Rochdale Travel Guide

Browse 4 travel reviews, 3 travel blogs and 100 travel photos from real travelers to Rochdale.

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Rochdale Overview

Rochdale is a sizeable Lancashire town and satellite of Manchester, the largest of the Northern English conurbations. Well-placed in the foothills of the Pennines and with easy access to the vital ingredients of waterways and cheap labour, the town became a bastion of the North West’s cotton industry in the 19th Century.

Following the decline of the traditional industries in the region, Rochdale (along with many of its neighbours) has struggled to reinvent itself. These days it’s best known as the origin of the Co-operative movement (to which there’s a museum dedicated on Toad Lane) as well as being the birthplace of singers Gracie Fields and Lisa Stansfield, actress Anna Friel and comedian/naturalist Bill Oddie.

The town was brought briefly back into the spotlight in 2003 as part of the reality TV programme Wife Swap, during which resident Lizzie Bardsley became nationally infamous as a foulmouthed symbol of Britain’s benefit culture. Beyond that, there’s little to say except that local football team, Rochdale AFC, has remained in the bottom tier of the professional leagues, without promotion or relegation, for 34 consecutive years. It's that kind of place.

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