How Bolton is Moving Out of Manchester’s Shadow

How Bolton is Moving Out of Manchester’s Shadow

Bolton town hall

The boroughs of Greater Manchester are very much caught within the gravitational pull of a city that, in many ways, has put the North West on the map. As a business location, Manchester is one of the key cities in the North of England that is thriving, and you could argue that the towns in its radius owe it to their success.

However, one town in particular is establishing itself as a powerful economy ready to break away from Manchester’s fiscal pull. That town is none other than Bolton.


With a population of over 260,000 people, Bolton is currently England’s largest town. It’s one of the few boroughs in the UK that has its own university, which opened in 2005. It’s currently the fastest growing profession-focussed university in the North West.

Bolton has recently undergone a great deal of regeneration work. Besides the expansion of the University of Bolton to include two major colleges, there are a number of plans to improve the local retail economy. Firstly, there are planned refurbishments to be made to the Bolton Outdoor Market, already noted for its reliable, diverse selection of independent sellers.

There is also the recent build of Bolton One, a £34 million health, leisure and research centre with a 70 station fitness suite, and an 8-lane, 25 metre swimming pool, complete with a hydrotherapy bath and a workout studio. The project is designed to promote a healthy lifestyle in the town.

An Economic Powerhouse

Manchester may have a renown for being a major business capital in the UK economy, but Bolton’s increasingly prolific economic activity proves that business is booming outside of the big city too. Bolton currently hosts the bases of operations for a number of major UK companies, including AXA, RBS, Hitachi and Warburton’s.

Bolton is currently acknowledged as one of the best places in the UK to start a business, hosting around 90 company start-ups in 2012 alone, according to Centre for Cities. Bolton’s economic prowess is exemplified by the Middlebrook Retail Park in Horwich, one of the largest in the country. It plays home to the newly rebranded Macron Stadium, and is positioned right beside the M61.

Location, Location, Location

In fact, Bolton’s transport options are incredibly broad. Easy access to the M61, M60, M62 and M6 helps drastically ease peak-time congestion, unlike the bustling streets of Manchester itself. Getting to work and back during rush hour doesn’t incur the same stress that moving around the city might, and gives residents more time at home with family.

Perhaps our favourite aspect of Bolton is that it’s a great place to build a home; we are an estate agent, after all! Bolton has plenty of semi-rural areas perfect for families, with semi-detached houses being on average £40,000 cheaper than their Manchester equivalents.

Bolton’s economic growth and accessible location means that it is the perfect hub for families and young professionals, while its investments into education and leisure make it ideal for students too. It’s no wonder that so many people are turning to Bolton as a cheaper, more available alternative to the well-known Manchester skyline.

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