“ Canal Mill, Botany Brow, Chorley, Lancashire PR6 9AF. Tel.01257.261220. Fax.01257.230888. „
I've been visiting Botany Bay once or twice a year for the past three or four. My two aunts are a fan of the place, and we make a point of taking trips there to stroll around occasionally.
Botany Bay is a five-storey shopping centre set within an old mill. Inside, you'll find a children's play area (Puddletown Pirates), various traditional market shops and stalls of various sizes selling craft products, gifts, toys and accessories, and a few small tea room style restaurants.
The ground floor shops are in the theme of a Dickensian arcade. They include handbag shops, a pet shop, and my personal favourite, a traditional sweetshop. Many of the shops are un-staffed, meaning that you'll need to find someone to pay for anything you wish to purchase, but they make an excellent and relaxing place to stroll and to browse in peace.
The first floor sells gifts, garden products and kitchenware, including home-made preserves in beautiful jars, curry sauces, chocolates and biscuits, and beautiful ornaments, whilst the second floor sells furniture from around the world, including wonderful hand-crafted beds and dining tables.
Clothing for men and women can be found on the third floor, alongside home-made craft products, collectable merchandise and toys for children. Most of what's available on this floor appears to be second-hand goods, and I've spent a long while in the various small shops and stalls admiring 1990s Beano annuals which I once owned, and old Disney toys.
The top floor is seasonal. My aunts and I tend to visit around Christmas time when it's filled with decorations, and this is also the home of the centre's main restaurant and tea room, where we stop for jacket potatoes, sandwiches and cakes, all of which are sold at very reasonable prices. The sandwiches, in particular, are very filling.
Botany Bay is easily accessible from Junction 8 of the M61 (straight off the roundabout, and very well signposted), and is cheap to enter. A 12 month membership costs £3.99, whilst a lifetime membership is £5, though the website (www.botanybay.co.uk) also has regular offers for free annual membership, worth looking out for before you visit.
The centre has excellent parking facilities, and though Puddletown Pirates is a separate chargeable attraction, is well worth a visit for families. It'll keep you occupied for a few hours on a rainy day!
The saying goes "bring all the family down to botany bay". no thanks i'd rather not.
Botany bay is based alongside the m61 in chorley, its a huge old building with about 4 levels high. Its full of shops ranging from antiques to crafts, the shops are ok, nothing special but you do have to pay to get in just to look round. thats the big downside for me, why should you pay to look round shops?
A mixture of giftware, ethnic products and collectables from present day through to yesteryear lead through to the kitchen area, where we have from pots and pans, cookware to glassware and kitchen accessories etc.
Stylish furniture from around the world sumptuous furnishings, mirrors, lighting, and pictures through to fitted kitchens, there's so much potential.
A large selection of Ladies & Mens fashion-wear including Roman Originals, Klass and More Classics. A selection of crafts, handcrafted gifts and accessories are complemented by an extensive range of toys and baby products. This floor also houses the textile department to include bedding, linens, curtains and soft furnishing to suit all styles and tastes.
The seasonal floor plays host to the famous Christmas shop which opens August bank holiday and runs straight through till Christmas. The 4th floor plays host to Shambles Tea Room and Smethurst's Restaurant, ideal to relax with a snack or a full 3 course meal.
also if you want to leave the kids for something to do there is puddletown pirates which again costs per child, so basically if your a family of 4 and you want to leave the kids at puddletown pirates, your looking at about 12 quid before you have even started to think about looking around or eating.
This place isnt my cup of tea as i dont fancy paying just to look round shops. It may well be up your street so dont let me put you off from trying it out.
As Christmas is looming, it has always been a tradition with me and my family to visit Botany Bay. We love to buy unique gifts that are hand made for each other as stocking fillers.
So on Sunday we all decide to visit Botany Bay, to start on our Christmas shopping, as this is a place where you can buy good unique gifts under one roof.
****** Botany Bay*****
Botany Bay is a shopping centre not as large as conventional shopping centers, but it consists of lots of shops, located over five floors. Each of these shops are rented by independent companies, these can be large well know companies or small one man businesses.
The Botany Bay centre is located near Chorley, a small town that lies on the outskirts of Lancashire and sits on the side of the Lancaster canal, it can be accessed via the M61 at junction 8.
This building was originally a cotton spinning mill that has been situated since 1865, the building itself was left unused for many years until 1992 when planning permission was granted for this to become the tourist attraction it is today.
