This pretty market town in lovely West Pennines countryside has several Christmas events, adding to the appeal of its quality shops, pubs and bistros

Why go now?
For Christmas shopping in the former mill town’s independent shops, farmer’s market (11 December) or Christmas street market (17-18 December), where there’ll be ice-skating, too.

What else is there to do?
Ride a steam train along the East Lancashire Railway between Heywood and Bury – there are Santa Specials this month, with brass bands, carol singing, presents and mince pies. Take a winter walk up Holcombe Hill to Peel Tower, a memorial to the former prime minister and Metropolitan police founder, Robert Peel. Explore the Irwell Sculpture trail, 70 outdoor artworks from Bacup to Salford Quays – the Ramsbottom “cluster” has two in the Irwell Valley, one by the river and another in the town centre. Drive over to Bolton for its winter festival, which includes a 55-metre snow slide.

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Source: The Guardian

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