One of the great joys of Manchester are the transport links that bring the city closer together. Circled by the M60 and with a new and improved tram system, getting in and around Manchester has become easier than ever for everyone living and working in the city.
If you are planning to move to Manchester (for the culture, the business, the people, the shopping etc.) then you might want the inside scoop from Mancunians on which areas in and around the city are the best. This isn’t a definitive list, and there is some bias from the huddled team evident here, but it will give you an indication of what to expect when you make your move from farthest away to right on the doorstep.
Located north of the city, Ramsbottom is an ideal town for commuting from the countryside. The M66 is minutes away, leading directly to the M60 so that even in traffic, Manchester city centre isn’t much more than an hour away. There are also regular bus routes to Bury where a tram leaves for Manchester every ten minutes.
The town itself is an old victorian mill town and has retained much of its character with terraced houses all built with the same stone and the East Lancs railway running through the centre. It is a popular weekend tourist spot and there are plenty of walks, pubs and restaurants to keep everyone occupied between small boutique shops.
The funny name refers to the wild garlic growing on the valley floor: hramsa + bottom. In 1324, the town name was written as ‘Ramesbothum’ and later as ‘Ramysbothom in 1540. Neither of these spellings are conclusive, but the people of Ramsbottom are sticking to the garlic story either way.
The title of 4th most desirable town to live in in England says a lot about Sale. Just outside the M60 to the south west of Manchester, getting into the city centre is easy, either driving or on the tram. The centre of Manchester is less than 30 minutes away making this an ideal location for commuters.
Sale has a community spirit like no other: warm, inclusive and safe. The amount of green space and woodland is a great draw to this area and brings people together for local events and Sale Festival Week. The town is surrounded by water with the River Mersey to the north, the Bridgewater canal cutting through Sale town centre and Sale Water Park too. With so much to do outdoors, the area is perfect for dog walkers, cyclists and runners.
The schools in Sale are a huge draw for families looking for great education in an affordable area. Sale Grammar is particularly popular, but there are plenty of outstanding primary and secondary schools in Sale to choose from. There are also regular bus routes to grammar schools in Altrincham.
Just inside the M60 to the south of Manchester, Didsbury is another green area less than 30 minutes from the city centre. There is essentially one long road leading from Didsbury into the city centre, with regular buses and a tram service too.
Didsbury village is full of high-end eateries and is surrounded by some of the largest houses in the Manchester area. There are plenty of independent shops and stylish bars just north in West Didsbury’s Burton road area, too. Two golf clubs are in easy reach and the Fletcher Botanical Gardens are beautifully maintained all year round for the outdoorsy types.
The town has been home to many notable people over the years including John Edward Taylor, the editor and proprietor of the Manchester Guardian, whose Grade II listed house, The Towers, was later home to Daniel Adamson, promoter of the Manchester Ship Canal. Carol Ann Duffy, the first female Poet Laureate now lives in the area.
The ‘Didsbury of North Manchester’, Prestwich is just inside the M60 to the north of the city between Heaton Park and Philips Park. Access to the city centre is simple: Bury New Road will take you directly to the centre of the city with regular buses to Shudehill and a the tram runs every 10 minutes too. The journey takes a mere 15 minutes.
The centre of the village is full of independent shops, bars and restaurants. Prestwich is popular with young families and young professionals alike because the area is so close to the city centre but has retained its village feel. The suburban area of Sedgley Park has a large Jewish population and naturally there are many Jewish businesses, shops and delis here.
Prestwich has a list of notable people to challenge Didsbury including comedian Victoria Wood, author Howard Jacobson and choreographer and Strictly judge, Arlene Philips. The area is also surrounded by greenery and Heaton Park is a popular destination with an 18-hole golf course, a driving range, tennis courts, a boating lake, an animal farm, ornamental gardens and more. If Didsbury has it, Prestwich does too!
Located at the southern end of Deansgate and just inside Mancunian Way, Castlefield is a central location popular with young professionals. The city centre is just minutes away and trams run frequently making all areas of the city centre easily and quickly accessible. Castlefield takes its name from the Roman fort, Mancunium, which was established in AD 79 and gave Manchester its name.
This area is the terminus of the Bridgewater Canal, the world’s first industrial canal. Castlefield is still defined by the wharfs, creating beautiful open spaces and trails to walk. Castlefield is especially popular in the summer months as there are large outdoor drinking areas, regular live music events and plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from.
The warehouses that served the industrial revolution in Manchester have since been regenerated to create stunning warehouse apartments. These high quality developments have enhanced the conservation area and created a community of city-dwellers. There are still building works going on in the area as it continues to expand with its popularity.
Manchester and its suburbs are packed full of culture and every area is different. Whether you are looking for countryside or urban warehouse living, Manchester has it all within an hour of the city centre. This city really is for everyone.