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Bolton Local Information
Bolton - a dynamic town with a population of more than 265,000 - is located on the edge of the Pennine countryside in the heart of the North-West. One of the largest boroughs in England, it spans over 140 square kilometres (54 square miles) and is made up of eight free-standing townships:
Bolton , Blackrod , Farnworth , Horwich , Kearsley , Little Lever, South Turton, Westhoughton
Although each township has a strong identity, they each add elements to the rich tapestry that makes up the borough. Bolton's core, centres on the imposing Town Hall, built in 1866 to celebrate the town's position as a world-renowned textiles and engineering centre, and Le Mans Crescent, which contains the Art Gallery and Museum.
The town centre houses a variety of modern shopping complexes as well as tree-lined squares, street performers, shopping plazas, street cafes, bistros and restaurants.
The Market Place was opened by The Queen in 1988 and has been awarded national and European prizes for its design and architecture.
Bolton's mixture of superb shopping, sport and leisure facilities, beautiful buildings, historic houses, countryside and wealth of tourist attractions has made it a popular UK destination for overseas visitors.
The town's rich historical heritage is evident by over 700 listed buildings and 20 conservation areas.
Smithills Hall is a grade 1 listed building dating back to the 14th century and one of the oldest manor houses in Lancashire. Ornamental gardens and over 2,000 acres of beautiful moorland, farmland and woodland, which make up Smithills Country Park, surround it.
Hall i'th' Wood Museum
Bolton is home to some of the North-West's finest parks and open spaces. There are large landscaped parks such as Queens Park, a traditional Victorian town park with ornamental garden areas and views over Bolton. Jumbles Country Park blends into the spectacular West Pennine Moors, a few minutes from the urban area. Barrow Bridge was once a 19th century model industrial village that is now a popular moorland beauty spot featuring a series of attractive cottages set beside a small stream. Moses Gate Country Park, also a popular visitor attraction, was restored from an old industrial wasteland and has now become a site of national scientific interest due to its unique wildlife.
Bolton's rich cultural and artistic heritage rivals any city in the UK. The Middlebrook Retail and Leisure Park includes the impressive 28,000 seater Reebok Stadium - home of the Bolton Wanderers Football Club - and incorporates a conference and exhibition centre, 10-pin bowling centre, a wide variety of retail, leisure and business outlets and the UK's first 24-hour 12-screen multiplex cinema. Middlebrook has become one of the most successful commercial leisure developments in the land. Bolton Wanderers, one of the founder clubs of the Football League, was established in 1888.
Bolton has invested heavily in sporting excellence over the years. Bolton Arena, a £15 million community-based sports and leisure complex at the Middlebrook site, provides the focus for a range of community sports facilities and a stage for local, regional, national and international events such as the Davis Cup.
Throughout the borough there is a wide range of leisure facilities, both public and private, indoor and out. Outdoor pursuits are popular, with superb opportunities for climbers and fell walkers as well as excellent facilities for water sports including canoeing, windsurfing and sailing. The borough also has a reputation as a venue for cycling events through its participation in the Tour of Lancashire Cycle Race (part of the UK's premier cycle race), city centre racing, and the professional Tour of Britain cycle race. Bolton hosted a major part of the International Triathlon Union World Championship.
Bolton has also hosted a marathon and variety of disabled and youth events, in particular the Unity Golf Open Championship and the Reebok Fives UK Junior Soccer Finals. Bolton was to host the 2002 Commonwealth Games Badminton event at the new Bolton Arena and will continue to develop world-class facilities that will enable people from all over the north west to compete on the regional, national and international stage.
Bolton has a positive reputation as a busy centre for nightlife, attracting visitors from all over the north west to its cosmopolitan bars, restaurants and nightclubs. Between 7 and 8 million visitors come into Bolton's town centre every year, and can choose from the modern town centre retail outlets, the Victorian Market Hall and the famous indoor and outdoor markets. Over £150 million has been invested in the town centre over recent years to make it the busiest and most attractive centre in the area.
There is a variety of artistic, musical and theatrical facilities to suit all tastes. The Octagon Theatre was opened by HRH Princess Margaret in 1967 and is one of the most innovative regional repertory theatres, performing productions 'in the round'. The Albert Halls Complex has an annual schedule of events including pantomimes, live bands and orchestral performances. Bolton's award-winning Little Theatre offers a more traditional outlet for amateur talent.
The popular Art Gallery hosts exhibitions of national and international significance, such as the first British exhibition of German Expressionist Art, and its collection includes 18th century watercolours, Victorian genre paintings, contemporary British art and paintings of national importance by artists such as Turner and Gainsborough. The Gallery also has a unique collection of the works of Bolton-born landscape painter Thomas Moran.
The Arts Festival, which has been established for 21 years, offers a comprehensive programme of free outdoor activities, traditional Lancastrian events, multi-cultural displays, open-air theatre and musical performances and art exhibitions. The Central Museum features a renowned collection of Egyptian antiquities and collections of natural history, local history, geology and archaeology and its own aquarium. Animal World and Butterfly House, situated in Moss Bank Park, provide a superb display of animals, birds, and exotic butterflies from around the world. Bolton Wanderers Football Club has recently opened its own BWFC Visitor Centre, with a fascinating history of the club, interactive displays, memorabilia, lecture theatre, cafe and full educational facilities.
Bolton's economy has changed significantly in recent years and the town has now grown into a centre for commerce and investment. Redundant mills have been renovated to house modern hi-tech businesses, retail and office complexes. It is now one of the most flourishing centres in the north west. Following in the footsteps of Bolton industrialist and inventor Samuel Crompton, whose Spinning Mule revolutionised the cotton industry, Bolton institute has earned a reputation for its world class developments in the textile arena.
Although a strong manufacturing sector remains in Bolton today, there has also been immense growth in the retail, leisure, tourism and service industries. Bolton enjoys a superb business location at the heart of the north west's communication network and is well served by all major transport routes (road, rail and air) with easy access to Manchester and the International Airport. It is also home to the The Bolton News - the oldest evening newspaper in the country and an essential resource for the community of Bolton since 1867. Bolton now also has its own radio station - Tower FM.
Bolton takes a price in its strong local identity, but it has also worked hard to develop regional, national and international partnerships. Through these partnerships, major achievements have been enjoyed in terms of investment, regeneration and economic growth. Bolton continues to develop links with Europe and the rest of the world and has well established connections with its twin towns Paderborn, Germany and Le Mans, France.