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Buxton or Matlock

by Obietravels Online Now Feb 4, 2008 at 8:07 PM

Planning a mid-March trip to the Peak District, and must choose between 2 equally lovely rentals in Buxton or Matlock. We're flying from the U.S. to Gatwick, so the weekend train ride to Buxton Via Manchester looks to be 6 hours; Matlock looks considerably shorter. We'll be without a car and will use the trains/busses and bike/walk to visit Bakewell, Castleton, Abney. What are the pros & cons of each town. I know Buxton is a gem and a much larger place. Does it lose its charm by being larger? I'd love to hear some opinions as I've never been to the area and don't know what to expect. My ideal is a place where we could walk a few minutes to the coutryside, but also to a pub, grocer, and excellent bakery.
Your comments are greatly appreciated!
Traveler Abney.

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13 Answers
  • iwys's Profile Photo

    Re: Buxton or Matlock

    by iwys Online Now Feb 4, 2008 at 8:14 PM

    Buxton. It's the highest town in Britain, has a great opera festival and lots of charm. The Peak District is a charming area.

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  • lostsooner55's Profile Photo

    Re: Buxton or Matlock

    by lostsooner55 Online Now Feb 4, 2008 at 8:22 PM

    VT member soulgirl lives in Matlock, and has photos on her home page. I'll let her know about your question, as I'm sure she could be of great help. Gary

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  • Re: Buxton or Matlock

    by Obietravels Online Now Feb 4, 2008 at 8:35 PM

    Wow, Fast replies! thanks travelers! I feel I'm in good hands :)

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  • lostsooner55's Profile Photo

    Re: Buxton or Matlock

    by lostsooner55 Online Now Feb 4, 2008 at 8:50 PM

    I noticed you are a new member. Welcome to VT. Do you know how to access another members home page yet ? Where do you live in the US ? Gary

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  • Re: Buxton or Matlock

    by Obietravels Online Now Feb 4, 2008 at 8:59 PM

    Thanks. I found soulgirl's website w/ pics of Matlock. I think I've decided on Buxton. I'm in the deep South--Birmingham AL. :) Travelin' far and wide!

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  • lostsooner55's Profile Photo

    Re: Buxton or Matlock

    by lostsooner55 Online Now Feb 4, 2008 at 9:17 PM

    While I was in the Army, I spent about 2 years in Huntsville, and 4 1/2 in Anniston. Gary

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  • soulgirl's Profile Photo

    Re: Buxton or Matlock

    by soulgirl Online Now Feb 4, 2008 at 9:52 PM

    Being biased I'd say Matlock. We have the cable cars and plenty of scenic walks. Also there is easy access to Chesterfield, Derby and Nottingham. The only downside is the lack of night life.

    Cathryn

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: Buxton or Matlock

    by leics Online Now Feb 4, 2008 at 11:02 PM

    Both are interesting places but I think it might be worthwhile exploring the public transport from each, taking into consideration where your rental is based and where you would like to go.

    carlberry.co.uk/rfnshowl.asp... for Matlock buses.

    carlberry.co.uk/rfnshowl.asp... for Buxton.

    Presumably you have investigated bike hire already? If not, look at peak-tours.com/CycleHire.htm...
    and
    http://www.peakdistrict.org/cycle

    Do get bring good wet weather gear (sorry, but true!), and buy the relevant Ordnance Survey maps when you arrive: they are excellent, fullof detail about places to see and potential routes.

    It is unlikely that you will get your 'ideal', of course. Both Buxton and Matlock are large-ish towns, with plenty of visitors in season. You should have no problem whatsover finding pubs, but a grocer is less likely (they tend to be either supermarkets or up-market) and bakeries ditto (most often chains, although there are some excellent independent survivors around).

    Have a look at the VT pages, as suggested. I'm sure you'll have a good trip: Derbyshire is lovely, even in its bleaker wilder bits.

