Toolally’s studio is set in the heart of the beautiful town of Barnoldswick. Known locally as Barlick, it’s one of the UK’s best kept secrets. Barlick is a town of odd contradictions. On the one hand, strolling around the independent shops and through the picturesque square feels like you’re stepping back in time. On the other, it never feels old-fashioned. There’s a genuine community spirit which welcomes thousands of visitors every year – even though the town isn’t on the way to anywhere.
Welcome to the beautiful backwater of Barlick.
The history of Barnoldswick
The town of Barnoldswick dates back to Anglo Saxon times, listed in the Domesday Book as Bernulfesuuic meaning ‘Bernulf’s Town’.
Since 1974 Barlick has been part of Lancashire, when the boundaries were reorganised. But to many locals it’s still in the West Riding of Yorkshire. This is an ongoing friendly debate as to whether it is Lancashire or Yorkshire, but one thing all locals can agree on is the beauty and charm of the town.
With a rich history of manufacturing, Barnoldswick is the home of the Rolls Royce Jet Engine. It’s also home to Hope Technology, a world leader in engineering bike components. Esse Stoves have been made here since 1854 at the Ouzledale Factory, and we must not forget Silentnight Beds, home of the Hippo and the Duck. Two typically Barlick contradictions.
One thing you’ll need plenty of when shopping in Barlick, is time. With the second highest concentration of independent shops in the whole of the UK, this is an experience to be savoured. Forget high street chains and shopping centres, and step inside a vibrant world of one offs and a market like no other. It’s no wonder Barlick recently took the Best British High Street Award.
Here’s our list of the best shops and stops to visit in Barnoldswick:
Next door to our studio, is the wonderfully peculiar vintage shop called Retrospect. It’s full of unique pieces and one or two surprises. Vintage fashion has long inspired many of Toolally’s designs, including our Art Deco collection – a celebration of the decade of decadence. Recently, Mags has taken inspiration from the 1960s for the Pearl Daisies and Pearl Daisy Drops, which give more than a passing nod to Mary Quant’s unique style.
House of Flowers
Your nose will lead to the House of Flowers – home of all things floral. Flowers have long inspired Mags’ designs and you can often find her in here picking up some seasonal inspiration.
Pages Books is perfectly sandwiched between Victoria’s Tearooms and The Sweet Shop. It’s one of those friendly, family run places where you can lose yourself for hours among the second-hand novels, paperbacks, tomes and publications. Why not take a leaf out of our book and pop in for a languid browse.
Purcell’s of Barnoldswick
Purcell’s Deli is a Barlick institution anyone can join. Pretty much everything is home-made. From delicious roast chicken and crispy belly pork to succulent quiches and all the pungent cheeses you could wish for. Mags is obsessed with Purcell’s homemade fudge, which was created by local legend Mrs Brown. Rumour has it that only one person in the world knows her recipe – but we’re sworn to secrecy!
The Sweet Shop
The Sweet Shop lies just off the Square and it does exactly what it says on the, er, jar. Once the bright, colourful window display has pulled you in, you’ll find yourself in a magical cavern of confectionery; walls stacked high with jars of rhubarb and custards, chocolate limes, pear drops, acid drops and everything else in between. Once your sweet tooth has been satisfied, there’s all sorts of fancy goods to explore too!
Bonjour Cards & Gifts
Say hello to Bonjour Cards & Gifts. The super friendly staff will help you find just what you’re looking for – no matter what the occasion. Here you’ll find quirky pressies, cards and lovely things you won’t find on the high street.
Chaudhry’s Continental Store
Chaudhry’s Continental Store is a throwback to those greengrocers that tempted you in with a riot of colour. Step inside and you’ll find the freshest, tastiest fruit and veg anywhere. One bite of Chaudhry’s cherry and you’ll see why it’s a local treasure.
We love it when customers drop into the studio and say hello. We once had a lady pop in who had travelled over 300 miles to see us and she left with more than she bargained for! Whether you’ve travelled three miles or 300, you’re always welcome to an exclusive peek at our latest designs and a glimpse behind the scenes.
Whether you’re looking for a quick bite or something more substantial, there’s oodles of delicious places to eat in Barnoldswick. Check out our specials on the following menu.
Hutchinson’s Pie Shop
We’re tempted to say that the pies in Hutchinson’s Pie Shop are a guilty pleasure, but when pies taste this good, guilt flies right out of the window. Everything is made using locally sourced ingredients and they also have a selection of sweet pastries too. Go on, be a devil!
