Bolton Centre and Smithills Hall
A couple of weeks ago I took a trip to the North West of England. I’d never been to that part of the UK before and as my boyfriend is from Bolton, I stayed with him for a few days and we played tourists for a week! I’d always wanted to visit Manchester, which is just a 15 minute train journey from Bolton, so we went there for one gloriously sunny day, as well as visiting a few other lovely outdoor places in the surrounding area. We were very lucky with the weather, it was boiling hot and sunny almost every day I was there. I thought I’d share what I got up to in case any of you are going there in the near future (or even already live in the area) and are looking for some fun and cheap activities to do!
Dunham Massey – We decided to visit this old country house as it has been restored into a First World War hospital for the centenary of the beginning of WW1. It was interesting looking around and had all the records of real patients who were treated there during the war. I wouldn’t particularly say I learnt anything I didn’t already know about disease/illnesses in the war, but it was interesting to see how the house would have been converted into a hospital! The main thing that stood out for me, though, were the beautiful grounds. The house is surrounded by acres of land with wild deer roaming free around you. I highly recommend visiting the rose garden while you’re there because it was absolutely stunning in full bloom! The house is a National Trust property, so entry is free for members (which is how we got in) but otherwise tickets are a little pricey. Definitely worth the trip if you have membership though because the house is really beautiful. Pack a picnic and make a day of it!
Bolton – Smithills Hall and The Town Centre – I didn’t really know anything about Bolton before meeting Adam, and aside from Peter Kay and Paddy McGuinness being from there, it seems that neither do many other people! When you dig a little deeper though, there’s actually a lot of history in the town. The Town Hall and the square that surrounds it is pretty impressive (pictures above), and there’s a museum (also free!) with lots of information about the old cotton mill that the town developed around in the 1700s. There’s also an old hall called Smithills Hall that dates back to tudor times which you can take a tour around for £3, packed full of history and links to the Royal Family!
Manchester – We went up to Manchester for the day and just wandered around the city, basically making our way from one of end of Deansgate to the other. We found a gorgeous little outdoor seating area in Spinningfields, complete with deck chairs and an outdoor cinema screen where they are showing various movies throughout the summer. It’s lovely to sit on the grass with a drink (there are a couple of bars there too). We also visited Manchester Cathedral and the big wheel, and headed to Byron Burger for dinner, which served amazing food. The burgers were awesome and the prices were actually very reasonable! I’ve heard so much about Byron in London but never been, and to tell the truth I was expecting it to be a little overpriced – like London prices really. However they were actually not expensive at all! I will definitely be going back. The burgers were perfectly cooked, tasted delicious and you got a pickle on the side – A winner in my eyes. I love pickles. Manchester was such a bustling city with a really exciting vibe to it. I’d love to go back and explore more.
The Lake District – Derwent Water – A little bit of a trek (it took us about 2 hours to get there from near Manchester) but well worth the trip because this little lakeside town is truly lovely. We wandered around the centre square, packed with local food and gift stores before heading up some little cobbled side streets. It’s a great example of a quintessentially English town. The lake next to the town was stunning too, it could be anywhere in Europe really. I never really appreciate what we have within our own country in terms of beautiful countryside.
I really enjoyed my trip! I’m currently writing this from our family holiday villa in Nice, where I’ve just arrived for a 2 week stay, so keep your eyes peeled for more travel-themed posts soon!
Have you been anywhere over the summer or will you be holidaying in England as well this year?