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This is the place: Prestwich is the ‘cool and well-connected suburb’ with plenty going on

As well as the greatest green space in the city region, Prestwich is buzzing with brave new cafe bars - but is it still just up-and-coming or has it finally arrived?

Prestwich is one of those places forever described as ‘up-and-coming’.

But since its high street received a £2million makeover in 2018, most proud locals will tell you that Prestwich has a lot to offer and has established itself as one of the best places to live in Greater Manchester.

In 2022, The Sunday Times named it in its list of the best places to live in the country.

“This is Manchester’s funkiest family suburb – just don’t call it the new Didsbury,” says the paper about Prestwich.

It was also named on the Best Places to Live in the North West by the Sunday Times in 2024.

“This cool and well-connected suburb is where you come if you want to enjoy Manchester’s buzz and have an affordable redbrick house with a garden. There’s a lively restaurant scene, a choice of parks and plenty going on, and the tram makes getting to the city centre a doddle.”

Prestwich people are fiercely protective about their town’s independent image and do not like to be compared to anywhere else.

“The pub scene is companionable, the dining scene lively, and the scenery is life-enhancing,” continues The Times.

“Walk along Prestwich Clough, a pretty valley that will take you all the way to Bolton without crossing a road, or stay closer to home in Heaton Park where on Saturdays 400 runners gather for a parkrun.

“On Thursday evenings, amateur astronomers scour the dark skies, proving that this really is the Northwest’s starriest address.”

Local knowledge

Taking its name from the Old English for a “priest’s retreat”, Prestwich was mostly rural and sparsely populated before it became a centre for silk weaving. According to Prestwich & Whitefield Heritage Society, transport links were poor, and narrow lanes and farm tracks surrounded the area. It wasn’t until the turnpike road from Manchester to Bury, which cuts through the middle of Prestwich, opened that it transformed from a quiet rural village into a busy town.

"My Place" Prestwich Precinct

Prestwich was now on the map – it became a halfway enclave between Manchester and Bury – whereas before, it was just in the middle of nowhere. Wealthy people from Manchester and Salford bought land and built large Victorian villas on or near the new road.

Prestwich became an integral part of the Greater Manchester conurbation.

Its history is still of great interest, though, and there is much research to be done. For more information on the history and heritage of Prestwich (and Whitefield), visit

By the early sixties, the population had reached over 30,000, and Prestwich officially became a suburb of Manchester.

Until fairly recently, Prestwich was something of a cultural and culinary desert. There were a few greasy spoons, a couple of half-decent pubs and a 1960s precinct.

But thanks to an abundance of new bars, flourishing cafe culture and new businesses – such as The Goods In and Osma – it looks like Prestwich may have finally arrived – despite the grim 1960s precinct.

Here are the top reasons why this Manchester suburb is the place to be right now.

The high street is an interesting mix of old and new, with everything you need from a Greggs’ sausage roll to sourdough and organic veg at the Village Greens co-operative.

The best places to eat and drink in Prestwich

Cuckoo Prestwich interior

Prestwich is fast becoming the place to socialise with so many new bar openings – and not just on a Friday and Saturday night.

From cool cocktails and stand-up comedy shows to craft beer and open mic nights, it boasts a bar culture to show most Manchester suburbs how it’s done, not least thanks to Cuckoo.

Cuckoo Prestwich exterior

This indie bar, which opened in 2013, is responsible for introducing city centre standard cocktails to the local area with the bonus of regular culinary evenings featuring local chefs and producers. It’s a home from home and a valued part of the Prestwich community.

Just a few doors up, you’ll find Grape to Grain. This is a specialist wine, beer and spirits merchant which stocks top quality wines from all over the world and offers a handpicked selection to try by the glass from the in-store wine dispenser.  Everything is available to take away and enjoy at home, but it can also be enjoyed in-store exchange for a small corkage fee. Try before you buy has never been so revolutionary. 

And why not attend one of their virtual live tastings and explore the world of wine over Zoom. 

If you walk down Church Lane, you’ll find Prestwich’s oldest pub, The Church Inn, serving real ales and traditional pub lunches as well hosting a regular pub quiz and live music. Rumour has it – as reported by patrons, proprietors and ghost hunters alike – this 1600s historic boozer is properly haunted. According to Bury Times, a ghost nicknamed “Old Tom” is said to haunt the pub cellar, turn off the gas for the lager and move barrels about.

