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Darwen Tower Walk: The Ultimate Visitor’s Guide

Darwen Tower Walk: The Ultimate Visitor’s Guide

Darwen Tower (officially known as Jubilee Tower) is a well-known monument overlooking the town of Darwen in Lancashire. Although Darwen Tower can be easily seen from Darwen, it’s best to walk to the attraction to fully appreciate and enjoy it. In this guide, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about doing the Darwen Tower Walk.

What Is Darwen Tower?

The octagonal Jubilee Tower, which is referred to as Darwen Tower, was unveiled in 1898 to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria. The Diamond Jubilee was officially celebrated on 22 June 1897 to mark the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Queen Victoria’s accession on 20 June 1897.

Perched high on Darwen Hill in the West Pennine Moors, the monument remains a prominent landmark that many people still visit today.

Where Is Darwen Tower?

Darwen Tower is located next to the town of Darwen, near Blackburn in Lancashire. The monument also falls in the West Pennine Moors, which is an underrated area of natural beauty. To help get your bearings, please click on the image below to access an interactive map on Google Maps.

A screenshot of a map showing where Darwen Tower is located.

Now you know the location, let’s talk about the brilliant Darwen Tower Walk.

FYI – when it comes to walking to Darwen Tower, there are many route variations. These include the Bold Venture Park route and the Sunnyhurst Wood route. There are also longer routes exploring more of Darwen Moor. Personally, Beck and I did the Darwen Tower Loop Walk from Ryal Fold. This meant we didn’t explore Bold Venture Park or Sunnyhurst Wood during this walk.

Darwen Tower Walk From Ryal Fold: Route Details and Map

  • Type: Loop
  • Distance: 6.6km (4.1 miles)
  • Time: 1.5–2.5 hours
  • Accumulated elevation gain: 135m
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Trailhead: Ryal Fold
  • Map: Wikiloc

Darwen Tower Walk: Our Experience

At Ryal Fold, Beck and I flicked on our headlamps, as we headed towards Darwen Tower for sunrise. Setting off nice and early, we could barely make out our surroundings. But, as we began the steep climb up towards the monument, the early light slowly rolled in, revealing stunning countryside views.

After passing Dragon Hill to our right, we veered left, following an obvious trail to the monument. Even with minimal light, the commemorative building stood prominently atop Darwen Hill.

Darwen Tower

Sunrise at Darwen Tower

Once we arrived, we set up the tripod and waited patiently for sunrise. Given it was winter, our toes and fingers expectedly went numb. But, our patience paid off. As we waited, amazing orange and purple hues started to fill the sky. With improving light, splendid views started to appear around us.

Indeed, on a clear day, you’ll enjoy views of the Lancashire countryside. On a clear day and with very good visibility, you’ll even be able to see as far as north Wales and the Isle of Man.

Dan and Beck enjoy a sunrise walk to Darwen Tower

Going Inside Darwen Tower

After sunrise, we packed away the tripod and went inside the tower. Unlike Peel Tower in Bury, which only opens on certain days, Darwen Tower remains open to the public all year round. So, it’s possible to go inside and explore the tower!

Indeed, make sure to venture up to the top of the tower. In fact, there are two viewing platforms to visit. The first platform you’ll reach is via a stone spiral staircase. To reach the second platform, you’ll walk up a metal spiral staircase. Certainly, the views from the tower are terrific (weather permitting).

After going inside the tower, we set off around Darwen Moor, happy to do some more walking to regain some warmth. After hiking to Bigger Hill, we hiked away from the moors, back towards farmland. We completed the Darwen Tower Walk by returning via Tockholes Road.

For a slightly longer walk, you can return via Roddlesworth Woods and Reservoir instead.

Beck hike on a trail

How to Get to Darwen Tower

The most convenient way to get to Darwen Tower is to drive to Darwen. If you don’t have your own set of wheels, we recommend hiring a car.

Car Hire

If you don’t have your own car, you should hire one using Discover Cars. Personally, we use Discover Cars and highly recommend them for finding your ideal car hire at an affordable price. Booking online is super easy and the free cancellation policy is great.

To find out more about renting a car with Discover Cars, read our Discover Cars review and Discover Cars Insurance review.

It’s possible to get to Darwen using public transport. You can get the bus (#1) from Bolton to Darwen. From Darwen, it would make sense to walk roughly 800 metres (0.5 miles) to the nearby Bold Venture Park to complete the Bold Venture Park route to the monument. We recommend using Google Maps to help plan your journey.

Although public transport is an option, we don’t necessarily recommend it. That’s because, depending on where you’re travelling from in the UK, you may be looking at a very time-consuming journey. Certainly, driving yourself to Darwen is the easiest and most efficient way to get there. This is definitely true if you intend on doing the Darwen Tower Walk from Ryal Fold, as described in this guide. That’s because it’s quite time-consuming to get to Ryal Fold using public transport.

