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Bolton is a large town in Greater Manchester, England, composed of several constituent 'townships' along with Bolton 'proper'. 17 miles (25 km) north-west of Manchester City Centre and 40 miles (64 km) from Blackpool, Bolton can be found in the North-West of England. Blackburn with Darwen, borders it to the north, and Chorley borders it to the north-west.


Generally considered one of Britain's friendliest towns, Bolton is a typical post-industrial Northern mill town, but one that is in many ways unique. Bolton is a proud town and has been known to call itself the United Kingdom's largest town, even though Reading holds this honour; its attempts to become an official city have been frequent, but equally unsuccessful. The borough is surrounded, particularly to the North and East, by the lush countryside that forms part of the West Pennine Moors. Bolton is twinned with Le Mans and Paderborn and many street and building names in the area reflect this connection.


Bolton owes much to the Industrial Revolution during which it became one of Lancashire's main mill towns.

The district of Smithills was built on the site of a Saxon Palace, whilst the present Bolton Parish Church, the third on its site, is built on the site of an original Saxon church.

During the English Civil War the town was a parliamentary stronghold, leading to the Bolton Massacre of 1644 and the execution of seventh Earl of Derby in Churchgate at the end of the war in 1651. This event is commemorated annually on the nearest Saturday outside Ye Olde Man & Scythe Inn by a street play.

Bolton grew greatly during the Industrial Revolution, boosted by the invention of the spinning mule within the town and became a centre for cotton production and bleach manufacture.

Whilst many of Bolton's mills and chimneys have gone, it continues to attract visitors to both its modern and historic attractions.


  • Astley Bridge
  • BlackrodBlackrod sits on hilly ground to the south of Horwich and the west of Westhoughton. As one of the higher points in Bolton, views across the area are particularly good.
  • Bradshaw
  • Bradley Fold
  • Breightmet
  • Bromley Cross
  • Egerton
  • 2 Farnworth. Farnworth lies on undulating ground, especially in the northern areas. It is about 2 miles south of Bolton Town centre on steep ground, especially in northern areas. It has its own rail station with services to Bolton, ManchesterPreston and Wigan. Farnworth has a bowling Green at the end of Glynne street,there is moses gate country park, locally known as Crompton Lodges, where there are sometimes different things going on. If you fancy a quiet walk, you can go to feed the ducks.
  • Great Lever
  • Hall i'th' Wood
  • Halliwell
  • Harwood
  • 3 Heaton. A leafy suburb of Bolton, Heaton is a wealthy district, home to larger houses and the attractive Bolton School. Sandwiched between Lostock and the town centre, you can walk from Heaton into Bolton through the very pleasant and refurbished Queen's Park.
  • Horwich. One of Bolton's three 'townships', Horwich is a former railway town, now home to Bolton Wanderers Football Club. It is very close to the beautiful countryside of the West Pennine Moors and is easily accessible by rail and motorway.
  • 5 Kearsley. In the southern part of Bolton bordering Farnworth and Radcliffe and Whitefield in Bury, the village of Kearsley lies on very hilly and steep ground.
  • Leverhulme
  • 6 Little Lever. 3 miles between both Bolton and Bury, Little Lever is home to the former Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal as well as a few pubs and shops. Like nearby Radcliffe and Farnworth, Little Lever does have its rough parts but is mainly a quiet and peaceful area.
  • Lostock
  • Moss Bank
  • Smithills
  • The Haulgh (say hoff)
  • Tonge Fold
  • Tonge Moor
  • Toppings
  • Westhoughton. The town has a population of approximately 25,000. Westhoughton is in the western part of Bolton, bordering Wigan. People from Westhoughton are called 'keaw yeds' (Lancashire dialect for cow heads). The story goes that hundreds of years ago a farmer (Westhoughton's known for a good few of them) saw that one of his cows had its head stuck in a gate. Instead of sawing the gate open, he chopped the cow's head off. There are many re-enactments which go on in Westhoughton that are worth seeing. Lovely farms and scenery, Westhoughton is not very built up and populated,so most houses are either cottages of farmhouses.


