Just outside the national park yet almost entirely surrounded by it, Buxton makes a good base for Peak District excursions but it has its own attractions as well. The town's spa days left a notable legacy of 18th- and 19th-century buildings, parks, and open spaces that give the town an air of faded grandeur. The Romans arrived in AD 79 and named Buxton Aquae Arnemetiae, loosely translated as "Waters of the Goddess of the Grove." The mineral springs, which emerge from 3,500 to 5,000 feet belowground at a constant 82°F, were believed to cure assorted ailments; in the 18th century the town became established as a popular spa, a minor rival to Bath. You can still drink water from the ancient St. Ann's Well, and it's also sold throughout Britain. Look out for the long-awaited opening of the Buxton Crescent Hotel & Thermal Spa, a move that will put Buxton back on the global map as England’s leading spa town, in the architecturally revered semicircular 18th-century Crescent.


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