Many of England’s small cities are overlooked attractions for the average traveler, but that doesn’t mean that they’re not worth a visit. Some of England’s best-kept secrets are found in its smaller settlements, and Bolton is a prime example. The town is less than seven miles from Manchester and has easy transport links to the city from which it gets its name.
Yet it also has plenty to offer on its own, from the perfect weather in Bolton to mesmerizing gardens. The climate in Bolton is pleasantly mild and generally warm and temperate. There’s enough to keep you busy during a weekend getaway or as part of your long trip around the country. To ensure you’ve got plenty to do during your visit, here are some tips on how to explore places that usually aren’t on top of most tourists’ itineraries in Bolton.
Bolton Winter Gardens
Bolton Winter Gardens is a botanical garden in the center of Bolton, Greater Manchester, England. Opened in 1873 by the town’s mayor, it is the largest Victorian glasshouse in Britain and one of the largest botanical gardens in Europe.
The garden covers an area of over 4 hectares (11 acres) and contains numerous themed areas such as tropical, herbaceous, and woodland displays. The large Palm House was built around 1880 by Edward Milner based on plans drawn up by Joseph Paxton for nearby Chatsworth House; it has been designated a Grade II listed building since 1974.
Twenty miles north of Leeds, in Sheffield’s back garden, you’ll find Bolton Abbey. It’s a popular tourist destination that many people visit on their way to the Yorkshire Dales National Park and Raveden Reservoir. The ruins of Bolton Abbey (a Cistercian monastery) are Grade I listed buildings, which means they’re protected by law and must be preserved for future generations at all costs.
The abbey was founded in 1132 and was dedicated to St. Mary Magdalene. It became a World Heritage Site in 2015. Although parts of the original building remain today, most of what we see today is from its heyday as a religious institution, from 1399 until 1539, when King Henry VIII dissolved England’s monasteries due to his disagreement with Rome over divorce proceedings.
Blackpool Pleasure Beach
Blackpool Pleasure Beach is the UK’s most popular theme park and the largest in Europe. It has over 40 rides, shows, and attractions, including roller coasters, thrill rides, children’s rides, and entertainment. The park also includes a zoo with more than 500 animals, including lions, tigers, and monkeys.
You can get tickets to Blackpool Pleasure Beach online. You will need to book well in advance if you want to visit during peak times like school holidays or weekends as these times tend to be very busy at Blackpool Pleasure Beach due to its popularity with families across Britain.
Turton Tower is a folly in the style of a medieval tower, situated in Turton Bottoms near Bolton. It was built by the Earl of Derby in 1838 and is now owned by Bolton Council. It’s Grade II listed and open to the public.
In its heyday, Turton Tower became an iconic landmark on the local landscape and one that no longer exists today. It was designed by Joseph Gandy (1771–1843) and Thomas Rickman (1776–1841), two architects who worked together at this time. The tower has four corner turrets with conical roofs rising from an octagonal base that supports a central tower on each side. These towers also have conical roofs but are lower than those on their corners.
The building was originally intended as part of an ornamental garden complex including fountains and statues. However, it only existed for around 30 years before being destroyed by fire in 1868 (though there were plans to rebuild it). Today all that remains visible above ground level is its stone base.
Dave Allen Memorial Garden
Dave Allen Memorial Garden is a popular attraction in Bolton. The garden was created in memory of comedian Dave Allen, who lived in the city for many years. It’s located in what used to be an old quarry and overlooks the town center and beyond.
The garden is known for its quirky design, and it has been compared to a giant ‘brain’ by some visitors. At first glance, this might seem like an odd description, but once you see it up close and personal, you’ll understand why people would describe this space as such. There are plenty of areas where you can sit down and relax (bring your food or drink), so if you want somewhere quiet but still with views over Bolton’s skyline, this is worth checking out.
Haigh Hall Country Park
Haigh Hall Country Park is a beautiful park in the North West of England. It is located near the village of Haigh, and it is popular with people who like walking and cycling. The park has many different habitats, including grassland, woodland, meadow, and ponds. The park also has some lovely views over the Manchester Ship Canal and the River Douglas.
There are lots of different species of birds that can be seen at Haigh Hall Country Park, including red kites (which were once endangered), buzzards (also known as sparrow hawks), woodpeckers, and great spotted woodpeckers. The main entrance to Haigh Hall Country Park is off Wharf Street in Newton-le-Willows.
In addition to its wonderful gardens, Bolton is home to many other attractions and activities. The town has a lot of history, and you can learn more about it at the Museum of Textiles, which has exhibits on how textiles have shaped our lives. If you like art, there are many galleries in the city where talented artists display their work.
There are plenty of good restaurants where you can enjoy local food. For example, The Ship Inn serves traditional pub fare that will make your day. During your trip to Bolton, you may want to explore nature by visiting one of its parks or walking through its many green spaces, such as Lostock Hall Park or Heaton Park Reservoirs Nature Reserve.
Shopping lovers will also find plenty to see and do when they visit this town, from vintage clothing shops like Orchard Vintage Clothing Boutique & Antiques Centre to modern high street brands like H&M and from independent jewelry designers, such as Jameson Jewellery Studio Ltd to classic watchmakers like Shrewsbury Watch Company Ltd.