Oldham is a large town in Greater Manchester with a population of just over 100,000. Situated in the Pennine hills, 7 miles northeast of Manchester, it owes much of its legacy to the textile industry. During the Industrial Revolution it was the most productive cotton spinning town in the world.
To its east lies the parish of Saddleworth, a rural area home to a number of villages including Delph, Diggle, Dobcross, Greenfield, and Uppermill.
Oldham isn’t a major tourist destination and does not offer a huge choice of accommodation.
The Best Western Hotel Smokies Park is one of the most popular in the area. The 3-star hotel offers 73 rooms, a restaurant, bar, free car parking, complimentary wireless internet access, a gym, steam room, and sauna. It’s situated in Bardsley, roughly halfway between Oldham town centre and Ashton-under-Lyne.
Gallery Oldham is the town’s public art gallery. It hosts a busy programme of exhibitions, workshops, and events. Admission is free and the gallery is open every day of the week. The impressive building also houses the Oldham Tourist Information Centre.
Alexandra Park is a magnificent park on the outskirts of the town centre, created to provide work during the Lancashire Cotton Famine in the 1860s. It boasts extensive recreational facilities and some interesting historical features.
Oldham Athletic FC is the town’s professional football club. They play their home fixtures at Boundary Park, one mile north of the town centre.
Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre is a large mall in Oldham town centre with over 80 shops including major high street names such as Debenhams, Boots, Waterstone’s, WHSmith, H&M, Next, Peacocks, Republic, River Island, Argos, and Topman.
Most of the other shops in the town centre are located on High Street and the Market Place, immediately north of Spindles Town Square. Shops here include Dorothy Perkins and Evans, Max Spielmann, First Choice, and Primark.
Tommyfield Market is a traditional market in the town centre with around 300 stalls offering products such as flowers, meat, fruit and vegetables, and services such as key cutting and watch repairs. The indoor market operates Monday to Saturday and the outdoor market on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Tommyfield Farmer’s Market is held on the last Friday of every month.
The Centre Retail Park (formerly Elk Mill Retail Park) is another major shopping destination in the area. Situated close to Boundary Park, it is home to stores such as Asda Living, Comet Currys and PC World, DFS, and Pets at Home.
To reach Oldham by car, leave the M60 motorway at Junction 22 (or the M62 at Junction 20) and follow the signs to Oldham town centre.
Oldham Council runs a number of car parks in Oldham town centre. The largest include the surface car park at the junction of Bradshaw Street and Rock Street (138 spaces – OL1 3UH) and the multi-storey car park on Hobson Street (722 spaces).
There are also two multi-storey car parks at the Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre The entrances are on Silver Street (OL1 1HU) and Ascroft Street (OL1 1HY).
National Express runs several coach services to Oldham. The daily service from London to Rochdale calls at Milton Keynes, Manchester, and Oldham. There are also direct coaches from Liverpool, Manchester, Manchester Airport, and Chester.
Metrolink & Trains
The Metrolink extension to Oldham and Rochdale is scheduled for completion between 2012 and 2014.
The four train stations in the Oldham area closed in 2009 for conversion to Metrolink stations (Hollinwood, Oldham Werneth, Oldham Mumps and Derker).
Oldham Mumps is due to open as a temporary Metrolink station in spring 2012. It will close once Metrolink stations in Oldham town centre open permanently in 2014 (Westwood, Oldham King Street, Oldham Central, and Oldham Mumps).