraced design. It was built in the 1780s as a centrepiece to the fashionable spa town resort and its grand Assembly Rooms (sporting a magnificent painted ceiling) became the social heart of aristocratic life in the region, hosting many a ball. Its two hotels provided accommodation for wealthy and esteemed visitors who travelled from across the country to enjoy the therapeutic qualities of Buxton’s geothermal mineral water – which you can bottle yourself just outside The Crescent at St Anne’s Well.
Today, the iconic building has been transformed into a heritage experience and luxury spa hotel following a 17-year-long multi-million restoration project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Explore its interior and learn about the history and restoration of the site by booking onto the Buxton Crescent Visitor Experience tour, either online or at the Buxton Visitor Centre (located directly opposite in the Pump Room).
The Pump Room is well worth a visit alone. The newly-restored, stunning late Victorian building was erected to resolve the overcrowding of the town’s thermal baths and provide a place for locals and holidaymakers to ‘take the waters’, commune and relax. The building is dedicated to Arnemetia, the Romano-British goddess of the sacred grove, referencing Buxton’s history as one of Britain’s only two Roman bath towns; Aquae Arnemetiae.
You can learn more about Buxton’s famous water, which rises from 5,000 feet below ground at a constant 27 degrees, and the famous figures it has attracted over the years (from Mary Queen of Scots to Charles Darwin), at the visitor centre. It’s also the place to pick up a map of the town, a good handful of leaflets, and some good local advice on where to head next.