BOLTON Market was hailed as one of the best in the country during a visit from trade experts.

The National Association of British Market Authorities (NABMA) visited the halls to cap a fortnight of events for the Love Your Local Market festival.

Graham Wilson, chief executive of NABMA, met with Bolton Council officials and market stall holders yesterday.

He said: “Nationally we regard Bolton as one of the most forward-thinking markets in the country.

“The food court, being able to pay by card and free Wi-Fi — all of these initiatives are examples of the confidence in the market, and to make it meet modern needs.”

One of the country’s oldest markets, the centre opened in the 1930s and welcomes around three million visitors a year.

Based in Ashburner Street, it re-opened in February following a £4.5 million investment with a third of the stalls taken by new businesses including a micro pub and coffee bean company.

Cllr Sufrana Bashir-Ismail, the newly-appointed cabinet member for community services, said she was thrilled NABMA had chosen to hold their finale in Bolton Market.

She said: “This market is one of the jewels of the crown of Bolton Council.

“It’s a fantastic testament to the work and investment that has been happening in Bolton.”