& FESTIVE FOOD
As we approach the festive season there’s lots going on in the wonderful Rossendale Valley
The run up to Christmas is the perfect time to visit Rossendale. Rawtenstall Christmas markets run on Saturday 7th, 14th and 21st of December for festive shopping and fun, including brass bands, festive lights, roasted chestnuts, carol singing and meeting Father Christmas. Tickets can also be purchased for immersive children’s theatre performances of Amelia’s Amazing Christmas present, taking place throughout December, where the audience promenade around Rawtenstall market, moving from stall to stall meeting characters and hearing their stories.
Rawtenstall’s Christmas Lights Switch On is to be held on Saturday 30th November with festive entertainment and late-night shopping. There is a Christmas Fair at the Whitaker Museum and Art Gallery on 7th and 8th December with stalls run by local artists and artisans, live music, and festive food. The Boo in Waterfoot is also holding a Christmas Art Market on 23rd and 24th November where you can buy unique gifts and handmade decorations.
Covering a number of towns around the River Irwell, including Bacup, Haslingden, Rawtenstall, Whitworth, Waterfoot, Edenfield and Crawshawbooth, Rossendale is known locally as ‘the Valley’. You can explore the area’s culture and heritage at Helmshore Mills Textile Museum, Whitworth Heritage Museum and The Whitaker Museum and Art Gallery.
You can also enjoy a soft drink at Fitzpatrick’s 1890 in Rawtenstall, Britain’s Last Original Temperance Bar, which has been making soft drinks for the people of Rossendale and the Lancashire region for 119 years.
At Clough Head Visitor Centre you can find out about the local landscape, heritage and wildlife. There are excellent walking, cycling and riding routes to enjoy throughout Rossendale, such as the Mary Townley Loop and The Irwell Sculpture Trail, home of the famous panopticon, ‘Halo’, an 18m-diameter steel lattice structure supported on a tripod five metres above the ground.
Parks to enjoy include Whitaker Park on the outskirts of Rawtenstall which includes gardens, small animal area, BMX track, skateboard park, multi-use games area, football pitch and children’s play area, and Stubbylee Park in Bacup where the Moorland’s children’s play area has recently received a fantastic £80,000 upgrade including a jungle climber, five-way swing, scooter roundabout, music cottage, wizard’s hideaway.
Rossendale has also become known as ‘Adrenalin Valley’, boasting the North West’s biggest outdoor ski slope at The Hill home of Ski Rossendale, the Water Ski Academy set in beautiful countryside around Whitworth with great facilities for water skiing and wake-boarding, and The Lee and Crag Quarries, two disused quarries in the hills above Bacup which have been turned into a paradise for mountain bikers, offering scenic and challenging trails.
After all that exploring you will want to enjoy some of the great food on offer. Local, fresh produce is in abundance thanks to the semi-rural location and when it comes to dining out, Rossendale has gained a strong reputation for fine food and local produce. You will be spoilt for choice!