Bury is an essential part of the Manchester experience which is well known for its theatres, live music and major events. A great mix of town and country,just 30 minutes from the city centre and ideal for exploring England's North West.
With over half of Bury made up of green space, from country parks with ancient woodlands to wild moorland, it is a great place to experience the great outdoors. If you are exploring on two wheels, then you will find safe way marked cycle ways across the district, some of which are also dedicated bridleways. Part of the National Cycle Network passes through the area (Explorer map 277). Real cycling enthusiasts will not want to miss watching or participating in the annual Autumn time trial up the infamous 'Rake' in Ramsbottom.
Bury offers a wealth of wildlife habitats and there are plenty of places where you can get closer to Nature. There is a year round programme of family friendly events including pond dipping, tree walks and bat watching as well as the annual Countryside Fun Day at Burrs Country Park.
Burrs activity centre, in Burrs Country Park, offers canoeing courses, raft building and orienteering, or you may just want the challenge of scaling the indoor climbing wall.
Here in the North West we are fanatical about sport and Bury offers easy access to the area's major sporting venues. A direct Metrolink service operates to Old Trafford for both Manchester United and Lancashire County Cricket Club and there are good links to the nearby Reebok stadium(home of Bolton Wanderers football club) and Edgely Park (home to Sale Rugby club)
Bury offers a great mix of shopping from quirky independent shops to high street names. The Mill Gate shopping centre is easily accessible with convenient parking and the Metrolink nearby. Real bargain hunters need look no further than Bury's famous market located right in the heart of Bury town centre.First granted its charter in 1440 it is now one of the most successful markets in the UK attracting visitors from all over the country. There are over 350 stalls selling everything you can think of including Bury's famous black pudding.
Bury offers a whole selection of places to eat from Italian, Thai and Indian, right through to modern British cuisine.
The restored East Lancashire Railway, which runs along the picturesque Irwell Valley, is not only a great day out it is also one of the area's more unusual places for lunch. Book onto one of the Pullman style diner trains and watch the scenery go by.
Connoisseurs of real ale should try Bury's very own microbrewery based at the Lord Raglan pub in Nangreaves village. Beers include local favourites 'Forever Bury' and 'Nanny Flyer'
Ramsbottom, nestling in the West Pennine Moors, is a thriving and unspoilt Victorian Mill town. Four miles north of Bury, and easily accessible by car,bus or train, it makes an ideal visitor destination. Ramsbottom is rich in tradition and history with its roots lying in the Industrial Revolution. During this period the Grant brothers, Daniel and William, were the town's most important mill owners. They built many of Ramsbottom's finest buildings.
It is believed they were immortalised in Dickens's Nicholas Nickleby as the Cheeryble brothers. Nearby, standing upon Holcombe Hill, is Ramsbottom's most notable landmark, Peel Tower. Opened in 1852, the tower commemorates Sir Robert Peel, Prime Minister of Britain in 1841-46 and founder of the modern police force (still referred to as Bobbies) and repealer of the Corn Laws. Peel was born in Bury in 1788. The Tower, which stands at 128feet high, gives excellent views of Manchester, Cheshire and North Wales. Its 150 steps are certainly worth climbing! North of Peel Tower is yet another interesting landmark: The Pilgrim's Cross, a 1901 reconstruction of a 13th century cross. It is believed to have been a shrine where pilgrims halted to pray on their journeys.
One of Ramsbottom's major attractions is the East Lancashire Railway. Opened in1989, the railway runs every weekend from Bury to Rawtenstall via Ramsbottom. A series of special events take place throughout the year, including Thomas the Tank Engine weekend, Christmas Santa Special and the popular 1940s weekend.
Ramsbottom is host to many annual events. May Fever celebrates the month with Brass bands and Morris dancers. There is a Sports week each June. The Dickensian Christmas Market, held on each of the four Sundays leading up to Christmas, is a festive treat with shopkeepers dressed in nineteenth century attire.
There are over 100 shops and a Saturday market and a Sunday car boot sale.
There are many restaurants, bars and pubs offering a wide range of cuisine: English,Italian, Chinese, Indian and Thai.
More information on Ramsbottom's rich heritage can be obtained from the Heritage Centre, Carr Street.