Very often I sign off from a blog or post by saying Wigan is the centre of the universe and I mean it. Wigan has been “home” all my life I have travelled but always look forward to coming back to Wigan. It is a quaint northern town with warm, witty people, beautiful buildings and lots of parks and countryside. It is the greenest borough in Greater Manchester.
It has wonderful places to visit right in the town centre is Mesnes Park and there are cycling and walking paths that spread out from the town centre right across the 77sq miles of the borough. Taking you through some beautiful countryside past historic Haigh Hall in one direction, past Wigan Pier and the Scotsman’s Flash in another. In fact it does not matter in which direction you go there’s something wonderful to see or visit. Our local Leisure Trust has information on all this and more
There’s loads of arts and culture some of the annual highlights are
- The food and drink festival – March
- The Words Festival – April
- The International Jazz Festival – July
- The World Pie Eating Championships – Yes Wiganers are known as “pie eaters”
The Wigan Little Theatre puts on some fantastic shows as do the many smaller theatre groups in the many towns that make up Wigan Borough. There are also poetry, literary, art and photography groups. There are regular themed street markets and all manner of music and merriment makers putting a smile on shoppers faces as they visit the Old Market, The ultra-modern Grand Arcade or one of the quaint cobbled Victorian shopping streets. My favourite pub “The John Bull Chophouse” is situated in Coopers Row, WN1 1PQ. Thanks to Jim for the video tour.
For those who like a vibrant lifestyle King Street is end to end entertainment and people come from Cities such as Manchester, Liverpool, Preston and Lancaster for a night out in Wigan as the atmosphere is electric. In fact on Boxing night people have travelled from London, Edinburgh, Europe and America for the annual fancy dress. If you have not been to it seeing several thousand people dressed as every character you can imagine having a wonderful time is a sight to behold.
The Town is a sporting haven with football from Wigan Athletic and their wonderful giant killing run from the beginning of 2012 until the end of the season to finish 15th in the Premiership. They won the FA cup and went down to the Championship in the 2013 season something never done before. It will probably never be done again something for the record books.Wigan Warriors and Leigh Centurions Rugby League teams are both doing great things. The town has dozens of amateur sporting clubs and leagues covering almost any sporting activity you like.
Wigan is also the home of musicians and stars such as George Formby and The Verve, brain box Carol Vorderman and author and broadcaster Stuart Maconie and the world famous Uncle Joe’s Mint Ball sweet is made here as are Poole’s Pies, Unfortunately some well-loved things have not survived such as the Borough Café and the old Central Park rugby ground which is now a Tesco extra store. The famous northern soul venue The Casino where much of my youth was misspent is long since gone and just as well I can’t dance like that these days. Northern Soul is still very much alive and kicking and has been the subject of several films.
For a Town in between three major cities Wigan certainly punches above its weight and it’s not just me who sings the Towns praises. Sir Stephen Bubb visited recently and found the place a breath of fresh air and he even managed a bag of chips from Roy’s before heading back to London. Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher praised Wigan’s Labour council for its efficient handling of local finances and of course George Orwell wrote his famous novel The Road to Wigan Pier. As everyone who visits the town says the people and place are wonderful and these are just some of the reasons for my contention that Wigan is the centre of the universe.