Independent shops, egg-themed traditions and a full-blown music festival: the town of Ramsbottom offers something for everyone.
The bustling market town of Ramsbottom, nestled among the hills of the West Pennine Moors on the banks of the River Irwell, is jam-packed with character. Just three miles from Bury and accessible from Manchester in under an hour, it is a charming day trip destination away from the bright lights of the big city.
Shop ‘til You Drop
For those seeking a spot of retail therapy, Ramsbottom – or Rammy, as it is affectionately known to the locals – is filled with an array of independent shops. You will find locally-made gift ideas at the sweetly-scented Ramsbottom Soap Co. and nostalgic treats at The Ramsbottom Sweet Shop, which also has a collection of bears for sale including Steiff and Hermann.
Shopping is tiring work, so why not grab a bite at some of the eateries dotted around the town. The foodie scene has undergone something of a revival in recent years, with new restaurants slotting in nicely with some of the more established venues.
Lolo’s Vegan and Raw Restaurant and Store is one new place in particular proving popular with residents and tourists alike. It opened last year and offers a selection of tasty cuisine (see the review on page XX to get our verdict). Elsewhere, there are Spanish tapas dishes being served up at Levanter and artisanal treats at The Eclectic Kitchen & Deli.
There is also a farmers’ market on the second Sunday of each month at Market Place and Ramsbottom Civic Hall, where visitors can pick up jams, breads and homemade fudge.
The food theme has also become a series of full-blown festivals in the town, with a Cake Festival and Pie Fest taking place in recent years. The Chocolate Festival, meanwhile, takes place every March and was created by the owner of the Chocolate Café. In addition to hosting a chocolate-themed street market featuring chocolatiers and bakers, this two-day event also includes street entertainment and a family fun area.
One major date for the diary is coming up very soon. The Ramsbottom Festival is one of the biggest events to hit the town and this year the final farewell to the summer takes place from 16th-18th September.
The 2016 line-up is filled with recognisable names from the world of music, including the Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Gaz Coombes, who is performing in the town hot on the heels of his Mercury nominated album ‘Matador’. Other exciting names on the bill include alt rockers, Public Service Broadcasting who will be headlining on Friday night, and Elbow guitarist Mark Potter’s band, The Plumedores, which will be something of a homecoming for Potter as Elbow was formed in Ramsbottom.
This festival is a family-friendly affair, filled with performances and theatre, while older visitors can enjoy the craft ales available, including the Ramsbottom Festival beer. It encompasses all genres of music, from indie and folk, to rock, ska and groovy beats, bringing audiences a taste of something they may never have heard before. And for those who like to bop to their own beat, festival-goers can select their soundtrack and get on down at the Silent Disco.
As well as being cool enough to host some of the biggest names in music every year, Rammy is also home to some unusual traditions. One of the most quirky of these is the annual egg rolling event. On one day in spring, crowds climb Holcombe Hill, which lies behind the town, and roll boiled eggs down it. Those that make it to the bottom without smashing receive the greatest cheers.
For a more sedate way to enjoy your time in Ramsbottom, try a picturesque trip aboard a steam train along the East Lancashire Railway. This heritage attraction travels between Heywood and Rawtenstall, stopping at Bury, Summerseat, Ramsbottom and Irwell Vale along the way.
While in the town, take a relaxing stroll around Nuttall Park or get cultured at Irwell Sculpture Park. Meanwhile, theatre lovers can head to the Theatre Royal to take in the latest production. If you are planning a visit to Ramsbottom soon, be sure to book your tickets for the ultimate thriller, Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, which runs at the Theatre Royal from 10th – 17th September.
To find out more about Rammy, visit Thisisrammy.co.uk. For business listings, visit Visitramsbottom.org.
The Ramsbottom Festival takes place 16th-18th September. Get your tickets and final line-up at Ramsbottomfestival.com.