Things to do in Blackburn

Alex Zawadzki

The town of Blackburn, along with its near neighbour Burnley, is home to regular, nationally recognised events, with cultural programming a huge draw for visitors. In addition to Blackburn Cathedral (with its glass cloister and impressive stock of modern art), the National Festival of Making and British Textile Biennial attract audiences from outside of the region to the area. Timing a visit with one of these events makes for a fantastic trip, but these festivals have helped solidify a place for new creative ventures in Blackburn – and a year-round cultural offer for you to explore.

This may be in part due to the creative and entrepreneurial spirit that has long resided here. Blackburn has played a part in cultural shape-making, with its role in the illegal Acid House raves of the 1980s and the evolution of Football Casual style on the Blackburn Rovers football terraces. It informally marked its spot in the history archives in 2019 when the adidas Spezial range named a trainer after the town. Only die hard fans will know that several other shoes already paid tribute to the town and its inhabitants – including the adidas Mill Hill, Sett End and the Kreft.

Blackburn, the wealthy kingpin of the cotton industry, has retained much of its architectural prowess with its stout and powerful buildings. Its Grade II listed, 19th century buildings include the Cotton Exchange where the trading of textiles and money took place, the Old Bank Building which still houses Lloyds Bank today, and the exceptional red brick and yellow terracotta Victorian facade of the Art School.

Our top picks

The Bureau Centre for the Arts

The Bureau Centre for the Arts, Penny Street, Blackburn, BB1 6HQ - Visit now

The Bureau is an artist led arts and community centre, providing a versatile and inclusive space for theatre, music, cultural events and community participation. A second home for many and the venue for Blackburn Festival of Light.

Bureaublackburn, The Bureau Centre for the Arts

The Weavers Triangle

The Weavers Triangle, The Weavers' Triangle Visitors Centre, 85 Manchester Road, Burnley, Lancashire, BB11 1JZ - Visit now

The Weavers Triangle centre, set on the banks of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal is a little drop-in space, taking you back into the lived experiences and spaces of those who made the cotton industry keep turning. The centre includes an authentically recreated Victorian classroom, a typical home used by a mill worker, a toll house office and a bathroom from the later Edwardian period.

The Weavers Triangle
Courtesy of Weaver's Triangle

Gawthorpe Hall

Gawthorpe Hall, Burnley Road, Padiham,, near Burnley,, Lancashire,, BB12 8UA - Visit now

Often referred to as the ‘Downton of the North’, Gawthorpe Hall is a spectacular brooding  Elizabethan manor with extravagant manicured gardens. The star attraction remains the renowned textiles collection including 11,000 pieces collected by Rachel Kay-Shuttleworth, which has been grown by the museum to 30,000 pieces.

Gawthorpe Hall
National Trust

Everything Retreat

Everything Retreat, Everything Retreat, Pendle View Lodges, Primrose Lane , Mellor , BB2 7EQ - Visit now

The Ribble Valley is well known for its scenic landscapes and excellent local producers as well as being an area of the country that embraces a slower, more purposeful pace of life. Everything Retreat is encouraging visitors to sink into the restfulness and revitalising power of the countryside with their collection of bespoke lodges.

Everything retreat

Me To A Tee

Me To A Tee, Heatleys Arcade, 47 Darwen Street, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB2 2BL - Visit now

Me to a Tee is a niche northern vintage store, set in motion by graphic design graduate, Tom Washington, who hunts down the best second hand threads from the era of Acid House ravers and Football Casuals; two energetic and rebellious subcultures which inhabited the streets and wardrobes of Blackburn’s youth through the 80s and 90s.

ME TO A TEE

Thira

Thira, 32 Darwen Street, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB2 2BY - Visit now

Not only does this family run business offer the classic kormas, jalfrezis and masalas, it offers much more variation than the more common Balti houses. Plenty of space is given to more traditional dishes found in this Southern region including Appam, Prawn Moily and Kozhikodan Biriyani, well loved by the locals.

 

Thira
Courtesy of Thira Restaurant

Remix Casuals

Remix Casuals, 8-12 Railway Road, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB1 5AX - Visit now

This independent clothing, footwear and  equipment store is ideal for street wear and skateboarding enthusiasts with knowledgeable staff that will aid you in creating your own custom board! All clothing is located upstairs, displaying true skate brands such as Vans, Thrasher and Stussy along with various casual street clothing brands.

Remix Casuals
Courtesy of Remix Casuals

Where to go in Lancashire

Winckley Square
Lancashire
Park
Winckley Square

Hosting a variety of year-round events, from guided walks to jazz evenings, Winckley Square is a Georgian square packed with history in Preston city centre.

Friargate
Lancashire
Shop
Friargate

With an array of independent shops and places to eat and drink, including a number of contemporary pubs and bars, you’ll be spoilt for choice.

Avenham and Miller Parks
Lancashire
Park
Avenham and Miller Parks

Located in the heart of Preston, Avenham and Miller Parks are among the finest examples of traditional Victorian parkland in the North West.

Blackburn
Music venue
The Exchange, Blackburn

Dating back to 1865 when it opened as one of four exchange halls in the country, The Exchange is an iconic Blackburn venue

Lancashire
Music venue
The Platform

Music, comedy, dance, drama and children’s shows in an Edwardian railway station, opposite The Midland Hotel.

Lancashire
Gallery
The Crescent Gallery

Morecambe gallery which showcases and sells contemporary works, often by artists from the area, which are varied and beautiful.

Lancashire
Gallery
Edgelands Gallery

Edgelands Gallery in Morecambe is a beautiful studio and gallery, regularly displaying high quality artwork.

Lancashire
Restaurant
The White Swan
at Fence

The White Swan at Fence is a gastro-pub with much to brag about. Delicious drinks and fantastic food has got this pub a Michelin Star.

Lancashire
Restaurant
Bootleg Social

The live-music venue and bar is a hidden gem, standing out against the technicolour nightlife of Blackpool with its own understated edge.

Lancashire Visitor Guides

Records and Relics frontage
Shopping in Lancashire

Our guide to the best shops in Lancashire, including independents and markets in Blackpool, Lancaster, Morecambe, Burnley and Blackburn.

Northcote
Food and Drink in Lancashire

Our guide to food and drink in Lancashire, featuring restaurants and bars in Lancaster, Morecambe, Blackburn, Burnley and Blackpool.

Castle View
Hotels in Lancashire

Our guide to the best hotels in Lancashire, including Lancaster, Morecambe, Blackburn, Burnley and Blackpool.

Walks in Blackpool
Walks in Blackpool

A round-up of the best walks in Blackpool, including the sights of the promenade and nearby country walks.

Walks in Blackburn & Burnley
Walks in Blackburn & Burnley

An inspired array of walks and cultural spaces to hike, saunter or work your way through, featuring wild landscape and stately halls alike.

actor with pig puppets The Three Little Pigs at Waterside Arts
Spotlight on

Things to do at February half term

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