It was not until a local business man Tim Knowles purchased the old mill in 1994, that the mill was actually renovated and restored with its original features to give us Botany Bay.
This cost Tim Knowles over nine million pounds to convert this old mill and it opened for Christmas in 1995 and has been successful ever since, in my opinion it was money well spent.
******What it Offers*****
Botany Bay offers five large floors full of shops, and hundreds of artfefacts and memorabilia that are displayed across all five floors.
To gain access to the floors you can either take one of two lifts that are really old and cranky, they are very small and only fit one trolley at a time, so there is always a long queue. My advice to you would be to take the stairs, if you don't have a shopping trolley that is.
The stair case is a huge metal structure that dates back to the mill, it is fully lined with old photographs for you to look at on your way up or down. For me this staircase was one of the best features in the place as it is so old and has been restored to perfection, the only thing is the steps where a killer climbing up all four flights, so I would recommend you stop off on each floor to catch your breath.
Botany Bay offers free car parking, the car park is situated to the side and the rear of the building but it is only a short walk from the car park to the buildings main entrance, once you step inside you are hit with a very oldie worldy atmosphere.
Another main attraction for me is the children's play area Puddle Town Pirates, this is an indoor play area that has ball pits, slides, swings and everything to keep the kids happy.
The children are not supervised so you can not leave them if they are under eight years old. A small charge applies for the children's entrance to Puddle Town, but in my opinion it is much better than taking them in with you, as it avoids the mummy can I have question.
****** Ground floor******
As you approach the main entrance you walk passed Puddle Town and into the main reception area where you either show your membership or pay the entrance fee.
The first thing you see is the garden centre area full of unusual garden ornaments, water features and hand crafted pots and planters of all shapes and sizes. I bought a huge wooden wind chime for 7.99 a great gift for my parents they love to irritate their neighbours so I thought that this would be ideal.
Also on this floor you can stop for a coffee at the Casablanca Coffee and Wine Bar they also do a wide selection of pastry's and sandwiches for you to snack on. I always wait until I am ready to leave and then I have a glass of wine as I never volunteer to drive home because I am usually shattered after all the shopping.
On this floor is the start of the shopping experience with small Victorian themed shops that offer hand crafted items, handbags, old fashioned sweets and unusual gift boxes and wrapping paper all delicately made.
If these shops are not enough there is a further four floors to explore and put a serious dent in your bank balance which is something that I am very good at.
****** First Floor ******
This floor consists of home and kitchen wear, candles made by the well known American company Colony Candles, glassware and lots of other unique items to decorate your home.
The floor is decorated with all of the items that can be purchased within the shops located on this floor. I saw a stunning dinner service displayed on a dining table in the middle of the floor I knew I just had to have it so I spent an hour walking around the different shops trying to find it.
It is beautifully decorated but I hate the fact that they display every thing effectively as it makes me spend money on things that I don't really need, but the dinner service will come out on Christmas day.
It works the same as the first floor with displays of products but this floor is based around home furnishings.
This is one of my favourite floors as you can buy any thing to furnish your home and what makes it so special is the fact that many of the items come from other areas of the world, which is unusual because all we normally see in Britain is the highly manufactured products from China.
As well as fine furnishings you can get a wide selection of lighting whether this is either spot lights, lamps or chandeliers.
This floor is dedicated to soft furnishings here you will be able to buy bedding, curtains, throws which are all very pretty and unique.
I noticed a difference on the floor this time around with the addition of Ponden Mill which is a big well known company who provide top quality soft furnishings at good prices, it just goes to show that Botany Bay are constantly improving as big chains want to be part of it.
This is a must for every child, you have to pull them out of Puddle Town Play area so that they can see this phenomenal floor, and this is home to the Christmas displays.
This is jam packed full of every decoration that you could think of , you can buy artificial trees, glass and crystal baubles, stunning tree top fairies, tinsel, crackers, cards,
Novelty Santa's and snowmen that stand as high as me.
As I arrived on this floor the big kid in me came out, every tree and display was decorated to perfection and every thing on sale was colour coordinated I felt as if I was walking through a rain bow.
I did not actually need a new tree or new decorations but spent nearly 200 pounds, as I liked the look of one of their displays, they got me again and made me spend more money on something I did not need because of the way it looked. So this year I will be displaying a superb six foot black tree fully adorned with crystal baubles, I just hope that it looks as effective as theirs did.
After I spent too much money in the decoration department I decided not to stop off in any of the restaurants Shambles Tea Room or the Smethurst's Restaurant located on this floor, as I wanted to go and get the kids as this was something they just had to see.
