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This is the place: why Sale might be one of the best places to live in the UK – in five years time

Sale is up and coming - make no doubt about it - but has it realised its potential yet?

Located just about five miles southwest of Manchester’s bustling city centre, Sale is home to a thriving community of about 54,000 residents, according to the last census.

This town boasts a storied history that traces its roots back to the medieval era, but what is it like today?

Recently it got a huge nod of approval from The Sunday Times, who suggested it was ‘finally emerging from the shadow of its bigger sister, Altrincham’.

Does that ring true? Before heading down, we weren’t entirely convinced.

They also said: “This Trafford gem is home to top-notch schools, a lively café culture, and such excellent connectivity that you can enjoy a car-free lifestyle.”

Sure, it’s a town in the middle of a makeover, but signs point to it blooming into one of Southern Manchester’s shining stars in a few years.

Of course, it faced a huge setback when Sale Food Hall recently said its goodbyes – a spot that drew foodies from all corners of Greater Manchester.

But hey, don’t let the farewell blues get you down; Sale still packs a punch.

But believe us, there’s still plenty to enjoy and lot’s more to come.

We went down to find out more…

Local knowledge

Sale Town Hall
Sale Town Hall

Sale has a long and fascinating history, which has been marked by a series of important events over the centuries.

In 1643, during the English Civil War, the town was the site of the Battle of Sale, in which Royalist troops led by Prince Rupert of the Rhine defeated Parliamentarian forces.

By the 17th century, Sale had a cottage industry producing garthweb, the woven material used for horses’ saddle girths.

The arrival of the Bridgewater Canal in 1765 transformed Sale’s economy by providing a quick route to Manchester for fresh produce, stimulating urbanisation and growth.

In 1849, the railway arrived in Sale, leading to rapid growth as a commuter town, and attracting the middle class. By the end of the 19th century, its population had tripled.

During World War I, Sale Aerodrome was used as a training base for pilots in the Royal Flying Corps.

The site later played a key role in the development of radar technology during World War II.

Today, it remains a somewhat sleepy commuter town, full of interesting independent shops, restaurants and bars.

According to its residents, perhaps the best thing about Sale, is its strong sense of community.

We caught up with some residents to talk about Sale’s community spirit.

Simon, from Hops and Boogie

Simon, who runs Hops and Boogie, said that he loved how easy it was in Sale to get from one place to another.

“There are four tram stops, so you can get in and out of Manchester easily.”

He also said it was a great place to buy a house, both in value and availability.

“One of my favourite things about Sale is the wide open green spaces. I love walking down the river and the water park – it’s beautiful around the canals too.”

Simon also talked about the recent developments in the area that have made it such an attractive place to live.

“Before Stanley Square was developed – there weren’t many places to get out and about and enjoy a night out locally. You’d have to get up to Manchester, Altrincham, Chorlton or maybe even Didsbury.

“But now with a team of independent businesses supporting each other and collaborative events planned in 2024, the Square can provide a community hub to bring people in M33 together. It’s a brilliant place to be.”

Simons’ top recommendations would be to check out  Stanley Square & Northenden Road for places to enjoy a night out. He also loves to go bird watching around the water park, or take the kids to paint something at Bean & Brush – or to get a coffee at Grapefruit.

Rina and Arti, from amphora

We spoke with Rina, who owns àmphora café, another hugely popular spot in Sale.

“The community spirit here is Sale is so nice, it’s very much at the heart of everything that happens here” said Rina, from Amphora Cafe.

“It’s a small place, and everyone knows each other – but not only that, we all support each other. Especially local businesses.”

Sale has seen a proliferation of local businesses with independent roots.

“It sounds a bit cliche, but we’re all like a family here.

“If ever I need something, help or advice, I’ll drop in on a local business to ask them first.

“We all stick together.”

Rina said that there’s such a great selection of shops and restaurants in Sale these days, that they rarely have to travel further afield.

“One of my favourite bars in the area is Cork of The North. It’s incredible! So cosy and comforting, you can’t beat it for a nice glass of wine.

“In terms of restaurants too, there’s a fabulous selection. Greens would be my favourite, their food is top notch.

“Stanley Square is the place to be, but it’s well worth venturing outside for some more classy independent spots.”

