Today – Team Yellow Days visit Buxton, find out what’s on in Bakewell and visit Chatsworth House. Things to do in Buxton.
Our latest family trip was a bit of a spur of the moment affair. There I was, just minding my own business, looking at days out in Derbyshire on my laptop and before you know it I’ve found lovely things to do in Buxton and we’re off for the weekend. The weather was due to be pretty dreadful so if I’d thought about it too much then we’d probably not have gone but I’m really glad we did.
To start the weekend we decided to visit Chatsworth House. The Chatsworth Estate is huge. In fact, it could easily keep a family amused for several days. To keep it manageable we decided to stick to the outside attractions, the farmyard, adventure playground and main section of the gardens and save touring the house itself and the more extended walks for another time.
After a quick stop in the cafe for restorative fruitshoots and snacks we headed into the Farmyard. You’ll see sheep grazing all over the estate but the farmyard has a lovely selection of all sorts of other animals from guinea pigs to ponies. The kids particularly loved the chickens strutting about but my favourites were these gorgeous week old piglets. Couldn’t you just take one home in your handbag? (Caution – Please don’t do that! I’ll get into all sorts of trouble.)
After lots of ooohs and aaahs and a little tractor ride we trotted up the hill to the Adventure Playground. Now, lots of country house estates have a playground but I’ve never seen one quite as impressive as Chatsworth’s. It’s absolutely huge! The main section goes right up into the trees and is suitable for kids from about 6 or 7 right up to teens and the boys had a blast. Younger children are really well catered for too with several different smaller play areas with not just the usual swing/slide/climbing frame combos but also great sand and water sections. Definitely pencil in at least an hour here and grab a coffee from the little hut while the kids play.
Chatsworth House Gardens
With all that energy expended, we moved on to the gardens. This is where the map comes in handy because there is A LOT to explore. Different sections range from the very formal (think maze and topiary bushes) to much wilder areas. The cascade was a particular hit with all ages. You’ll also find greenhouses and kitchen gardens to explore.
There’s plenty of options for eating at Chatsworth. The main restaurants and cafe are in the converted stable block along with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, a large gift shop, an ice cream van and even a little gin truck but you’ll also find small vending trucks and coffee huts around the grounds. Booking might be advisable for afternoon tea.
[Tickets for Chatsworth are best booked in advance online as you’ll receive free parking. You can book for the different parts of the estate separately depending on what you feel like doing with family tickets starting from £24]
Visit Buxton – Pavillion Gardens
From Chatsworth it’s a short drive to Buxton through lovely Peak District scenery. After a brief stop at our AirBnB to drop off our stuff and have a quick cuppa we headed out to explore. Buxton is a pretty spa town with lots of attractive Georgian and Victorian architecture. We spent a lovely couple of hours meandering around and particularly liked the Pavillion Gardens which are beautifully well kept and landscaped and also have some great play areas (separated by age) that the kids really enjoyed.
‘The Crescent’ is an iconic, Grade I listed, Georgian building, one of the most architecturally significant buildings in the country, and one of the first purpose built hotels in the country. Unfortunately, it’s currently undergoing a massive renovation so you can’t see it in all its glory. From what you can see behind all the scaffolding it will be well worth going back to get a proper look when it’s all finished.
We found plenty of options for dinner in the area behind The Crescent. We went for a French brasserie but you’ll also see everything from fine dining to tex-mex and pub food on offer.
[You’ll find lots of practical info about things to do in Buxton including maps here. Entry to Pavillion Gardens and the play areas is free. Bar Brasserie, George Street has mains at around £15 with a good range of small dishes too.]
Where we stayed – AirBnB
Worn out from all the walking and stuffed full from dinner, we were really glad that we’d found a fabulous AirBnB literally 100yds from The Old Courthouse restaurant area. It was a lovely ground floor conversion in a period mansion block. With two bedrooms and a large living room, we had plenty of room to spread out and relax before bed.
[The flat we stayed in is available from £85 a night. You can find it here.]
Buxton Attractions – Pooles Cavern
When I was looking for things to do in Buxton one thing really stood out as something that would interest the whole family, Pooles Cavern. This limestone cavern boasts many formations, sculpted over millions of years. Mary, Queen of Scots is said to have explored it and people have been visiting ever since. After breakfast we took the 5 minute drive to Pooles Cavern, located on the edge of Buxton Country Park, to check it out.
Evidence of pre historic life from the Neolithic and early Bronze ages has been found. Romano British finds also point to this area being farmed and populated and the cavern seems to have been the centre for bronze work in the area. Pooles Cavern benefits from a state-of-the-art LED lighting system highlighting the delicate crystal formations and creating a wonderful effect when the 300 metre main chamber is fully illuminated. The lights are turned off at the end of the tour so that visitors can experience total darkness.
The tour lasts about 45 minutes and there is also an informative display in the visitor centre along with a cafe. It’s really quite amazing to see from inside and has the added bonus of keeping you out of the rain on unpredictable days!
[Tours start every 20 minutes. There are a number of steps on the tour route. Family tickets are £27. More details here.]
Things to do in Bakewell
Even on a short weekend trip, there’s always time for a tasty treat related excursion. For this weekend it was a trip to Bakewell, original home of the Bakewell pudding, of course. Bakewell is another classic Peak District town, smaller than Buxton but just as pretty. Even on a rather grey day a walk around it was a great way to finish off our weekend.
Now when you think of things to do in Bakewell, lunch in an Austrian cafe probably didn’t feature on the list but after a wander we had some DELICIOUS bratwurst at Tiroler Stuberl. It’s definitely worth a visit not just for the sausages but for the wonderfully kitch decor. Who doesn’t love a cookoo clock? We left just enough room for a Bakewell pudding. The perfect end to our mini-weekend in the Peak District.
[Tiroler Stuberl can be found in Water Street with main courses from around £8. The Old Original Pudding Shop is right next door. You can eat your pudding in their cafe, take it with you or arrange to have one sent to a friend by post.]
If you found things to do in Buxton useful then you can see all the other places we’ve been recently on our destinations page.