The Church Inn Prestwich

Spread over two floors with a cutesy garden to relax in, All the Shapes is a dog-friendly cafe bar serving up some wholesome but healthy dishes and pretty great coffee. A perfect spot for brunch, particularly the Shapes Green Eggs (avocado, crispy fried eggs and spinach). Please give it a stab.

All The Shapes Prestwich

The people behind All The Shapes have recently transformed a rundown former warehouse into a trendy new cafe bar. The Goods In opened in July and up until fairly recently was still in a staggered soft-opening phase. It’s a large dog-friendly venue opposite the Bury New Road entrance to Heaton Park, serving Bloody Marys and brunch.

Set in a renovated Victorian building on Fairfax Road, The Crooked Man serves a range of keg and cask ales and features in the 2020 Good Beer Guide. But what makes this belting little bar so popular is their passion for music, hosting a resident DJ, live music and the occasional comedy event. There is also a weekly quiz which is a big hit with locals.

There are many popular places to eat in Prestwich village, including Panama Hatty’s, Croma, and Istanbul. But you can thank Michelin-trained Manchester chef Mary-Ellen McTague for putting Prestwich on the culinary map with her critically acclaimed restaurant, Aumbry. Unfortunately, the fine-dining restaurant closed in 2014 due to complications with the premises, but Mary-Ellen positively primed Prestwich for welcoming brave and experimental new concepts to the area.

OSMA, which also opened in September 2020, is an upmarket Scandi restaurant serving a relaxed, healthy lunchtime menu of open Scandinavian sandwiches and hearty salads alongside fresh juices and great coffee. The head chef and proprietor Danielle Heron has worked in some of the top kitchens in the UK, and abroad including numerous Michelin Star awarded restaurants. No wonder it’s recommended in the Michelin Guide and serves the best Sunday roast around.

Everyone should have a decent local Italian restaurant. Prestwich has got Babbo on Scholes Laneround the corner from Osma – serving affordable Italian classic dishes. They weathered the pandemic by adapting as an Italian deli shop but have since reopened to full capacity. 

As for nightlife, Icons opened on Bury New Road in December 2023 specialising in tribute acts with the tagline, “A World of Entertainment”

Icons will host a wide range of entertainment including classic tribute acts, themed nights such Magic Mike, sportsman dinners, celebrity guests appearances and indulgent bottomless brunches that cater to all. The venue also offers function bookings and the doors will be open daily for residents to watch live sport.

For further updates and information on which acts will be available to book, follow Icons Prestwich on Instagram: @icons_restaurant.

Community spirit

One of Prestwich’s greatest strengths is its sense of community.

There’s a whole host of clubs and social events for people to get together and keep that unique spirit alive and kicking. 

Volunteer-run Prestwich Community Cinema holds monthly screenings at The Carlton Club on Bury Old Road.

Another business that leads the way when it comes to community spirit is Village Greens, a co-op on Prestwich Precinct which serves fresh, local, organic produce and whole foods. It’s also a sustainable zero-waste shop where you can fill up your own containers.

Village Greens Prestwich

Prestwich Arts Festival is a creative community festival established and run completely by volunteers. The first event was held in 2018, bringing people together in the joy of arts and celebrating the talents and creativity of the diverse local community.

Commissioned by Prestwich Arts Festival in a display of the community’s affection for music, a huge mural of late singer Mark E. Smith was painted on the side of [email protected] chippy, giving the nod to the legendary Fall singer who spent most of his life in these parts. The fish and chips here are a work of art too.

A giant mural of comedy legend Victoria Wood appeared on the side of the Sword and Sparrow Tattoo Company on Bury Old Road late last year, not far from where she was born.

Credit: Akse P19

Born in Prestwich and raised in Bury, Victoria Wood started her career whilst still an undergrad with an appearance on breakthrough showbiz tv show New Faces in 1974. But she is probably best known for her BBC sketch Acorn Antiques with Julie Walters, the comedy series Dinnerladies and Victoria Wood as Seen On TV.

Although live events are a bit of a sore point at present, not many suburbs can say they host some of the best festivals in Manchester. Prestwich can. 

The ever-popular Parklife Festival takes place on the grounds of Heaton Park and brings more than 140,000 revellers to the area for a music-packed weekend every June, pandemics permitting.