Where to Park For the Darwen Tower Walk (Darwen Tower Parking)

If you’re able to drive to Darwen, then we recommend parking in the small hamlet called Ryal Fold. You’ll find a small area for parking next to the visitor centre called the Roddlesworth Information Centre. You’ll find this car park has room for about 20 vehicles. The car park is also conveniently located near the Royal Arms pub. Indeed, stopping in at the Royal Arms for a drink would be a perfect way to finish the walk.

Of course, if you’re taking a different route to the tower, you’ll likely be parking elsewhere!

Nearby Attractions and Walks

As mentioned, some of the route variations visiting the monument also involve exploring Bold Venture Park and Sunnyhurst Wood. To make a day of it, we recommend visiting these nearby attractions, after doing the Darwen Tower Walk from Ryal Fold.

Otherwise, there are plenty of other fantastic walks in the area. Nearby, in Rivington, near Bolton, you’ve got the well-known Rivington Pike Walk. Also, in Holcombe, next to Ramsbottom, in Bury, you’ve got the local’s favourite Peel Tower and Holcombe Hill Walk. A little further away, in the Forest of Bowland, you can do the famous Pendle Hill Walk.

Anyway, for information about other great nearby walks, read our West Pennine Moors Walks Guide and Best Lancashire Walks Guide.

Beck and Dan watch sunrise at Rivington Pike
Rivington Pike


Below, you’ll find the most frequently asked questions about the monument. Reading through these FAQs and Darwen Tower facts will give you some insight into Darwen Tower’s history.

Is Darwen Tower Open?

There aren’t any Darwen Tower opening times as such. The tower remains open and unlocked all day, every day.

Why Is Darwen Tower Locked?

The tower temporarily closes from time to time for restoration and refurbishment works. It’s only locked during these times. Otherwise, it’s open all year round.

When Was Darwen Tower Built?

It was built in 1898.

Why Was Darwen Tower Built?

To commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria.

What Was Darwen Tower Used For?

The tower never served any practical purpose. As mentioned, it’s a commemorative building, that was unveiled as part of the Diamond Jubilee celebrations.

Who Built Darwen Tower?

According to the Darwen Heritage Centre, Richard James Whalley built the monument.

How High Is Darwen Tower?

It’s 26 metres (86 feet) high.

Can You Drive Up to Darwen Tower?

No, it’s not possible to drive to the monument.

How Long Is the Darwen Tower Walk?

This depends on the route your take. If you’re following the route described in this guide, you’re looking at an approx. 6.6km (4.1 mile) walk that takes around two hours to complete.

Gear Essentials

These are our gear essentials for doing this walk.

Osprey Skarab 30
Osprey Skarab 30

The Osprey Skarab 30 is our go-to hiking backpack for day hikes. This well-designed unisex backpack is comfortable and spacious, so you’ll have plenty of space to pack everything without feeling the strain on your upper back.

Osprey Ultralight Raincover
Osprey Ultralight Raincover

A waterproof backpack cover is an absolute must when you’re adventuring outdoors. The Osprey Ultralight Raincover Medium is a high-quality waterproof cover that’ll keep your backpack bone dry.

GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle
GRAYL Reusable Water Bottle

The GRAYL GeoPress is the best water filter bottle that allows you to purify 710mL (12 ounces) of water. This bottle will make water safe to drink wherever you’re hiking.

BUFF Original Ecostretch
BUFF Original Ecostretch

The BUFF Original Ecostretch is a great option when it comes to multifunctional headwear. We use the Ecostretch as a neck gaiter to keep the sun off our necks and it helps us keep warm in cooler climates.

Sony Cybershot RX100 VII
Sony Cybershot RX100 VII

Capture epic photos and videos with the Sony Cybershot RX100 VII. This is hands-down the best compact camera. We love using this simple point-and-shoot camera when we’re hiking as it’s lightweight and durable.

To find out more about all of the gear that we use and recommend, read our guides about our favourite hiking gear, travel gear and camera gear. Otherwise, read our comprehensive travel packing checklist.

Additional Information and Bonus Tips

  • Other Darwen walks: the most popular Darwen walking routes involve visiting the impressive monument. For route variations, look at the shorter distance Bold Venture Park route and the similar distance Sunnyhurst Wood route. Indeed, the shorter route from Bold Venture Park may be a more family-friendly walk if you’re with kids.
  • Visit Darwen town: while in the area, why not join the locals and visit the famous Darwen Market or Darwen Library Theatre?
  • Explore national parks in the north of England: make sure to also check out Northumberland, the Lake District (coming soon), the Peak District, the North York Moors and Yorkshire Dales.

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Daniel Piggott

Physiotherapist turned travel blogger, Dan is a keen hiker, natural wonder seeker and world traveller. He loves writing travel guides to help his readers explore the most beautiful destinations in the world.

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