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Bolton is a thriving former mill town whose inhabitants have been described as the friendliest in the UK. It’s a great venue for shopping and hosts one of the best-loved food festivals in the country. It’s also situated on the edge of the stunning West Pennine Moors – 90 square miles of beauty and wonder, moorland and reservoirs. All this and it’s just 25 minutes and a cheap train ticket from Manchester city centre.
Foodies really have it good in Bolton. Top of the list is the Bolton Food & Drink Festival where, in recent years, over 250,000 people have flocked to the town. For inspiration from bricks and mortar, there’s Smithills Hall – a beautiful Grade I listed manor house and museum on the edge of the moors. And for something completely different, there’s Curley’s Trout Fishery where you can go fly fishing in idyllic waters.
A 15-minute cab ride from the town centre will take you to Turton Wines, a wine merchant with a difference. They sell wine from the countries you'd expect, but also Georgia, Morocco, Israel and Slovenia. They also hold very popular tasting sessions. If the weather is fine, an alfresco meal at Retreat Bar and Grill could be just the ticket. Finally, Harvey's is a local favourite, featuring a wide range of dishes and an impressive cocktail menu.
If you’re a keen football fan and want to stay at the heart of the action, Bolton Whites Hotel is fully integrated into Bolton Wanderer’s Macron Stadium and has a leisure club with a pool, gym, spa and salon. The West Pennine Moors are a stunning slice of countryside and a great way to enjoy them is from the pamper centre that is The Last Drop Village Hotel & Spa. The Holiday Inn Bolton Centre is a 15-minute cab ride from the station and right in the heart of the city’s nightlife.
Market Place Shopping Centre has everything you want from a modern retail jaunt. All the high street brands are on show and the site also incorporates the Victorian wrought iron beauty of the Market Hall. In addition to this, a 10-minute stroll across the city will take you to Bolton Market, voted Best Food Market at the 2011 BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming Awards. Our recommendation – after looking around the indoor and outdoor kiosks, try some jerk salmon at Nkono.
For more ideas on what to do in Bolton, see Visit Bolton.