Why I love Burnley town centre and think it is only going to get better

There’s nothing quite like coming home.

Having recently moved back to Burnley - this time with a child and fiancé in tow - I’ve been excitedly exploring the changes in the town centre: the new cafes, restaurants, and hopefully soon, the bars.

Of course, the novelty might wear off at some point. But the town centre is in a new chapter of regeneration, what with the £23m. Pioneer Place development and its state-of-the-art cinema plus other leisure units drawing closer to completion. So it seems new doses of excitement are going to keep coming for the next few years at least.

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Besides, Burnley’s magic has always been about the people and its friendly vibe, something I feel puts it among Ibiza’s superclubs and Berlin’s world-famous nightlife as one of the best places for a night out.

Reporter Laura Longworth and her fiancé Danny Tierney enjoying a night out in Burnley town centre.

And even if the novelty does wear off, I’m sure what will remain is a love for simple pleasures and routines.

It’s clear the town’s movers-and-shakers have worked hard to transform the area. The Market Hall, now a globally-inspired food hub, is what the town has always been missing and is bang on trend; the artisan markets are also a culinary treasure trove.

The vintage car show was a hit with my vehicle-mad toddler; the meet-and-greet with dinos was a quirky experience; and my son was in awe of the Hallowe’en pumpkins being given out to families for free.

I’ll admit, I do most of my shopping online: I love the convenience and thrill of buying whatever you want or need in just a few clicks.

But I appreciate not everyone feels comfortable with it, and would prefer to be served by a human than a computer. And I do feel for the shop owners who have had to adapt to a changing market, or close down.

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But whatever side of the fence you stand on, the high street is changing, and now it is all about what you can experience, not what you can buy.

That’s why I love the new experiences being brought to the town. After all, I’m going to treasure the memories made there with my son for far longer than the dress or jeans I bought from my favourite shop.

And those experiences don’t have to be extravagant.

My son and I have spent several Saturdays in the town centre, eating out, bargain-hunting, strolling around and listening to buskers play. I love having Thai food at the Market Hall, feeding the both of us a hearty meal for just £3.50. He loves following the purple footprints in the Market Square, stopping to smell the flower displays, exploring the books and playing with Lego at the library.

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As simple as it is, I love it. It takes me back to my own childhood when every Saturday, my dad, little sister and I would potter around town, picking up a Greggs sausage roll and chocolate muffin before heading to Blockbuster’s to rent a film or two.

These are the routines that, silently, imprint themselves in our brains and weave their way into our hearts, making us feel, over the years, safe, welcome, and like we belong somewhere.

And with the future arrival of Pioneer Place, I cannot wait to make more happy memories with loved ones.