The local dialect is typical of that in areas of Lancashire. Elderly folks aside, visitors should have almost no problems when conversing with local residents. Only visitors who do not have English as a first language may struggle. Still, words such as "owt" (anything), "nowt" (nothing), "summat" (something), and "reeght" (right) are used in abundance and may be heard for the first time by nobn-natives. A healthy dose of Coronation Street should fine-tune your ears!

Get in

By air

Manchester, Liverpool and Blackpool Airports are all close-by and are served by many major and budget airlines. There is a good direct train service from Manchester Airport to Bolton whilst the journey is just 30 minutes by car.

By train

Wikivoyage has a guide to Rail travel in the United Kingdom.

The 1 Bolton Interchange (formerly Bolton Trinity Street station) is located to the south of the Town Centre, approximately 5 minutes walk away from the Town Hall. Trains from Bolton are regular and operated by Northern and First Trans-Pennine Express. Trains to Manchester are especially common and one can be in the city centre in just 20 minutes from where one can access many frequent InterCity rail connections to the rest of the country. Trains also run from Bolton to BlackpoolPreston and, less commonly, Edinburgh.

Westhoughton has two railway stations, Westhoughton and Daisy Hill. Westhoughton Station, to the north of the centre on Church Street, directly connects the town to Bolton, Manchester Piccadilly, Manchester Victoria, Manchester Airport, Wigan Wallgate/Wigan North Western and Southport. Daisy Hill Station, to the south of the centre on Leigh Road, connects the town to Manchester Victoria, Wigan  Wallgate/North Western, Kirkby (change for Liverpool Lime Street) and Southport.

By coach

Coaches from London and other major UK cities stop at the coach station on Moor Lane in Bolton. You can also catch other coaches from Manchester. Westhoughton is served by a high frequency bus route, line 540, connecting the town to Bolton Moor Lane and Wigan. Line 516/615 connects Westhoughton to Leigh, Middlebrook (Reebok Stadium) and Horwich.

By car

The M61 connects with the M60, Manchester's outer ring road, and the M6 at Preston, Lancashire.

Get around

A common joke amongst the people of Bolton is that the best thing about the town is the ease with which one can escape it. Flippant though this may be, Bolton's transport links are excellent, allowing for easy travel around the whole of North West England.

Bolton is an ideal town for walking and cycling in. Most major roads in the borough have cycle lanes and large swathes of the town centre are pedestrianised. The West Pennine Moors are on Bolton's doorstep and perfect for recreational walking and cycling with many public footpaths and cycle-tracks.

Bolton has very good local bus and rail links. There are high frequency buses from Bolton to ManchesterWigan, Bury & Salford as well as covering all areas within the Bolton borough. There are frequent rail services from Bolton to WiganManchester Victoria, Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Airport as well as less frequent services to PrestonBlackpoolBlackburn and other regional locations.

Below are some examples of frequent bus services in the Bolton area

  • 8 Bolton - Manchester via Farnworth, Kearsley, Pendlebury & Pendleton (First Manchester) 65 minutes
  • 22 Bolton - Stockport via Farnworth, Kearsley, SwintonEccles, Trafford, UrmstonStretford, Chorlton & Burnage (First Manchester/Stagecoach in Manchester) 136 minutes
  • 36 Bolton - Manchester via New Bury, Little Hulton, Walkden, Swinton & Pendleton 70 minutes
  • 37 Bolton - Manchester via Farnworth, Walkden, Swinton, Irlam o'th Heights, Pendleton & Salford Shopping City (First Manchester) 70 minutes
  • 68 Bolton - Trafford Centre via Farnworth, Little Hulton, Walkden, Worsley, Monton, Eccles & Patricroft (First Manchester) 79 minutes
  • 126 Bolton - Preston via Doffcocker, HorwichAdlingtonChorley, Clayton Green & Bamber Bridge (Stagecoach in Lancashire) 90 minutes
  • 471 Bolton - Rochdale via Breightmet, Bury, Heap Bridge, Heywood & Sudden (First Manchester) 25 minutes
  • 501 Moss Bank way - Farnworth Via Bolton,Royal Bolton Hospital,Hollins (FirstManchester) 19 minutes
  • 505 Bolton - Horwich Via Markland Hill, Middlebrook (Maytree) 20 minutes
  • 507 Bolton - Harwood Via Tonge Moor (FirstManchester) 15 minutes
  • 510 Bolton - Bury Via Breightmet, Ainsworth (FirstManchester, Arriva) 52 minutes
  • 512 Bolton - Bury Via Moses Gate, Farnworth, Kearsley, Radcliffe (Maytree) 50 minutes
  • 513 Bolton - Bury Via Moses Gate, Farnworth, Kearsley, Whitefield, Radcliffe (Maytree) 50 minutes
  • 515 Bolton - Ladybridge (SouthLancsTravel) 10 minutes
  • 524 Bolton - Bury via Moses Gate, Little Lever & Radcliffe (First Manchester) 45 minutes
  • 540 Bolton - Wigan via Deane, Westhoughton, Hindley & Ince (First Manchester) 60 minutes
  • 575 Bolton - Wigan via LostockHorwich, Aspull & Scholes (Arriva North West/Maytree Travel) 63 minutes
  • 582 Bolton - Leigh via Daubhill, Over Hulton, Four Lane Ends & Atherton (First Manchester) 50 minutes

