"Pride of the Northwest" Wigan by marcthewriter
Wigan Travel Guide: 52 reviews and 47 photos
There has been a lot said about Wigan over the years, a lot of it little more than making the town the butt of musical hall jokes and ridicule, but for all the fun made of my home town it still remains one of the most popular market towns in the northwest of England. With an history that goes back as far as the Roman occupation of Britain, Wigan is steeped with historical architecture, culture and history, not to mention some of the best public houses (that’s pubs to the unenlightened) in the whole of the north of England.
Wigan is quite a large town with a population of around 200,000 people living in an area that covers most of the Greater Manchester region and as such there is a great deal of diversity in both Wigan and its smaller satellite towns.
For many years Wigan made its living from the textile industry and evidence of the old mills can still be found all over the town, now converted and updated for the new millennium. The chain of Marks and Spencer originally began in Wigan along with many other world famous brands such as Pataks (fine Indian cuisine sold world wide) and many more!
The town is located some 21 miles from Manchester and 17 miles from Liverpool and as such as a climate that is often cold and wet, even in summer. When it rains it pours they say and on a wet day in Wigan there is not much to do other than seek shelter in the shopping areas of the market or the Galleries. The location of the town is ideal for those wishing to explore the northwest of England, with open countryside or the coast only around 20 minutes drive. Located on a very well travelled section of motorway (M6) Wigan has two main train stations, Northwestern and Wallgate that provide access to the rest of the country.
There are many places to visit in and around Wigan, from Haigh Hall Country Park, to the market towns of Chorley and Bolton, and many historical places of interest. The town is also home to more bars, pubs and clubs than many other places in the UK for its size, and was home to the world famous Wigan Casino the home of Northern Soul. The Casino was demolished following a fire in 1983 but its sprit still lives on, with music fans from all over the world still fondly remembering the club with one of the best sounds and dance floors on the planet (huge spring suspended pine floors), and a movie based around the club has been in the works for some time now.
Standing majestically overlooking the town is the manor house of Haigh Hall, one of the oldest buildings in the area and a site that is possible to see from most of the town. This impressive building is steeped in history, dating back to before the English Civil War and I will expand more on Haigh Hall soon. Now a major tourist attraction in the area, Haigh Hall features play areas, places to eat, local culture and around 36 square miles of wooded land to explore.
One of the more famous areas of Wigan is the Pier, made famous world wide by author George Orwell in his novel ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’, though in fact the pier is little more than a small jetty that reaches out into the Leeds to Liverpool canal.
When it comes to sport Wigan is perhaps world famous for its rugby team the Wigan Warriors! The Warriors play at the JJB Stadium and consist of some of the best players in the world, and have won almost every major cup and trophy around since they where formed by at the turn of the last century. Wigan is well known for being ‘rugby mad’, and it is not unusual to find fans dressed in cherry and white (the teams colours) during a match day, and when the team gets to a major final many of the towns shops will be decorated with the colours as the workers cheer on their heroes.
You may wonder why I titled this chapter ‘You can’t spell Pier without PIE’? Well I have already briefly mentioned the Pier, but Wigan and more famously Wiganers like their pies and the town has a plethora of pie shops on almost every street, giving the towns people something of a reputation in the area.
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