“Alty is where suburbia meets utopia,” says The Sunday Times in their guide to the best places to live.
The trams, trains and canalside cycle route into Manchester are flagged up as highlights – as well as the high street, once described as the “worst high street in Britain. Not any more.”
There are “pup-friendly parks, enviable period houses and schools to satisfy the most tigerish of parents,” says the guide.
Altrincham Market House food hall has been open for only three months out of the past 12, but when it was open the 200-yard queues demonstrated the appetite for its “simple but delicious local grub and ultra-convivial atmosphere.”
The only catch? House prices that “fit a footballer’s budget better than a family one.”
Altrincham is not the only place to make the grade, according to The Sunday Times, which also includes the “golden triangle town” of Knutsford.
Manchester is also described as one of the best places to live in 2021, despite a tough year in which many places have had to remain closed.
There are still good things going on, says the paper – and most of them in the area around Manchester Piccadilly station.
The new developments under construction “won’t just plug a gap” between Manchester’s best bits – Ancoats and the Northern Quarter; Canal Street and Oxford Road – they will also bring “much-needed colour and community” to an overlooked corner.
Places highlighted include Chapeltown Picture House (“home of cult films, video games and cool nerd stuff”), and the Track brewery (£28 for a mini cask of State of Mind extra pale ale).
Also mentioned are the first residents moving into Crusader Mill, an elegant conversion that has become the city’s first purpose-built owner-occupier development thanks to a ban on buy-to-renters.
New “garden neighbourhood” Kampus is also mentioned as one to watch.
Ancoats has managed to “retain its individuality”, says the guide, thanks to a good selection of local shops and restaurants, among them Companio Bakery, Ancoats General Store, the Hip Hop Chip Shop and Viet Shack.
You’ll love living in the city if you want to be “ahead of the game in the heart of the action,” it suggests.
But If that’s all “a bit too urban”, you could always head south to the suburb of Chorlton-cum-Hardy.
Are there any downsides to city centre living? “We’re getting worried about Manchester’s future direction – too many luxury investment flats,” the piece says. “Something for families and some decent social housing too, please.”
But overall, the message is: “Music venues may be closed, but there’s still plenty to rave about in Manchester.”