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A Comprehensive Travel Guide to Rochdale Manchester

A Comprehensive Travel Guide to Rochdale Manchester 

Rochdale, a quaint yet vibrant area in Greater Manchester, is often overlooked in the hustle and bustle of city life.

Known for its rich industrial history, stunning natural landscapes, and a plethora of cultural attractions, Rochdale is a microcosm of what makes England so appealing!

So, is Rochdale worth a visit? 

Visiting Rochdale is definitely worth it for both locals and tourists, as it offers a variety of historical, cultural, and natural attractions that make it a must-see destination. 

There are also many things to do in Rochdale, such as visiting natural reservoirs, museums, and significant structures like the Town Hall. 

There’s more to Rochdale than those activities, though! Keep reading to find out what makes Rochdale so special! Join us as we revisit the best things this lovely town has to offer, plus insider tips to get the most out of your trip!

All about Rochdale

What makes Rochdale truly unique is its rich history. The town’s recorded history dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086, and it was granted a royal charter in 1251, signifying its importance in mediaeval England. 

Over the centuries, Rochdale transformed from a centre of the woollen trade to a mill town during the Industrial Revolution. It was also the birthplace of the Cooperative Movement, with the Rochdale Pioneers opening the first Cooperative shop in 1844.

Best Time to Go

Rochdale is a destination that offers a diverse range of experiences all year round. The ideal time for your visit largely hinges on what you aim to achieve during your stay.

Spring, spanning from March to May, is a delightful season to set foot in Rochdale. The weather is generally mild, making it an opportune time for outdoor activities and sightseeing. 

In terms of special events, Rochdale has a calendar filled with notable dates. The Rochdale Literature & Ideas Festival in October, the Feel Good Festival in August, and the Rochdale Half Marathon in September are just a few examples.

How to Get There

Train: Rochdale is well-connected by train, with Rochdale Railway Station serving as the main hub. The station is part of the national rail network and offers frequent services to Manchester, Leeds, and other major cities. 

Bus: Several bus routes run through Rochdale, connecting it to nearby towns and cities. The Rochdale Interchange is the main bus terminal, conveniently located near the town centre. 

Buses are generally a cost-effective way to travel, and tickets can be purchased on the bus or via mobile apps.

Taxi: Taxis are readily available in Rochdale and can be hailed on the street, booked in advance, or picked up from designated taxi ranks. They offer a convenient but more expensive way to get around, especially if you’re travelling with luggage or in a group.

Car Service: If you prefer a more comfortable and private mode of transportation, various car services, including ride-sharing options like Uber, are available. 

These can be booked in advance through their respective apps and offer the advantage of a fixed price, so you know what you’ll be paying before you start your journey.

What is Rochdale famous for?

Back in the 19th century, Rochdale became famous for being a leading global hub for cotton processing and textile manufacturing. It was one of the first industrialised towns during the Industrial Revolution, experiencing significant growth during this period.

Rochdale also boasts a vibrant shopping and dining scene, anchored by the Wheatsheaf Shopping Centre and diverse eateries. Rich in history, landmarks like the Ellenroad Engine House and Rochdale Canal add a historical layer to this multifaceted town.

Things to Do in Rochdale, Greater Manchester 

Explore history at Healey Dell Heritage Centre and Tea Rooms


Imagine stepping into a charming history museum where the past comes alive, and then being treated to a traditional English tea experience. At the Healey Dell Heritage Centre and Tea Rooms, you can do just that. 

The museum offers intriguing exhibits that take you back in time, and the tea room is a haven for those who appreciate the finer things in life. The scones served with clotted cream are said to be the best in the region. This is the perfect spot for history buffs and foodies alike.

Pro Tip: Visit during the afternoon to enjoy a traditional English tea experience. The atmosphere is nostalgic, and the crockery used adds to the old-world charm.

Find sanctuary at Hollingworth Lake


If you’re someone who finds peace near water, Hollingworth Lake is your sanctuary. Surrounded by lush parks and cosy cafes, the lake offers a serene backdrop for a leisurely walk. On a cold day, you can warm up with a cup of hot chocolate from a nearby café. 

The lake is also a popular spot for boating and fishing, making it a versatile destination for outdoor enthusiasts.

Pro Tip: Plan your visit during the summer season to take advantage of the outdoor activities available, such as boating and picnics.

Appreciate the exhibits at the Fireground


For families with children or anyone fascinated by firefighting, Fireground is a must-visit. This specialty museum offers interactive exhibits that allow you to slide down a fireman’s pole or explore a fire engine. 

What’s great about the Fireground is that It’s an educational yet fun experience that appeals to both the young and the young-at-heart.

Pro Tip: Visit on ‘Fireman Fridays’ when retired firefighters give personal tours and share stories specific to Rochdale’s firefighting history.

Enjoy nature at Greenbooth Reservoir


Greenbooth Reservoir is a nature lover’s paradise. The reservoir is surrounded by scenic walking paths and offers fishing opportunities. 

