Our guide to the Peak District
Updated: Sep 1, 2021
As the evening light fades earlier each day, it's clear that the summer is fading away, and with it, the packed beach holidays complete with ice creams and traffic jams. But with the cooler temperatures and the reopening of schools comes opportunities to explore other areas within the UK.
One such area is Buxton and the surrounding Peak District. The Peak District itself spans over 550 square miles and is the oldest National Park in England. Split into the Dark and the White Peaks, the terrain changes between vast moorland and limestone gorges.
There is something very special about the drive to Buxton. As you approach Buxton from the south on the A53, the road verges disappear into the rolling valleys. As the sun rays cut through the clouds and illuminate the distance rounded hills, it's clear why this is an area of outstanding natural beauty.
Road trips are not complete without impromptu stops to stretch your (and the dogs) legs and take in the surroundings. If you travel on the A53, stop at the "Back of the Rocks" and take in the view. It is not a tourist hot spot but one of those road trip gems worth taking in.
Buxton itself is a thermal spa town and home to Buxton water. The heart of the town undoubtedly lies at the Pavilion Gardens. The Victorian venue dates back to 1871 and hosts an Opera House, Art Centre, Tea Room, Conservatory, Concert Hall, and Cinema. All of these amenities overlook the sprawling ornamental gardens below. Finding parking next to the Pavilion was easy with the myAutomate app before we continued exploring the rest of the town on foot.
Away from the Pavilion, Buxton is a flourishing town with a magnificent recently restored Georgian crescent and the Natural Mineral Baths, which occupies the original ancient Roman baths site. The most striking part of Buxton is the architecture. Buildings ranging from the late 16th century to the present day make this town full of wonder and intrigue.
Away from Buxton, Castleton to the north is famous for the semi-precious mineral "Blue John". You can take guided tours to explore Blue John Cavern, Treak Cliff Cavern, Speedwell Cavern, and Peak Cavern. They are a perfect way to escape the elements and see what beauty lies below the surface. Speedwell Cavern boasts an underground boat trip deep into the hillside.
If you do venture to the caverns, be sure to navigate Winnats Pass. The road twists and turns through the limestone gorge creating an exhilarating and potentially exhausting spectacle for drivers, riders, and hikers alike.
Buxton and the Peak District are places where the journey is more important than the destination. Around every bend in the road or street corner is a surprise. Using the myAutomate app can help you explore these areas without worry.