Things to do in Bolton – United Kingdom

Welcome to Bolton, a vibrant city in the United Kingdom that offers a wide range of exciting activities and attractions for visitors. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, nature lover, or foodie, Bolton has something to offer to everyone.

If you’re wondering what to do in Bolton, you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ll explore the top attractions and activities that make Bolton a must-visit destination. From family-friendly museums and historic sites to scenic views and outdoor spaces, there’s plenty to keep you entertained during your time in Bolton. But first, let’s delve into some key highlights of this charming city.

Key Takeaways:

  • Bolton offers a wide range of exciting activities and attractions for visitors
  • From family-friendly museums to historic sites and scenic views, there’s something for everyone
  • Explore the industrial heritage of Bolton and enjoy shopping and dining in the city
  • Don’t miss out on the vibrant events and festivals that take place throughout the year
  • Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy picturesque parks and countryside for leisure and adventure

Family-Friendly Museums and Attractions

Bolton is home to a variety of family-friendly museums and attractions that offer engaging experiences for visitors of all ages. From fascinating artifacts to beautiful outdoor spaces, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Bolton Central Library and Museum

The Bolton Central Library and Museum is a must-visit attraction that combines culture and history. This free museum houses a diverse range of artifacts, including a remarkable piece of Japanese Samurai Armour and a 3,200-year-old mummy. Visitors can explore the exhibits and learn about Bolton’s rich heritage. It’s a great place for families to discover something new and spark their curiosity.

Bolton Steam Museum

Another family-friendly museum is the Bolton Steam Museum, a hidden gem that showcases the town’s industrial past. This fascinating museum features over 27 restored steam engines, providing a glimpse into the engineering marvels of the past. Kids and adults alike will be captivated by the collection and the opportunity to learn about the history of steam power in Bolton.

Moses Gate Country Park

For those seeking outdoor adventures, Moses Gate Country Park is the perfect destination. This local nature reserve offers stunning woodland, tranquil waterfalls, and adventure playgrounds for children. Families can enjoy scenic walks, have picnics, or even try their hand at fishing. It’s a delightful escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in nature’s beauty.

Whether you’re interested in history, engineering, or simply enjoying the outdoors, Bolton’s family-friendly museums and attractions have something to offer. From the Bolton Central Library and Museum’s fascinating artifacts to the Bolton Steam Museum’s collection of restored steam engines, there are endless opportunities for discovery and fun. And with the serene beauty of Moses Gate Country Park, families can create memories while enjoying the great outdoors. Come and explore all that Bolton has to offer!

Historic Sites and Manors

In Bolton, history comes alive through its fascinating historic sites and manor houses. These architectural gems provide a glimpse into the region’s rich past and offer visitors a chance to explore centuries of history.

Smithills Hall

One of the standout attractions in Bolton is Smithills Hall. This magnificent manor house is steeped in history and is considered one of the oldest in the North West of England. Built in the 14th century, Smithills Hall showcases a beautiful blend of architectural styles, from medieval to Tudor. Explore its grand halls, beautifully landscaped gardens, and enjoy panoramic views of the Lancashire countryside.

Hall i’ th’ Wood Museum

Step back in time at Hall i’ th’ Wood Museum, a 16th-century manor house that is steeped in history. This quaint museum is famous for being the place where Samuel Crompton invented the spinning mule, a significant development in the textile industry. Wander through the rooms filled with period furniture, historical artifacts, and learn about Bolton’s industrial past.

Turton Tower

Nestled amidst picturesque surroundings, Turton Tower is a half-timbered manor house that dates back to the 15th century. Surrounded by beautiful gardens, this architectural gem provides stunning views of the surrounding area. Inside, visitors can explore the various rooms filled with period furniture, artwork, and delve into the history of this remarkable building.

Historic Sites and ManorsHighlights
Smithills HallOne of the oldest manor houses in the North West, offering panoramic views and a rich history.
Hall i’ th’ Wood MuseumA 16th-century manor house where Samuel Crompton invented the spinning mule, showcasing Bolton’s industrial heritage.
Turton TowerA half-timbered manor house surrounded by beautiful gardens, showcasing exquisite Tudor architecture and period furniture.