If you’re lucky, on a clear day, you can see as far as the Yorkshire border and the beginning of the Peak District. It’s a tranquil setting perfect for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

Pro Tip: Bring a pair of binoculars and visit the “Birdwatcher’s Nook,” a lesser-known spot recommended by local birdwatchers.

Visit Rochdale Canal


The Rochdale Canal offers a unique way to explore the town. The well-lit paths along the canal are ideal for a romantic evening walk. 

Also, the canal passes through picturesque locks, meadows, and fields, so you’ll have plenty of photo opportunities! It’s a peaceful way to experience Rochdale’s natural beauty while also getting a bit of exercise.

Pro Tip: Take a canal boat tour with ‘Rochdale Canal Cruises’, which offers historical commentary specific to the canal’s role in Rochdale’s development.

Admire the Rochdale Town Hall


Although currently closed for renovation, Rochdale Town Hall is an architectural marvel that you should at least admire from the outside. 

The building is a testament to Rochdale’s rich history and offers a glimpse into its cultural significance. Once it reopens, the Town Hall is expected to resume its role as a hub for community events and activities.

Pro Tip: Once it reopens, don’t miss the ‘Rochdale Room’, which houses a collection of artefacts and paintings specific to the town’s history.

Go for a hike at the Healey Dell Nature Reserve


If you’re an avid hiker or a nature photographer, the Healey Dell Nature Reserve is your playground. 

The reserve offers various trails that take you through diverse landscapes, from dense forests to open meadows. The view from the viaduct is particularly breathtaking and offers a panoramic view of the area.

Pro Tip: Take the ‘Viaduct Walk’, a guided tour that explains the engineering and natural history of the area.

Explore the rich industrial history of Manchester at the Ellenroad Engine House

Explore the rich industrial history of Manchester at the Ellenroad Engine House


For those intrigued by engineering and machinery, the Ellenroad Engine House offers a fascinating experience. 

The museum houses a variety of steam engines and offers live demonstrations. It’s a unique opportunity to understand the mechanics behind these powerful machines.

Pro Tip: Visit during one of their ‘Steam Sundays’ to see the engine in action, complete with a Rochdale-specific history lesson.

Have a grand time at Rochdale Pioneers Museum


The Rochdale Pioneers Museum is not just a museum; it’s a lesson in social reforms and the history of retail. 

Housed in the building where the modern co-operative movement began, the museum offers insightful exhibits that take you through the journey of the co-op from its inception to its current role in society.

Pro Tip: Participate in the ‘Pioneers Trail’, a scavenger hunt that takes you through the museum and around Rochdale, highlighting key historical points.

Appreciate art at the Touchstones


Touchstones is a specialty museum that tells the story of Rochdale through various exhibits. From the industrial revolution to the growth of the co-op and unions, the museum offers a comprehensive look into what makes Rochdale unique.

Pro Tip:

Don’t miss the ‘Rochdale Artists’ section, which features works from local artists past and present.

Marvel at the views at Blackstone Edge


For those who love hiking and panoramic views, Blackstone Edge is the place to be. The area offers stunning views over the valleys and is a popular spot for country walks. It’s the perfect destination for those looking to capture some Instagram-worthy pictures.

Pro Tip: Look for the ‘Blackstone Edge Chartist’s Well’, a historical site where political activists used to gather in the 19th century. The well is marked and has an inscription, making it a unique photo opportunity.

Check out St. Leonard’s Church


Last but not least, the St. Leonard’s Church is a historical and architectural marvel. It’s a must-visit for anyone interested in architecture or history!

The church is welcoming and offers a peaceful atmosphere—perfect if you want some time for reflection. 

Pro Tip: The lighting in some exhibits is low, so you might want to carry a small flashlight to better see the details.

Where to Eat

The Royal Toby Restaurant

Address: Manchester Rd, Castleton, Rochdale OL11 3HF, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441706861861


Opening Hours: 12 AM to 2:30 PM

If you’re looking to experience the quintessence of British dining in Rochdale, The Royal Toby Restaurant is the place to be. The ambiance is warm and inviting, making it suitable for both casual dinners and special occasions. 

The menu offers a delightful blend of traditional British dishes with a modern twist. The fish and chips are a local favourite, and the Sunday roast is an experience that should not be missed. The restaurant also offers a selection of local ales to complement your meal.

La Mancha

Address: 5 The Butts Ave, Rochdale OL16 1ES, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441706713400


Opening Hours: Monday to Tuesday, closed; Wednesday and Thursday 6 to 9 PM; Friday 4:45 to 9 PM; Saturday 1 to 9 PM; Sunday 4:45 to 8 PM

For those craving a slice of Spain in Rochdale, La Mancha is a must-visit. The restaurant exudes a homely Spanish atmosphere, complete with a cosy tapas bar that’s perfect for intimate dinners. 

The menu is a gastronomic journey through Spain, featuring dishes like paella and a variety of tapas. The sangria here is the perfect accompaniment to your meal, crafted to perfection and served in traditional Spanish pitchers.