If you are a first time visitor you have to pay a small admission fee but in my experience it is best to go for a life long membership as this is a place that you will visit more than once.
There are two options for the Botany Bay membership, the first being life time membership also known as a gold member or yearly membership also known as green card.
Lifetime Membership - Gold Card
Senior Citizens: £4.00
Annual Membership - Green Card
Senior Citizens: £2.99
Puddle Town entrance fees are 3.50 per child, children under the age of one are free. This entitles them to two hours of play.
If you do sign up as a member you can gain access to Botany Bay as many times as you like totally free of charge providing your card is valid.
By being a card holder you also qualify for discount vouchers and get 10% off Puddle Town Admission fees so this in itself will save you money if you have a few children.
Paying for items is done differently to any other shopping centre you don't actually pay in the shop, each item has a code which identifies which shop it has come from. There is a payment desk on each floor where you take your items and pay for them all together. At the end of each day the shop owners are then paid for items sold from their shops by a central payment desk.
I found it very strange to see all of the shops were un manned surely this is a golden opportunity for shop lifters.
***** Opening Times*****
Botany Bay is open to the public 365 days a year so you have every opportunity to visit but I don't think I would do it on Christmas day.
Opening Hours are 10.00am. - 18.00.pm.
They are currently offering late night shopping on Wednesday evenings, it is currently open until 20.00 pm and admission is free of charge even if you have not got membership.
Botany Bay is located along side the M61 to gain access you leave the motorway at junction 8, it is very well sign posted both on the motorway and the road leading up to it.
It is less than half an hour away from Manchester city centre.
This is a fantastic shopping experience for the whole family not only does it entertain adults and children but it also gives you the chance to buy very unusual presents or items for your own home. I have been during the summer months but for me the best time to visit has to be on the run up to Christmas.
Puddle Town is a huge asset to this place as children can get bored roaming the shops, this was they get to have a bit of fun and make some friends and I get them out of my hair for two hours. I am fortunate as I have an eight year old and I can leave him unsupervised if he had been any younger I would have had to stay with him.
The Casablanca coffee shop on the ground floor is very nice but very expensive so I recommend that you eat before hand or take a picnic to eat in the car or next to the canal when the weather is nice.
I strongly recommend that you visit at least once a year because there is always something new to see, I think that is why I like shopping at this place as new businesses are always joining the fleet of shops although I have been disappointed in the past when nice shops have shut down but this is very rare.
After working every weekend for the last 5 and a half years and hearing what everybody else did I now make the most of having free weekends so try and do something every weekend. Sounds ideal, except to get the free weekends I was made redundant, so maybe not as great as I've made it sound.
One place I have always wanted to go is Botany Bay. The TV adverts always make it look like a great place to visit. All those shops under the one roof selling a multitude of things, that is heaven to me. So I was really looking forward to visiting last weekend.
It is situated in Chorley, Lancashire, just off junction 8 of the M61. You can't miss in when driving on the motorway and there are plenty of the brown tourist board signs showing you the way.
Admission currently costs £3.50 for adults but they are currently running a promotion to the end of the year where it is free to get in and you get a free years membership for next year.
So things were looking good, lots of shops and not a penny spent getting in there.
Well, was I disappointed. Yes there is lots of things to buy but to me it felt more like a market or a seconhand/antique shop. So for me it was not as unique as the adverts make out. I could have gone somewhere nearer home and saved on petrol money.
The best part was on the top floor they have all the Christmas decorations and it looks so good. But again, you can buy decorations anywhere.
What I thought I was going to was a mill with separate units in it selling a multitude of different things. I thought there would be more clothes and jewellary but there wasn't.
Yes the history side of it was good, but it was too big a disappointment to me. I won't be going again.
