People often rush to the heart of the city centre when visiting Manchester, but there are lots of reasons why booking a hotel in Stockport can be a better idea
It’s often the case with big cities, that the suburbs get overlooked when it comes to people visiting them. But, often, you’ll find that those little places on the outskirts can be the best places to stay, especially if you like to observe the world at a slightly slower pace as well as being able to soak up the atmosphere of a big, crowded city. Think small, local high streets bustling with independent businesses and neighbourhood restaurants, and green open spaces to relax in once you’ve had enough of the hectic lifestyle in the city centre. It’s for all these reasons that we believe (perhaps marginally biased!) that you should book a hotel in Stockport instead of in the centre of Manchester. With a short train ride into the city, you really can get the best of both worlds.
HOP ON THE TRAIN TO THE CITY
And you’ll be in central Manchester in no time! If you’re visiting Manchester, it’s a great idea to book a hotel in Stockport and get the best of both worlds when it comes to a quiet, leafy and local vibe, as well as having the hustle and bustle of the city on your doorstep. A lot of people visit Manchester because they have friends or family in the area but, chances are, those loved ones don’t live slap bang in the centre. Generally, by opting to stay in a hotel somewhere such as Stockport, you can enjoy what the city centre has to offer but also be closer to the residential neighbourhoods of Greater Manchester. Heaton Chapel train station, for example, just down the road from our serviced apartments, gives access to Manchester city centre in less than 10 minutes. So, what might you like to do when you travel into the centre?
When it first opened in 1906, Victoria Baths was considered one of the most splendid bathing institutions in the country. No expense was spared in the design of it and it’s well worth taking a peek at. Although the actual baths closed in 1993, you can take guided tours and enter on open days to see the beautiful original building. Time Out also feature Victoria Baths as one of their favourite things to do in Manchester, as part of their pretty extensive list – we agree though, there’s lots to shout about in this wonderful part of the world!
The Northern Quarter
It wouldn’t be a trip to Manchester without paying the infamous Northern Quarter a visit. Situated between Piccadilly and the Ancoats, it is home to some of the best restaurants, coffee shops, art galleries and bars in the city, it’s a firm favourite haunt for both locals and tourists. It’s the cultural heart of Manchester in many ways, with street art to take in, independent record shops like Eastern Bloc and Vinyl Exchange and a lot going on. Make sure you check out the Manchester Craft & Design Centre, Odd Bar for continental beers and Mint Lounge for a dance.
Theatre at HOME
Since it opened in 2015, HOME has become known for showing some of the most thrilling theatre and dance shows, as well as showing some of the best independent films from across the world. If you want to discover new art, music, stories from the city and new experiences, you should definitely pay HOME a visit.
The Lowry is a theatre and gallery complex at Saltford Quays. What was once an abandoned dockland area is now a bustling and contemporary leisure destination, so Saltford Quays is well worth a visit anyway. The Lowry first opened its doors 20 years ago, and now presents audiences with a diverse programme of theatre, opera, musicals, dance and visual arts, all with the ambition to enrich people’s lives and work with local communities.
Whitworth Art Gallery
If there’s something that Manchester is really good at, it’s definitely its music and creative culture. Whitworth Art Gallery is a beautiful gallery that was renovated tastefully and showcases the best of its history and past. It sits in a wonderful park and houses some incredible pieces and collections of art.
Craft Beer Tour
Manchester has made something of a name for itself with its fabulous craft beer scene, so you’d be silly not to stop by some of the best places for a taste of the good stuff – if that’s what you’re into, of course. Try speciality bars such as Port Street Beer House, The Runaway Brewery and Beermoth. The Knott in Deansgate is a great pub known for its brilliant selection of craft ale and Seven Bro7hers in trendy Ancoats is great too. Oh, and if you’re staying at our Stockport Serviced Apartments, continue the crawl on in Heaton Chapel at Heaton Hops or pick up some bottles for back at the apartment from The Epicurean. We told you staying in Stockport was a great idea!
FILL UP ON FOOD
Speaking of the food and drink scene, Manchester is famous for its incredible food markets – some would say that it really has been ahead of the curve when it comes to street food for a long time. Make sure you check out Hatch, GRUB and Foodie Friday in Stockport. For restaurants, don’t miss out on the amazing food at Hawksmoor, Tattu, TNQ and 20 Stories. Restaurants in Stockport are second to none too, and it’s a really lovely place to visit if you love nothing more than soaking up a real neighbourhood vibe. Some of the best areas to seek out the best food in are the Heatons, Cheadle and Stockport Town Centre – definitely don’t miss Where the Light Gets In. For a more detailed insight into the best restaurants in Stockport and the best coffee shops in Stockport, head over to our dedicated features – believe us, there’s a lot to enjoy!
