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Things to do in Clitheroe, Lancashire

Clitheroe © Jeffrey Darlington

Clitheroe is a delightful market town in Lancashire, on the border of the beautiful Ribble Valley. Located on the banks of the River Ribble, Clitheroe makes an excellent base for exploring the nearby Pendle Hill and the Forest of Bowland, reputedly a favourite spot of Queen Elizabeth II.

One of the best views of the town and surrounding area is from the Norman Keep of Clitheroe Castle, said to be the smallest in England. It is certainly one of the oldest buildings in Lancashire and was known to have accommodated a Royalist garrison during the English Civil War.

The town itself has several independent shops and smaller branches of WH Smith and Boots along with banks and supermarkets. The Swan Courtyard is one of the prettiest arcades in the town with several gift shops and cafes. One of the best-known cafes in Clitheroe is named after a local comedian, Jimmy Clitheroe, who took his stage name from the town.

The most impressive local buildings house the local Library , the banks along Market Street and several local pubs which serve excellent local Lancashire specialities such as pies and "Hot Pot", a tasty casserole.

The town has a local park with a rose garden and a monument said to be a gift from the Houses of Parliament. There is also a Skatepark where fearless youngsters can be seen practising their spins, jumps and turns on skateboards in the 7-foot deep kidney bowl.

Clitheroe draws plenty of visitors to its Jazz Festival on the first weekend in May, organized by the local Jazz and Blues Club. There is an annual cycle race, known as the Clitheroe Grand Prix.The town also celebrates a Spring Festival and January 5th is the not-to-be-missed Sausage Day, in celebration of the locally prized sausages. If you miss the day, you can still enjoy the produce at any time of year!

Apart from the local shops, the area offers some beautiful scenery which can be enjoyed on foot, by bicycle or in a drive around the leafy lanes. There are several pretty villages along the Ribble Valley just waiting to be discovered.

A walk to the summit of historic Pendle Hill, the site where 10 witches were hung in 1612, will reward visitors with views of the area, right across to the Irish Sea.

The 17th century Gawthorpe Hall was an impressive historic residence of the local Shuttleworth family and is now open to the public. The nearby ruins of Whalley Abbey are close by. Ribchester is well worth a visit for its historic architecture and its even more historic Roman Museum. Haworth Art Gallery in a Tudor-style Edwardian home is also worth a visit at nearby Accrington.

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