Rochdale is a town in Greater Manchester in the North West of England. It is a Metropolitan Borough and consists of the towns of Rochdale, Middleton and Heywood. The borough has a population of approximately 208,000.
Being 6 mi north of Oldham, 7 mu west of Bury, Rochdale is probably best known for being the birthplace of Gracie Fields and Sir Cyril Smith, a Liberal politician. It lies within the Historic County of Lancashire.
The town is easily accessible from all areas of the country. Manchester Airport is a half hour car journey away for those wishing to arrive by plane. The town is also at the heart of the motorway network of the country being situated off the M62, M60 and the M66. If you wish to travel by train, Rochdale station is a short walk from the town centre and provides easy access to the cities of Manchester and Leeds as well as local access within Greater Manchester to the towns of Bolton, Salford and Wigan. The Manchester-based light rapid transit system (Metrolink) will be extended to operate to Manchester Victoria via Oldham from spring 2012.
Rochdale is well served by its bus service that connects all areas of the town and other neighbouring towns as well.
Rochdale is home to some spectacular scenery, and the ever popular Hollingworth Lake is well worth a visit. Situated in the heart of the Pennines in the east of Rochdale Hollingworth Lake is a bustling country park that offers walkers some truly scenic routes.
Rochdale is the birthplace of the co-operative movement and the nation's very first Co-op still exists on Toad Lane. A visit here is a must.
Notable buildings in Rochdale include the attractive Victorian gothic revival town hall and at the end of a pleasant but moderately steep walk behind the town hall the medieval church of St Chads.
Rochdale is home to Rochdale AFC and Rochdale Hornets. Rochdale AFC is the town's Football League club. It currently plays in League 1 of the Football League structure. It is perhaps most famous for its prolonged stay in the basement division of the Football League. However it did become the first basement club to appear in a major cup final when it reached the League Cup final in 1962. The play at the modern Spotland Stadium which is regarded as one of the best in the lower divisions.
Rochdale Hornets also play at Spotland Stadium and is the town's Rugby League Club. It currently plays its rugby in the National League 1 which is only one division lower than the Super League. Hornets have been relatively successful in recent times reaching the divisional playoffs on several occasions.
Rochdale has a nightlife. There are clubs to go to and traditional town centre pubs so all needs are catered for.
A picturesque Pennine village called Hebden Bridge is only a short drive from Rochdale and well worth a visit. If you find yourself in Hebden Bridge with time to take in more Pennine delights then the equally picturesque Haworth (home of the Bronte sisters) is not much further. It should be noted that the route from Hebden Bridge to Haworth is over high moorland and can be hazardous in poor winter conditions.