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Preface First

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Thompson Park

Main entrance off Ormerod Road, Burnley 

A formal Edwardian urban park. Retains most original features: boating lake, Italian gardens, Ranger centre, and playground.

Thompson Park is more ornamental than Burnley's other parks with large numbers of flower beds and the large rose garden. This has created quite a different pattern of use compared to the other parks in the borough with more people coming purely to see the flower displays, and for the safe environment for children to play (please note dogs are banned from the park).

There are two main recreational facilities, the boating lake and paddling pool, which are the only ones in the borough. These attract large numbers of people especially during warm weather.

If you wish to see a site map of the park please click here


Burnley Council has been awarded a grant of £861,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) towards the £1.2 million costs of restoring Thompson Park. Work began on site in Autumn 2017 and is nearly complete.  There are still some outstanding items of work to do but it is now once again a fun day out for the whole family.  Please click here to complete a short survey which will help us see how we are doing.

The project aims to restore the Grade II listed park and to celebrate its heritage, from its opening in 1930 to the present day. 

Important notice - For updates and photographs please visit the Burnley Borough Council Facebook page

 The restoration project is focussing on three key areas:

1.     Restoring the park’s traditional recreational facilities

Burnley Borough Council’ green spaces teams are working on the construction of the existing play area which will make it much more exciting and inclusive.  Some of the older equipment has been refurbished and modified to make it more striking and add play value.  

Volunteers from Urbaser have been helping to prepare the play area fencing for painting by power-washing and degreasing it. 

The Paddling pool, which is one of the few remaining in the North West will be resurfaced and repainted and a new pipework installed to facilitate filling/emptying.  

2.    Restoring the parks buildings and structures


The architectural works being undertaken are:


  • The boathouse, managed by Burnley Leisure Trust is being converted into a dementia friendly café, with views of the lake and play area.  The space inside the café will be transformable for activities and groups that they run.  There will also be extra seating on the terrace and new storage units for boats and kayaks.
  • The pavilion is being restored to create a visitor centre and community space for groups such as schools, park volunteers and Friends of Thompson Park meetings, private hire for functions, together with exhibitions, etc.  The park rangers will have their headquarters in there and it will have kitchen facilities for use by community groups and on event days.  Tto make the building more sustainable it will be heated by a biomass boiler which will be fuelled by seasoned wood, produced with the help of volunteers from trees felled in green spaces.

  • Other architectural elements include the refurbishment of the toilet block in the play area and refurbishment of the shelters in the Italian Garden.

  • Other structural features being worked on:

  • The Italian Garden is having the Doric columns re-erected (after they were blown down in a storm in 2011) and is being replanted with wildlife friendly herbaceous perennials.  A new feature of this garden is a disabled access ramp which will allow more people to enjoy the new garden.

  • A new public pay and display car park is being provided next to the miniature railway and will provide 55 spaces for those wishing to visit by car.

  • The rose garden, which overlooks the lake, has been redesigned and a team of Burnley Borough Council staff with volunteers from Burnley College and Urbaser have been working on its construction.  
  • In October 2017 5,000 crocus bulbs were planted on the grass banking by volunteers from the Rotary Club and Pennine Lancashire Community Farm and daffodil bulbs were planted by volunteers from the miniature railway.

3.    Celebrating the social and cultural heritage of the park

A steering group representing park friends and other groups involved in Thompson Park is currently planning delivery of an ambitions activity plan which aims to engage local people in the heritage of Thompson Park:

The activity plan (which is available for download at the top of the page) has 5 main themes

1. Exploring and sharing our heritage

2. Living Healthily

3. Animating the park

4. Learning and skills

5. Capacity building

 All the activities are being planned and discussed at regular steering group meetings which consist of volunteers, Burnley Borough Council staff and staff from Burnley Leisure Trust.

Volunteering Opportunities

There are various ways you can get involved in volunteering at Thompson Park.  If you wish to know more about volunteering opportunities please get in touch with Green Spaces and Amenities by calling 01282 425011 or email

Click on the link below to see a video about the park:


  • Children's play area/Paddling Pool
  • Boating lake
  • Italian garden
  • Miniature railway
  • Beech garden
  • Refreshment kiosk
  • Putting green
  • Ranger base
  • Toilets

Main Features

The main feature of the Park is the boating lake that is approximately 3 acres in extent.

The River Brun bisects the Park, which, in addition to providing the water for the lake, is also an additional point of interest as it provides habitat for various water birds as well as attracting the odd fisherman.

Two ornamental bridges cross the river, both well-preserved original features.

There are approximately five kilometres of paths in the Park.


The Rose Garden consists of 40 rose beds and is situated next to the lake.

The Italian Garden is a sunken garden consisting of 15 flower beds

The Boathouse

Prices from 01-Apr-2018

Rowing Boats  £4

Canadian Canoe £4

Double Kayak  £4

Single Kayak £2  

Boat hire is for 25 minutes.

The boating lake is open every weekend, bank holiday and school holiday from April to October.

Opening hours are from 12pm till 5pm

For hire to schools and community groups for more information contact.

01282 477167 or email

  • Model Boat Permit. This is free of charge.  Please read the terms and conditions then complete and return a model boat permit request form to or call 01282 425011 and select Green Spaces and Amenities.  Documents are available for download on this page.

Paddling Pool

The paddling pool is a great place for kids to cool off on a hot summers day. The pool is filled at weekends and school holidays between April and September on days when the weather is warm and sunny. If you want to check if the pool is full please call the Ranger Service on 01282 831053. There is also a large sand pit adjacent the paddling pool.

Burnley and Pendle Miniature Railway Society

The miniature railway has been developed by the Burnley and Pendle Miniature Railway Society over recent years and was completed in 2005.

The railway operates on Sundays and Bank holidays throughout the year from noon until 4pm (weather permitting). Rides cost £1 and the income is used to support the ongoing development of the railway.

The railway can be booked for children's parties.

We now have wheelchair coach available.

Friends of Thompson and Queen's Park

The friends group has been active since 1998 and meets every month in the ranger base in Thompson Park. Details of meetings can be found on the notice board in the park and are open to all.

The Friends have supported many improvements in the park over recent years including developing the miniature railway, providing a launching platform for model boats, funding sculptures, planting an orchard and helping to organise many events in the park such as Christmas and Easter activities, brass band concerts and the Ranger Open Day.

Contact Michelle Wolfenden on 07759 739360 for more information on the friends group or visit the facebook page here

Contact Information;

Nick Williams, Parks Officer


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