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Top 15 Things to Do in Wigan

Top 15 Things to Do in Wigan 

Wigan often flies under the radar when it comes to popular tourist destinations. Now, you might be thinking, “Wigan? Really? What can I do there?” Well, dear reader, prepare to be pleasantly surprised. 

Those who’ve had the pleasure of wandering its charming streets, indulging in its rich history, and experiencing its vibrant culture know that it’s a treasure trove waiting to be explored. 

So, grab a cuppa, sit back, and let’s dive into the top things to do in Wigan. By the end of this journey, you’ll be itching to pack your bags and set off on your own Wigan adventure!

Enrich yourself with the history of Wigan at the Museum of Wigan Life

Address: 41 Library St, Wigan WN1 1NU, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441942828128


Opening Hours: Sunday and Monday, closed; Tuesday to Saturday 10 AM to 4 PM

During our visit in Wigan, we can’t help but stumble upon this gem in Wigan: the Museum of Wigan Life. 

It’s housed in this classy old Elizabethan Revival building. Get this, it used to be a library where George Orwell hung out, doing his novel for ‘Road to Wigan Pier’. Now, it’s like a treasure chest bursting with over 30,000 pieces of Wigan’s past. 

We were geeking out over Roman pottery and a piece from the old Wigan Warriors’ stadium. And, if you’re anything like me and love those unique finds, there’s this rad WWI German helmet and an old-school pocket watch made right in Wigan. 

Pro Tip:
If you’re a literature buff, don’t miss the section dedicated to George Orwell. It offers a fascinating glimpse into the writer’s connection with Wigan.

Experience nature at the Haigh Woodland Park

Address: School Ln, Wigan WN2 1PE, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441942828280


Opening Hours: Daily 8 AM to 6 PM

Who doesn’t love nice views and the feel of nature? Haigh Woodland Park is just a stone’s throw north of Wigan town, this place is like nature’s very own amusement park. 

Picture this: 500 acres of lush greenery, ancient trees like beeches and oaks, and a plethora of activities to keep both the young and young-at-heart entertained. 

From high ropes courses that’ll test your mettle to a delightful miniature railway that’ll take you on a nostalgic journey, there’s no shortage of fun here. And for the adults? How about a round of golf at the Haigh Hall Golf Club or perhaps some artisanal treats at the Kitchen Courtyard?

Pro Tip:
If you’re visiting in the summer, keep an eye out for their child-friendly activities. From archery to storytelling, there’s always something happening!

Immerse in British culture at the Leeds and Liverpool Canal


You wouldn’t believe how cool the Leeds and Liverpool Canal is. Spanning a whopping 127 miles, it’s the champ of single canals in the UK. 

When it snakes through Wigan, it’s like a scene from a postcard. It used to be the highway for coal, limestone, and textiles, but now it’s all about those leisure vibes. 

Think relaxed strolls, breezy bike rides, and laid-back boat trips. We’ve spotted so many narrowboats and fellow nature buffs there. And those paths? Perfect for a zen walk. 

Pro Tip:
If you’re up for an adventure, consider renting a narrowboat for the day. It’s a unique way to experience the canal and see Wigan from a different perspective.

Explore the mines (at least exhibit-wise) inside the Lancashire Mining Museum at Astley Green

Address: Higher Green Ln, Astley, Manchester M29 7JB, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441942895841


Opening Hours: Monday and Thursday, closed; Tuesday to Sunday 1 to 5 PM

So, not too far from Wigan, there’s this spot called the Astley Green Colliery. It’s like stepping into a time machine and back to Wigan’s coal-mining days. 

You’ve got this massive pit headgear and engine house, the last ones standing from the Lancashire Coalfield times. 

This mine was buzzing from 1912 all the way to 1970, and it’s a real nod to the folks who worked their magic underground. Seriously, the 30-metre headgear? It’s jaw-dropping. And the steam engine? Pure genius. 

Oh, and for my fellow binge-watchers, if it looks familiar, that’s ’cause ‘Peaky Blinders’ shot some scenes there. How cool is that?

Pro Tip:
Plan your visit on a day when they fire up the old steam engine. It’s a rare and mesmerising experience to see this century-old giant come to life.

Enjoy the outdoors at Mesnes Park

Address: Mesnes Park Terrace, Wigan WN1 1TU, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441942486999


Opening Hours: 24/7

Last time we were in Wigan, Mesnes Park was an absolute highlight. It’s like stepping into a Victorian painting. 

