Last updated: 24th Oct 2013
Activities and things to do include the Three Sisters Race Circuit which is a large outdoor karting circuit with four configurations up to 1,600 metres in length. The DW Stadium, home of the Wigan Warriors and Wigan Athletic FC, is the town's top sporting venue and also offers exceptional dining, wedding and conference facilities, whilst the Robin Park Arena includes a wide range of sporting facilities both indoors and outdoors.
Food and real ale fans won't want to miss two big events on the Wigan annual calendar - the Wigan Beer Festival and the Wigan Food & Drink Festival, one of the largest food festivals in the North West held annually in March. Wigan is also famously the home of the World Pie Eating Championships, held annually at the popular Harry's Bar. Great Wigan entertainment venues include the AMF bowling alley, and the Wigan Roller Rink perfect for a family evening out. You can enjoy a day of shopping at The Galleries Shopping Centre, or head to the Grand Arcade to find all your high street favourites.
The historic Haigh Hall surrounded by a beautiful country park is another top Wigan venue for weddings and conferences - easily accessible off the M6. Set in 250 acres of woodland and parkland, the country park includes an on-site golf centre, a cafe and gift shop, a craft centre, a play area and a miniature railway which runs at weekends. Visit in late June or early July to enjoy Haigh Hall Live - a popular music concert attracting 15,000 people a year.
Wigan is also a famous centre for music and sport in the North West. Northern Soul and Jazz are legendary in this North West town. The annual July Wigan Jazz Festival boasts a host of famous jazz names playing live in both small venues and at the mighty DW Stadium. Other annual festivals include the Wigan Beer and Food Festival in March.The DW Stadium is home to both Wigan Athletic FC and the famous Wigan Warriors Rugby Club, hosts numerous big concerts and musical events and boasts extensive conference and events facilities.
The Wigan Pier Quarter is the town's main cultural hub, beautifully set alongside the Leeds Liverpool Canal the historic Trencherfield Mill Steam Engine and Museum of Wigan Life are located here. Explore Wigan's fascinating industrial heritage linked to the Leeds Liverpool Canal. The Wigan Coal and Iron Co. works employed around 10,000 in the early 20th century and was one of the largest ironworks in Britain. A number of heritage walking and cycling trails run alongside the Leeds Liverpool Canal on the Towpath from Wigan Pier to Arley Hall, to Appley Bridge and to Leigh Bridge.
Wigan's annual acclaimed International Jazz Festival is spread across 9 days annually in July. It's no mistake that one of the best of the UK Jazz festivals is based here in Wigan. The town has a musical heritage to beat all with famous names such as George Formby heralding from here. Venues ingrained on the memories of many in Wigan include the old Empress Ballroom and the award winning Wigan Casino which really kicked off the Northern Soul boom in Lancashire and the North West from the early 1970s.
Big soul names past and present have performed in the Wigan, Leigh, Blackburn and Preston areas - all are heritage hotspots for Northern Soul. A jazz club was here in Wigan in the early 1950s, and Jazz too has a long history in the town. Venues used for the festival include Wigan's mammoth DW Stadium plus a selection of more intimate venues like the Tudor House and Wigan Cricket Club. Jazz in Mesnes Park is also on the menu.
Theatre and art are well represented in and around Wigan, with a particular local focus in drama performances. The historic Wigan Little Theatre on Crompton Street is where to head for award winning drama throughout the year. The beautiful building is a converted old cinema. See temporary ever changing art exhibitions at the Turnpike Gallery in nearby Leigh, a centre for contemporary art in the Wigan area displaying a mix of local, national and international artworks.