Parks and Outdoor Spaces

When it comes to enjoying the great outdoors in Bolton, there are several parks and outdoor spaces that offer beautiful scenery and opportunities for relaxation and recreation. Whether you’re a nature lover, an avid hiker, or simply looking for a peaceful spot to unwind, these parks are worth a visit.

Queen’s Park

Queen’s Park is a Victorian park located in the heart of Bolton. With its well-manicured gardens, picturesque lake, and statues of important local figures, it’s a popular destination for both locals and tourists. Take a leisurely stroll around the park, enjoy a picnic on the grass, or rent a rowboat to paddle across the lake. The park also hosts various events and concerts throughout the year, making it a vibrant hub of activity.

Rivington Pike

If you’re looking for breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside, Rivington Pike is the place to be. Located just a short drive from Bolton, this hill offers panoramic vistas of Greater Manchester and the Lancashire Plain. It’s a popular spot for hikers and nature enthusiasts, with several trails of varying difficulty leading to the summit. Don’t forget your camera, as the views from the top are truly spectacular.

Moses Gate Country Park

Formerly an industrial landscape, Moses Gate Country Park has been transformed into a peaceful oasis of nature. Located on the outskirts of Bolton, this park features walking trails, orienteering courses, and fishing opportunities. Explore the beautiful woodlands, marvel at the waterfalls, or let the kids burn off some energy at the adventure playgrounds. With its diverse range of wildlife and tranquil atmosphere, Moses Gate Country Park offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.

ParkKey Features
Queen’s ParkVictorian park with a lake, gardens, and statues
Rivington PikeOffers stunning panoramic views of the countryside
Moses Gate Country ParkFormer industrial landscape transformed into a peaceful park with walking trails and playgrounds

Cultural and Historical Landmarks

If you’re a history enthusiast, Bolton is a treasure trove of cultural and historical landmarks. From stunning architectural marvels to bustling marketplaces, the town showcases its rich heritage through these iconic sites. Take a step back in time and explore the following must-visit attractions:

Bolton Town Hall

One of Bolton’s architectural gems, the Grade II-listed Bolton Town Hall is an impressive Neoclassical building that stands as a symbol of civic pride. Admire its grand Corinthian portico, intricate detailing, and magnificent neo-Baroque clock tower. Don’t miss the opportunity to step inside and marvel at the stunning interiors.


Stroll along Churchgate, a pedestrianized thoroughfare that is steeped in history. This charming street is lined with beautifully preserved historic buildings and landmarks. Make sure to visit Ye Old Man & Scythe, the oldest pub in Bolton, dating back to the 12th century. As you wander through Churchgate, immerse yourself in the town’s fascinating past.

Bolton Market

Indulge your senses at Bolton Market, a vibrant Victorian iron and glass building that offers a delightful shopping experience. Explore the bustling stalls, selling everything from local produce to clothing and crafts. The market is a true reflection of Bolton’s diversity and offers a glimpse into the town’s vibrant culture and gastronomy.

Immerse yourself in the rich history and culture of Bolton by visiting these remarkable landmarks. Whether you’re captivated by architectural marvels, fascinated by local history, or simply looking for a unique shopping experience, Bolton has something to offer everyone.

Bolton Town HallA Grade II-listed Neoclassical building with a Corinthian portico and neo-Baroque clock tower.
ChurchgateA pedestrianized thoroughfare featuring historic landmarks, including the oldest pub in Bolton.
Bolton MarketA Victorian iron and glass building housing a variety of stalls selling a range of products.

Scenic Views and Nature

When it comes to scenic views and nature, Bolton has a lot to offer. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or just looking for a peaceful escape from the city, there are several places worth exploring. Rivington Pike is a must-visit destination for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, including the majestic Lake District and the stunning Welsh mountains. The hike up to Rivington Pike is not only rewarding but also provides a great opportunity to immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the area.

Another spot that shouldn’t be missed is the picturesque Turton Tower. This historic manor house is surrounded by beautiful gardens, providing the perfect setting for a leisurely stroll. From the top of the tower, you can enjoy breathtaking views of the countryside, taking in the rolling hills and lush landscapes that Bolton has to offer.

