THE history of Bolton as a market town dates back more than 750 years to 1251, when the town was granted its Market Charter by King Henry III.

The market, in its current location in Ashburner Street, has been there since the 1930s.

There are more than 300 stalls across 17,000 square feet, covering the indoor and outdoor market.

Last year, it was named the Best Indoor Retail Market 2010 by the National Association of British Market Authorities and received the award for Tourism Retailer of the Year at the Manchester Tourism Awards 2009.

Bolton has a long heritage as a bustling market town and the markets continue to thrive today with four to choose from, with the district markets based in Farnworth, Horwich and Westhoughton.

The market now plays a big part in the annual Bolton Food and Drink Festival with cookery demonstrations in the market kitchen, away from the main event in Victoria Square.

Celebrity chefs the Hairy Bikers are big fans of Bolton Market and visit every year when they are in town for the festival.

The market was relaunched in 1997 after a £5 million revamp with a huge 50ft inflatable elephant and 1,251 balloons, representing the year the town was granted its market charter.

But by 2004, traders were calling for a further cash injection as the market struggled to keep its head above water.

Since then, however, Bolton Market has gone on to revitalise itself and become renowned across the North West for its meat, fish and fruit and veg stalls.