Prestwich is one of a handful of suburbs forever described as ‘up and coming’. However, after its high street received a £2million makeover in 2018, proud locals will tell you it’s well and truly arrived.
To be fair, you’d be forgiven for comparing Prestwich to Didsbury or Chorlton. A flurry of new bars, restaurants and other independent businesses opening on the main stretch since Bury New Road’s overhaul have given the village a modern, edgy feel. Here are the top reasons why this urban village is the place to be right now.
One of Prestwich’s greatest strengths is its sense of community. There’s a whole host of clubs and social events to keep that unique spirit alive and kicking.
Prestwich Community Cinema supports local filmmakers and is run by volunteers holding monthly screenings at The Carlton Club on Bury Old Road.
Another business that leads the way with community spirit is Village Greens, a community co-operative grocery which serves locals with fresh, local, organic produce and whole foods.
Locals are so proud
And earlier this month a huge mural of late singer Mark E. Smith was painted on the side of Chips@No.8 chippy giving a hat tilt to the legendary Fall singer who spent most of his life in these parts.
With so many new bar openings, Prestwich is becoming the place to be on a Friday and Saturday night. From stand-up comedy shows and Turkish dancing to tasty cocktails and open mic nights, this leafy suburb has it all.
Speaking of Didsbury, the popular West Didsbury café bar Folk opened in the former Solita unit on the main road. This family-friendly cafe by day and a cosy drinking den at night
Cuckoo – One of the most popular bars in Prestwich, hosting an acoustic evening every Thursday and a monthly cinema night when you can get a pizza, themed cocktail and watch a classic film for just £20.
Basil & Lily – Another new popular watering hole on the Prestwich scene. Described as an Italian aperitif bar, boasting delicious cocktails and cheeses it brings a little slice of Italy to Prestwich. Take part in whisky or wine tasting or even a disco bottomless brunch if you have a free afternoon.
The Crooked Man – Set in a renovated Victorian building, The Crooked Man’s owners pride themselves on their passion for music, hosting a resident DJ in the evenings, live music and the occasional comedy event. There is also a weekly quiz which is a big hit with locals.
Grape to Grain – Located in the heart of Prestwich is this fantastic off-licence with a difference – a wine merchant, beer cellar and cheese emporium. All wines and beers are to take away and enjoy at home but can also be enjoyed in store for a minimal corkage fee.
Cape to Cuba – The Village’s latest addition is a quirky, fully licensed, beach shack-esque South African-themed cafe bar serving delicious rum-based cocktails and tasty sandwiches.
Festivals in Prestwich
Not many suburbs can say they host some of the best festivals in Manchester. Prestwich can. The ever-popular Parklife takes place in the grounds of Heaton Park and brings more than 140,000 revellers to the area for a music-packed weekend every June.
And Festwich is the UK’s largest free tribute festival, held every July. They manage to create the best possible experience in a fun-filled and safe family environment, attracting revellers from all over the country, no expense spared.
Places to eat in Prestwich
There are lots of places to eat right on your doorstep including Panama Hatty’s, Croma, Istanbul and this lot:
Anatolian Grill – A very underrated Turkish delight. Anatolian Grill not only serves traditional Turkish cuisines but has a vast selection of wines with a delightful terrace which not many people know about. Until now.
All the Shapes – Spread over two floors with a cutesy garden for you to relax in, dog-friendly, cake heavy serving up some unique dishes and speciality coffee. A perfect spot for brunch, particularly the Shapes Green Eggs (avocado, crispy fried eggs and spinach). Highly recommended.
While house prices are on the rise, your humble pound will still stretch further than other areas in and around Manchester. With more and more trendy apartments being built and new housing developments popping up left right and centre, young professionals are flocking to the area.
From characterful Victorian terrace houses to 1930s family homes, there’s a lot to choose from in Prestwich.
More recently, several million-pound houses have been built in the desirable St Ann’s Road area which have somewhat gentrified the area.
The cost of a pint and your average meal is also cheap compared with other ‘hip’ places in Manchester, averaging out at around £3.60 for a pint of Peroni – up to £1.20 less than other fashionable drinking haunts in and around Manchester.
Parks and Walks
You get a lot of natural beauty for your money in this leafy suburb with several picturesque parks putting it ahead of more urban rivals. Perfect for young families and young professionals trying to keep in shape.
One of the main go-to places is Heaton Park, the biggest and one of the best parks in the north-west. Home to a beautiful boating lake, an animal centre where you can spot several alpacas skipping around and a newly added treetop adventure for your inner monkey.
Enjoy the wildlife, flora and tranquillity of an ancient wooded valley at Prestwich Clough, a hidden gem for ramblers and dog walkers.
And we can’t not mention St Mary’s Park. This pretty park, with its own flower park adjacent, has tennis courts, a playground and an outdoor gym. Locals can be seen taking yoga classes outdoors, weather permitting, of course.
Prestwich has its own Metrolink station so getting into town couldn’t be easier. It takes just 16 minutes to get to Victoria Station, and trams run every five to ten minutes so that you can kiss rush hour chaos goodbye.
For commuters willing to endure Manchester’s weather, cycling is an option too – and it’s downhill all the way, taking less than 20 minutes to get to town. Getting home is another matter, though.
As well as having bus routes that can take you almost anywhere in the north-west, Prestwich is close to the M60. Perfect for distance commuters.
As if all of that wasn’t enough, Prestwich is set for another facelift; this time focused on the Longfield Suite. And rumours of a hotel, a food hall and some brand spanking new apartments are floating around and getting locals very excited.
This is the Place is the name of a poem written by Tony Walsh commissioned by Forever Manchester, the one and only charity that raises money to fund and support community activity across Greater Manchester. And they can’t do it without your help. Please donate what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a hugely rewarding experience. There’s a unique sense of satisfaction in knowing that you are making a real difference to the lives of others, especially to those close to home.