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  • Spincat's Profile Photo

    Re: Buxton or Matlock

    by Spincat Online Now Feb 4, 2008 at 11:48 PM

    You have chosen your destination of the Peak District well. It is one of the finest parts of the UK and I plan a trip back there myself this year. It doesn't get quite the publicity that other parts of the UK, like the Lakes, get for overseas visitors, despite being one of the most popular desitinations for UK tourists. It is quite stunning with high windswept crags and lovely lush valleys.
    You will love Buxton (I've not been to Matlock so am not doing a comparison). It is superb architectually but also very friendly and welcoming with a market (it is Britain's highest market town) and plenty of good pubs. http://www.visitbuxton.co.uk. there is lots to do round about and in town, as already mentioned. I once rented a house here with our family, age range 4 to 75 then, and we were unable to carry out any of our walking plans due to blizzards (it was February!) but had absolutely no problem at all amusing ourselves in the town. I think because it is so unspoilt in its centre, it manages to offer a lot of activities but still retains a charming feel to it.
    When we stayed another time, we were in a Bed and Breakfast called the Victorian House, and it was beautifully decorated. http://www.buxtonvictorian.co.uk and I highly recommend.

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  • colin_bramso's Profile Photo

    Re: Buxton or Matlock

    by colin_bramso Online Now Feb 4, 2008 at 11:57 PM

    Just to reinforce the point about the weather, it could be cold, windy and wet in March (or it may be warm and sunny, it is England after all!) so make sure you have layers with a waterproof coat. Good walking shoes too because one of the joys of the Peak District is the walking.

    Public transport all over Britain can be difficult, even not available to many places. Check that out before you go so that you don't waste valuable time when you're there.

    I love Bakewell by the way, it's one of my favourite towns.

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  • Re: Buxton or Matlock

    by edalerichard Online Now Feb 6, 2008 at 2:49 PM

    I'd go for Buxton. The transport links are much better,plus theres a very busy season at the refurbed Opera House.Eastmidland trains,might offer the cheapest train journey from London.There are day passes covering all public transport in the Peak District too.If you do a walk,try and make it to the Beehive pub,near Combs.Chapel-en-le-frith station is about mile and half away.Its the place we go for any family gatherings.Excellent

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  • leics's Profile Photo

    Re: Buxton or Matlock

    by leics Online Now Feb 6, 2008 at 11:25 PM

    For train times and fares look at www.nationalrail.co.uk All the idividual train companies routes/times and fares are on this site so there is no need to try to use them, and no real advantage in doing so. Sometimes there are special offers which do not appear on the official national site: these usually include entrance to attractions etc and are not regular fare offers (these appear on the national site).

    Should you wish the explore East Midlands trains other than by using the national site then this is their web address: eastmidlandstrains.co.uk/EMT...

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  • PhilTheBus's Profile Photo

    Re: Buxton or Matlock

    by PhilTheBus Online Now Feb 17, 2008 at 8:24 AM

    Buxton and Matlock are large market towns so will have plenty of shops/pubs etc, but without knowing exactly where these "lovely rentals" are, it is difficult to say whether these will be within walking distance, or whether you will be close to open countryside. You also need to be aware that Matlock and Matlock Bath are NOT the same place - Matlock is a town with lots of facilities (but not much charm or charisma), Matlock Bath is a nearby village in a deep valley and which is heavily geared towards Tourists, but not much else.

    Like most of the other posters, I would probably plump for Buxton - it feels more historic and the public transport links into the Peak District are slightly better - there are buses to Bakewell, Tideswell, Eyam, Ashbourne Matlock & Matlock Bath and you can reach Castleton by changing buses at Bakewell or Tideswell. In addition there are trains every hour to Manchester if you need some retail therepy.

    Derbyshire County Produces an excellent bus timetable for the Peak District which you can buy from the Tourist Office when you arrive, and you can also download timetables from the internet if you want to plan ahead.
    If you need more information on Public Transport in the Peak District, feel free to email me at buses@uku.co.uk .

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