Burnley

Even in England, there are few towns where the local football club means as much as it does in Burnley. Founding members of the Football League in 1888, Premier League overachievers Burnley FC have been known to attract the highest ratio of match-goers per head of population.

Just over 20 miles from Manchester, Burnley’s is a close-knit community of 73,000, a world away from the sprawling metropolis down the M66. But this Lancashire town, built on mining and weaving, saw its local sports club Rovers switch from rugby to football in 1882, a full 20 years before Manchester United emerged from Newton Heath.

Only a year later, Burnley FC moved to Turf Moor, their home of 130-plus years, a longevity record only matched by that of Preston, also 20 miles away. Few clubs, in fact, have more local rivals than Burnley.

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Welcome to Burnley/Tony Dawber

Blackburn, 20 minutes by car, are Burnley’s fiercest foe, the East Lancashire Derby arguably the most hostile in England. Burnley’s first-time promotion to the Premiership in 2009 saw the first top-flight meeting between the two clubs since the pre-hooligan days of the 1960s. Despite a gargantuan police presence and Soviet-style arrangements for travel, violence and arrests overshadowed the fixture.

The manager who gained Burnley that promotion, Owen Coyle, who also oversaw their win over reigning champions Manchester United in their first home game, was then snaffled up by Bolton halfway through the season. Previously tame derby games between the two took on a certain malice, even in the Championship, where Burnley found themselves immediately, Bolton two years later.

Along with Blackburn and Bolton, in all a third of the inaugural Football League of 1888 were clubs within a 32-mile radius of Burnley. Champions Preston are also traditional rivals but the Lilywhites were last in the top flight when The Clarets were last in their pomp, in the early 1960s.

League champions for the second and last time in 1960, European Cup quarter-finalists in 1961, Burnley faded with the departures of Jimmy McIlroy and Jimmy Adamson, the coach in charge for Burnley’s later and last top-flight stay in the 1970s.

Despite decades of lower-flight football since, Burnley engender fierce and loyal support among a broad and significant fan base. Famously, Tony Blair’s spin doctor Alastair Campbell is a committed supporter, a regular on the Turf Moor terraces from boyhood. Prince Charles was a closet Claret until he came out at a ceremony for the British Asian Trust in 2012.

Soap stars, TV weathermen, anarcho one-hit wonders Chumbawamba… Burnley’s surprise qualification for Europe in 2018 would have been cheered in the most contrasting of social circles across the country.

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Burnley

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The Ormerod B & B: 53.794113, -2.233771
Premier Inn Burnley Hotel: 53.796014, -2.233220
Best Western Oaks Hotel: 53.815821, -2.234478
Rosehill House Hotel: 53.779955, -2.253192
Holiday Inn Express Burnley Hotel: 53.794063, -2.256228
Talbot Hotel: 53.792590, -2.238978
The Bridge Bier Huis: 53.790166, -2.241560
Talbot Hotel: 53.792590, -2.238978
Brun Lea Pub: 53.788016, -2.243921
Burnley Football Club: 53.788987, -2.230187
Burnley, Bus Station: 53.787800, -2.239960
Burnley Manchester Road Station: 53.784122, -2.249150
The New Brew-m: 53.788664, -2.244120
Craft Burnley: 53.788965, -2.242327
Mr Greens: 53.788719, -2.243544

Bearings

Burnley’s nearest airports are Leeds-Bradford, 39km (24 miles), and Manchester, 50km (31 miles) away.

Leeds-Bradford is 11km (seven miles) north-west of Leeds. The hourly Flying Tiger bus No.737 and 747 (single £3.60) runs to Bradford Interchange, a 45min direct train journey to Burnley Manchester Road.

Airport-recommended taxi Arrow Cars should charge £65-70 to Burnley town centre from Leeds-Bradford airport (+44 113 258 5888), slightly more from Manchester (+44 161 667 6999).

Manchester Airport is 14km (nine miles) south-west of the city itself. It is linked by rail to Manchester Piccadilly (15mins, £3.80), from where it takes 70min to reach Burnley Manchester Road (£13 single) via one change at Blackburn. Note that mainline services run to Manchester Road, stopping ones to Burnley Central.

Of the town’s transport hubs, Burnley bus station is closest to Turf Moor. Only one National Express coach a day runs directly between Manchester Airport and Burnley (2hr 20min, £6).

Transdev, which serves the otherwise walkable Burnley town centre, runs a direct, frequent, 1hr service from Manchester Central/Chorley St (1hr), the Witch Way X43, to Burnley bus station. For a local taxi, call Burnley & Crown (+44 1282 455 555/776 274 6188).

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Holiday Inn Express, Burnley/Tony Dawber

Bed

Visit Burnley can provide a database of local hotels via Visit Lancashire.

The nearest lodgings to Turf Moor are provided by Ormerod Bed and Breakfast and its dozen modest, en-suite rooms a five-minute walk from the ground. Slightly further away, the Premier Inn Burnley is the local branch of this nationwide chain, with an adjoining pub/restaurant set in its own pleasant grounds a ten-minute walk from Turf Moor.

For scenic grounds and lovely views of the surrounding countryside, the Best Western Oaks is well appointed with a health club, spa and renowned restaurant, popular for weddings and conferences. It is located 2.5 miles from Turf Moor, right by the stop for the Nos.21, 24, 25, 28 and 29 services to Burnley bus station.

Rose Hill House is a family-run boutique hotel set in own picturesque grounds overlooking the town, close to Manchester Road station also well served by local buses.

The club recommend Holiday Inn Express, Burnley, 1.5 miles from Turf Moor, a pleasant, 20-minute canalside walk away or accessible via bus Nos.22, 26 and 152 from nearby Westgate. The hotel is home to 100-plus guest rooms and its own restaurant.

Budget visitors can find simple accommodation at the Talbot Hotel, a popular spot for live music and TV football.

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New Brew-M Inn/Tony Dawber

Beer

Burnley’s lively nightlife is centred around pedestrianised St James’s Street, with plenty of traditional pubs around town, some with microbrewed beers and/or canalside locations. There you’ll find Craft Burnley, formerly the Red Lion, which opened in November 2015 following modernisation. In similar vein, the New Brew-m nearby has also recently opened, with a large selection of ales. For later night entertainment but daytime fun too, the self-styled ‘soul & Motown lounge’ Mr Greens also has an extensive menu.

Real ales, large-screen football action, pool tables, a beer garden and live music at weekends – as well as cheap, simple rooms – are on offer at the long-established Talbot Hotel, close to the town centre.

Live music is also provided at the more contemporary Bridge Bier Huis pub, as well as in cask ales and international beers.

For game-gawping, low-priced beers and discounted meals, The Brun Lea is a spacious and centrally located branch of the Wetherspoon chain.


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