Check out our ultimate guide to the top 24 things to do in Buxton. Whether you’re a local and wondering how to spend the evening, visiting for the day or here for a few days break, you can find theatre, comedy, films, kids activities, outdoors stuff, walks and hikes, attractions to miss and a few lesser known gems you really should know about. Enjoy…
1. The Green Man Gallery
Contemporary fine art and creative hub, with a varied programme of exhibitions, workshops, art events and live music. Original paintings, ceramics, textiles and other locally made unique gifts are for sale in the gift shop. Located next door to Buxton Museum, you could visit both on the same day if you fancy a day of culture. Home to The Buxton Spa Prize annual art competition. Latest updates on the current exhibition and events programme can be found on their website and Facebook page.
Where: Hardwick Hall, Hardwick Square South, Buxton SK17 6PY
T: 01298 937375
Entry / Cost: FREE entry to the main gallery (some special exhibitions, live music events, workshops and other special events will have admission free / ticket booking price)
Opening times:February 2022 opening times – Monday CLOSED, Tuesday 10.30am – 2.30pm, Wednesday 10.30am – 2.30pm, Thursday CLOSED, Friday 10.30am – 2.30pm, Saturday 10.30am – 4.30pm, Sunday 10.30am – 2.30pm.
2. Ride a boat on the Boating Lake in the Pavilion Gardens
Having reopened the boating lake in 2019 after more 25 years, you can once again take to the waters in a rowing boat or pedalo! Enjoy pretty vistas across to Broadwalk and look out for the striking Mandarin ducks, Moore Hens and Canada geese that reside here. It’s a lovely leisurely activity for a sunny day with family or friends. Boats take up to 4 people.
Where: Pavilion Gardens, St John’s Rd, Buxton, SK17 6BE
T: 01298 23114
Entry / Cost: Check prices on site
Opening times: Vary – please check their website before travelling. Opening times can be weather dependent.
3. See a show at Buxton Opera House
Frank Matcham designed this 902 seat theatre dating back to 1903, displaying both a spectacular exterior and interior. The year-round programme offers drama, comedy, music, family events and opera and the theatre is home to the well known annual Buxton International Festival, as well as many other regular festivals. The programme is diverse with something on offer for all ages and there’s regular workshops for children too.
Where: Water St, Buxton, SK17 6XN
T: 01298 72190
Entry / Cost: Check online for show ticket prices
4. Treetop adventures at Go Ape Buxton
Go Ape Buxton is in walking distance from our historic spa town and you’ll also find the two-million-year-old natural limestone cave Poole’s Cavern, in Buxton Country Park. If you’re looking to give your pupils a school trip to remember, or you fancy giving your little monkeys a birthday party they won’t forget or you like the idea of swinging through the trees on your next hen or stag do –this thrilling outdoor activity is lots of fun and the woodlands are really pretty too.
Where: Go Ape Buxton, Buxton Country Park, Poole’s Cavern, Green Lane, Buxton SK17 9DH
T: 01603 895500
Entry / Cost: Various packages available – call or check their website.
Opening times: Open all year round except December – please choose your booking slot on their website.
Bookings: Places can be booked via time slots online.
5. Book a tour at the Buxton Crescent Visitor Experience
Newly opened in 2020, this exciting new attraction has nine rooms to explore inside the iconic Grade 1 Crescent building. Telling the story of both the history of the Crescent and the how this building was very much a centrepiece of Georgian and Victorian Buxton, the ‘tour’ is an interactive experience as you move from one room to another, culminating in a virtual reality balloon ride from Winnats Pass to Buxton. Tickets can be booked in advance online or are available to purchase from Buxton Visitor Centre (The Pump Room).
Where: Buxton Visitor Centre, The Pump Room, The Crescent, Buxton, SK17 6BQ
T: 01298 214577
Entry / Cost: Entry / Cost: Adults (16 yrs +) £10, Young Person (8 – 15 yrs) £5, Child (0 – 7 yrs) FREE, Concessions (65 yrs + / Students) £5, Essential Carer FREE, Family Ticket (2 adults and up to 3 children) £25. Book your tickets at: buxtoncrescentexperience.com/buxton-crescent-experience
Opening times: Various tour times take place throughout the day, Monday – Sunday; please check time slots when booking your visit.