Bolton's bus station at Bolton Interchange connects directly with the railway station.


  • 1 Museum, Art Gallery and Library, Le Mans Crescent. M-Sa 9AM-5PM (opens 9:30 on W); Su 10AM-4PM. worth a look, particularly for their Ancient Egyptian collection. There is also an aquarium in the basement. free.
  • The famous Fish and Veg Market, the newly developed Market Hall and Churchgate are worth visiting.
  • St Gregory's Social Club, 13 Church Street, Farnworth BL4 8AG, ☏ +44 1204 573168, +44 7513 897949. M-Th 7-11:30PM, F-Su 5PM-midnight. For fans of the cult comedy series Phoenix Nights, Bolton is home to the real deal on which the world famous Phoenix Club was based.
  • 2 Turton Tower, Bromley cross (just out of Chapeltown).
  • 3 Eatock Lodge, The Hoskers. Local nature reserve.


  • Catch a production at 1 The Octagon Theatre.
  • Go walking in the West Pennine Moors that are on the edge of the town.
  • Visit the Museum located in the town centre, which is free to visit, and is situated above the library.
  • The Ironman UK Triathlon that Bolton hosts annually.
  • Play and walk in the town's two large central parks: Queen's Park and Moss Bank Park. Both parks have been renovated.
  • Bolton Food and Drink Festival, ☏ +44 1204 334321. Takes place across the Summer Bank Holiday, generally mid-August. Bolton comes alive each year with the arrival of its food and drink festival. The town centre is filled with the sights, smells and tastes of cuisine from around the world, whilst its open spaces are occupied by stalls and stages, hosting household names and demonstrations. Previous guests include Michael Caines, Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood, Aldo Zilli and James Martin.
  • 2 Moses Gate Country Park, Farnworth. Although run down in parts, known locally as Crompton Lodges, is a beautiful area for relaxing, walking and feeding ducks. There is a park for children. Moses Gate Country Park is on the Farnworth and Little Lever road.
  • Watch football (soccer) at Bolton Wanderers. They were relegated in 2019 so they now play in League One, the third tier of English football. Their home ground, capacity 28,800, is called the "University of Bolton Stadium" but is better known as the Macron or Reebok. It's on Burnden Way, Horwich BL6 6 JW, five miles west of town, off M6 jcn 6.


Bolton's constantly improving shopping district is popular with people from all around Greater Manchester and beyond. The town's former market hall is now a modern shopping centre, The Market Place, with Zara, H&M and Starbucks branches, adding to the pre-existing Debenhams and Next. The town's former Arndale Centre, Crompton Place also contains many major high street names such as Boots the Chemist, and Primark. The town centre also contains a large Marks & Spencer department store as well as many smaller shops with different specialisms.

