Chorley likely isn’t on the itineraries of many people traveling through northern England, but those who make it there will discover a laid-back small town surrounded by beautiful nature.
On my recent trip through the area, I based myself in Chorley mainly because I wanted to explore the surrounding West Pennine Moors, but found that the town itself features some sights that are well-worth checking out.
Read on for my personal guide to the best things to see and do in Chorley.
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The Best Things to See and Do in Chorley, Lancashire
Explore Astley Hall and Astley Park
I’d say this is is the one must-see sight in Chorley. Dating back to the 16th century, the stately Astley Hall has been successively expanded over time and now showcases an interesting blend of Tudor and Jacobean architecture.
You can visit the interior and explore some opulent rooms full of period furniture and intricate decorations (Check out the stucco-work in the parlour).
Placed throughout the mansion are info boards written from the perspective of various former inhabitants, detailing different aspects of life in Astley Hall. The mansion is also home to a pretty walled garden, and the surrounding Astley Park is a nice place for a stroll.
Astley Park lies to the north of the town centre near the town hall and St. Laurence’s Church, and Astley Hall can be found at the western end of the park. The entrance fee is 5£. Check the current opening times here.
Take a walk through the Town Centre
Chorley’s centre is a rather modern affair, but a few interesting grade-listed historic buildings hide between the newish shopfronts and residential houses. Among these are the 19th-century town hall at the northern end of the centre and the Neo-Gothic St. Laurence’s Church just across the road.
The building housing Chorley’s covered market may be more modern, but its history actually dates back to the turn of the 15th century, when the town was granted market rights by King Henry VII.
Check Out Preston England Temple
Chorley is home to the biggest Mormon Temple in England (named for the nearby city of Preston), and the grey monolith makes quite an impressive building. The church itself is only open to members, but the pretty gardens around the building can be visited by anyone.
The temple can be found about 1.5km or 1mi. north of the centre, east of the road leading to Preston.
Try Some Chorley Cake
Chorley lends its name to Chorley Cake, a tasty pastry cake filled with a currant paste. I tried it at Greenhalghs Craft Bakery in Chapel Street, but it’s sold in bakeries all around town. Don’t leave town without trying it at least once!
Go Hiking in the West Pennine Moors
The main reason I stopped in Chorley was to explore the hills of the West Pennine Moors. I did the Chorley Three Peaks Hike, which visits Great Hill, Winter Hill and Rivington Pike on a 20km/13mi. loop, and offers many scenic views along the way.
Take a trip to Rivington Terraced Gardens
The tiny hamlet of Rivington is home to this romantic landscaped garden full of hidden paths, man-made buildings and artificial lakes built for early 20th-century soap magnate Viscount Leverhulme.
To get here, take the 125 bus from Chorley Station to Grimeford Road and then walk north along New Road for about 15 minutes, before turning east at Horrobin Lane and crossing to the east side of Lower Rivington Reservoir. The Gardens are east of the village near Rivington Hall.
Alternatively, you can combine a visit to the gardens with the Chorley Three Peaks Hike, which is what I did. The gardens can be visited around the clock and there’s no entrance fee.
Map of Chorley
All the places mentioned above can be found in this map of Chorley.
How to get to Chorley and away
Chorley lies about halfway along the train route from Manchester (about 30 mins./7€) to Blackpool (about 45 mins./9€), and several trains a day go to each town. Chorley’s Train Station can be found to the east of the town centre.
The best Hotels in Chorley
Chorley isn’t a very touristy place and this is reflected in the accommodation options. The most affordable place I found was the comfortable Plaza Chorley, which is a bit south of the centre, but still in a walkable distance.
If you don’t have to pinch your pennies, there are some self-contained holiday studios in the centre, like this one. More options can be found in the map above.