From picturesque walks to festivals, there are plenty of things to do in Blackburn with Darwen without spending a penny.

The council has compiled a list of free events and days out ideas in the borough, which you can try in the new year.

All of the activities are family friendly and ideal for people in the community who are feeling the pinch during the cost of living crisis.

Here are five free things to try in Blackburn with Darwen this year:

1. Unleash your creativity

The Making Rooms

Situated in Blackburn town centre, this is a cool facility used by local artists, students and children. It combines creativity, technology and manufacturing and there are free sessions every Saturday. The Making Rooms is open Monday to Saturday 10am-6pm.

Festival of Making

This festival takes place every year in July. Launched in 2016, the ambition of the Festival of Making CIC was to create a nationally-relevant, cultural festival in Blackburn, while celebrating the unique manufacturing heritage and contemporary characteristics of the town and region more widely.

It is set to return in 2024 on July 6 and 7.

2. Talk a walk around the borough

If nature and walking is your thing, then Blackburn with Darwen is the place to be as it is surrounded by rolling countryside.

Some walks include:

The Jubilee Tower, a historic landmark, lies in the West Pennine Moors and overlooks Darwen. It’s the perfect location for a walk with some beautiful views. The tower is open to the public and is free of charge.

There are also have a variety of parks and open spaces, including Sunnyhurst Wood, Bold Venture Park and beyond.  

Parks and open spaces are always open to the public and are completely free.

3. Discover a world of literature

There are five libraries across Blackburn with Darwen, with more than 10,000 books to choose from.

There is a range of literature available to the public and there are also free services available every week, such as the coffee morning on a Friday until noon at Blackburn Central Library.

With a free library card, you can borrow books for up to three weeks. There is no charge for late books, however you will have to renew your loan – books can be renewed for up to eight times.

Did you know you can also borrow e-books and audio books via the libraries online platform Borrow Box?

4. Get a glimpse of history

Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery is 150 years old this year and, with its newly refurbished roof, it is once again ready to show off its amazing collections.

Some of the fascinating collections include manufacturing and industry, coins, social and natural history.

Various free events have been held at the museum over the years such as the Festival of Making which takes place in July and the British Textile Biennial, which takes place every two year,  starting at the end of September. Blackburn Museum and Art Gallery is open Wednesday to Saturday from 12pm to 4:45pm.

If you are a history buff then a visit to Turton Tower is a must. This is a unique historic house which sits in the middle of beautiful gardens and woodlands.

The tower is filled with some of the finest paintings and furniture in the North-West. Be sure to explore the grounds, visit the adventure playground and experience the kitchen garden. The tower is open from Wednesday to Saturday (including Bank Holidays) from March until October and children can enjoy free entry.

Blackburn Cathedral has also been a beacon for visitors from across Lancashire and beyond, enjoying the views and services held by the cathedral weekly.

The cathedral holds regular events and guided tours that you can enjoy, as well as the surrounding grounds where you can sit and enjoy the beauty of the Cathedral. Blackburn Cathedral is open Tuesday to Saturday 8:15am to 5:30pm and Sunday 8:15am to 5pm.

5. Embrace the Blackburn with Darwen culture

Blackburn with Darwen is proud to host various free events right through the year including the National Festival of Making, which takes place every year in July and the British Textiles Biennial which takes place every two years.

The borough also host events like Darwen Live which is a free event that takes place yearly across the May bank holiday and Blackburn Pride which will take place in June 2024 – so make sure to mark it in your calender.