15 things to do in Blackburn (Lancashire, UK) - crazy traveller (2023)

Always a textile town, Blackburn became the 'Textile Capital of the World' during the Industrial Revolution, with raw cotton unloaded from the canals of Leeds and Liverpool.

Textile production plummeted after World War II, but you don't have to look long to find examples of wealth creation.

These are unmistakable in the fantastic collections on the stately avenue of the Blackburn Museum and Company Park.

The £45 million Cathedral Quarter project has just revamped Blackburn's multicultural town centre, with a new square, hotel and office buildings set around the Gothic Revival cathedral.

let's investigateThe best things to do in Blackburn:

1. Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery

15 things to do in Blackburn (Lancashire, UK) - crazy traveller (1)bron:www.visitblackburn.co.uk

Opened in 1874, the Blackburn Museum became one of the first purpose-built museums outside London.

Textile industrialists such as Thomas Boys Lewis donated their extensive collections to the city and they donated a series of fine Japanese prints.

Cord maker R. E. Hart left the museum with one of the finest collections of coins and manuscripts in the country, including the Psalter and Current Affairs, a page from Gutenberg's Bible, and the Golden Codex, a very rare gold coin from the reign of Octavian.

You can view Shakespeare collections, traditional South Asian jewelry, and an extensive Egyptology collection, including mummies, masks, Shabti figures, and a Rosetta Stone replica.

The art gallery features the work of Pre-Raphaelite Albert Moore, as well as a stunning display of Japanese woodblock prints.

2. Blackburn Cathedral

15 things to do in Blackburn (Lancashire, UK) - crazy traveller (2)Bron: Alastair Wallace/shutterstock

When the Diocese of Blackburn was formed in 1926, the spacious parish church was upgraded to a cathedral.

A church has stood here since the Norman Conquest, but today the church is a Gothic Revival landmark, built in 1820 and enlarged and improved until 1977. As of 2018, the cathedral is located in the heart of the redeveloped Cathedral Quarter, with the newcomer being the trendy Cafe Northcote , just off the south transept.

For historians, most of the cathedral's fixtures are found in the choir, which contains eight 15th-century symphonies.

These are thought to be from Whalley Abbey and were removed after a suppression in the 16th century.

3. Horton Towers

15 things to do in Blackburn (Lancashire, UK) - crazy traveller (3)bron:Horton tower's/Facebook

Houghton Towers, on top of a hill 170 meters above sea level, dominate the landscape for miles around.

Built in the 1560s, this fortified manor house was abandoned during the Victorian period and has been restored and extended twice.

Many famous people have passed through these doors over the last 500 years, such as William Shakespeare and Charles Dickens, as well as members of royal families such as James I, William III, Queen Mary and George V. The entrance is magnificent, riding along a 1,200-meter long straight line.

When the towers open in the summer, get to know these distinguished guests on a guided tour that shows you state apartments with ornate paneling and halls with ornate bay windows.

Kids can also stay excited thanks to the mysterious underpass, dungeon and playhouse collection, while the formal walled garden is a haven of peace.

4. Business Park

15 things to do in Blackburn (Lancashire, UK) - crazy traveller (4)Bron: Shafiq Khan/shutterstock

A source of pride for Blackburn, Company Park is the main central green space, accessed from the south of Preston New Road via a stately triumphal arch.

Completed in 1857, it is a quintessential Victorian urban park and is listed as a park and garden of special historic interest by English Heritage.

The main axis of the park is the Broad Walk, a majestic avenue of lime trees built in the 1860s as a way to employ weavers during the cotton famine.

The larger of Corporation Park's two lakes predates the park and was excavated in 1772 as Pemberton Clough to supply Blackburn.

As a Green Flag park, there is no shortage of facilities such as two playgrounds, six tennis courts and a cycle path.

5. Samsbury-zaal

15 things to do in Blackburn (Lancashire, UK) - crazy traveller (5)Bron: Alastair Wallace/shutterstock

Dating back to 1325, Samlesbury Hall is a romantic medieval country house open every day of the year except Saturday.

More than 750 years of occupation have left the house with many exciting tales of witches and ghosts, all told enthusiastically by costumed guides on free Sunday tours.

