Long live Longridge - The Ribble Valley's shopping mecca
PUBLISHED: 11:43 17 October 2011 | UPDATED: 15:45 17 April 2016
Rachael Hogg continues our tour of the Ribble Valley by calling into the shopping mecca of Longridge
This historic small town, once renowned for its cotton mills and quarrying, is now a charming and friendly place, perfect for an afternoon’s escape and some quality shopping.
Longridge Gallery owner and local business group chairman, Alistair Sheret, is not originally from Longridge, but he’s sold on the town. In fact he says there is now ‘nowhere else in the world I would rather live.’
His ideal day in the town would be spent browsing in the independent shops in the town, followed by a walk in the beautiful Forest of Bowland in the afternoon, and finishing the day with dinner at The Longridge restaurant.
The town’s name is rumoured to come from Oliver Cromwell who was marching with his troops from Stonyhurst to Preston and remarked ‘what a long ridge this is.’ Whatever the truth, it certainly is a long ridge stretching for several miles.
The town now has a population of around 8,000 but not a lot has changed from its heyday during the cotton boom and there is some fine architecture on show.
However, the very modern sport of recreational shopping is one of Longridge’s biggest attractions, especially if you want to escape the bland, generic high street stores that blight many olf our communities.
Head to the top of Berry Lane which forms the original centre and oldest part of the village, and work your way down discovering the many gift shops and food establishments selling local produce.
There are many quaint shop fronts giving the town its character containing a mix of everything from antiques emporiums and perfumeries to interior design shops, quality butchers and designer fashion boutiques.
According to Alistair, these businesses are closely in tune to their customers’ requirements and great service is paramount.
The surrounding Forest of Bowland is an Area of Outstanding National Beauty and a must if you are visiting the area. As well as the many walking routes on offer, you can enjoy hot air ballooning, paragliding, gliding, fishing, bird watching, cycling, and horse riding nearby. Unlike the busy Lake District, the area offers a peaceful sanctuary - perfect after a busy day at the shops.