The Crescent, Opera House and former Devonshire Hospital, Buxton, Derbyshire.
The Peak District covers much of Derbyshire and parts of Staffordshire, Cheshire and Yorkshire. There are numerous interesting towns such as Ashbourne, Bakewell, Buxton, Leek, Matlock and Wirksworth, plus many enchanting villages
The most famous building of the time is The Crescent, consciously modelled on that of Bath. It was built for the Duke between 1780 and 1784 by John Carr, out of locally quarried gritstone, and included a ballroom and an Assembly Room as well as a town house for the Duke and shops along the ground floor. Sadly this magnificent building has now been empty for over 20 years. There are ambitious plans to reopen it as part of a spa complex, and work is currently in progress to complete this - it is due to re-open in 2018 as a 5-start hotel and spa.
The hospital closed about 2000 and the building has converted by the University of Derby, as the centrepiece of their Buxton campus.
Around the corner is Buxton Opera House, built by Frank Matcham in 1903, the period of Buxton's heyday as a spa. It is an exquisite building with beautiful decoration and superb acoustics. Fortunately it was rescued from near ruin in 1980 and restored. It has since formed the centre for an annual festival of opera, music, arts and literature, which takes place from mid July to early August, and there is a year-round programme of other events ranging from Opera to plays to rock tribute bands.
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How to get there
Buxton lies on the A6 Manchester - Derby road. From Leek take the A53 and from Macclesfield the A537. From Chesterfield, the A623 Chesterfield - Stockport road joins the A6 a few km north of Buxton. From Sheffield, take the A621 and A619 roads to Bakewell, then follow the A6.
By Bus: the Trans-Peak bus runs from Derby to Manchester via Matlock, Bakewell and Buxton.
By Train: trains run from Manchester to Buxton approximately hourly.
When is it open?
The Crescent is currently (2017) closed, as it has been for several years, and is fenced off as it undergoes renovation. It is intended to re-open it soon as a luxury spa-hotel. It is possible to visit the former Devonshire Hospital building, by arrangement with the University of Derby.
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