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Things to do in Rochdale, Greater Manchester

Visit the borough of Rochdale and you will find a wealth of fascinating heritage and beautiful countryside that makes this a great area to explore. Dominated by spectacular views of open moorland and close to the magnificent Pennine Edge, Rochdale has been at the forefront of political change and is famous as the birthplace of the Co-operative Movement as well as being the home of Gracie Fields and many other famous sons and daughters.

Rochdale is one of the few of today's industrial towns that can trace its history back to the Doomsday Book of 1086. Its location as a crossroads to trade between east and west saw the building of the Rochdale Canal and George Stephenson's Summit Rail Tunnel, giving life to the textile industries of cotton, wool and silk.

Rochdale's spacious town centre is dominated by the spectacular Victorian Gothic Town Hall which is fronted by the broad Esplanade, still thought to be the widest road bridge in Europe with the River Roach below. The Medieval St. Chad's Parish Church at Sparrow Hill - There has been a church on the hill overlooking Rochdale town centre for well over 1,000 years. Parts of the present church tower have been dated to Saxon times, but there has been much rebuilding over the centuries.

Visit the Rochdale Pioneers Museum at Toad Lane, to learn about the Co-operative Movement, and the Arts and Heritage Centre on the Esplanade which houses the Borough Art Gallery and Museum. Rochdale Town Hall completed in 1871 is widely regarded as one of the finest Victorian town halls in Britain, a gothic revival masterpiece surmounted by a 240-foot tower and spire. The present clock tower replaces the original, which was destroyed by fire in 1883.

Rochdale offers live entertainment, local shows and events at the Gracie Fields Theatre. Rochdale town centre has two modern, indoor shopping centres, an indoor market and a good range of shops, restaurants and pubs.

For Sports and Leisure - There is an indoor climbing wall at Balderstone Community School, Castleton Water Activity Centre offers Swimming, Canoeing, kayaking and raft building and at the central Leisure Centre, you will find facilities for Russian/Turkish baths, a fitness studio and training room.

Walkers will enjoy exploring the Rochdale Way a new circular footpath around the whole of the borough of Rochdale; the whole route is 50 miles long but can be split up into shorter sections. It visits some interesting attractions and passes through some of the area's beautiful countryside.

Nearby are Healey Dell Nature Reserve and a visitor centre at Healey Hall Mills. Healey Dell is a beauty spot and wildlife sanctuary rich in industrial archaeology.

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