Cllr Tom Ross Sale

Councillor Tom Ross, said Sale was buzzing with excitement and it was truly a place coming up in the world.

He said: “We have made a clear commitment to the people of this borough that we will regenerate and transform our town centres and that is exactly what we are doing.”

The council have been moving towards more affordable housing options and the re-development of the Town centre continues apace.

He continued: “Sale is a really exciting place to be at the moment and is buzzing thanks to all the work taking place and new restaurants opening.

“I am, of course, delighted that Trafford Council is playing a major part in the modernisation of Sale and am confident it will keep going from strength to strength.”

Best places to eat and drink

Cosy cheese and wine nights? Check. Craft beers from all corners of the world, washed down with your favourite vinyl records? Check. Traditional.. err.. Greengrocers, you’re not going to believe it! Sale has that too. .

Artisan Coffee, innovative Indian food? Sale has got a really fabulous selection.

Sale is smashing it when it comes to interesting places to eat, drink and have great nights out.

Most of the action is around the re-developed Stanley Square, done by Altered Space – who have effectively turned around a pretty grim  1960s brutalist shopping center.

They’ve successfully re-envisioned it, turning it into a bit of a haven for enthusiasts of fine food and beverages.

It is fast becoming a bit of a foodie hot spot, so let’s walk you through it.

Dutch Courage is craft beer haven in Stanley Square, offering delightful cocktails and an inviting terrace for sunny days. Check them out here

Wine more your thing? Check out Cork of the North. Sip on fine wines in a cosy ‘wine garden,’ accompanied by an assortment of delectable small plates and various kinds of cheese. Beautiful. Visit their website for more.

A buzzing Hops and Boogie

Hops and Boogie is a welcoming tap room, bottle shop and vinyl store that brings together an eclectic mix of domestic and international craft beer with an enviable collection of great music preserved on vinyl.

Jackalope is another superb cafe, and for those looking for a health kick, they make their own Kombucha. It’s not all probiotics and ‘choose health’ as they also have a great selection of, more regulation British Cafe fayre.

Think cakes, brunch, breakfast, etc.

The owner of Jackalope, Jake Filson brews his special home brand Komucha, and even has one with alcohol in.

They’ve got a saucy selection of cocktails too for the evening, if that’s your thing.

Foodwise, if you’re looking for a great Indian restaurant – try Roti. They serve incredible Indian-Scottish fusion dishes, including inventive creations like the roti ‘chip butty’ and Haggis pakoras. Check out their full menu by clicking here


Indulge in the flavours of Italy at the beautiful and very traditional restaurant, Borello, who offer an extensive menu of Italian classics.

Off The Hook Fish and Chip Shop is a super trendy chippy, with classic fish and chips and some more interesting options too. A classic performer, sometimes you just cannot beat a classic.

They’ve got tasty treats including a menu that includes homemade pies and unique options like sweetcorn pakoras.

amphora cafe
Amphora Cafe

Amphora Cafe is a wonderful family-run cafe specialising in homemade food  and delicious coffee.

Their menu includes a variety of tastes including brunch favourites eggs benedict to homemade cakes and macaroons. The baked eggs come highly recommended, with house sauce or yoghurt a great option.

With a penchant for turning any dish into a brunch masterpiece as long as it features an egg, Blanchflower is a true Sale gem. Think beautiful home grown produce showcasing the best of what the North West has to offer.

Grapefruit, Sale

Grapefruit is another great cafe in Sale, that takes their coffee seriously, sourcing beans from various corners of the globe to ensure the finest brews. At the moment you can just take away – but it’s worth the trip.

Complementing these exceptional coffees are an array of delectable home-baked treats, from raspberry lamingtons to blueberry friands and fig galettes, you can’t go far wrong here.

It goes without saying, Greens is one of the best restaurants in Greater Manchester. Run by Simon Rimmer of Sunday Brunch fame, this is an incredible restaurant for vegetarian food.

Despite the Didsbury site tragically closing after a colossal rent hike from the landlord, Greens in Sale is still doing a roaring trade. It’s not just fabulous food they sell. Equipped with a funky and welcoming bar for cocktails, craft beers and organic wines; a relaxing roof garden; a street terrace – it’s the place to be.