6. Ride a bike along the Monsal Trail
The Monsal trail is a disused railway line closed in 1968 and converted in 2010 – 2011 into a new traffic-free cycle track, allowing people to cycle from Blackwell Mill, Nr.Buxton to Bakewell. The trail is lovely and along the way you can see remains of Derbyshire’s industrial heritage as well as lots of Peak District wildlife; in summer there’s often an abundance of butterflies, birds, wild flowers and if you keep a look out – huge dragonflies. You go through several old railway tunnels as well the viaduct which offers gorgeous views of the gentle Derbyshire countryside. Hassop Station Café on the trail is a great half way point stop off for a light lunch or a cuppa. You can hire bikes from Blackwell Mill Cycle Hire (see link below).
Where: Blackwell Mill Cycle Hire, Monsal Trail, Bakewell Road, Buxton, Derbyshire, SK17 9TE
T: 01298 70838 / 71986
Entry / Cost: (One price all day) Adults £18, child under 5ft £12, Electric bike £28, Two seater child trailers £12, Single Seat Wee Hoo Trailer £12, Tag-a-longs £12, Baby seats £5, Dog trailer £10
*EXACT HEIGHTS OF ADULTS AND CHILDREN NEEDED WHEN BOOKING*
Opening Times: Open 7 days a week, 9.30am – 5pm, March to October (inclusive)
7. Explore the Peak District landscape millions of years ago at Buxton Museum
Redeveloped in 2017 with a £1.5m Heritage Lottery Fund grant, the Wonders of the Peak exhibition has been completely transformed. The museum now has 10% more objects on display and much more for children to explore and engage with – such as the Bear Trail, because yes, the bear is still here, who, over the years has become an unofficial mascot for the museum loved locals. The collection of archaeological artefacts, minerals and fossils from the Peak District as well as artwork, photographs and objects owned by people who lived in Buxton, make this a must visit. And, it’s free entry too. You can really gain a sense of understanding about the social, geological and cultural history of the area. The gift shop has also had a complete makeover with a fantastic range of merchandise, gifts, postcards and souvenirs now on sale.
Where: Terrace Road, Buxton, SK17 6DA
T: 01629 533540
Entry / Cost: Admission is free. Donations are welcome on your visit and support the work of the museum in many ways.
Opening Times: Tuesday to Saturday: 10am – 5pm, last admissions 4pm.
8. See a film at Buxton Cinema
Buxton Cinema promises to be something quite different than your standard multiplex. Showing the latest blockbusters as well as all time favourite classics, Buxton Cinema really fills the cinematic void which has previously left Buxtonians forced to travel for up to an hour to get their film fix. Popcorn, snacks and drinks are on offer in the cafe. They also have regular accessible showings including autism friendly, audio description and subtitled films.
Where: 22 St John’s Rd, Buxton SK17 6XN
T: 01298 72190
Entry / Cost: General admission – £7 adults (Students/ Children / Seniors £5), ticket cost for some showings vary inc. the Buxton Film programme.
Opening times: All year round.
Bookings: Ticket bookings can be made in advance online or tickets can be purchased over the phone from the Box Office or in person when you arrive.
9. Gallery in the Gardens
Operated by and featuring art work by the High Peak Artists group, the Gallery in the Gardens’ is a permanent exhibition in the Pavilion Gardens. What’s great about the gallery is that all art work on display is for sale. The art work is varied and of an high standard, featuring ceramics, screen prints, lino prints, photography, paintings, jewellery and more. If you’re looking for a unique gift this is ideal. The group also run pop up exhibitions in Art Cafe (upstairs in the cafe), during various times in the year, in particular during Buxton Festival Fringe and Christmas. Well worth a visit and you can team this up with a visit to explore the Pavilion Gardens too.
Where: 6 St John’s Rd, Buxton, SK17 6XN
T: 07849 673058
Entry / Cost: Free
Pavilion Gardens opening times apply.
10. Ride the miniature train at Pavilion Gardens
If haven’t ridden the miniature train in the Pavilion Gardens yet – then you should! Ok, it’s not exactly a thrilling adrenaline inducing rollercoaster of a ride but it is fun and the kids will love it. Don’t forget to shout and wave as you go through the tunnel…
Where: St John’s Rd, Buxton, SK17 6BE
T: 01298 24105
Entry / Cost: £2 adults, £1 child
Opening times: Throughout the year, weather permitting.
Bookings: No advance booking required.