Festwich Tribute Festival,the UK’s biggest tribute festival”, manage to create an affordable and accessible experience in a safe family environment, and attracts revellers from all over the country. This year’s event will take place at Heaton Park and be bigger and better than ever before with three stages, over 30 live acts across two days, funfair, bars and street food. Tickets are around £15 for an adult, £9.50 for 6-17 year olds and free for kids and babies up to five years old. Tickets available here.

Last but not least, on the second Sunday of every month the precinct is buzzing when the Makers Market comes to town with some of the north west’s finest makers and bakers flogging their wares.

Parks and walks

You get a lot of natural beauty for your money in this leafy suburb, with lots of picturesque parks and green spaces putting it ahead of most Manchester suburbs. Perfect not just for families but anyone trying to keep in shape.

The biggest and best known is Heaton Park, the largest municipal park in Europe, where there are 600 acres of green space to keep fit enthusiasts and dog walkers.

There’s a beautiful boating lake, kids playgrounds, and a treetop adventure to satisfy your inner Tarzan. The animal centre (currently closed) has chickens, goats and pigs, as well as more exotic species such as alpacas and peacocks.

Or take a walk on the wild side and enjoy the wildlife, flora and tranquillity of an ancient wooded valley at Prestwich Clough, a favourite retreat of ramblers and dog walkers.

It’s part of Prestwich Forest Park, 200 hectares of woodland and open space with plenty of places to explore and discover, regular activities and events, children’s play areas and, in Philips Park, a mountain bike trail. 

And we can’t mention St Mary’s Park on Bury New Road. With its own flower park adjacent, this pretty park has tennis courts, a playground, and an outdoor gym. Locals can be seen taking yoga classes outdoors, Manchester weather permitting, of course.

Transport links

Prestwich Metrolink tram stop

Prestwich has its own Metrolink tram station and it runs from Prestwich and Heaton Park into the centre of Manchester in 20 minutes with the delights of Bury and its World Famous Market just 15 minutes away in the other direction.

For anyone willing to endure the Manchester weather, cycling is an option too. It’s downhill all the way and takes less than 20 minutes to get to town. Getting home is another matter.

As well as having bus routes that can take you almost anywhere in the north west, Prestwich couldn’t be much closer to the M60, making it perfect for commuters.

Affordability and house prices

House in Prestwich
Credit Jennie Platt Estates and Lettings

While house prices are rising, your humble pound will still stretch further than many other places in and around Manchester. With more and more trendy apartments being built and new housing developments popping up left, right and centre, young professionals flock 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 has somewhat gentrified the area.

If you’re looking for a place to buy and you’ve got about £1 million the grand detached properties on Sheepfoot Lane will be first choice. Otherwise, look at redbrick Victorian houses in the Poppythorn Lane conservation area or Rectory Lane, one of the nicest roads in the warren between Heaton Park and Bury New Road, where a four-bedroom semi will cost about £350,000.

The cost of a pint and your average meal is also cheap compared with other ‘hip’ places in Manchester, averaging around £3.60 for a pint of Peroni – up to £1.20 less than other fashionable drinking haunts in and around Manchester.

So has Prestwich finally arrived, or is it still just up-and-coming? 

“We’ve already seen how the council’s £2m investment in Prestwich High Street has benefited the town,” says Labour councillor Eamonn O’Brien. “Whilst most other high streets are dying, Prestwich is buzzing and has a growing offer of food and drink places that have added to its reputation as one of the best places to live in.”

Some locals say it’s actually still up-and-coming. Prestwich has had more facelifts than Amanda Holden, and now it’s set for another, this time £1.45 million focused on the Longfield Suite, which could be demolished as part of the regeneration plan. And there are rumours of a hotel, a food hall and some brand spanking new apartments, which is getting locals all excited.

Support Prestwich

This is the Place is the name of a poem by Tony Walsh commissioned by Forever Manchester, who manage the I Love Manchester Foundation raising money to fund and support community activity across Greater Manchester. And we can’t do it without your help. So 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 in the lives of others, especially those close to home.

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Manchester is a successful city, but there are many people that suffer. The I Love MCR Foundation helps raise vital funds to help improve the lives and prospects of people and communities across Greater Manchester – and we can’t do it without your help. So please donate or fundraise what you can because investing in your local community to help it thrive can be a massively rewarding experience. Thank you in advance!

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