If you’re looking for a place where you can fully immerse yourself in nature, Moses Gate Country Park is the perfect choice. This former industrial landscape has been transformed into a green oasis, offering a range of outdoor activities such as walking trails, orienteering, and even fishing. With its beautiful woodland, tranquil waterfalls, and adventure playgrounds, Moses Gate Country Park provides the ideal backdrop for a day of relaxation and exploration.

So, whether you’re seeking panoramic views, historic charm, or simply a place to connect with nature, Bolton has it all. From the breathtaking vistas of Rivington Pike to the serene beauty of Turton Tower and the outdoor wonderland of Moses Gate Country Park, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Bolton’s scenic views and nature.

Table: Scenic Views and Nature in Bolton

Rivington PikeA popular spot for panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, including the Lake District and Welsh mountains.
Turton TowerA historic manor house with beautiful gardens and scenic views of the Bolton countryside.
Moses Gate Country ParkA green oasis with woodlands, waterfalls, walking trails, and adventure playgrounds.

Historical Industrial Heritage

When exploring Bolton, it is impossible to overlook the town’s rich industrial heritage. The Bolton Steam Museum stands as a testament to the town’s industrial past, offering a fascinating collection of working steam engines. Visitors can marvel at the impressive machinery that powered the cotton mills and other industries that once thrived in the area. It is a reminder of the importance of steam power in shaping Bolton’s history.

Another prominent landmark that showcases Bolton’s industrial heritage is Swan Lane Mills. These historic brick factories played a significant role in the cotton industry, which was the lifeblood of the town’s economy. Today, these mills stand as a reminder of the hard work and innovation that fueled Bolton’s industrial success. Exploring these iconic buildings provides a glimpse into the town’s manufacturing past.

“Bolton’s industrial heritage is a testament to the town’s resilience and innovation during the Industrial Revolution. The factories and mills that once dominated the landscape have now transformed into places of historical significance, preserving the legacy of the workers who powered the cotton industry.”

As you wander through Bolton, you will encounter remnants of its industrial past at every turn. From the red brick factories to the impressive machinery at the Bolton Steam Museum, the town’s history is deeply intertwined with its industrial heritage. Embracing this part of Bolton’s story allows us to appreciate the town’s transformation and the hard work of those who came before us.

Bolton Steam MuseumSwan Lane Mills
Collection of working steam enginesHistoric brick factories
Highlights Bolton’s industrial pastSignificance in the cotton industry
Marvellous machineryTestament to hard work and innovation

Shopping and Dining

Bolton offers a diverse range of shopping and dining experiences that cater to all tastes and preferences. Whether you’re looking for high street brands or independent boutiques, Bolton Market has it all. This vibrant market is a treasure trove of unique products, from fresh produce to artisan crafts, making it a must-visit for locals and tourists alike.

When it comes to dining, Bolton has a plethora of options to satisfy every craving. The Market Place Shopping Centre is home to a variety of well-known restaurant chains and cozy cafes, providing a perfect spot to relax and refuel after a day of shopping. From family-friendly eateries to fine dining establishments, you’ll find a culinary delight to suit your palate.

“Bolton Market offers a wide range of shopping options, from high street names to independent shops.”

For a taste of international cuisine, Nandos and Prezzo are popular choices that serve up delicious meals in a lively atmosphere. If you’re in the mood for a juicy burger, Gourmet Burger is the place to go. The dining scene in Bolton is constantly evolving, with new and exciting eateries popping up all the time, so there’s always something new to discover.

Table: Bolton Market

The Market Place Shopping CentreShopping CentreTown Centre
NandosRestaurantThe Market Place Shopping Centre
PrezzoRestaurantThe Market Place Shopping Centre
Gourmet BurgerRestaurantThe Market Place Shopping Centre

Table showcases some of the key establishments in Bolton Market and the Market Place Shopping Centre.

Events and Festivals

Bolton is known for its vibrant events calendar, showcasing the town’s rich culture, culinary delights, and athletic prowess. From food festivals to thrilling triathlons, there is always something exciting happening in Bolton.