The Cafe on the Square
The Cafe on the Square is one of our favourite hangouts. Their afternoon tea is a must, probably because of the fat rascal. No, not the well known “Betty’s of Harrogate” version but our very own Barlick beauty. It’s a cross between a scone and a rock cake and goes so well with a Yorkshire brew it should be available on prescription. Of course, they have many different cakes and treats, but the fat rascal is a great place to begin.
La Mesa Cafe
When Spain meets Barlick, La Mesa Cafe bursts onto the scene with Cava corks popping. The warm, cosy and wonderfully friendly atmosphere is as welcoming as the varied menu. They hold regular speciality evenings too, which are always fun.
23 The Grill
Welcome to clean eating, Barlick style. The Grill serves up delicious homemade food on a sizzling charcoal grill and everything is so packed with flavour, you wonder how they do it. Who says healthy eating has to be boring?
Frank Street Coffee House
Thanks to Frank Street Coffee House, you’ll never drop when you shop. Just a coffee bean’s throw away from our studio, their brews keep our team topped up during busy days making and packaging your purchases. Their delicious snacks and treats are always served with a smile.
There are many beautiful walks, events and activities to do in and around Barnoldswick. Breathe in the countryside and recharge your soul. Here’s our list of must-do’s:
Pendle Hill and Sculpture Trail
Widely famous for its links to the witch trials of 1612, Pendle Hill is still steeped in mystery today. Its summit rises 557 metres above sea level, and welcomes walkers for its breathtaking views and mystifying history. There’s plenty of excellent pubs nearby too, so you can stop for a well-deserved refreshment.
As well as Pendle Hill, there’s the Sculpture Trail. On this exciting walk you’ll find stone witches, bats and mythical creatures. Along the way there are riddles to solve and you’ll discover more about the Pendle Witches and their terrible fate.
Stream & Steam Trail
The Stream and Steam Trail is a walking route through the industrial heritage of Barnoldswick. Along the way you can explore the fascinating history of the town, including Gillians, an early water powered mill and Bancroft Mill Engine Museum, one of the few remaining mill steam engines.
Bancroft Mill Engine
Image credit: Craven Herald
Bancroft Mill Engine is a working museum, open to the public with free entry most Saturdays throughout the year from 10am-3pm. Guided tours and weaving demonstrations are available as well as regular Steaming Days where you can see the engines in action.
Bands on the Square
Bands on the Square is a fantastic four-day event that takes place over the spring bank holiday. Talented bands and artists from the local area play live music on a pop-up stage in Barnoldswick’s Town Square. Expect great music, great people and great atmosphere. And best of all? It’s free!
The Great British Rhythm & Blues Festival
Image credit: Visit Pendle
The Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival in Colne attracts some of the world’s greatest musicians. It’s held over the August Bank Holiday and you can expect on-street entertainment, pop up food stalls and some of the finest live music you’ll hear anywhere.
Barnoldswick Music & Arts Centre
If you love music all year round you’ll find regular live music at Barnoldswick Music & Arts Centre, with a mixture of free and paid for admission. Check out their website to find out what events are coming up and book your tickets for a great evening of entertainment!
Weets Hill Walk
A peaceful moorland walk with incredible views, wildlife and extraordinary sculptures. A particular highlight being the ‘Heads’ – large sculptural heads created by the Artist Peter Huby when he lived here. The heads stand in the hills directly opposite Mags’ family home and have provided a stark landmark on snowy Christmas day walks, leading the way back home.
Beating the Bounds
Beating the Bounds is an ancient tradition that dates back over 2000 years, when maps didn’t exist. Local’s would walk around their local parish to mark it with their ‘willow wands’ (a slender stick or rod made of willow, used in magic or divination). This walk is 9 miles, starting in Victory Park and explores a magical side to the beautiful town.
Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail at Brungerley Park
Image credit: Lancashire Telegraph
Just 25 minutes drive from Barnoldswick, you’ll find the Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail at Brungerley Park in Clitheroe. Situated on 1.5 miles of flower-filled grass and woodland, artists have created unique pieces which make art accessible to all. As you pass through this wonderful natural habitat, it leads to Cross Hill Quarry and the Forest of Bowland. Once there, you have the chance to spot salmon, otters, bats and kingfishers in and around The River Ribble.
Ready to plan your trip to Barnoldswick?
There’s so much to do in our beautiful town, and we hope this guide helps you put your itinerary together. Remember if you are visiting Barnoldswick, pop into the studio and say hello!