A popular social media influencer has returned to his East Lancashire hometown in an exclusive YouTube documentary.

Phil Lester, from Rawtenstall, is a very well known face on the UK YouTube scene and he has over 3.9 million followers on his personal YouTube channel.

In his latest social media venture, Phil has gone head-to-head with his friend and colleague, Dan Howell, in a YouTube Original series called ‘Hometown Showdown’.

In the episode, Phil’s aim was to show Dan all of the various delights of Rawtenstall in an attempt to prove that his hometown is far superior to Dan’s in Winnersh.

You might spot some familiar business and haunts in the episodes, as Phil visits Mr Fitzpatrick’s, The Halo Panopticon and more.

Phil begins his tour on the East Lancashire Railway.

In the episode, Phil said: “We are here in the beautiful Rossendale Valley, which is also known as adrenaline valley.”

“Since when!?” exclaimed Dan. “What is there to do here?”.

While exploring Rawtenstall’s high street while walking some dogs, Dan had some pleasant things to say.

He said: “I have to say – this is charming as heck, Phil. When you picture a northern, cobbled town this is exactly what you imagine.

“I love that every shop is named after a person. Do you know Sophie from Sophie’s Boutique. Do you know Fred from Freddie’s Hair Salon?”

Phil added: “We’re gonna get some food – but what do we call food here Dan?”

“I don’t know – grub?” Dan answered.

“We call it scran, we’re gonna get some scran”

Dan joked: “Why does everything sound like a rusty piece of metal?”

Lancashire Telegraph: Dan and Phil visited Fitzpatrick's for some non-alcoholic shotsDan and Phil visited Fitzpatrick's for some non-alcoholic shots

They also visited UK’s last original temperance bar, Mr Fitzpatrick’s where they tried some of the company’s best-selling drinks.

“It’s like a party in my mouth and only my tongue is invited” Phil joked after having a shot.

“So is this the plan?” Dan asked. “You would come here every day with the boys, slam 20 of these and just get absolutely sober.”

Ashley Morley-Doidge, who runs the bar, said the men came to visit them during the summer.

She explained: “They were so lovely – and a few people were out having a nosey at what they were doing and why all the camera crew were here.

“I didn’t know much about them and then looked into their work and realised what sensations they are.

“They were really lovely people and were so kind to want to show of us and our town.

“They had a plate of tasters, with things like rhubarb, cream soda, dandelion and burdock.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Dan and Phil at the Halo panopticon (Photo: YouTube)Dan and Phil at the Halo panopticon (Photo: YouTube)

Dan and Phil also ventured into the Rawtenstall countryside where they explored ‘Top O’Slate’.

On their walk, Dan added: “I will be honest I thought that this entire tour would just be grey, sadness, cold – and it’s literally the opposite.

“I will concede this is actually quite nice.”

The end goal for the duo’s walk was to get to the Halo Panopticon.

Phil explained: “We’re actually going to see something really exciting which you would not expect to be at the top of this slate.

“It all lights up and night and it looks really cool. It looks like a UFO but it represents modern Lancashire.”

Dan added: “That’s definitely some kind of satellite for speaking to aliens.

“This is a great place to abduct someone – right now we could get tractor beamed and no-one would find out.”

Phil added: “Speaking of aliens – I felt a bit like an alien growing up here, Dan.”

34-year-old Phil publicly came out as gay in 2019 in a YouTube video that amassed more than four million views.

In the video, he said he knew he was gay since the age of 12 but felt a need to hide it due to the “attitudes around [him] in [his] small northern town.”

In the Hometown Showdown episode, Phil explained: “I felt like I was the only gay because i wasn’t out, I was going to school and there was no-one around me.

“I see [former school mates] all coming out in later life like I did, but i’m like ‘ I could have kissed you behind the bike sheds, Dave’”.

Lancashire Telegraph: Phil going for a ride at Ski Rossendale while Dan pushes (Photo: YouTube)Phil going for a ride at Ski Rossendale while Dan pushes (Photo: YouTube)

To finish off the day, Dan and Phil ventured to Ski Rossendale and took part in a ‘donut sledding challenge’ before summarising the day – and to see if it is the superior hometown.

Phil asked Dan: “We had dogs, we had trains – what more could you want?”

“I had a fun day – so I have my work cut out to make Winnersh this interesting.”

To watch the full episode and see which hometown was named as the winner, visit YouTube.