Buxton’s historic buildings take part in biggest ever heritage festival

The Devonshire Dome at the University of Derby
The Devonshire Dome at the University of Derby

The past will come to life as buildings across the High Peak will be throwing open their doors for Heritage Open Days.

Several venues will be taking part in England’s biggest heritage festival, which celebrates history, architecture and culture and runs from tomorrow (Friday) until September 22.

READ MORE: 28 of the unique historic buildings, churches and venues across Derbyshire open to the public for free this month

Visitors and residents can take part in free guided walks, drops in and pre-booked tours to learn more about the past and visit buildings rarely open to the public.

The Buxton events are being co-ordinated by the University of Derby and Dr Sarah Rawlinson - head of the centre for contemporary Hospitality and tourism at the University of Derby, based at Buxton’s historic Devonshire Dome campus - said: “We’re delighted to be co-ordinating these ‘free to explore’ opportunities.

“Heritage Open Days aren’t only about the past.

“These events demonstrate the rich historical veins that run through the town and which shape and form part of the town today –whether that’s our hotels, university campus, theatres or local businesses.

“Preserving, innovating and celebrating our historic buildings and landmarks are a key aspect in strengthening our high profile as a destination for tourists and students.”

The festival also reflects Buxton’s growing international profile as a heritage and tourism destination for visitors, residents and students learning at the University.

A spokesman for Heritage Open Days, which is supported by the National Trust and the People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “This year’s festival is a first for all of us, with Heritage Open Days taking place across two weekends for 10 days.

“It is England’s largest grassroots heritage festival involving over 40,000 volunteers and 5,000 events.”

The events include reflections on the town’s place in history - including the imprisonment of Mary Queen of Scots and the impact of the First World War.

The Buxton Opera House, the Devonshire Dome - Europe’s largest free standing dome structure - and the Bower at the Old Hall Hotel, England’s oldest continually operational hotel, are among the open locations.

•Tales from the Bower, Old Hall Hotel on Friday 13, Sunday 15, Tuesday 17, Friday 20 September.

•St Mary’s Church Open Days on Saturday 14, Sunday 15, Saturday 21, Sunday 22 September.

•Talks and tours - Devonshire Dome on Monday 16, Wednesday 18, Thursday 19 September looking at topics ranging from Prisoner of War Camps in Buxton to a lecture from Buxton Civic Association and information on Mary Queen of Scots.

•A public talk on the restoration of The Cresent will be on Monday, September 16. Buxton Opera House will be hosting its own open day on Saturday, September 21.

•Lyme Park in Disley will be open to the public on Saturday, September 21 between 10.30am and 5pm. There will be activities exploring climate change and helping to care for the landscape as well as ranger talks, archery and Tai Chi.

• For more information visit heritageopendays.org.uk.