Living in Bolton
What is life like in Bolton?
Bolton is located in Greater Manchester, a few miles north-west of Manchester. It is one of the largest towns in the UK that has yet to be granted city status.
A survey carried out by the British Society for the Advancement of Science once named Bolton as one of the friendliest towns in the country, with the warmth, care and consideration shown by local people widely praised.
Many people opt to live in Bolton for the easy access it provides to both neighbouring Manchester and the surrounding countryside, which is among the most beautiful in the north of England.
Food and drink is important in Bolton, with the town's Bank Top Brewery known to be behind several delicious ales, such as its prize Golddigger and Flat Cap beverages. Ye Olde Pastie Shoppe is an institution in the town, having first opened in 1667 as a butcher's shop.
Bolton is a traditional town that is steeped in history, and people planning to move there can be sure of receiving a friendly welcome and enjoying good value for money.
A settlement was in place on the moors surrounding Bolton as early as the Bronze Age, with a stone circle on Cheetham Close one of the first pieces of evidence of this.
The Romans arrived and built roads from Manchester, while Agricola is believed to have constructed a fort at Blackrod. There is also evidence of a Saxon settlement around the area of the Victorian parish church.
In the 14th century, Flemish weavers settled in the area and started the woollen cloth industry in Bolton. More eventually arrived in Bolton in the 17th century and the linen and cotton cloth sector enjoyed continued success.
Textiles grew at a rapid rate in the 19th century, with local inventors Richard Arkwright and Samuel Crompton central to this. The latter invented the spinning wheel while living in nearby Hall I' th' Wood.
Other important industries in the area included mining, with a number of coal mines in operation by the start of the 20th century. The Manchester, Bolton and Bury Canal opened in 1791 and the railway came to Bolton in 1828, both of which helped trade in the region.
The cotton industry suffered in later years though, and had virtually disappeared from Bolton by the end of the 20th century.
Bolton has no short supply of famous citizens, with comedian Peter Kay the most recognisable celebrity to hail from the town. Television presenter Vernon Kay is also from Bolton, while Take Me Out host Paddy McGuinness was born in nearby Farnworth.
Entertainment, sport and days out
Leisure Park and Middlebrook Retail is one of the largest entertainment complexes not only in Bolton, but in the entire north-west. It boasts several large shops, as well as a tenpin bowling centre, 12-screen cinema and other facilities.
In the town centre, the Albert Halls is an impressive theatre with a full programme of events, many of which are sure to be of interest to locals. The Octagon Theatre also hosts shows and performances and is famous for its crucible-style auditorium.
People who are interested in the history of the town can learn more about its past at Bolton Museum, which also houses an impressive collection of ancient Egyptian artefacts.
A good choice of sporting facilities are on offer in the town, with Bolton Community Leisure one of the most popular centres. There are also several local golf courses and fitness clubs that help to keep many residents in shape.
Those who fancy catching a game can do so at the Reebok Stadium, home of Bolton Wanderers, which is located in Horwich.
Heading into Manchester is one of the favourite options for people looking to spend a day out, as the city is one of the cultural hubs of the UK with a host of exciting and interesting attractions. Other choices include visiting one of the national parks in northern England – the Lake District, the Peak District or the Yorkshire Dales.
Bolton is a gastronomic delight, with plenty of places to eat that are easy on the wallet and the taste buds. Nelson Square is home to many of the town's leading eateries, although Spanish, Italian and Chinese venues can also be found at Bradshawgate and Derby Street.
Mai Thai in Heaton and Sagar in Blackrod are other restaurants that are highly recommended and enjoy more suburban locations.
The town centre has a vast supply of good pubs and bars, with Nelson Square and Bradshawgate once again proving to be the most popular destinations for revellers. The Old Man & Scythe is the oldest pub in the UK and is also well worth a visit.
Shoppers benefit from a pedestrianised town centre, which boasts many of the most famous high street names. Many are found within the smart Crompton Place Shopping Centre, and Market Place is also home to stores such as Zara, Bank and H&M.
Leisure Park and Middlebrook Retail features more outlets and additional entertainment facilities.
Schools & healthcare
As a large town, there are plenty of schools available in Bolton, so parents do not need to worry about finding high-quality education for their children. Some of the most successful primary schools include Beaumont, Blackrod and Lostock, while excellent secondary institutions such as St Ambrose Barlow RC High School and Canon Slade C of E School are also open.
The Royal Bolton Hospital is the main medical facility in the town and will provide a high standard of treatment to anyone with an injury or illness.
Many people in Bolton choose to travel by car, as local roads are good and the surrounding area is easy to drive in. Indeed, around 60 per cent of locals use their car to get to work, as parking is relatively easy in the town centre.
The A666 is the main route from the M61/M60 motorway to the town centre and is four lanes wide, meaning access to central Bolton is typically fast.
Bolton is located on the West Coast Mainline, which means a number of train services operate from its central station. It is easy to reach all neighbouring towns and villages, as well as the regional hub of Manchester.
First Bus and Arriva Buses operate full bus timetables in the area and serve all local routes.