Rochdale

Rochdale is a large market town in Greater Manchester. It lies in the valley formed by the River Roch, surrounded to the north and east by the Pennines.

The town dates back to medieval times but expanded rapidly as a mill town during the Industrial Revolution.

Accommodation

Places to stay in and around Rochdale town centre include the Broadfield Park Hotel. The Norton Grange Hotel is a little further afield and offers extensive facilities including a spa and indoor swimming pool. The Birch Hotel is just off the M62 motorway and offers easy access to Rochdale, Manchester, Oldham and Bury.

Visitors requiring more accommodation options should consider staying Bury or Oldham. Both towns are just a short drive from Rochdale.

Attractions

Rochdale is best known as the birthplace of the Co-operative Movement. In 1844 the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers, a group of 28 weavers and artisans, founded the first Co-operative shop in Rochdale with just £28 of capital. Today the UK Co-operative Group alone boasts over 5 million members, around 5000 stores, and over 120,000 employees. The remarkable history of the movement is told at the Rochdale Pioneers Museum, housed in the original shop on Toad Lane.

Touchstones is an award-winning arts and heritage centre in the town centre. It was built in 1884 as a public library but now houses a museum, four art galleries, a local studies centre, café, shop, and the Rochdale Tourist Information Centre.

The Greater Manchester Fire Service Museum houses a unique collection of full-size historical fire engines, uniforms, medals and related memorabilia. It’s situated on Maclure Road, near the Rochdale train station, and is open every Friday and on the first Sunday of the month. Admission to the museum is free.

Heywood, a small town just west of Rochdale, is home to the southern terminus of the East Lancashire Railway, a popular heritage railway offering a great family day out. The other stations on the line are Bury, Summerseat, Ramsbottom, Irwell Vale, and Rawtenstall.

For a day in the countryside, visit Hollingworth Lake Country Park or Healey Dell Nature Reserve.

The only cinema in Rochdale is the Odeon at Sandbrook Park, a retail and leisure development just south of the town centre. The town’s tenpin bowling alley is also here. Concerts, comedy shows, pantomimes, and other live events can be seen at the Gracie Fields Theatre.

Shopping

There are two main shopping centres in Rochdale town centre; the Rochdale Exchange and the Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre. Shops at the Rochdale Exchange include Whitakers, Boots, B&M, WHSmith, and River Island while those at the Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre include Peacocks, Wilkinson, and Argos. The Rochdale Exchange also boasts two markets.

There are also several shopping parks in and around Rochdale such as the Central Retail Park, Kingsway Retail Park, and Sandbrook Park.

Transport

Car

Rochdale is easily reached by car. Simply leave the M62 at Junction 20 and follow the signs to Rochdale town centre.

Train & Metrolink

Rochdale train station is situated on Station Road (OL11 1DR), just south of the town centre. Northern Rail operates direct services to Manchester Victoria, Bolton, Wigan, Halifax, Leeds, and Bradford.

For train fares and times to and from Rochdale visit the National Rail Enquiries website.

Construction work on the Metrolink extension to Oldham and Rochdale Line is already underway. Rochdale train station is expected to become a Metrolink station in summer 2012. The extension into Rochdale town centre is scheduled for completion in 2014.

Coach

National Express runs several daily coach services to and from Rochdale. The service from London to Rochdale runs twice a day and calls at Milton Keynes, Manchester, and Oldham. The coach from London to Bury also calls at Rochdale. Travellers can also catch any coach to Manchester and then get a bus or train Rochdale.