Bolton Food and Drink Festival

The annual Bolton Food and Drink Festival is a highlight on the town’s calendar. This four-day event brings together local farmers, producers, and internationally renowned chefs to celebrate the best of Bolton’s culinary scene. Visitors can sample a wide variety of delicious food and drink, attend cooking demonstrations, and enjoy live entertainment. From artisanal cheeses to mouth-watering street food, the festival offers something to tempt every palate.

Ironman UK Triathlon and Ironkids

Bolton plays host to the prestigious Ironman UK Triathlon, attracting athletes from around the world to test their endurance in a grueling race. Spectators can witness the incredible dedication and physical strength of the participants as they swim, cycle, and run through the challenging course. In addition, the town also hosts Ironkids, a series of fun runs and triathlon events designed for children aged 3 to 14. It’s a fantastic opportunity for young athletes to get involved and experience the thrill of competitive sports.

Bolton Food and Drink FestivalAugust 27 – 30, 2022Town Centre
Ironman UK TriathlonJuly 3, 2022Town Centre and Surrounding Areas
IronkidsJuly 2, 2022Town Centre

Whether you’re a food enthusiast, a sports fan, or simply looking for a memorable experience, Bolton’s events and festivals offer something for everyone. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Bolton Food and Drink Festival, cheer on the athletes at the Ironman UK Triathlon, or watch the young stars of tomorrow shine at Ironkids. Join us in celebrating the best of Bolton’s culture, cuisine, and sporting achievements.

Excursions and Outdoor Activities

When it comes to outdoor adventures, Bolton has plenty to offer. One of the top destinations for nature enthusiasts is Jumbles Country Park. This picturesque park is perfect for leisurely walks, with its beautiful parklands and tranquil atmosphere. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or simply looking to enjoy the fresh air, Jumbles Country Park has something for everyone.

For those seeking a fun-filled day out with the family, Turton Tower is the place to be. This historic site not only offers a glimpse into the past with its Tudor architecture and collection of period furniture and paintings, but it also boasts an exciting adventure playground. Let the little ones unleash their energy as they climb, swing, and slide to their heart’s content.

But outdoor activities in Bolton don’t stop there. The surrounding countryside is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Lace up your hiking boots and explore the many trails that wind through the rolling hills and picturesque valleys. Hop on your bike and pedal your way through the scenic landscapes. Or simply take a leisurely stroll and immerse yourself in the natural beauty that surrounds you.


What are some family-friendly museums and attractions in Bolton?

Bolton Central Library and Museum, Bolton Steam Museum, and Moses Gate Country Park are great options for families to explore.

What historic sites and manors can I visit in Bolton?

Smithills Hall, Hall i’ th’ Wood Museum, and Turton Tower are fascinating historical sites that offer a glimpse into Bolton’s past.

Are there any parks and outdoor spaces in Bolton?

Yes, Queen’s Park, Rivington Pike, and Moses Gate Country Park are popular outdoor destinations where you can enjoy nature and outdoor activities.

What cultural and historical landmarks are there in Bolton?

Bolton Town Hall, Churchgate, and Bolton Market are significant landmarks in Bolton that showcase the town’s cultural and historical heritage.

Where can I find scenic views and nature in Bolton?

Rivington Pike, Turton Tower, and Moses Gate Country Park offer stunning views of the surrounding countryside and provide opportunities to enjoy nature.

Does Bolton have any historical industrial heritage sites?

Yes, Bolton Steam Museum and Swan Lane Mills are examples of the town’s industrial heritage and played a vital role in Bolton’s history.

Where can I go shopping and dining in Bolton?

Bolton Market and Market Place Shopping Centre offer a variety of shopping options, and there are many restaurants and cafes to choose from.

What events and festivals take place in Bolton?

Bolton hosts the annual Bolton Food and Drink Festival, Ironman UK Triathlon, and Ironkids event, among other exciting events and festivals.

Are there any excursions and outdoor activities near Bolton?

Jumbles Country Park is a great place for outdoor enthusiasts, and Turton Tower features an adventure playground for youngsters to enjoy.