Download GPX file for this article
53.7534-2.3638Full screen dynamic map

From Wikivoyage
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Accrington is a town in East Lancashire. The town's main visitor attraction is the Tiffany glass collection in its art gallery, and the stark natural beauty of the Pennine moors all around. It's also notorious for its football team Accrington Stanley, which until 2019 was unfairly regarded as a joke and byword for failure. But not any more.

The small towns of Baxenden, Oswaldtwistle (say ozzle-twizzle) and Clayton-le-Moors are nearby, and Blackburn is five miles west.


Town Hall

Its name probably means "acorns" from the oak woods that once carpeted these valleys. It grew during the industrial revolution, when the streams racing down from the Pennines powered its textile mills

It had a population of 35,000 in 2011, with a total of 80,000 in the borough of Hyndburn area. Many of its residents are Bangladeshis who came to work the mills in the 1950s. The town also produced Accrington Brick or NORI ("Iron" backwards), an exceptionally hard and acid-resistant brick, valuable for lining furnaces, chimneys and the like. The brickworks closed in 2008, were re-opened to political fanfare in 2015, and quietly closed again in 2016. The northern suburb of Ewbank gave its name to the carpet-sweeper manufacturer.

Football team[edit]

Lots of towns have had football (soccer) teams that collapsed. But this place is unique, at least in Britain, in the way the collapse of Accrington Stanley hung like a pall over the name of the town for decades, in spite of the team's resurgence. One reason is that they collapsed in the 1960s, in an era when that was difficult to accomplish. England's Football League was a closed shop. Promotion and relegation between fourth division and the minor leagues below was rare.

From 1960 Accrington Stanley were near bankrupt, and fell like a stone through the League placings. By March 1962 their debts were unsustainable, they couldn't afford to put on games, and they had to resign from the League during the 61/62 season. It was a traumatic disorderly exit, and all their results were expunged. In the following seasons they played in the Lancashire Combination Leagues, and then they dissolved in 1966.

An entirely separate, new Accrington Stanley was formed in 1968, and for the next 30 years plodded away in the minor leagues. From 1989 to 1995 they were the butt of a TV advert by the Milk Marketing Board. One young football fan has been warned that if he doesn't drink milk, he'll only be good enough to play for Accrington Stanley. His friend asks "Accrington Stanley, who are they?" and the first replies "Exactly." Town and club took a perverse pride in this recognition, but it didn't move the narrative on.

In 2002 the club came into money from a transfer fee and began a steady rise up the rankings. In 2006 they were promoted back into League Two, equivalent to the old Fourth. In 2018 they were promoted to League One. In Jan 2019 in the FA Cup Third Round they pulled off a shock, beating Ipswich Town from the Championship (the tier above). They progressed to the Fourth Round to lose narrowly to Derby County, another Championship team.

Visitor information[edit]

Get in[edit]

By air[edit]

Manchester Airport is 27 miles (43 km) south, with excellent flight connections across the UK, Europe and beyond. Leeds Bradford Airport is 30 miles (48 km) east of Accrington but has fewer flights and less onward transport.

By rail[edit]

Accrington is on the East Lancashire Line. There is an hourly train (daily) from Preston via Blackburn to Accrington, continuing to Burnley, Halifax, Bradford, Leeds and York.

There's also an hourly train (daily) from Blackburn via Accrington to Manchester Victoria. (Change at Victoria for Manchester Piccadilly and Airport.) This train meanders on west via Salford and Wigan to Southport.

1 Accrington Railway Station is east side of town centre, with the main entrance on Eagle St next to Tesco.

By road[edit]

The town is on the M65 motorway which traverses East Lancashire, and is just off the A56/M66 from Manchester.

By bus: Red Express X41 runs between Manchester, Prestwich and Accrington, taking 1 hr 50 min. It runs M-Sa every 30-40 min, on Sunday hourly.

There are two direct daytime National Express coaches and one overnight from London Victoria taking 7-8 hours (NX 540 & 422 to Accrington & Burnley). Megabus doesn't serve the town.

By bike: The town is on National Cycle Route 6 which runs from London to the Lake District.

The Leeds-Liverpool Canal runs by Accrington. It's navigable coast to coast, and its towpath is a good long-distance walking & cycling route.

Get around[edit]

Lancashire Buses 6 & 7 ply between Accrington and Blackburn, taking 30 min. They run M-Sa every 8 min or so (Sundays every 20 min) 5:30AM-10PM, also serving Rishton, Great Harwood, Clayton-le-Moors, Oswaldtwistle and Intack.

Burnley Bus 9 runs between Accrington and Burnley via Lowerhouse, taking 30 min. It runs M-F every 30 min 6AM-6PM and Sat hourly 9AM-4PM; no Sunday service.

