Things to do in Oldham
Criss-crossed by a network of canals and surrounded by spectacular Pennine Moorland, Oldham is a great base from which to access a wealth of outdoor activities. Head off along scenic canal towpaths flanking the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and Rochdale Canal, go cycling or horse riding along the nearby Pennine Bridleway National Trail or pull on your walking boots and explore the Oldham Way and Pennine Way both easily accessed from Oldham.
Bordering the Yorkshire Pennines and Peak District National Park, Oldham is surrounded by a choice of picture-postcard villages including Saddleworth with its unmissable museum exploring the social, suffrage and industrial history of the region. Shaw village features the hidden gem Playhouse 2 theatre and arts centre and pretty Delph has a little theatre and a collection of outstanding real ale inns.
The free entry Gallery Oldham is one of the North West’s best regional art galleries exhibiting local, national and international artwork including newly commissioned contemporary art. With a special focus on Oldham, the gallery mixes art with social and natural history. Highlights include a series of pictures of Oldham taken in 1876 by a Mr Knott who ran a photography studio and picture framing service on Yorkshire Street. With the aide of computer digitalising you can now see all nine of his photographs in one long panorama on show in the Gallery which offers a unique snapshot of Oldham during its peak Victorian industrial era.
An exceptional selection of independent theatres and art centres are in and around Oldham. The town’s central Oldham Coliseum Theatre with award-winning bars is a real hub for cutting edge drama, popular musicals, classic Shakespeare, opera, pantomime and more. Discover more outstanding drama alongside musical performance, comedy and cinema and hidden gem theatres in surrounding villages like the Playhouse 2 arts centre in Shaw.
The Saddleworth Museum in Saddleworth village is a free entry museum and sits just east of Oldham on the edge of the Peak District National Park. The museum digs deep into the industrial and social history of Saddleworth village and the many beautiful villages surrounding Oldham including Delph, Uppermill, Dobcross, Denshaw and Greenfield. Numerous famous names in suffrage and labour history came from the area including Annie Kenney who was born in Saddleworth and along with the Pankhursts became a famous militant suffragette.
Oldham Festivals and Events
Oldham offers a year round programme of Blues festivals, Carnivals, Brass Band Contests and arts festivals including the big annual May Festival Oldham featuring a fantastic mix of music, street theatre, shows and more.
Oldham is famous for its markets, particularly the award-winning Tommyfield Markets situated right in the centre of the town offering the ultimate range of bargains, local produce and international flavours. With a long history stretching back to 1788, Oldham Markets today include a mix of open markets, a Monday Traditional Market, a Wednesday mixed market with a range of second hand goods and a famous Saturday material market selling a range of materials from across Asia.
Find all your favourite high street fashion stores, a choice of cafes and restaurants, hairdressers, department stores and more in the central Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre with its own car parks adjacent.
Head to the surrounding villages of Delph, Uppermill and Saddleworth for a wonderful selection of quirky and independent shops including award-winning cake shops like The Frostery in Uppermill, Delph’s famous Albion Farm Shop and a fine selection of wonderful chocolate shops, book shops, gift shops and traditional sweet shops.