Ramsbottom's High Street Heroes

Tui Benjamin takes a tour of this up-and-coming Lancashire market town<br/>Photography by Glynn ward

It is hard to believe the historic market town of Ramsbottom is just 12 miles from the bustle of central Manchester.

But this is no backwater. Ramsbottom is steadily building a reputation for being a destination that’s stylish, independent and just a little bit quirky. (The fact it is the home of the world black pudding throwing championships does little to assuage this reputation!)

But quirky is most definitely a positive, with Ramsbottom’s trade thriving as independent businesses and retailers, delicious delicatessens, award-winning eateries and a fair sprinkling of trendy boutiques and galleries now line the streets of the compact town centre.

The town, nestled in the stunning landscape of the West Pennine Moors, gives new meaning to the expression ‘chocolate-box town’.

Ramsbottom is not only is the proud home of several award-winning food retailers, but the town has risen to international prominence as venue for the annual Ramsbottom Chocolate Festival, a two-day event among the biggest of its kind in Europe.

When you put into the mix the Ramsbottom Festival, an annual music event which last year welcomed 5,000 music fans to hear artists including Badly Drawn Boy and The Guillemots, it’s clear that this place fully deserves the ‘up-and-coming’ tag.

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Chris Johnson, owner of Ramsons, a former Lancashire Life Food and Drink Awards Restaurant of the Year, saw the potential in Ramsbottom when he first arrived here 28 years ago.

‘Ramsbottom seemed to us the perfect village from which to launch a new restaurant,’ he says. ‘It was quaint and unspoilt, nestled in a beautiful location and it had perfect logistics: the M6 brings millions of people close to the town every day.

‘It hit the spot as far as destinations go, and it made a lot of sense for us to establish a high-end business here.’

For Chris the evolution of Ramsons and evolution of Ramsbottom have gone hand-in-hand. ‘The thing about Ramsbottom is that it’s a very forward looking village. It’s always moving, always developing,’ he says. ‘It offers a wonderful standard of lovely little businesses. What more could you want?’

Food is certainly to the fore here - that regional delicacy Entwistle’s Lancashire Sauce was conceived in Ramsbottom using Grandma Entwistles’ secret recipe.

But it isn’t the only reason to visit – the town is also a haven for the fashion-conscious with a huge range of businesses from designer fashion and accessories to top of the range jewellery, top estate agent, and some experts in home improvements.

Ramsbottom has a great setting, great location and a great range of diverse businesses. If the town isn’t on your ‘must visit’ list, then it should be.



The print version of this article appeared in the May 2012  issue of Lancashire Life  We can deliver a copy direct to your door – order online here