La Scala

Address: 370 Oldham Rd, Rochdale OL11 2AL, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441706638635


Opening Hours: Monday, closed; Tuesday to Saturday 5 to 10 PM; Sunday 3 to 9 PM

If Italian cuisine is what you’re after, La Scala offers an authentic experience right in the heart of Rochdale. The restaurant’s romantic setting, complete with soft lighting and Italian decor, makes it an ideal spot for date nights or special celebrations. 

The menu features a range of Italian classics, from pasta to seafood, but it’s the tiramisu that steals the show, earning rave reviews from locals and visitors alike.

Achilles Meze Bar and Grill

Address: 850 Manchester Rd, Castleton, Rochdale OL11 2SP, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441706522748

Website: N/A

Opening Hours: Monday and Tuesday, closed; Wednesday to Friday 11:30 AM to 2 PM; Saturday 5 to 10 PM; Sunday 2 to 7 PM  

For a lively and authentic Greek dining experience, Achilles Meze Bar and Grill is the place to go. The restaurant is adorned with Greek decor and often plays traditional Greek music, adding to the vibrant atmosphere. 

The menu offers a variety of meze dishes, perfect for sharing among friends and family. The moussaka and souvlaki are particularly popular, offering a true taste of Greece.

Sahara Rochdale

Address: 256 Yorkshire St, Rochdale OL16 2DR, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441706746786


Opening Hours: Sunday to Thursday 4 to 10 PM; Friday to Saturday 4 to 11 PM

Sahara Rochdale offers a relaxed setting that’s perfect for family dinners or casual meet-ups. The restaurant specialises in Middle Eastern cuisine, featuring a variety of kebabs and shawarmas. 

The hummus is a crowd-pleaser, made fresh daily and served with warm pita bread. The restaurant also offers a selection of Middle Eastern desserts, providing a sweet end to your meal.

Where to Stay 

Travelodge Rochdale

Travelodge Rochdale


Travelodge Rochdale offers a budget-friendly yet comfortable stay. The hotel provides essential amenities like free parking and breakfast, adding convenience to your trip. 

Its location near major Rochdale attractions makes it an ideal base for exploring the town. Whether you’re in town for business or leisure, Travelodge Rochdale offers a hassle-free stay.

Premier Inn Rochdale Hotel


Another budget-friendly option is the Premier Inn Rochdale Hotel. The hotel features an on-site restaurant, providing a convenient dining option for guests. 

Free Wi-Fi and proximity to public transport make it an ideal choice for travellers looking to stay connected and explore Rochdale easily.

Mercure Manchester Norton Grange Hotel & Spa


For those looking for a touch of luxury, the Mercure Manchester Norton Grange Hotel & Spa offers a four-star experience. 

The hotel features a spa and bistro, providing a perfect setting for relaxation after a day of sightseeing. The pool and hot tub are added bonuses, making your stay a truly rejuvenating experience.

The Royal Toby Hotel


The Royal Toby Hotel is known for its excellent service and comfortable rooms. The hotel also features an Italian restaurant, offering a convenient and delicious dining option. Its location near major attractions in Rochdale makes it a popular choice among visitors.

Hollingworth Lake Guest House

Hollingworth Lake Guest House


If you’re a nature lover, Hollingworth Lake Guest House offers the perfect setting. Located near Hollingworth Lake, the guest house provides easy access to natural beauty. 

The rooms are casual yet comfortable, and the guest house is pet-friendly, making it an ideal choice for travellers with furry friends.

Where to Shop

Rochdale Exchange Shopping Centre


Located in the heart of Rochdale, the Rochdale Exchange Shopping Centre offers a diverse range of stores, from fashion boutiques to electronics shops. 

The mall’s central location makes it a convenient shopping destination for both locals and visitors. Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion trends or a new gadget, you’re likely to find it here.

Rochdale Riverside Retail & Leisure


Rochdale Riverside Retail & Leisure offers a modern shopping experience with a scenic twist. Located near the Rochdale Canal, the mall provides beautiful views as you shop. 

The mall features a variety of retail and leisure options, making it a one-stop destination for shopping and entertainment.

Central Retail Park Rochdale

Central Retail Park Rochdale


Central Retail Park offers a spacious shopping environment with a variety of stores, including home goods and electronics. 

The retail park provides ample parking, adding convenience to your shopping experience. Whether you’re looking to furnish your home or upgrade your tech, Central Retail Park has something for everyone.

Rochdale Bazaar


For those interested in fashion, Rochdale Bazaar is a must-visit. This designer clothing store offers a curated selection of fashion items that are both unique and trendy. 

The store’s layout is designed for easy browsing, making your shopping experience enjoyable and efficient.

Marks and Spencer Rochdale 


Marks and Spencer in Rochdale is more than just a supermarket; it’s a reliable destination for quality products. 

From fresh produce to home essentials, the store offers a wide range of items. The supermarket is known for its quality, making it a popular choice for both grocery shopping and home goods.

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