Someone must have it in for Accrington. After all, the town best known for the 1990s milk advert and that annoying Liverpudlian kid's immortal words, "Accrington Stanley - who are they?" is not exactly known as a North West hotspot. But when even the local paper states the town centre's claim to fame is its free car parking, you know something is wrong. But take a trip down Accy on a Saturday afternoon and you will find this claim does something of a disservice to the town centre, where traditional shopping streets, a Victorian arcade, a modern shopping centre and an ever-expanding dining scene combine to create a thriving atmosphere.
Monte Cristo - Friendly Italian
Monte Cristo prides itself on offering a friendly welcome and serving pasta "like Mamma used to make". Located in the Church area of Accrington, promotions include the lunchtime special offer of pasta and pizza for £3.95. Thursday night is live music night, with food served to the strains of a guitarist and vocalist. The extensive menu includes eight steak variations and a good selection of seafood.
Sparth House Hotel - Charmingly traditional
Situated towards the edge of the Ribble Valley is Sparth House Hotel, a charming Georgian house set in its own wooded grounds. Sheridans Restaurant within the hotel offers an a la carte menu, which is changed around every three weeks ensuring a fresh feel. Throughout the week two courses are available for £19.95, but on Sundays you can get a four-course meal for £13.95. A range of bar snacks is also available.
Ger-Hana Mongolian - Original dining
Taking inspiration from ancient Mongolian warriors, who cooked a special combination of meat, vegetables, incense, spices and sauces by searing the food on their overturned shields, Ger-Hana Mongolian restaurant offers Accrington's most original dining experience. Enjoy the feast by first choosing from a selection of meat and vegetables and over 20 different sauces, before watching your meal being cooked in front of you.
Jade Garden - Healthy Chinese
The baby of the Accrington restaurant scene, Jade Garden puts the emphasis on fresh food and a healthy approach to Chinese cuisine. The family run restaurant is keen to break away from the stereotypical Chinese restaurant by avoiding MSG and salt in their cooking. Although the seafood hotpots and skewered king prawns in satay sauce are specialities, the restaurant is also popular with non-meat eaters thanks to a fantastic range of vegetarian options.
Francos - Popular Italian
This ever-popular Italian was opened over twenty years ago by owner Franco Sanna, after he moved to Lancashire from Sardinia. The restaurant has continued to expand and nowadays long-standing favourite dishes such as the Pollo a la Crema can be enjoyed in truly Italian surroundings; the walls are decorated with contemporary Roman murals, courtesy of a talented customer and even some of the tables have been turned into works of art.
Balti Stan - Fine Indian cuisine
This high class Indian restaurant situated in Clayton Le Moors offers a relaxed atmosphere and excellent service. Taking its name from a colonial-era Northern Indian state, Balti Stan has been using the finest ingredients since opening in 1994. The extensive menu caters for all, from children's options to traditional food. The popular Sunday buffet offers the largest range of Indian food in the North West with a different menu every week.
Mitali Tandoori - Sizzling Indian
Tucked down a side street off one of the main shopping streets in Accrington, Mitali's specialities include the tandoori chicken, which is served sizzling hot. The restaurant is open seven days a week with a Special Tandoori Night on Wednesdays, where a set menu is available for £8.95. The buffet on Sundays runs between 1pm and 6pm and you can eat as much as you like for £7.95.
Street parking or customer car parks available
Three ATMs each on Union Street and Blackburn Road in the centre of town
Central Taxis (01254 233888)
Accrington Train Station, Paxton Road, just off Blackburn Road
There are more than 50 pubs to choose from in the Accrington area but Upsi in the town centre has soul nights and live music
Lancashire's Hill Country (0870 442 0046)
More Lancashire Neighbourhood Watch Areas A59 Whalley Road (2006) | Accrington (2006) - Bolton Road, Darwen (2006) | Carnforth (2006) | Clitheroe (2006) | Henry Street, Lytham (2006) | High Street, Garstang (2006) | Kirkham (2006) | Longridge (2006) | Lord Street, Southport (2006) | Ramsbottom (2006) | Winckley Square, Preston (2006)