Oldham’s probably best known for its time as the boom town of the cotton age  when the town boasted the largest number of cotton spindles in the world and was producing eight billion yards of cloth a year at its peak in 1912. The industry went into decline from the mid-1930s onwards.  Oldham’s skyline is dotted with mills and towers set against the lovely views towards the Pennine hills.

A visit to the theatre can always be combined with a trip to the villages of Saddleworth up in the Pennine hills where there are plenty of walks for both the experienced walker and people who prefer a gentle stroll.  The villages of Saddleworth have plenty of places to eat and drink and an interesting range of shops from craft shops to galleries to boutiques.

There’s plenty of art and heritage in Oldham. There’s a regular programme of exhibitions and events at Gallery Oldham.

Oldham’s town centre has many high street chains such as Boots, Waterstones, TK Maxx and Primark and a traditional market called Tommyfield  – which is one of the largest in the North West. There’s some interesting independent shops like Vintage 55 on George Street – it sells vintage clothes, accessories, furniture and collectibles, raising money for AgeUK.  Just down the street from Vintage 55 is Wino’s, a wine merchant with a fantastic array of hand picked wines – well worth a browse.  

The town’s entertainment scene has been joined by an ODEON cinema, a state-of-the-art restoration of what was once Oldham’s neo-classical town hall – a Grade II listed building – which was named as one of Britain’s top ten endangered buildings in 2009. It’s the first cinema in the town centre in more than 30 years.

Oldham is famous for its rag pudding. It’s something of an Oldham delicacy.  We’re reliably informed that many of our out-of-town audiences take a trip to Tommyfield Market to stock up on those rag puddings.

Eating out in Oldham

There’s a good selection of restaurants and cafes in Oldham, and they’ve always been a popular destination for a pre-show dinner or a spot of coffee or lunch, if you’re coming to a matinee.

If you fancy grabbing a coffee and a cake before or after a matinee, there’s a range of coffee shops and independent cafes to choose from.  Oldham has a branch of Rhode Island Coffee, the award winning North West chain, in the Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre.  

Here’s our eating out and coffee picks, all are practically on our doorstep.

Long established, Valentino’s, on Retiro Street; Romano’s on Rock Street and The Old Bill on Greaves Street cater for people who love Italian food, and they always have special offers for Coliseum customers – check their websites for more details.

Newer to the town are The Smoke Yard on Church Terrace, cooking up American style burgers and Southern cusine, The Grill at No 20 on Retiro Street serving up steaks and Italian style dishes and Stocco serving up a modern Italian menu on its Yorkshire Street premises.

If you fancy a curry, Café Lahore is a good spot on Union Street with a very loyal following.

The stunning Old Town Hall development, which features the ODEON cinema, has a Costa Coffee, a Nando’s and Molino Lounge, an independent family friendly restaurant.  Just across the street from the Old Town Hall development is the Parliament Sq café which serves up light lunches, tea, coffee and cake – it’s also licensed to serve wine and beer.

Check individual businesses’ websites for opening times, menus and their latest offers.  Tripadvisor Oldham is regularly updated with food news, customer reviews and pictures so it’s always worth checking there too.

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