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Rochdale Local Information: 10 top things to know... more

  • 1. History

    Rochdale is most famous for the Rochdale Pioneers, who founded the first co-operative store in the town in 1844. The Rochdale Canal has a big part to play in the town’s history. The section of canal between Rochdale and Manchester was first opened in the early 19th century. By the 20th century, railways had taken over and the canal gradually fell into ruin. The Rochdale Cana...Read morel Society was formed in the 1970s and work began to restore parts of the canal. It was not until 2002 that all obstacles were removed and the whole stretch of the canal became navigable again. Read less

  • 2. Now

    Rochdale has a spacious town centre with a good selection of shops, shopping centres and markets. The town also has a thriving night scene. The town is twinned with Bielefeld in Germany and Tourcoing in France. It sits at the foot of the Pennines and this location has earned it the title of “the back-bone of England”. The Spotland Stadium is home to Rochdale Association F...Read moreootball Club and hosts regular fixtures. Read less

  • 3. Events

    Rochdale Feel Good Festival celebrates food and music with a packed programme of live events lasting two days. The festival is held every September in Rochdale town centre. Annual sporting events in the town include the Rochdale 10k and the Annual Rochdale 3 Day Event. Both events are run by the Rochdale Harriers but open to all members of the public.

  • 4. Attractions

    The Rochdale Pioneers Museum tells the story of the men who first founded the co-operative movement. The museum is in the building of the original store, which was opened in 1844. Ellenroad Engine House is home to the only fully-working cotton mill engine with its original steam plant. The engine house is open on Tuesdays between 11am and 3pm and on the first Saturday and Sun...Read moreday of every month. Touchstones is an arts and heritage centre including four galleries, a resource centre, a museum, a local studies centre, café, shop and more. Read less

  • 5. Things To Do

    Visitors can walk alongside the Rochdale Canal for most of its route between Sowerby Bridge and Manchester. Canal cruises are also available. Regular evening ghost walks are held in the town centre and provide 90 minutes of spine-tingling tales from days gone by. Hollingworth Lake, about four miles from the centre of Rochdale, provides opportunities for various sports, includ...Read moreing sailing, windsurfing, climbing and orienteering. There is a visitor centre and activity centre at the site. Read less

  • 6. Business

    The Rochdale Exchange Shopping Centre is home to many high street stores. It also has two markets – the Market Hall and the Covered Market. Both markets are open Monday to Saturday and offer a range of stalls selling everything from food to fashion and gifts. The Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre also has many high street stores as well as independent retailers. The main shopping ...Read morestreets in the town centre are Yorkshire Street, for big name stores, and Drake Street and Cheetham Street for more independent retailers. Read less

  • 7. Transport

    By road, Rochdale is close to junction 12 of the M62. The main A-road to the east and west of the town is the A58. Rochdale railway station is in the heart of the town centre and trains run directly to Manchester Victoria, Bolton, Wigan Wallgate, Bradford Interchange and Leeds. The nearest airport to Rochdale is Manchester International Airport, which is about 19 miles from t...Read morehe town centre. Leeds Bradford International Airport is about 26 miles from the town. Read less

  • 8. Entertainment

    The Gracie Fields Theatre is the main venue for live entertainment in Rochdale. Its programme of events includes rock, pop, jazz, classical music, live comedy, drama and dance. Heywood Civic Centre and Middleton Arena, are two venues close to the town offering a mixture of live music, dance and musical theatre on an amateur and professional level. Live music takes place at a ...Read morevariety of smaller venues in Rochdale, including the Flying Horse Hotel, Wellfield Working Men’s Club and the Top Tier Grill. Read less

  • 9. Famous Landmarks

    Rochdale Town Hall was built in 1871 and takes pride of place in the town centre. Visitors travel from all over the country to marvel at the fine architecture and stained glass windows of the building. The building includes the famous Great Hall and the stone tower, which was built in 1887 after the original burnt down.

  • 10. Interesting Fact

    There were originally 28 Rochdale Pioneers, most of whom were skilled tradesmen. They joined forces to open the first co-operative store and in their first year of trading they made £181 and had increased their membership to 74.


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