Readers may associate Botany Bay with the penal colony formed by the British in 1788 on the northern shores of the south-eastern suburbs of Sydney - Australia where hundreds of prisoners were transported for their wrongdoing. Here on home soil situated on the outskirts of the small Lancashire town of Chorley is Britain’s own version of a very different type of venue. Botany Bay is a magically transformed disused cotton-spinning mill dating back to 1865 which has now become a major tourist attraction. Throughout the five floors at Botany Bay there are thousands of intriguing artefacts and unique pieces of memorabilia either in displays or adorning the walls, ceilings, stairs and floors. It is a unique experience for the whole family and it is crammed full of unusual gifts, crafts and furnishings with numerous outdoor exhibitions during the summer months. My family and I visited the attraction early one Saturday morning and by the end of the day we were really glad that we had been. There were number of people already there when we arrived and by mid afternoon people were arriving in droves but it did not stop us from exploring the interior which turned out to be a really memorable experience. There is a large free car and coach park outside the premises and a small admission fee into the premises itself and a further admission fee into the adjoining ‘Puddletown Pirates’ play area for children. As you begin to explore the interior some fascinating sights unfold before you with pictures and portraits of bygone days and other items dating back over many years. An old Barclays Bank cheque dated April 1954 made payable in Pounds shilling and pence was encased in a glass cabinet. An original Sopworth 11/2 Strutter aeroplane and one of two original Dennis Fire engines used in Stoke on Trent in 1968 stationary and unattended but in perfect order just waiting to be put into
good use once again. An old sand coloured military vehicle that had been used during the filming of Evita was parked directly next to the original helicopter that had plunged into icy waters in the Lake District earlier this year. The experienced pilot I am glad to say had miraculously escaped uninjured Two American Edsal limousines in exceptional condition were waiting to be driven away or so it seemed and everywhere you looked gave the impression of an Aladdin’s cave. Your journey continues into an enchanting Victorian styled shopping arcade where myriad’s of specialist shops provide quality hand crafted and antique gifts for all occasions. We strolled along the dimly lit Piccadilly Circus, Market Street, Pall Mall Walks and Silver Bow Street with their miniature sized shops containing everything you could possibly want to buy from the smallest pots of jam to the largest waterbeds. We continued on our journey passing underneath the 1865 dated stone arch into Victoria Square with it’s varied selection of assorted furniture and water fountain that gave a relaxed feeling as you browsed. In another corner a full sized multi coloured gypsy caravan reminding you of the films that you have seen on television and surrounded with agricultural equipment from years gone by. How many of you will remember the mangle, a device used before the arrival of the spin dryer and used exactly for that very same purpose but by manual means. Beyond Victoria Square more furniture can be seen with the biggest solid oak four poster bed that I have ever seen and items of jewellery, porcelain and wickerware. At this location we re-traced our steps and stopped for coffee in the groundfloor Casablanca coffee bar before our assent into the unknown. Access to the remaining floors can be made by the staircases or by two lifts at either end of the building where more intriguing sights await you.
An old Morris motor vehicle cut in half and full size sailing yachts fixed to the walls as you climb the staircases to the remaining floors. Tennis rackets, very old cricket equipment, boxing gloves, old wooden snow skis and golfing equipment placed on shelves or affixed to the wall. It was all quite an amazing sight. At different locations within the store were several old-fashioned red coloured telephone boxes in perfect working order available for customer’s use Rocking horses and hobby horses with their smiling faces greet you as you turn yet another corner before you gaze in wonderment at the many shops stalls and units that are there before you. Framed black and white pictures of Laurel and Hardy, football teams, Titanic, small libraries, musical equipment, toys, teddybears and lavishly dressed dolls and yet more jewellery and porcelain – the list was endless. Songs of the Desert - Lonesome pine manufactures with Victorian pine kitchen tables, dressers and another large Marrakesh four poster bed. As you walk slowly around the different floors the appropriate background music seemed to complement the existing historic atmosphere and then, above the sound, a vaguely familiar tune being played on a piano. Curiosity got the better of me and walking slowly round to the musical instrument section and I saw a small girl very studiously attempting to play an old piano with two fingers. I think I may have frightened her because she stopped immediately when she saw me but after giving her a reassuring smile she continued with the melody. Visit the art gallery with sculptured figures, oil and water colour paintings of still life, portraits, abstract art and in a small corner an area set aside for children to sit around tables and indulge in hobby ceramic painting classes of maybe their favourite Peter Rabbit characters. Turning yet another corner revealed an enlarged version of