The Middlebrook Retail Park in Horwich, on Bolton's outskirts, and adjacent to Bolton Wanderers' Macron Stadium (previously Reebok Stadium) is also popular with shoppers. The Middlebrook also has a cinema, a bowling alley, a Marks & Spencer department store and an ASDA supermarket, as well various eateries and other stores.


  • Ye Olde Pastie Shoppe, Churchgate (off Bradshawgate). One of Bolton's most prized food outlets. It's only open during weekdays and is renowned for its pasties. The pasties bought here can be taken into Ye Olde Man & Scythe Inn, also in Churchgate, and enjoyed with a pint of their speciality - cloudy cider.
  • Rice and Three, Great Moor street (on the fringe of the town centre). An independent curry house,serving a plethora of home-made curry and other curry-based dishes.
  • 1 Tung Sing, 24 Glynne St, Farnworth, ☏ +44 1204 791200.


  • Bolton is home to an independent brewery, Bank Top. Bank Top ales can be found throughout the borough in pubs and off-licences.
  • Other ales from the area include Lees (Middleton), Holts (Manchester), Hydes (Manchester) and Robinsons (Stockport).
  • House Without A Name, 75-77 Lea Gate (Harwood in the east of Turton), ☏ +44 1204 433568. A famous pub with brilliant ales.

A few pubs in the town centre:

  • Ye Olde Man and Scythe, 6-8 Churchgate BL1 1HL, ☏ +44 1204 451237.
  • Barristers, 7 Bradshawgate BL1 1HJ, ☏ +44 1204 365174.
  • The Howcroft Inn, 36 Pool Street BL1 2JU, ☏ +44 1204 526814.
  • The Alma, 152-154 Bradshawgate BL2 1BA, ☏ +44 1204 364113.
  • The Brass Cat, 11-13 Churchgate BL1 1HU, ☏ +44 1204 398651.
  • Farnworth is not short of a pub or two such as the Railway,Park inn,Shakespeare,church inn and the moses gate which organizes tribute bands who come from miles away.
  • Westhoughtons most notable pub would be yes you guessed it the cows head. Also: Bridge, Hart Common, White Lion, Victoria, Wheatsheaf, The Robert Shaw (Weatherspoons), The Red Lion, The Cross Guns, Howfener, White Horse, Commercial, In Wingates, Greyhound, Windmill, Waggon and Horses, Royal Oak, Brinsop Arms
  • In Daisy Hill: Rosehill Tavern, Grey Man, The Daisy Hill
  • In Over Hulton:Red Lion, Hulton Arms


Bolton is home to the University of Bolton (formerly Bolton Institute).


There are many good hotels in Bolton: both chains and independent concerns.

  • Travelodge Bolton Central, Travelodge Bolton Central, River Street BL2 1BX, ☏ +44 871 984 6498 (premium rate number from mobiles).
  • Holiday Inn Bolton Centre, Holiday Inn Bolton Centre, 1, Higher Bridge Street BL1 2EW, ☏ +44 1204 879988, ✉ hibolton@qmh-hotels.com.
  • Mercure Bolton Georgian House Hotel, Manchester Road, Blackrod BL6 5RU, ☏ +44 844 815 9029 (premium rate number from mobiles), ✉ info@mercurebolton.co.uk.
  • 1 The Mercury Bolton Hotel, 540 Manchester Rd,, ☏ +44 1942 810904.
  • Last Drop village, Bromley Cross. This is a small historic village created in the 1960s to resemble a medieval village. There is a hotel there, and it has a swimming pool.
  • 2 The Brooklyn hotel, Green Ln, Farnworth, ☏ +44 1204 523176.


The local dialling code for Bolton is 01204. The country code for the United Kingdom is +44.

Stay safe

In an emergency call 999 for Police, Ambulance, Fire Service or Coastguard. Call 101 to report concerns to the Police that do not require an emergency response.

Go next

  • Manchester - Manchester is a major centre for culture and commerce in the North of England and a great (and easy!) place to visit from Bolton. The city formerly known as 'Cottonopolis' has hung up its clogs and welcomed in a world of culture, business, music, art, shopping and fine dining. This exciting, evolving city is a must-see for visitors to the area and an excellent place to go for some retail therapy when Bolton's outlets have been exhausted.

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