Memorable decorations include the intricately carved paneling and painted ceiling in the gallery, the 1545 fireplace in the dining room, and the 14th-century Great Hall of the People.

Outside is the extensive Mayflower Playground, so named because some of the descendants of the Southworth family made the pilgrimage aboard the Mayflower in 1620. There is also a small zoo with goats, sheep, rabbits, chickens and pigs, so every member of the family will not be pleased.

6. Bee Center

15 things to do in Blackburn (Lancashire, UK) - crazy traveller (6)bron:facebook

The Bee Center is a separate attraction within the Samsbury Estate and is open every Wednesday and Sunday.

Here you will learn all about bees and how they shape the landscape.

This becomes evident in the indoor observation box, where glass panels allow you to observe the world of bees like never before as they bring pollen and nectar to the hive, brew honey and build the honeycomb.

If you're lucky, you might see the queen lay her eggs and the baby bees take off for the first time.

Beekeeping experts are on hand to answer your questions, and the shop sells honey, beeswax candles, and honey candies from the center's bees.

If you really want to get involved, try becoming a beekeeper on the 90-minute "Bee Experience".

7. Teton Towers

15 things to do in Blackburn (Lancashire, UK) - crazy traveller (7)bron:Michael D.Beckwith / Wikimedia

This solid estate is in the same community, about 10 miles south of the edge of the West Pennines Moors.

Turton Tower started as a stone tower in the 14th century, before becoming more comfortable with a timber frame house that followed.

During the Victorian period it was enlarged and modified with a Dutch gable facade.

Inside, you can still make out parts of the first Tudor cruck molding, along with 500-year-old brambles and daub, and wall panels of lath and plaster.

Turton Tower, open March to October and Wednesday to Sunday, welcomes you to admire tapestries, a 1590 oak bed, 17th-century Swiss stained glass in the dining room, and artifacts in the morning rooms.

Turton Tower's kitchen is now a Victorian tea room and opens onto the garden terrace.

8. Witton Country-park

15 things to do in Blackburn (Lancashire, UK) - crazy traveller (8)bron:Witton Country Park / facebook

Less than a mile from Blackburn town center lies the unspoilt Lancashire countryside.

Witton Country Park, located at the confluence of the rivers Darwin and Blackwater, covers 480 acres of woodland, landscaped parkland and farmland. It used to belong to the Witton Estate but was sold to Blackburn in the 1940s.

Kids will love the £750,000 Wits Adventure Playground, which opened in 2010 and features ziplines, tree sculptures, balance beams and music sculptures. Although Witton House itself was demolished in 1952, outbuildings such as the stables are interesting remains.

They have a small children's zoo with degus, rabbits, squirrels and more.

Nearby is the park's visitor center, located in the same building as the Pavilion Cafe and open 7 days a week.

9. Leeds and Liverpool Canal

15 things to do in Blackburn (Lancashire, UK) - crazy traveller (9)Source: hedgehog images/shutterstock

Stretching 125 miles across the Pennines, the Leeds and Liverpool Canal was a landmark project that launched the industrial revolution in the north.

When Blackburn became the last major town connected by waterway in 1810, the first ships carried about 380 tons of coal, as well as timber, lead, yarn, tallow, molasses, malt and oil.

Nearly all of Blackburn's towpaths are pedestrian-friendly, passing historic bridges, locks and quirky old infrastructure such as Eywood's Aqueduct and the evocative Inan Pier.

Canal Boat Cruises of Riley Green, four miles west of Blackburn, offers a summer schedule, but also offers charter cruises and narrowboat hire if you want to explore more of the Leeds and Liverpool canals on your own.

10. Old Town Hall

15 things to do in Blackburn (Lancashire, UK) - crazy traveller (10)bron:Alexander P. Karp/Wikimedia Commons

One of many attractions in Blackburn's walkable town centre, Old Town Hall is a bustling building dating back to 1856. The architect was Scotsman James Paterson, who gave the building an Italianate design, including Corinthian columns, balustrades and garlands and eagles above the relief frame.

In 2018, the old town hall underwent an 18-month restoration.

The New Town Hall is connected next to it by a raised walkway and the tower was completed in 1969 and has recently been embellished with new cladding.