The park, with its 30 acres, feels like a sanctuary in the middle of the town. The manicured lawns, scenic paths, and those vibrant flowerbeds create such a serene atmosphere. And that pavilion? It’s a masterpiece, especially with its standout glass lantern. 

Pro Tip:
There’s this quirky tradition: rubbing the bronze foot of Sir Francis Sharp’s statue. They say it’s for good luck, and who couldn’t use a bit more of that?

View and experience the docks at the Wigan Pier


Ah, Wigan Pier! We’ve all heard of it, and if you’re like me, you might’ve imagined it as a simple seaside pier. In reality, though, it’s a historic wharf on the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. 

While it’s seen better days, there’s something undeniably charming about the old cobblestone towpath and the remnants of the narrow-gauge railway. 

And if you’re a literature enthusiast, you’ll appreciate the connection to George Orwell’s Road to Wigan Pier.

For those unfamiliar, the book is a socio-political commentary where Orwell delves into the lives and struggles of the working class in the north of England during the 1930s, offering a firsthand account of the hardships they faced. 

Pro Tip:
While the site is a bit worn, it’s got potential. We’ve heard whispers of redevelopment plans, so keep an eye out for future transformations!

Witness Wigan’s artistic culture at The Old Courts 

Address: Gerrard Winstanley House, Crawford St, Wigan WN1 1NA, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441942834747


Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 9:30 AM to 8 PM; Saturday 10 AM to 8 PM; Sunday 10 AM to 6 PM

If you’re looking for a dose of culture, The Old Courts is our go-to spot. This former Victorian courthouse has been transformed into a buzzing arts hub. 

Wander through its labyrinthine corridors, and you might stumble upon an impromptu art exhibition or a local band rehearsing for their next big gig. The walls echo with stories, creativity, and the vibrant spirit of Wigan’s artistic community. 

From live bands to poetry readings and craft workshops, there’s always something happening. Our favourite part about this is that it’s all run by passionate volunteers who pour their heart and soul into every event.

Pro Tip:
If you’re planning a visit to The Old Courts, don’t miss out on their Fork & Brush Cafe. It’s a cosy spot filled with artwork from local artists, offering home-made meals and treats. It’s the perfect place to relax and soak in the artistic ambiance after exploring the venue.

Take a walk through the past inside the ancestral Trencherfield Mill


When we first laid eyes on the Trencherfield Mill, we were blown away by its sheer size and grandeur. 

This cotton-spinning giant stands as a testament to Wigan’s industrial past. And guess what? The massive engine that once powered the entire mill is still there, and it’s as impressive as ever. 

If you’re lucky, you might catch one of their ‘Steaming Days’ when the engine roars back to life.

Pro Tip:
We recommend visiting on a Sunday. That’s when you can get a full tour and truly appreciate the mill’s rich history.

Unleash your sporty side while watching football at the DW Stadium

Address: 15 Loire Dr, Robin Park Rd, Wigan WN5 0UH, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441942774000


Opening Hours: Per game basis 

Whether you’re a football fanatic or a rugby enthusiast, the DW Stadium is where our town’s sporting heart beats loudest. 

Home to both Wigan Athletic and Wigan Warriors, the energy here on match days is electric. And even if you’re not into sports, the architecture of this modern arena is worth admiring.

And let’s say that you’re not really a Wigan football fan— well fret not, because at times when they’re doing well during the English Premier League season, visiting teams like Manchester United or City do play here when they’re matched up! 

So do pay attention to the schedules and who knows? You might end up meeting football legends who play in the arena in front of glorious fans like yourself! 

Pro Tip:
If you’re planning to catch a game, we suggest grabbing tickets in advance. And don’t forget to snap a photo with the statue of Dave Whelan, a true Wigan legend.

Look through the Renaissance era inside the old Church of St Wilfrid 

Address: 13 Rectory Ln, Standish, Wigan WN6 0XA, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441257421396

Website: N/A

Opening Hours: Daily 8 AM to 7 PM

We’ve visited quite a few churches in our time, but the Church of St Wilfrid in Standish truly stands out. As soon as you step inside, there’s an overwhelming sense of serenity, amplified by the soft glow of sunlight filtering through the stained glass windows. 

