Nestled away in the north of Greater Manchester is a market town oozing quaintness, boasting Victorian architecture, industrial heritage and a beautiful Pennine landscape. Bordering Lancashire but in the metropolitan borough of Bury, Ramsbottom offers plenty of Northern charm and character that draws numerous visitors to the town again and again.
An unusual name to many, Ramsbottom is said to have derived from Old English and means ‘valley of the ram’. The market town was quite the hub during the Industrial Revolution due to its many mills for spinning, weaving and printing, resulting in the area becoming more populated over time.
Today, Ramsbottom continues to manufacture great products but instead swapping printing for producing great pints and spinning for sweet treats. The town is home to an abundance of independent businesses, restaurants and bars with multiple picturesque walking routes and a steam railway line on its doorstep, meaning there’s plenty of things to do. So, without further ado, here’s our rundown of 14 of the best things to do in Ramsbottom:
1. Nibble on a selection of cheese at The Mouse Trap
We can’t enough cheese and neither can The Mouse Trap. Offering platters brimming with a selection of cheeses from soft and creamy to strong and blue, you could say it’s a cheese emporium. So much so, the Ramsbottom wine and cheese bar has its own shop The Cheese Emporium selling their impressive cheese. Nibble at cheese alongside accompaniments like chutneys, crackers, cured meats and more with a glass or two of wine and simply watch the world go by. The Mouse Trap is a great spot for catch-ups with friends, which can be bettered with a sharing fondue or raclette, as well as playing host to live music acts on an evening.
2. Get on board the East Lancashire Railway
The pace of life might be a tad slower to the one of the busy Manchester city centre, however it’s full steam ahead as the town is home to its very own railway station. Running from Bury to Rawtenstall, the East Lancashire Railway passes through Ramsbottom as well as the quaint countryside carrying passengers in old fashioned train carriages. Visitors can hop on at Ramsbottom to go onto explore the nearby towns from March until Christmas, offering holiday specials for children as well as fine dining experiences and afternoon tea on board.
3. Clamber up Holcombe Hill for impressive views
Be sure to pack your walking boots when you come to Ramsbottom as the town boasts a number of walking routes allowing you to explore the nearby area. With Peel Tower (which is dedicated to former prime minister Sir Robert Peel) standing proud on Holcombe Hill, you know you’ve arrived in the town with such a beacon. The hill can be approached from a number of angles including the town centre, south of the town via Holcombe Brook and north of the town via Stubbins. The walk is steep but once you reach the top you’ll be rewarded with impressive views and on a clear day you can see the city of Manchester in the distance. The tower is also open to go up on bank holidays.
4. Cosy up with a hot chocolate at The Chocolate Cafe
After a long walk with the wind blustering away there’s nothing better than settling down in a cosy cafe with a hot chocolate. The Chocolate Cafe in Ramsbottom provides both solace and sweet treats and you can even buy some chocolate bars to take home with you and remember your trip by. The cafe in the heart of the town is not only a must-visit for hot chocolates (which come in an assortment of flavours) but also for its banging brunch dishes.
5. Sample seasonal and beautifully-presented dishes at Colleen’s
Reasonably new to the town, Colleen’s is a neighbourhood restaurant with a bit of French flair. Located on Ramsbottom’s main road, Bridge Street, the eatery serves up breakfast, brunch, Sunday roasts as well as a show-stopping evening menu which changes with the seasons. Decked out with hanging plants and hues of green and soft pink touches, Colleen’s is a comfy spot whatever the meal time.
6. Soak up the epic views with a roast at The Eagle & Child
Enjoying a tasty Sunday roast and ravishing views is hard to come by but luckily The Eagle & Child offers both. The pub also serves hand-stretched stonebaked pizzas from its pizza oven and guests can enjoy tasty slices either outside on one of the pub’s benches or within the large tipi draped in cute fairy lights (perfect to escape to when the weather takes an unexpected turn). And if you’re in need of somewhere to rest your head or planning to extend your visit in the Ramsbottom area, The Eagle & Child offers five boutique hotel rooms to stay in.
