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Pavilion Gardens Buxton

A visitor to Buxton can't help but we drawn to the beautifully manicured, colourful shrub borders, lakes and miniature railway of the magnificent Pavilion Gardens. Stretched out in 23 acres, they have delighted tourists and locals over decades, and they are constantly being looked after and restored to their former glory.

With the arrival of the railway in 1963, it was a boom time for Buxton and lots of hotels and boarding houses as well as ordinary houses word built on Burlington Road and Boardwalk, which border and overlook the gardens, which were first opened in August 1871.

The seventh Duke of Devonshire suggested that private citizens should work together and put money into a company, which was called the Buxton Gardens Company, to improve all the amenities in Buxton and the Duke also offered nine acres, which was later extended by ducal gifts, to the present 23 acres it is today. This gift was made on the condition that they were used exclusively for the purposes of such gardens and pleasure grounds and an eminent landscape gardener was appointed, Edward Milner, who worked very quickly and the gardens opened on May 11 to be followed in August by the opening of the stunning Pavilion.

Later, the concert hall was built, which is now known as the Octagon. This was designed by Buxton architect Robert Rippon Duke in 1889 and it has changed its name several times over the years to the Pavilion Theatre, the Hippodrome, the Playhouse, and the Paxton Suite and became very successful as a theatre. The company decided the theatre should be extended and improved and the Opera House was then opened in 1903. The Buxton Corporation acquired the buildings, the pavilion gardens and pleasure grounds and the council have managed the site ever since.

The Pavilion gardens have recently benefited from a seven-year restoration project, which was finally completed in 2004. The total cost was £4.5 million and they received the support by the Heritage lottery fund, which have achieved their aim in restoring the Pavilion Gardens back to their original Victorian style.

They are now enjoyed by visitors and tourists as well as the locals, nearly 500,000 people every year and the lovingly looked after pavilion gardens, borders and combination of lakes, play areas, walks, miniature train, the cafe and surrounding buildings make the Pavilion Gardens a firm favourite for those who come to visit.

The miniature train is open weekends only but every day during the school holidays unless there are extreme weather conditions and children under three can travel free of charge, enjoying two circuits of the track. The Pavilion Gardens now have a new cafe with a brand-new menu featuring locally sourced produce, lots of home-cooked dishes and is a great stop off at enjoyed a copy or afternoon tea and admire the view across the gardens and keep an eye on the children who will have a wonderful time in the play areas or inside where there is an added families corner and baby station.