11. Buxton Buzz Comedy Club
Where: Pavilion Arts Centre, 22 St John’s Rd, Buxton SK17 6XN
T: 01298 72190
Entry / Cost: £9 in advance, £12 on the door
When: Go to explorebuxton.co.uk/buxton-buzz-comedy-club for the latest listings.
Bookings: Advance booking recommended (advance bookings can be made over the phone and online)
12. Poole’s Cavern & Buxton Country Park
Poole’s Cavern makes for a great day out come rain or shine and there’s a nice woodland nice walk on offer too if you fancy a ramble. In the cave, explore the vast limestone caverns and see how the spectacular crystal stalactites and stalagmites have lined the chambers over millions of years. With LED lighting, the caverns look spectacular along the effectively illuminated walk ways, so don’t forget your camera. A day out at Poole’s Cavern can be enjoyed by everyone and the Cafe @ the Cavern serves a varied, tasty menu. Guided tours need to booked in advance only currently; go to their website where you’ll find everything you need to know and how to book . The walk through Grin Low Country Park opposite the cavern entrance up to Solomon’s Temple offers breathtaking views of Buxton.
Where: Green Lane, Buxton, SK17 9DH
T: 01298. 26978
Entry / Cost: Poole’s Cavern: Adults £14.50 (ages over 16 years), Child £6.80, Family £37.50 (2 Adults, up to 3 Children), Students/Seniors £12 (with valid ID), BCA Members £0 (Must produce card on arrival). All tours must be booked in advance online.
Opening times: Tours take place from 9.30am, last tour commences 4.30pm, 7 days per week.
Bookings: Advance bookings only.
13. Ring of Trees Walk around Buxton
The Ring of Trees trail takes you all the way around Buxton, through various pretty woodlands – but have you walked it all? The woodlands are lovely in summer with various flora and fauna to see. A cheap day out offering a good walk if you don’t want to venture further into the Peak District. Go to Buxton Civic Association website where you can find a map of the trail to follow and lots of local information, points of interest to look out for along the way and wildlife you might see.
T: 01298 26978
Entry / Cost: FREE
Opening times: N/A
14. Devonshire Spa
Previous winners of Day Spa of the Year as well as Rural Wellness Retreat of the Year by Luxury Travel Guide, it’s easy to see why. Located inside the Devonshire Dome, this small spa beautifully kitted out has a sauna, steam rooms, hydro pool, foot spa and various treatments on offer with the therapists. The prices are superb and extremely reasonable for what is on offer too. The spa has a real sense of luxury inside and you can also book full day packages that include afternoon tea.
Where: Devonshire Spa, University of Derby Buxton Campus, Devonshire Rd, Buxton, SK17 6RY
T: 01298 338408
Entry / Cost: Check online for latest treatments available and prices here
Opening times: Tuesday – Sunday 10am – 6pm. Monday CLOSED.
Bookings: Booking in advance is highly recommended.
15. Walk the Buxton coal mining trail
Coal mining is not something commonly associated with Buxton but there are traces of a 300 year old cold industry if you know where to look and it’s fascinating once you get started too. Buxton Civic Association produce a handy walking guide that makes it easier to find and you’ll spot things in and amongst the landscape you might never have noticed before. This is one of many lovely walks in Buxton with great views of the town too. The walk self guided.
Entry / Cost: FREE
Bookings: N/A, this walk is self guided
16. Enjoy a stroll through the pretty Pavilion Gardens
Dating back to 1871, nestled in 23 acres of gardens with water features, lakes and miniature railway, the gardens is ideal for a family stroll to feed the ducks. There are plenty of benches to take a rest and you could also enjoy lunch at the restaurant if you so wish. There’s a soft play area which is great for children. The gardens are pretty are lovely in summer when brass bands play on the bandstand. There are regular fairs and event taking place in the The Octagon Hall. Check our website for the full listings.
Where: Pavilion Gardens, St John’s Road, Buxton, SK17 6BE
T: 01298 23114
Entry / Cost: Free entry to the building including the Conservatory, charges may apply to other activities and children’s rides
Opening times: The gardens are open 24 hours per day. Opening times vary for different areas/things to do within the Pavilion Gardens complex.
17. Eat in the Park Festival
This two day food and music festival took place for the first time in Buxton in August 2021 and dates have already been announced for 2022. The event proved to be a huge success attracting thousands of festival goers! With more than twenty food and drink vendors and a line up of local music and award winning tribute bands, as well as children’s activities and children’s entertainment, there’s something for everyone here. For the line-up and what’s on, click here.