the front page of the New York Times dated 16th April 1912 with coverage of the ill-fated maiden voyage of ‘ Titanic’ There is so much to see that your eyes are busy trying to take it all in and around every corner and on each and every floor something will captivate you. Themed furniture in modern and unusual designs as well as the traditional dining, bedroom and occasional furniture from different parts of the world with porcelain, glassware and china, framed prints, lighting, hand woven rugs and period pieces. There were hundreds of different shapes, colours and sizes of candles and a history of how they are made and above your head on the ceiling literally thousand upon thousand of white coloured decorative lights which gave that feeling of Christmas all over again. Finally on the fifth floor the jovial life size figures of Laurel and Hardy are there to meet you but close by the tall, foreboding figure of Frankenstein staring menacingly down at you and you just cannot help yourself looking at him for a second and third time. Scattered around them are antiquated games machine from years ago all in perfect working order – the Grand National Horse race, bagatelle, puppets shows, punch and judy and more and more shops and stalls. In a dark corner encased in glass was the life size head of ‘The Gypsy Woman’ who for a small fee would tell you what the future had in store for you. It reminded me of the film ‘Big’ starring Tom Hanks who played the child that made a wish to a similar figure and then grew up overnight into manhood. We decided to carry on our journey through the maze of shops and stalls and before we knew it almost four hours had elapsed since our arrival so we decided to have some light refreshment. Anything from traditional northern meals to a slice of cake and a cup of tea can be taken in either Shambles tea-room or adjoining SmethurtsR
17;s restaurant with a grand piano as a focal point in the centre of the room. We chose Shambles tea-room but the name did not do it justice as it was spotlessly clean and we were provided with sustenance by very friendly staff at reasonable prices. In this room encased in a glass cabinet was one of the most elegant bridal gowns that I had ever seen. Our granddaughter at this time was beginning to get a little bit restless so as there was still so many things that we wanted to see again we took her down to ‘Puddletown Pirates.’ The play area is situated the ground floor where she was able to play away to her hearts content for another hour and a half which allowed us to re-visit some of the sights that we had already seen Such was the effect that it had on you and you felt as though you were compelled to return to the very same spot that intrigued you. It also allowed our daughter to tip toe away to the porcelain section where she bought her mother a figurine for mother’s day. She showed it to me whilst her mother was elsewhere and I nodded my head in approval and I really think that she will like it when she sees it. We probably visited all the five floors for a second time and thought we saw other items that hadn’t been there previously but of course they had and we had just missed them. Finally we decided that we had seen about more or less everything that could be seen and decided that it was time to leave so after collecting our granddaughter we made our way back to the car. An elderly gentleman and his wife approached us and the man asked us if we had enjoyed our visit. Of course I told him that we had and enthusiastically explained to him some of the things that they were about to see. It was quite extraordinary when the man told me that he been before but when it was in its former condition as a cotton spinning mill. He explained to me that the large squa
re containers that were filled with the hessian bags that contained all the cotton and wool were called botanies and were later placed into the loading bay for transportation to their different venues – hence the name Botany Bay. For the business minded some very interesting packages appear to be available for any retail business that sells quality products of an interesting, artistic or out of the ordinary nature Short-term tenancy agreements of six months are available on shop or stall units that do not require manning and experienced sales staff will sell on your behalf. The rental includes business rates and service charge. There is a loading bay area and a full twenty four-hour closed circuit television camera security cover with fire and safety certification. All units are available to let on flexible tenancy agreements: Prime retail units to let from £72.00 per week Antique retail units to let from £25.00 per week Craft and workshop units to let from £15.00 per week Gallery wall section to let from £6.00 per week Botany Bay is open to the public 365 days a year. Hours – 10.00.hrs – 18.00.hrs. Admission – Adults £2.50 – Child £. 0.75. (Up to 14 yrs) Free late night shopping entry on Wednesday from 17.00.hrs – 20.00.hrs Puddletown Pirates is open 364 days a year Monday to Friday – 10.00.hrs – 19.00.hrs – Last admission 17.30.hrs Admission £2.95 for one and half-hours play. Saturday & Sunday – 09.0.hrs – 19.00.hrs – Last admission 17.30.hrs. Admission £3.95 for one and half-hours play. Parents can relax in Puddletowns Galley Restaurant with satellite TV that offers views across the play centre. Children over eight years of age can be left at the responsibility of their parents. Membership special offer – Every adult who pays admission into Botany Bay can apply f
or a month’s free membership that will give them free entry into the premises any day of the week Botany Bay. Canal Mill, Botany Brow, Chorley, Lancashire. PR6 9AF Tel.01257.261220 Fax.01257.230888. Www.botanybay.co.uk I would thoroughly recommend visiting Botany Bay to anyone who is in this area and can assure you that you will not be disappointed Directions: Exit junction 8 of the M61 Motorway and follow the brown tourist information sign to Botany Bay which is about one minute drive. Botany Bay can be seen from the motorway network and is less than 30 minutes away from Manchester City Centre. Best Wishes Peter2670