ENJOY THE OPEN SPACE AND GARDENS
One of the great things about Greater Manchester is how much green space there is in a city with such an industrial and urban past. Of course, if you stay in a hotel in Manchester city centre, you’re unlikely to be close to any real open spaces, but that’s why opting to stay in a hotel in Stockport is a brilliant idea. You’ll be spoiled for choice in Stockport when it comes to green spaces and beautiful open gardens to while the afternoon away and walk around, with the county boasting 14 nature reserves and many country parks. We’ve rounded up some of our favourite places to escape to for a dose of nature and rejuvenation.
If you like ogling at history and architecture as well as nature, then a walk around the 70-acres of parkland at Bramall Hall could be a perfect afternoon out for you. The beautiful Tudor manor house is stunning, and the gardens are perfect for runners and walkers alike.
Marple Locks is a really beautiful area of Stockport to wander around, and it’s quite something to take in. The flight of 16 locks is one of the steepest in the UK, and it’s something a little bit different to walk around than your usual green space route. Oh, and while you’re in Marple, you should check out Libby’s Bread and Wine – we promise, you won’t be disappointed.
Opened in 1858, this is the oldest country park in Stockport, and it’s not hard to see why people enjoy spending time here. Vernon Park boasts mature woodland and provides unique areas for traditional pastimes such as crown green bowls, as well as beautifully restored areas of formal and informal parkland.
This neighbourhood favourite takes up 100-acres of green space, so is a huge area to explore. Locals love Bruntwood Park and it provides a great space for recreational and sporting activities, as well as simply for taking a walk around. It’s a great place to head to with kids, so if you’re visiting family and friends, make sure to check it out.
Etherow Country Park
Etherow Country Park is located in a village called Compstall, between Marple and Romiley, and is a perfect place to while away a few spare hours in nature. In 1968, it became one of England’s first country parks, and now, it attracts over a quarter million visitors a year. It’s such a lovely park to appreciate the natural beauty of ancient woodland along the river valley; in the foothills of the Peak District National Park.
Lyme Country Park
You couldn’t do a guide to Stockport’s green spaces without including Lyme Country Park, that’s for sure. The National Trust property in Disley consists of a mansion house surrounded by formal gardens, in a deer park in the Peak District National Park. It is incredibly beautiful and somewhere you won’t exhaust any time soon.
SOAK UP THE HISTORY
Stockport is an area of Manchester that, although people may not realise it, is actually brimming with historical culture and interesting stories from the past. Here, we round up some of the best places to soak up the industrial culture and historical heart of Stockport.
This grade-II* listed medieval building dates from around 1460 and is famous for its rare Jacobean cage-newel staircase. You can visit Staircase House today and an audio guide will recount the full history of the house. It really is a place that lets you travel back in time so if you like immersive museums, this one is a brilliant place to check out.
Air Raid Shelters
Another place to step back in time, Stockport Air Raid Shelters allows you to truly experience the sights and sounds of Britain’s Home Front. You can wander around the original tunnels, which date back to 1939, and understand what daily life was like in wartime Britain.
One of the largest brick structures in England, the Stockport Viaduct is quite a sight to behold and a lovely little piece of history and architecture to plan into your walking tour of Stockport. It was a major pioneering structure of the early railway age so attracts all sorts of tourists coming to take a look.
This award-winning museum offers two floors of interactive exhibits that take you through the history of Stockport’s thriving hatting days. Hat Works Museum houses a recreated hatting factory floor with a collection of over 20 fully restored working Victorian style machines, rescued from former local hat factories, as well as a huge collection of over 400 hats.
INDULGE IN MUSICAL MANCHESTER
It’s a well-known fact that Manchester is known for its musical accolades and history (some call it one of the musical capitals of the world), but Stockport also has some musical activities to get your teeth stuck into. Founded in 1968 by Peter Tattershall, Strawberry Studios was a recording studio that was used by the likes of 10cc, Joy Division, the Stone Roses and Cliff Richards. Although you can’t go in and explore the building, it’s a great spot to pop by when you’re in Stockport and take a look at plaque explaining the rich history. For true Mancunian-style music nights, head down to Band on the Wall in the bohemian Northern Quarter, or head to Manchester Academy or The Ritz for up and coming talent.