Bolton has been named Greater Manchester’s ‘Town of Culture’ for 2024

Congratulations are in order.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 28th March 2024

Bolton has officially been named Greater Manchester Town of Culture for 2024.

Taking over the reins from Stockport – which held the title in 2023, and recently hosted a massive ‘Town of Culture Weekender’ festival with 50+ free events to celebrate and bring its title year to a close – it’s now the turn of the north-western Greater Manchester borough of Bolton.

Bolton has long been celebrated as hub of culture and creative activity within our region.

The area has notably produced some big-name stars in the artsentertainment, comedy, and sporting spheres over the years, as well as having seen significant new residential and commercial developments popping up in recent times, and a blossoming food, drink, hospitality, and nightlife scene that continues to prove popular.

The Bolton Food and Drink Festival, IRONMAN, Bolton Film Festival, and Put Big Light On are all big annual events in the borough.

Bolton has been named Greater Manchester’s ‘Town of Culture’ for 2024 / Credit: Bolton Food & Drink Festival (via Facebook)

And now, the town has got itself a fancy title to prove it – and along with that, a whopping £50,000 grant to support a year-long programme of events.

In case you’re unfamiliar with what the ‘Greater Manchester Town of Culture’ title is all about, it’s an accolade that’s handed out every year to different boroughs across the region – with Bury the inaugural title-holder 2020 and holding onto it into 2021 due to the COVID pandemic, and then followed by Stalybridge in 2022, and Stockport in 2023 – and it celebrates Greater Manchester’s culture and heritage.


As well as getting a new title to shout about, it also sees the towns given a grant from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) culture fund to help develop a programme of cultural events and activities throughout the year.

Bolton’s programme will have three parts, according to Bolton Council.

The first is a taster programme packed full of cultural activities delivered in Bolton and its various districts, and then following on from that, there’ll be a grants programme designed to help support Bolton’s smaller cultural organisations, freelancers, and artists.


The grand finale will be the Bolton Gala – which is set to take place next March, and is gearing up to be a celebratory event jointly-organised by all cultural partners, and co-designed by residents too.

Bolton Council says it will be working with cultural organisations, creative practitioners, and residents to “strengthen partnerships” that’ll deliver a collective approach to creative programming, and Councillors hope to build on assets such as the town’s legendary Octagon Theatre, the newly-refurbished Bolton Central Library and Museum, and the Bolton Albert Halls too.

GMCA has awarded the town a £50,000 grant to support a year-long programme of events throughout the year / Credit: Paul Hayes (via Bolton Food & Drink Festival on Facebook)

“It’s fantastic that Bolton has been announced as the latest Greater Manchester Town of Culture,” Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, commented as the town took the title this week.

“Bolton already has some outstanding cultural venues and eventsm from the Octagon Theatre and the Bolton Albert Hall, to the famous Bolton Food and Drink Festival and the Bolton Film Festival, and Town of Culture will celebrate these existing venues and events, but will also shine a light on the smaller venues and events that are happening across the town.

“I look forward to visiting Bolton to join their cultural celebrations.”


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Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Nick Peel, says he’s “thrilled” about the town’s new title, and added: “Bolton certainly has a promising future, and will be a great place to live, work, study, visit and invest in the future.”

Featured Image – Bolton Food & Drink Festival (via Facebook)