11. Queenspark

15 things to do in Blackburn (Lancashire, UK) - crazy traveller (11)bron:Alexander P. Karp/Wikimedia Commons

Located in a residential area south east of Blackburn town centre, Queens Park is a quiet open space away from any main roads.

The park has been awarded the Green Flag (the benchmark for British parks) every year, dating back to Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee in 1887. The most prized feature of this 33-hectare estate is the elegant lake at the top of the park .

Once used for boating, it's now home to flocks of waterfowl that you can feed (oats are healthier than bread!). Two oaks next to the Victoria Boathouse were planted in 1987 to mark the park's centenary, and 40 more were planted in 2002 to commemorate Queen Elizabeth II's fiftieth birthday.

12. King George's Hall

15 things to do in Blackburn (Lancashire, UK) - crazy traveller (12)bron:Tim Green aka atoach / Flickr

Blackburn's main performance venue is the cavernous neoclassical King George Hall, named after King George V, whose foundation stone was laid in 1910. Construction was interrupted by the First World War and the 3,500-seat theater officially opened in 1921. Northgate , this building is worth seeing even if you are just passing by.

The arcade for Blakey Moor has four pairs of Corinthian columns.

Inside are the huge Great Room and the smaller Windsor Suite.

Given the size of the venue, King George's Hall has booked some big names for comedy, live music, celebrity speeches, dance and children's programming.

Highlights for 2018-19 included comedians Sarah Millican, Dara Ó Briain and Joanna Lumley, and live music from Jake Bugg to the BBC Philharmonic.

13. Queen Victoria Statue

15 things to do in Blackburn (Lancashire, UK) - crazy traveller (13)bron:Read Tom/Flickr

Prominent in the Cathedral Quarter is the majestic statue of Queen Victoria.

The memorial was dedicated in 1905, four years after her death, by the Queen's fourth daughter, Princess Louise.

More than 110 years later, it remains the city's meeting place until it was restored in 2015 when the Queen's arm and hand were reattached.

The statue is carved from Sicilian marble and stands 3.4 meters high on a granite plinth 4.3 meters high.

You can take a seat on the new benches in the formal parterres and have your picture taken with the Queen in front of the cathedral.

14. Blackburn Market

15 things to do in Blackburn (Lancashire, UK) - crazy traveller (14)bron:Rept0n1x / Wikimedia

Located in the center of the town, Blackburn Shopping Center is the main shopping center and first opened in the 1960s.

The site has been renovated over the past decade and in 2011 Blackburn's Market moved from across Ainsworth Street to a new location below the centre.

The market is open Monday through Saturday with over 120 traders selling fresh local produce, artisanal coffee, cheese, fashion, yarn, gifts and cards, cosmetics and home appliances.

If you're hungry, you can also stop by for some hot food, such as sandwiches, pasta, Lancaster classics, Thai noodles or Greek street food.

15. Blackburn-rovers

15 things to do in Blackburn (Lancashire, UK) - crazy traveller (15)bron:EWR / Wikimedia Commons

When we wrote this article in 2018, the local football team was competing in the English professional football second tier EFL Championship.

But Blackburn is a team that has achieved success recently.

In the early 1990s they were taken over by steel industrialist Jack Walker who helped form a team led by Alan Shearer that won the Premier League in 1995. Those days seem far away now, but Blackburn Rovers have all the hallmarks of the Premier League, including the 31,000-seat Ewood Park stadium.

The largest grandstand is named after Jack Walker, who passed away in 2000. With 23 home league games from August to May, Ewood Park is rarely sold out if you want to see a match.


Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Last Updated: 08/06/2023

Views: 6696

Rating: 4.6 / 5 (76 voted)

Reviews: 83% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Sen. Ignacio Ratke

Birthday: 1999-05-27

Address: Apt. 171 8116 Bailey Via, Roberthaven, GA 58289

Phone: +2585395768220

Job: Lead Liaison

Hobby: Lockpicking, LARPing, Lego building, Lapidary, Macrame, Book restoration, Bodybuilding

Introduction: My name is Sen. Ignacio Ratke, I am a adventurous, zealous, outstanding, agreeable, precious, excited, gifted person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.