Things to do in Rawtenstall, Lancashire

Welcome to Rawtenstall, a charming town nestled in the heart of Lancashire, England. With its rich history, stunning natural beauty, and vibrant community, Rawtenstall offers a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors. From exploring the picturesque countryside to immersing yourself in local culture, there is something for everyone in this hidden gem of a town. So, pack your bags and get ready to discover all that Rawtenstall has to offer!

Things to do

East Lancashire Railway

The East Lancashire Railway is a heritage railway that runs between Rawtenstall and Heywood in Lancashire. It offers a nostalgic journey back in time, allowing visitors to experience the golden age of steam travel. The railway operates a variety of steam and diesel locomotives, and passengers can enjoy scenic views of the Lancashire countryside as they travel through charming towns and villages. The railway also hosts special events throughout the year, including themed train rides and dining experiences. Whether you're a train enthusiast or simply looking for a unique way to explore the area, a trip on the East Lancashire Railway is a must-do in Rawtenstall.

Whitaker Park

Whitaker Park is a beautiful public park located in the heart of Rawtenstall. It offers a peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of the town, with well-maintained gardens, a lake, and plenty of open green spaces. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the park's walking paths, have a picnic on the grass, or simply relax and enjoy the tranquil surroundings. The park also features a café where you can grab a bite to eat or enjoy a cup of tea while taking in the views. With its picturesque setting and serene atmosphere, Whitaker Park is a great place to unwind and connect with nature.

The Whitaker Museum and Art Gallery

The Whitaker Museum and Art Gallery is a hidden gem in Rawtenstall, showcasing a diverse collection of art, artifacts, and historical exhibits. Housed in a beautiful Victorian building, the museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the history and culture of the area. Visitors can explore the various galleries, which feature everything from local history displays to contemporary art exhibitions. The museum also hosts regular events and workshops, making it a hub of cultural activity in Rawtenstall. Whether you're interested in art, history, or simply want to learn more about the local area, a visit to The Whitaker is a must.

Cycling on the Rossendale Valley

Rawtenstall is located in the scenic Rossendale Valley, which offers fantastic opportunities for cycling enthusiasts. The valley is crisscrossed with a network of cycling trails, ranging from gentle routes for beginners to challenging off-road tracks for experienced riders. Cyclists can enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside as they pedal through picturesque villages and along the banks of the River Irwell. There are also several bike hire shops in Rawtenstall, making it easy to rent a bike if you don't have your own. Whether you're a seasoned cyclist or just looking for a fun way to explore the area, cycling in the Rossendale Valley is a great option.

Hiking in the Pennine Hills

Rawtenstall is situated near the Pennine Hills, a stunning range of hills and moorland that offers excellent hiking opportunities. There are numerous trails and footpaths in the area, catering to all levels of fitness and experience. From leisurely walks along the river to challenging hikes up steep hills, there's something for everyone. Hikers can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding countryside, discover hidden waterfalls, and encounter a variety of wildlife along the way. It's advisable to bring appropriate hiking gear and a map, as some trails can be quite rugged. Exploring the Pennine Hills on foot is a fantastic way to appreciate the natural beauty of the region.

Rawtenstall Market

Rawtenstall Market is a vibrant and bustling market located in the town center. It offers a wide range of stalls selling everything from fresh produce and local delicacies to clothing, crafts, and household goods. The market is a great place to soak up the local atmosphere, chat with friendly vendors, and find unique souvenirs or gifts. There are also food stalls where you can grab a quick bite to eat, with options ranging from traditional British fare to international cuisine. Whether you're looking for a bargain or simply want to experience the lively atmosphere of a traditional market, a visit to Rawtenstall Market is a must.

Kayaking on the River Irwell

For those who enjoy water sports, kayaking on the River Irwell is a thrilling activity to try in Rawtenstall. The river offers a mix of calm stretches and exciting rapids, providing a fun and challenging experience for kayakers of all skill levels. There are several kayak rental companies in the area that offer equipment and guided tours, making it easy to get started. Paddling along the river, you'll have the opportunity to admire the beautiful scenery, spot wildlife, and enjoy the tranquility of the water. Whether you're a seasoned kayaker or a beginner looking for a new adventure, kayaking on the River Irwell is a fantastic way to explore Rawtenstall.

Visit Helmshore Mills Textile Museum

Located just a short drive from Rawtenstall, Helmshore Mills Textile Museum is a fascinating attraction that offers a glimpse into Lancashire's industrial past. The museum is housed in two restored mills and showcases the region's rich textile heritage. Visitors can explore the working machinery, learn about the processes involved in cotton spinning and weaving, and discover the stories of the workers who toiled in the mills. The museum also hosts regular demonstrations and workshops, allowing visitors to try their hand at traditional textile crafts. Whether you're interested in history, textiles, or simply want to learn something new, a visit to Helmshore Mills Textile Museum is highly recommended.

Enjoy a Meal at a Local Pub

Rawtenstall is home to several charming pubs and restaurants where you can enjoy a delicious meal and soak up the local atmosphere. Many of these establishments serve traditional British pub fare, including hearty dishes like fish and chips, steak and ale pie, and Sunday roast. You can also find a variety of international cuisines, ranging from Italian and Indian to Thai and Mexican. Whether you're looking for a cozy pub with a roaring fire or a trendy restaurant with a modern twist, Rawtenstall has something to suit every taste. Enjoying a meal at a local pub is a great way to experience the culinary delights of the area.

Visit the Rossendale Museum

Located in nearby Bacup, the Rossendale Museum is a fascinating attraction that tells the story of the Rossendale Valley and its people. The museum is housed in a former Victorian mill and features a range of exhibits, including artifacts, photographs, and interactive displays. Visitors can learn about the area's industrial heritage, from its cotton mills to its coal mines, and discover the stories of the people who lived and worked in Rossendale. The museum also hosts regular events and workshops, making it a hub of cultural activity in the area. Whether you're interested in history, local culture, or simply want to learn more about the region, a visit to the Rossendale Museum is highly recommended.