Its unique blend of Gothic and Renaissance architecture is truly captivating as well! Walking through its aisles, you can almost hear the whispers of the past, tales of ceremonies, celebrations, and community gatherings. 

And those Tuscan columns inside? Simply breathtaking. It’s not just a place of worship; it’s a journey through architectural history.

Pro Tip:
Don’t rush your visit. Take your time to admire the intricate details, especially the richly moulded beams from the Tudor rebuild.

Go karting like in Mario Kart at the Three Sisters Circuit 

Address: Three Sisters Rd, Ashton-in-Makerfield, Wigan WN4 8DD, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441942719030


Opening Hours: Daily 9 AM to 10 PM

If you’ve got a need for speed, the Three Sisters Circuit is where you’ll want to be. Whether you’re an experienced racer or just looking for some high-octane fun, this circuit has got you covered. 

From karting for kids to full-blown race days, there’s something for everyone. The circuit’s history is filled with tales of thrilling races and legendary drivers who’ve left their mark. 

The roar of engines, the smell of burning rubber, and the excitement in the air make every visit an unforgettable experience.

Pro Tip:
If you’re new to karting, consider booking a Karting Blast session. It’s designed for beginners and gives you a chance to get a feel for the track. And for the thrill-seekers, don’t miss out on the Drift Days for an unforgettable high-speed experience.

Tap into your nature’s side at the Wigan Flashes 

Address: Wellham Rd, Wigan WN3 5PA, United Kingdom

Contact Details: N/A


Opening Hours: 24/7

You know, we’ve always been amazed at how nature finds a way to thrive, even in the most unexpected places. Wigan Flashes is a prime example. 

These flooded depressions, a result of coal mining subsidence, have transformed into a vibrant ecosystem. As you wander through the reserve, you’ll encounter a mix of habitats, from swamps to woodlands. 

The history of the area is palpable, with remnants of its coal mining past subtly interwoven with the thriving ecosystems. And birdwatching? Absolutely top-notch. Keep an eye out for the elusive bittern, a rare wading bird that’s made the reeds its home.

Pro Tip:
If birdwatching is your thing, consider visiting during spring. That’s when the reserve becomes a hotspot for migratory birds. And don’t forget to bring your binoculars!

Wander through the forest woods at Borsdane Wood


Sometimes, we all need a break from the hustle and bustle of city life. And Borsdane Wood is our favourite escape. 

This ancient woodland, with its mix of birch, ash, and oak trees, offers a tranquil setting for a leisurely walk. 

The woods whisper tales of old, of times when the land was untouched and wild. As you stroll along the paths, you’ll be serenaded by the sounds of nature, from the rustling leaves to the chirping birds.

Pro Tip:
If you’re a nature enthusiast, consider visiting during the spring. The woodland comes alive with a carpet of bluebells, creating a picturesque setting for your walk.

Watch fantastic performances at the Wigan Little Theatre

Address: 44 Crompton St, Wigan WN1 3SL, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441942242561


Opening Hours: Per booking basis

We’ve always believed that the best performances come from the heart, and Wigan Little Theatre is a testament to that. 

Run by dedicated volunteers, this venue has been the heart of Wigan’s arts scene since 1943. From classic plays to musicals, there’s always something captivating on stage. 

The theatre’s rich history is evident in its architecture and the stories of past performances that have graced its stage. And the best part? The intimate setting ensures you’re always close to the action.

Pro Tip:
Before you visit, check out their website for the latest shows. And if you’re in the mood for a pre-show drink, pop into their Next Door bar. It’s got a cosy ambiance that sets the mood just right.

Visit Fairy Glen and it’s mesmerising nature reserve 

Address: Parbold Hill, Parbold, Appley Bridge, Wigan WN8 7TG, United Kingdom

Contact Details: +441695622794

Website: N/A 

Opening Hours: 24/7

Last but certainly not least, Fairy Glen is like stepping into a fairy tale. Nestled on the slope of Parbold Hill, this secluded spot is a haven for nature lovers. 

The Spradley Brook has carved cascades and waterfalls, all set against a backdrop of ancient woodlands. 

Interestingly, the Glen has inspired countless local legends and tales of mythical creatures that reside within its depths. As you explore the trails, you’ll be captivated by the serene ambiance and the beauty of nature.

Pro Tip:
April and May are the best months to visit. The forest floor is adorned with bluebells and red campions, adding a splash of colour to your adventure.
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