As a former medieval market town, a Parliamentarian stronghold, and later a centre of early British industry, Bolton is a town steeped in heritage and proud of it. With so much heritage to remember and commemorate, historically themed visits with your family are very easy to pull off.
If you’re planning to head down to Bolton at all over the year, consider visiting some of the town’s stunning historical collections at these accessible museums.
Bolton Museum and Aquarium
As well as being the central town museum for Bolton, containing a wealth of artefacts that have been generously donated by prominent citizens over the centuries, Bolton Museum throws in a twist in that it’s also an aquarium. Easily able to keep you entertained for a day if needs be, you can spend the morning learning about the historical heritage of the city before spending the afternoon learning about life within our oceans.
Access to the museum is provided by either stairs with a handrail, or a ramp. A lift can give access to the upper floor of the museum, and there is permanent seating throughout. A lift also takes guests down to the aquarium. Display boards have large texts, and interactive screens can be accessed from both a standing and sitting position.
Bolton Steam Museum
As one of the epicentres of Britain’s industrial revolution over the 18th and 19th centuries, Bolton has amassed an extensive collection of working models and pieces from the era. In Bolton Steam Museum, several preserved examples of steam mills and other machines have been preserved for public viewing, along with several exhibits telling the story of the rise of industrialism in the United Kingdom.
The entire complex is on one level, with clear and unobstructed paths for wheelchairs and buggies. Displays are large text and positioned at a convenient height for both standing guests and those in chairs.
Be aware that the models are all working steam engines, and when operational can cause the museum to get warm. Keep your clients hydrated and make use of the seating provided as needed.
Hall I’ Th’ Wood Museum
A Grade I timber framed manor house, the earliest parts of which date from the Tudor period, Hall I’ Th’ Wood is one of Bolton’s most striking and distinguished historical buildings. It started life as the home of a prominent merchant, and later became several apartments rented out to tenants. It was here that the spinning mule was invented by Samuel Crompton in 1779.
Today the Hall serves as a public museum, and it contains objects and furniture that dates from across its history.
The building keeps its historical fittings, so be aware that not all parts may be accessible to those with limited mobility. There are several narrow, steep stairways and corridors. However, admission is free and assistance dogs are welcome to join visitors. Likewise, disabled parking is provided outside the museum.
Staff are always on hand to lend assistance where able.
Like the Hall I’ Th’ Wood Museum, Turton Tower is a former manor house turned into a museum and visitor attraction. At over 600 years old, the Tower is steeped in history waiting to be explored. All its rooms have been fitted with restored period furniture, most of it left to the House by its former owners. There is also a tearoom available for light lunches, and frequent events held throughout the year.
As an old building, access to certain areas is limited to the ground floor for those with wheelchairs. However, there is a concessionary ticket available and staff are always on hand to assist where needed, so if mobility is not an issue then there is plenty for this ancient house to offer its visitors. Older visitors will appreciate the rich history that the building contains, and in the summer the Tower’s grounds offer a welcome retreat from Bolton’s busier streets.
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