Num6er, an incredible indie bar – was a bit of a trailblazer for Sale’s ‘revival’. With a superbly stocked gin and whiskey bar – it sit next to the highly recommended Cork of the North on Northenden road. Strong makings of a decent pub crawl there, fellas.

If you’re looking for some fruits from the sea, Oystercatcher is a great shout.

It is an intimate neighbourhood restaurant with a mission to share. 

With a varied, wholesome menu (sustainable where possible), serving both well-loved British classics, chargrilled choices and dishes influenced by other seafood-loving nations, this isn’t one to miss.

Vegetarian and meat options are always available, too.

MANO a BOCCA has brought the intense and beautiful flavours of Rome, to sunny Sale. The name itself, a playful nod to the phrase ‘Hand to Mouth,’ perfectly encapsulates the philosophy behind their thin-crust Romana pizzas – meant to be savored in the moment. Proprietor William Moxey, hailing from Wales with a rich Italian heritage, leads the charge alongside the founding team. Their bespoke pizza menu features traditional Italian delights like the Salsiccia & Friarielli pizza, as well as inventive creations like the Vegan Broccoli pizza.

Walton Perk is a great place to pick up a brew.  Set on a narrowboat on the Bridgewater Canal, it’s moored near Walton Park. Perfect location for a nice cup in beautiful settings.

If you’re looking for more interesting coffee stops, check out our list of great and quirky coffee stops across Greater Manchester.

Shopping in Sale

Maker’s Market is a monthly haven for Sale residents, showcasing local treasures from food to plants, homeware, and records.

Here, you’ll discover one-of-a-kind handcrafted gifts, delectable homemade pastries, and a variety of artisanal creations from talented makers and producers.

Check out what’s on at the next Maker’s Market by clicking here

A hidden gem housing 37 independent local businesses, Emporium M33 offers everything from fashion and antiques to candles, cakes, and art.

Within the confines of Emporium M33, you’ll discover cool shops like B for Butterfly Books and Shine Gifts, all coexisting under one roof, carefully curated by the passionate owner, Scott Lyons.

Looking for something unique? Check out The Sculpts.

Established in 2020 by the talented illustrator and architect Richard Bennett, The Sculpts is a haven for exquisite homewares and textiles that pay homage to the rich heritage of Manchester. This artisanal brand takes pride in its hand-illustrated gifts, which include decorative alphabet tiles, bone china mugs, and art prints, all crafted with a distinctive touch and exceptional quality.

Step into the world of Stylejunky Boutique, and you’ll emerge feeling like a fashion icon without breaking the bank. The dedicated team is always on the lookout for new, designer-inspired pieces to grace their collection.

The curated selection of clothing ensures that you not only look stylish but also feel confident and at ease.

Check out the latest arrivals and their chic, boutique offerings. Additionally, Stylejunky hosts regular late-night styling evenings, offering an immersive and enjoyable shopping experience. If you find yourself in need of some expert guidance in making fashion choices, take advantage of their personalised styling appointments.

Away from fashion, Ashby’s Greengrocer’s is a traditional grocery store with a mission to revive the ‘traditional greengrocer’ experience, offering organic, fresh produce.

They are focused on traditional-style greengrocers selling classic produce, getting stuck into that healthy lunch trade with salads, juices and soups.

Idaho is another great little indie gem. Curating the best indie brands from around the world, Idaho features a diverse selection, from homeware to cards and more. Check out what they’ve got on offer here

Feeling eco-conscious? Why not try Fantastic – No Plastic, established in 2021, is on a mission to empower the residents of Sale and beyond to embrace a more sustainable approach to shopping. This eco-conscious establishment provides patrons with plastic-free alternatives, a stark contrast to the overly-packaged items commonly encountered in supermarkets. From essentials like rice, pasta, dried fruits, nuts to toiletries, Fantastic – No Plastic is dedicated to offering a diverse range of sustainable choices.

Looking for some reading inspiration? Why not drop in to Get Free Books Sale. An initiative driven by the Global Educational Trust (GET), was established with a crucial awareness – one in six adults faces literacy challenges. The primary mission of GET is to democratise access to reading for everyone. They allow anybody to take three books from the shop, which is situated in Stanley Square opposite Rymans.

And if you’re feeling lazy, you can always have your shopping delivered by robots..because, well why not?


Sale has a wide range of schools, including primary schools, secondary schools, and colleges. The town has a good reputation for education.

