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Greater Manchester town named best place to live in the North West

There's a lot of hype around Stockport at the moment - and for good reason.
Best Places to Live in the Northwest

Every year the Sunday Times publishes its list of the Best Places to Live in the UK.

Its reporters visit shortlisted locations and assess factors from schools to transport, broadband speeds to culture, as well as access to green spaces and the health of the high street.

Levenshulme, Ancoats and Ramsbottom have all featured among Best Places to Live in the past, whilst Altrincham was named Best Place to Live in the North West in 2020.

Two Greater Manchester towns are featured on this year’s list.

Back in 2022, Best Places called Stockport ‘one of the coolest little corners of the country’. This year it has named it the Best Place to Live in the North West, with Bury suburb Prestwich receiving an honourable mention.

So what did the Sunday Times have to say about Stockport?

“A mighty metamorphosis has begun in SK1, promising to turn it into one of the most exciting towns around,” says the Sunday Times.

“Look beyond the cranes and the disused Debenhams and this proud old town is fast becoming fashion-forward, funky and family-friendly. It’s functional and family-friendly, too, with unbeatable rail connections, parks, sports clubs and good-value houses up and down the property ladder.”

The report says the streets around the Market Square and Underbanks are filled with a “joyous collection of independent businesses” without being “a bit too cool for school like Ancoats or the Northern Quarter,” according to local shopkeeper Sophia Barrese.

“There’s something a bit more grounded here.”

Stockport’s got a thriving art scene too, with places like GRIT Art Studios allowing artists to flourish and learn their craft.

So what did the Sunday Times have to say about Prestwich?

Prestwich is where you live if you want to enjoy Manchester’s buzz and have an affordable terraced house with a garden, says the Sunday Times.

It’s “cool and well connected”, has a choice of parks and plenty going on, and the tram makes getting to the city centre a doddle.

“There’s a real friendly community feel,” says local resident Nancy Arnall. “When you go out you see lots of people in groups of friends rather than couples on their own. We never get bored. On just about every street corner there’s a little place you can nip in for brunch or a drink”.

The Best Places to Live in the UK

“This guide is a celebration of towns, cities and villages that are each a fantastic place to live in 2024, from Dunkeld to Knutsford, Falmouth to Leeds,” says Best Places editor Helen Davies.

“What makes our guide unique is that we visit all the places we choose and talk to locals to find out what life is really like there. That means we can see what people love about the places they live.

“That might be fast commutes and high-achieving schools but also clean water to swim in, lively town centres with useful shops, the possibility of earning a living and being part of a friendly community.

“We consider affordability, though high house prices are no barrier to inclusion – as long as they provide value for money.

“Different people may be looking for different things, but what all our best places have in common is that people love living in them and are proud to call them home.

“These are all places where you can feel grounded as well as upwardly mobile: they have a mature sense of community, lively, supportive high streets and an eye to the future, whether that is eco-friendly measures, transport and regeneration, or imaginative inclusion of new housing”.

Check out our report on Stockport published last year.

You can see the full list of Best Places to Live in the North West on the Sunday Times’s website by clicking here

The Best Place to Live in the UK 2024 is North Berwick.

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