From humble market-town beginnings to a burgeoning industrial powerhouse built on coal, cotton and cloth, Rochdale has a long and prestigious heritage. This was the birthplace of the Co-operative movement and that community spirit and togetherness is still very much alive in today.
Modern Rochdale is as distinct as it is diverse, with one of the UK's fastest-growing festivals and a town centre part-way through a multi-million-pound regeneration, the future for Rochdale looks just as illustrious as its long past.
Rochdale has a well-earned reputation as one of the heritage capitals of Greater Manchester, and no visit to the town is complete without taking in at least some of its historic landmarks.
Head straight for The Esplanade in the north of the town, home to the award-winning Touchstones, an arts and heritage centre, complete with gallery and museum, covering everything from town history to contemporary art and ceramics. The centre is just a few minutes' walk from Rochdale's majestic gothic-revival style town hall, so be sure to enjoy its breathtaking architecture on route.
To sample the Rochdale of today, look no further than the brand new Rochdale Leisure Centre, the first step in much larger regeneration project for the town. The state-of-the-art centre is home to an Olympic-sized pool and gym as well as contemporary thermal centre, the ideal place for escape and relaxation.
Finally, Rochdale has some of the north-west's most vibrant nightlife outside of Manchester, so you should get dolled up and head out at least once before you leave. Slip into sophistication at Dewine on Oldham Road before painting the town red at the nearby Essence Nightclub, Rochdale's premier venue.