THIS year’s Food and Drink Festival was officially a record breaker as 400,000 people visited Bolton town centre over the four days.

That’s a whopping increase on last year, when 274,000 people headed for Bolton town centre on August Bank Holiday weekend for the annual foodie celebration.

Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr David Greenhalgh said: “These visitor numbers are incredible but will be no surprise to those who saw how busy the festival was every day.

"It was a glorious weekend weather-wise too and these amazing figures show that it wasn’t just the temperatures that have rocketed over the weekend!

“It was a wonderful family event, and we’ve had so much positive feedback already from traders, chefs, sponsors, partners, and of course visitors to the festival.

“Everyone was enjoying themselves, whether it was watching chef demos, listening to the music or having something to eat or drink, or having fun with the family.

“We had visitors from all over the country and further afield such as Australia and the Netherlands, who came especially for the festival.

Celebrity chef James Martin hailed Bolton Food and Drink Festival the best in the UK as he made his annual visit for his sold-out demos on August Bank Holiday Monday.

He said: “This is the biggest and best food and drink festival in the country. I love Bolton. I love the people and I love the place. The people make the place. To be invited is a privilege.”

Figures collected by Transport for Greater Manchester at key locations around the town centre show that there were 398,943 visitors over the four days.

The event is organised by Bolton Council, in association with Aldi.

More than 200 traders attended over the weekend and top chefs, including The Hairy Bikers, Gregg Wallace, Michael Caines, Simon Wood and Aiden Byrne showcased their culinary skills.

There were also more than 70 live music acts on two stages, as well as street entertainment over the four days.