7. Get your caffeine fix at Grind & Tamp
If you’re after cute coffee shop vibes Grand & Tamp on Bridge Street is the one. What the coffee shop lacks in space, it makes up for in its impressive coffee on sale both made to order as well as featuring a roster of independent roasters. Grab a coffee to go as you discover what the town has to offer or sit and watch the world go by with a brew and even a slice of cake, toastie, brunch dish or bowl of soup.
8. Tap up some great tapas at Levanter
It might not be Spain but Ramsbottom tapas restaurant Levanter can sure try to bring the Spanish sunshine to you with its tasty small plates. With spots at Escape to Freight Island and now Exhibition, Baratxuri (part of the Levanter group) has taken Manchester by storm with its fire cookery after starting up in this quaint market town. Pick at chorizo bites, Padrón peppers, Ibérico ham, croquetas, olives and fish dishes and you’ll be transported to the Mediterranean in no time.
9. Visit independent homeware shops to give your space a new lease of life
If you want to take a piece of Ramsbottom home with you, there are a number of home and interior shops offering unique pieces to spruce your place up with. Hearts for Homes boasts Ramsbottom-embellished items like tea towels, mugs, coasters and placemats as well as Manchester-themed decorations upstairs. On the opposite side of Bridge Street you’ll find the yellow-fronted Life Store selling handmade candles, blankets, ceramics and items to boost your wellbeing like essential oils and bath salts.
10. Enjoy a breath of fresh air wandering round Nuttall Park
With so much food and drink that you need to try in this town a walk to stretch your legs will help pass the time before your next meal. If you don’t fancy the steep climb up Holcombe Hill, a little wander round Nuttall Park is a great alternative. The park boasts trails with some running alongside the River Irwell, tennis courts and a children’s playground.
11. Sip on locally-made pints at these breweries
Everywhere you turn in Ramsbottom you’re never far from a pint of craft beer to sink. There’s Irwell Works which boasts its very own collection of beer with a balcony overlooking the town that’s great to sit at during the summer months. Northern Whisper‘s taproom sits on the corner of Bridge Street and Market Place with plenty of local craft beers on tap and comfy sofas. Then tucked away on an industrial estate in Stubbins is microbrewery Brewsmith Beer, which is a short walk away, offering the likes of oatmeal stout and plenty of pale ales.
12. Tuck into delicious Italian food at Tre Ciccio
Manchester might boast multiple pizzerias and Italian restaurants, but have you tried Tre Ciccio? Offering Sicilian food like arancini as well as Neapolitan pizzas with delicious toppings and top crusts for dipping, the restaurant also serves up a selection of pasta dishes, roast chicken and sides (order the truffle parmesan fries and thank us later). What sets Tre Ciccio apart is its summertime seating as when the sun starts to shine the restaurant opens the roof, providing us with sweeping views of the nearby hills to soak up with an Aperol Spritz in hand.
13. Mosey around Ramsbottom’s antique shops and galleries
As well as offering plenty of places to eat and drink, Ramsbottom has a number of spots for art and interior lovers. Just down Ramsbottom’s Bridge Street you’ll find Memories Antiques and Jesse May’s Vintage for all the knick knacks you desire to give your home plenty of character- from decorative items to dining tables. If you’re looking to add some art to your humble abode take a peek inside Olchon’s Gallery or venture a little further to the nearby village of Summerseat where you’ll find quirky independent art gallery, The Art Studio Summerseat, which sells eclectic original art, jewellery, ceramics, glassware and candles.
14. Roam around Redisher Woods
Did we say Ramsbottom was rammed full of walks? Well, it certainly is. Adding to the multiple trails is a lovely walk through Redisher Woods in Holcombe Brook, south of Ramsbottom. Sitting at the base of Holcombe Moor and heading towards the likes of Greenmount, Summerseat, and Tottington, Redisher Woods is great for those who love an ancient woodland walk. Listen to the calming streams, the crunch of the leaves and the tranquillity as this walk is tucked away from the main roads.