In terms of primary schools, some of the most popular options in Sale include Brooklands Primary School, St. Anne’s Catholic Primary School, and Tyntesfield Primary School.

These schools have all received excellent ratings from Ofsted, the government organisation responsible for inspecting schools in England.

For secondary education, Sale Grammar School is widely considered to be one of the best schools in the area.

The school consistently achieves excellent academic results, and it has a strong reputation for providing high-quality education.

Other highly regarded secondary schools in Sale include Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, St. Ambrose College, and Sale High School.

In addition to these mainstream schools, Sale is home to several specialist schools and colleges.

These include Trafford College, which offers a range of further education courses, and the Manchester Health Academy, which specialises in health and social care education.

Overall, Sale has a strong and diverse education sector, with many excellent schools and colleges to choose from.

Families moving to the area can be confident that there are plenty of good options available for their children.

Parks and leisure in Sale

Worthington Park

Sale is home to several beautiful public spaces and parks, which offer a variety of amenities and recreational opportunities for residents and visitors alike.

One of the most popular parks in Sale is Worthington Park. 

This park features a playground, several sports fields, as well as a range of beautiful flowerbeds and landscaped areas.

Another popular park in Sale is Walton Park, which is situated on the southern edge of the town.

This park features a range of sports facilities, including tennis and basketball courts, as well as a skate park and a children’s play area.

The park also offers stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

Other public spaces in Sale include Sale Water Park, which features a large lake and a range of watersports activities, and the Bridgewater Canal, which offers peaceful walks and picturesque views of the local landscape.

An aerial picture of Sale Water Park

Kayak at the water park, amble by the Mersey, trundle into town on the tram and even sail in Sale.

Just a short walk from the Sale tram stop, Walkden Gardens invites you to embrace nature.

Explore manicured lawns, the enchanting Cherry Walk, and the serene Japanese Garden, among other beautiful green spaces.

Transport links

Road transport is well-developed in Sale, with the M60 motorway running to the north of the town.

This motorway provides easy access to Manchester city centre and other parts of Greater Manchester, as well as to destinations further afield.

Sale is also served by a number of major roads, including the A56, which runs through the town and provides a direct route to Manchester city centre.

Other nearby roads include the A56(M), which connects with the M60 motorway, and the A6144, which runs east-west through the town.

Public transport options in Sale are also excellent. The town has its own railway station, which is situated on the Manchester to Altrincham line.

This line provides regular services to Manchester city centre, as well as to other destinations in the region, including Manchester Airport.

There are also several bus routes that serve the town, connecting it to other parts of Greater Manchester and beyond.

For those who prefer to cycle, Sale has a good network of cycle paths and on-road cycle lanes, which make it easy to get around the town and to nearby areas.

House prices

Key to Sale’s appeal is the range of properties it offers: from relatively affordable apartments (one-bedders from £150,000) to the village-y feel of Ashton upon Mersey and the area’s £1 million-plus period homes, there’s an entry point for everyone.

Sale, Manchester, has a flourishing property market with diverse options for potential homeowners.

Over the last 12 months, the average sold price for properties in Sale stands at an impressive £396,500.

The real estate landscape in Sale offers a variety of property types, each with its unique appeal and price range.

For those seeking luxurious living, detached houses are the most sought-after, commanding an average sold price of £655,337. Semi-detached properties, on the other hand, strike a balance between space and affordability, with an average sold price of £463,535.

For those who value community living and charm, terraced houses offer a sense of togetherness and warmth, with an average sold price of £327,476.

Lastly, flats provide an excellent opportunity for individuals looking for more compact and budget-friendly living arrangements, boasting an average sold price of £180,630.

Whether you seek opulence, family-friendly neighbourhoods, or cosy spaces, Sale offers a diverse range of properties to cater to every taste and budget.

With its thriving real estate market, Sale stands out as a promising destination for homeowners and investors looking to be part of Manchester’s vibrant community.

With its unbeatable location, excellent transport links, top-notch education system, fantastic amenities, and a strong sense of community, there’s something for everyone in this vibrant and welcoming town.

So why not make Sale your next home?

You won’t look back in about five year’s time.

Do you live in Sale? Is there something we missed from this list, maybe a hidden gem? Let us know! Please email [email protected]

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