With a population of just over 100,000, Blackburn is the largest town in East Lancashire.
At the height of the Industrial Revolution it was the biggest weaving town in the world. The textile industry has long disappeared but Blackburn is looking forward. Recent years have seen multi-million pound developments in the town centre.
The 4-star Mercure Dunkenhalgh Hotel near Accrington is the most popular hotel in the Blackburn area. Other accommodation options include Northcote Manor, the Higher Trapp Country House Hotel, and Foxfields Country Hotel.
Blackburn has a thriving arts scene with three theatres within easy reach of town centre; the King George’s Hall, Thwaites Empire Theatre, and Darwen Library Theatre. The town also boasts a ten-screen Vue cinema.
The town has some excellent parks. Corporation Park is an attractive urban park with a magnificent entrance, lakes and fountains, and tennis courts. Colourfields, one of Lancashire’s Panopticons, lies at the northern end of the park. Witton Country Park boasts a modern athletics arena and one of the best playgrounds in North West England.
Blackburn Cathedral is one of the country’s newest cathedrals and features an excellent collection of modern artworks. Exhibits at Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery include a large collection of textile machinery, rare coins and books, and religious icons.
Blackburn Rovers FC is the town’s professional football team. They play their home fixtures at Ewood Park. The Blackburn Ice Arena is the North West Regional Centre of Ice Skating Excellence.
The Mall is the main shopping centre in Blackburn. In 2010 a large extension project was completed; adding more than 20 new stores including a 50,000 square foot Primark. Blackburn Market and the Blackburn Visitor Centre also relocated here.
Blackburn Train Station is conveniently located in the heart of the town centre. It offers direct train services to destinations such as Manchester, Blackpool, Bolton, and Preston.
Blackburn is easily reached from the M65 motorway. Junction 6 lies to the east and Junctions 4 and 5 to the south. Blackburn with Darwen Services are at Junction 4.
The biggest car park in the town centre, with over 1300 spaces, is the multi-storey car park at The Mall shopping centre. Management recommend using the entrance on Astley Gate (BB2 2DQ).
Council-run car parks include the multi-storey car park on Feilden Street (530 spaces – BB2 1LQ). Parking here and on other council-owned car parks in Blackburn is free on Saturdays and Sundays and after 3 pm on weekdays.