Where: Eat in the Park, Pavilion Gardens, Buxton, SK17 6BE
Entry / Cost (2022): Various tickets available, check our special feature here to find out more.
18. Watch Buxton Carnival
One of Derbyshire and Buxton’s largest annual events in July which attracts crowds of thousands every year. Watching the carnival and enjoying the live entertainment is a Buxton institution but joining in the parade, well you can always do that too if you fancy it.
Entry / Cost: FREE
Opening times: 3rd – 10th July 2022.
19. Bryn’s Open Mic night at The Old Sun Inn
This well established open mic night resides at The Old Sun Inn! A firm favourite over the years in Buxton’s live music scene, all genres are welcome to join in. This makes for a perfect mid-week outing and you can enjoy a few cask ales while your at it to give you the courage to get in front of the microphone.
Just turn up and perform, full P.A provided! A friendly open mic which welcomes all newcomers. Many people have made their first public performances here and it proves to be a fertile ground for young upcoming talent.
Where: 33 High St, Buxton, SK17 6HA
T: 07944 164873 (organiser Bryn Layton)
Entry / Cost: FREE
When: Usually Every 2nd & 4th Wednesday of the month, start time 9pm, finish time 12pm
20. Learn about Buxton’s history with Discover Buxton
See the richly decorated architecture of The Crescent and a dome bigger that St. Pauls Cathedral at the University of Derby. and discover more about Mary Queen of Scots and her visits to Buxton at the Old Hall Hotel. This superb tour of the town will take you to Buxton’s most iconic locations and buildings aboard the ‘Victoriam Tram’ and is superb value for money.
Where: Buxton Opera House, Water St, Buxton SK17 6XN
T: 01298 79648 / 07530457755
Entry / Cost: Adult – £10, Child (4 – 11yrs – £5), ages 0 – 3yrs go free but please still book them a ticket. Maximum capacity 8, booking strongly recommended. Tram ticket entitles you to 25% of entrance at Poole’s Cavern. Advance booking highly recommended, particularly for groups, contact details above. Start of 2022 season: Tram Tours are available on the weekends of 26/27 March and 2/3 April and then daily* from 9 April.
*The tram may not be available every day.
Opening times: March to October
21. Take a walk up Corbar Cross or to the top of Solomon’s Temple
Both these walks offer cracking views across Buxton and across the Peak District, both at around 1300ft elevation. The woodlands are both lovely and ideal spots for walking the dog or a picnic in summer in Buxton. Corbar Cross in Spring is famous for it’s glorious carpet of bluebells. A walk to Solomon’s Temple can always be mean a visit to Poole’s Cavern as the walk starts at the entrance to the cave – and you can also enjoy a snack or lunch in the cavern cafe before or after a walk up here.
Where: Solomon’s Temple & Grin Low Woods cab be accessed via Green Lane and Poole’s Carvern, Corbar Woods can be accessed via Corbar Road.
22. Stock car racing at Buxton Raceway
A day out for all the family to enjoy – with the thrills and spills of stock car racing. There’s burgers and a licensed car here to keep you going during too.
Where: Dale Head Road, Buxton SK17 0RR
T: 01663 732526
Entry / Cost: Various ticket prices, check their website
Opening times: Check their website for the latest fixtures
23. Go Roller Skating
Roller Energy are the leading mobile Roller Disco organisation in Derbyshire, founded in 2016 by a group of people with a shared love of roller skating & music! Sessions take place every fortnight at Buxton Community School it’s a great activity to enjoy with all the family.
Where: Buxton Community School
T: 07731 848690
Entry / Cost: Session entry prices are currently £5 per person plus just £1.50 for skate hire if required (unless you are bringing your own skates). A family ticket for up to 2 adults and 3 children is £20 (saving up to £10 per session) plus £1.50 each for skate hire if required. Spectators are free of charge.
Opening times: Check our listing for the latest session dates
24. Go to an Antique and Collector’s Fair at Pavilion Gardens
The popular two day Antique fairs are a mecca for anyone who loves vintage and retro pieces. The event which takes place in the Octagon is always jam packed full of dealers selling everything from furniture, home accessories and ornaments, clothing, jewellery, handbags and random niknacks.
Where: Pavilion Gardens, St John’s Road, Buxton, SK17 6BE
T: 01298 23114
Entry / Cost: Adults £2.50, Concessions £2, accompanied children free
Opening times: Various dates throughout the year. Check the organisers website for the latest information – link below.