Burnley Bus M3 runs further up the valley, from Accrington via Padiham, Burnley, Nelson and Colne to Trawden. It runs hourly M-Sa 7:30AM-10:30PM and Su 9AM-8:30PM.

Taxis within the town should only cost between £3 and £5.


  • 1 Haworth Art Gallery, Manchester Rd BB5 2JS (one mile south of town on A680). W-F noon-4:45PM, Sa Su noon-4:15PM. Has an outstanding collection of Tiffany glassware presented by Joseph Briggs, an Accrington man who joined Tiffany’s in the late 19th century and became art director and assistant manager. The Art Nouveau vases are considered to be the most important such group in Europe. One of the most striking items is a glass mosaic exhibition piece, designed by Briggs himself and entitled "Sulphur Crested Cockatoos". The gallery also tells the story of the Accrington Pals, a locally-recruited band of servicemen - more correctly the 11th East Lancs Regiment, composed of four 250-strong companies from Accrington, Burnley, Blackburn and Chorley. They first saw action on 1 July 1916, at the "Big Push" on the Somme. Half an hour later 235 were dead and 350 were injured. Free. Haworth Art Gallery (Q5685395) on Wikidata Haworth Art Gallery on Wikipedia
Railway viaduct
  • 2 Stone railway viaduct. It seems to have inspired Accringtonian composer Harrison Birtwistle's The Mask of Orpheus, which is structured around a similar 17-arch viaduct. Accrington Viaduct (Q26686911) on Wikidata
  • 3 Gawthorpe Hall. A 17th century mansion, home of the Shuttleworth family, two miles north of Burnley. It was visited by Charlotte Brontë and is the most westerly site associated with the Brontë Country. Gawthorpe Hall (Q5528499) on Wikidata Gawthorpe Hall on Wikipedia
  • 4 Market Hall (enter via Blackburn Rd, Peel St, or Broadway). M-Sa 8:30AM-5PM, W to 1:30PM. Jeanette Winterson grew up in Accrington and her novel Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit is set in this grand Victorian market, and around town, where the heroine is adopted by batty evangelists. It was refurbished in 2010.


  • Football: 1 Accrington Stanley FC, Wham Stadium, Livingstone Rd, BB5 5BX (1 mile north of the town centre on A680. From M56, use Exit 7.). Were relegated in 2023 and now play soccer in League Two, England's fourth tier. Their home ground is Wham Stadium (capacity 5450) and the Accrington-Blackburn Bus 6 / 7 passes the ground every few minutes. Accrington Stanley F.C. (Q48843) on Wikidata Accrington Stanley F.C. on Wikipedia
  • One mile east of town off A679 is Peel Park and The Coppice, a pleasant strolling area. The parallel ditches were World War II defences against enemy glider landings.
  • Vue Cinema is off King Street just below the railway viaduct.


The market is an excellent place to buy Lancashire speciality foods like Lancashire cheese, black pudding, pies, oatcakes, pikelets, tripe and cowheel.


There's the usual collection of fast food outlets, and reasonable Bangladeshi restaurants. The best eateries otherwise are the hotels.


There are plenty of pubs (some rather dingy) serving good cheap beer. Always ask for cask beer rather than the mass-produced brands; there are many excellent beers available from small local micro-breweries.


  • 1 Mercure Dunkenhalgh Hotel and Spa, Blackburn Road, Clayton Le Moors, BB5 5JP (off M65 jcn 7 north of Accrington, handy for motorists), +44 1254 426800. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: noon. 4-star hotel set in 17 acres of parkland. The building dates back to 12th C but was mostly Tudor, extensively re-built in 19th century. Has 175 bedrooms. Restaurant open daily 18:30-21:30. B&B double from £75. Dunkenhalgh (Q42876066) on Wikidata Dunkenhalgh on Wikipedia
  • 2 Sparth House Hotel, Whalley Rd, Clayton-le-Moors BB5 5RP (On A680 two miles north of Accrington). 3-star in Georgian house set in its own wooded grounds, popular for weddings. B&B double from £60.


As of July 2021, the town has a good 4G signal from EE, but only patchy coverage by O2, Three and Vodafone. 5G has reached nearby Blackburn but not Accrington.

Go next[edit]

A few miles north of Accrington, the River Ribble flows west out of scenic dales and hills. The closest area is Pendle Hill, brooding above Clitheroe.

The upland north of the Ribble is The Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Further upstream lies the Yorkshire Dales National Park, usually accessed via Skipton, Settle or Ingleton.

Blackpool: get a glimpse of the traditional British seaside holiday. How did it take so long to discover the Med?

Manchester is Northern England's hub city, vibrant with nightlife and architecture, and with many cultural attractions.

Routes through Accrington
PrestonBlackburn  W  E  BurnleyBradford
merges with  N  S  RossendaleManchester

This city travel guide to Accrington is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.