Although the town has some attractive public buildings and parks, it is mostly known for its contribution to the cotton weaving industry and for its successful premiership soccer team, Blackburn Rovers. Due to the town's association with cotton, it was a natural choice for early immigrants from cotton producing countries, such as Pakistan and India, to settle. Consequently, Blackburn is a great place to sample South Asian cuisine. After years of industrial decline, the town is undergoing a 'quiet' renaissance with fast rising property prices. The name Blackburn is derived from the river Blakewater, which runs through the center of town. Famous visitors to Blackburn include Condoleezza Rice, HM Queen Elizabeth II, and Gandhi.
Blackburn is accessible by Liverpool John Lennon airport and also Manchester ring way airport both only approximately 1hr and 30 mins away.
Blackburn has the usual run of places to eat at a budget level - McD, Pizza Express, Chiquito , Wetherspoon etc. The town centre also has a large number of takeaways and restaurants - many being curry houses and kebab shops. The quality of these changes quite rapidly so this is a quick list of a few good cheap to mid level places NOW (Sep 09:
Curry - Shahi Qila, just outside the town centre but worth the 5 minute walk. Chinese - Chinese Buffet in a converted pub by the side of the Town Hall. Italian - La Mama - out towards the Ice Rink. Asian Cafe - Sahara on Darwen Street. Tea and butties (sandwiches)/ pies / chips - any of the cafes in the Market Hall. Coffee - Exchange Coffee House off Fleming Square. Light meals / paninis etc - Rhubarb Cafe - in the Blackburn Visitor centre on Church Street and Cafe Beez on Church Street.
Upmarket is a bit harder and there isn't really much in the centre. Locally try:
Stanley House - Blackburn side of Mellor village 5 minutes drive away - boutique hotel and expensive retaurant. The food is good, the value is more questionable and the decor is over the top. Millstone - centre of Mellor. Country pub and hotel. Comfortable place with good food, good portions and an OK quality/ value mix. Clog and Billycock - Pleasington village on the outskirts of the town. Self consciously 'country pub' GastroPub from a group with 2 other similar ventures. Good food and reasonable quality / value mix.
The Market Hall (especially on the full market days - 3 days a week) is a good source for some excellent local food - Black Pudding, cheeses, breads, curries, fruit and veg. Some of the cafes do seriously good value meals as well although it probably isn't the venue for a romantic lunch for two.
Like several towns in the North West, Blackburn in recent years has seen an increasing phenomenon of racial separation between whites and Muslim Asians in certain areas of the town although it successfully avoided the riots that plagued neighbouring towns such as Burnley and Oldham. The majority of people in Blackburn are perfectly decent and tolerant, but there are still significant numbers of racists and bigots with both the White and Asian communities, who are more than willing to make life difficult for people they dislike.
The area code for Blackburn is 01254.