Didsbury - why you should move to this Manchester suburb

Central Didsbury

Central Didsbury - Credit: Kirsty Thompson/Archant

Jenny Schippers visits the sought-after South Manchester suburb that has a magnetic pull for many young professionals and families seeking an escape from hectic city-centre living, while still retaining a cosmopolitan lifestyle

With its sophisticated red-brick housing, tree-lined streets, and abundance of refreshing green spaces Didsbury offers its residents a suburban village feel.

Alongside its edgier neighbours, East and West Didsbury, this all-encompassing collective brings choice and variety when deciding where to live, shop, and eat. Most importantly, everyone who resides or visits the area is made to feel extremely welcome.  

Burton Road, West Didsbury

Burton Road, West Didsbury - Credit: Kirsty Thompson/Archant

Didsbury village is best suited to those seeking a finer work/life balance, while still retaining a close link to the city.

Manchester is a mere 10-minute tram journey from East Didsbury, with the quaint villages of Cheshire easily reached in under 20 minutes by car. Wilmslow Road and its West Didsbury counterpart, Burton Road, are fringed with a plethora of independent traders and exciting eateries, creating an unrivalled day-to-night atmosphere found nowhere else this side of Manchester.

Many have found their forever home within this Didsbury enclave, and after a spend a day exploring the area, I can understand why. 

Food
It is nigh on impossible to make it through Didsbury village without popping into any one of the enticing eateries or fine-food purveyors dotted along its length.

Didsbury high street offers both modern charm and old-fashioned nostalgia in equal parts, proudly retaining its butcher The Three Little Pigs, fishmonger Evans of Didsbury and cheesemonger The Cheese Hamlet. Just around the corner on Barlow Moor Road, The Art of Tea is a magical place where delicious cakes and an impressive repertoire of teas are served alongside second-hand books, all tucked away for sale towards the rear of the café.  

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It is easy to start your day right in Didsbury: make your way to the ivy-strewn Saints and Scholars located on Wilmslow Road, for a leisurely breakfast.  This is a Didsbury stalwart and for good reason, serving traditional and vegetarian fry-ups alongside great coffee with the outside seating area is always brimming with locals on a sunny day.

Albert’s Restaurant and Bar, conveniently located between Didsbury and West Didsbury is a Manchester institution. With an extensive menu taking you from weekend brunch to dinner and cocktails; this stylish, glass-fronted establishment is brimming with regulars and families. Children are made to feel welcome here with a sizeable and varied menu.  

The award-winning Hispi, tucked away on School Lane, is a little bistro with a big reputation. Diners can choose between two or three courses chosen from the bistro or seasonal main menu, with optional paired wines. The ever-changing modern British dishes are created using the finest regional produce making it a popular choice all year round. In West Didsbury, The Metropolitan pub serves a cracking Sunday roast while Volta, Pomegranate and Wanago catapult you to warmer climes, with exotic dishes to tantalise the tastebuds. 

Shop 
Both Didsbury, and West Didsbury, are well known for their thriving independent shops and boutiques together with a bustling monthly Makers Market. Begin on Burton Road, with coffee at Thyme Out Food Co before hitting the high street; visit Sterenako for on-trend clothing appealing to fashion-conscious Mancunians before calling at Moth for Scandi-inspired homeware and Belly Button Designs for charming cards and gifts.

From here, choose a selection of handcrafted chocolates from Cocoa Cabana before taking the short walk to A Taste of Honey, where you will find an array of locally sourced produce. For the newly engaged, the award-winning White Closet remains one of the finest bridal boutiques in the North West, dressing thousands of brides with their head-turning designs since opening in 2009.  

Once you have exhausted the shops of West Didsbury, make your way to Didsbury itself, via the Flower Lounge. Creating floral art, the breathtaking window displays alone will draw you in. On reaching Wilmslow Road, The Edit and nearby Kjole, situated on Albert Hill Street, are brimming with stylish womenswear and accessories.

Hidden away on the delightful Warburton Street, EJ Morten Booksellers is a labyrinth of old and new books – a place filled with memories for many, serving the residents of Didsbury since 1959. For a final touch of luxury after a day spent exploring Didsbury, KGM Aesthetics, provides the latest in skin, body, and healthcare from its pretty village clinic. 

Fletcher Moss Park

Fletcher Moss Park - Credit: Kirsty Thompson/Archant

Stretch Your Legs 
The GM Greenway – the green corridor surrounding Manchester – is sectioned into 20 individual stages offering traffic-free footpaths and the opportunity to immerse yourself in nature, while still being very much within the city limits. The Mersey Valley Greenbelt passes to the southern edge of both Didsbury and West Didsbury, connecting the Green Flag-awarded Fletcher Moss Park, neighbouring Parsonage Gardens and Stenner Woods with both Chorlton and Sale Water Parks. 

Fringing the banks of the River Mersey, Fletcher Moss Park is open daily and offers a free to visit parkland with facilities, deserving of at least a few hours. It also serves as the starting point for several circular trails and longer linear routes along the water’s edge and Trans Pennine Trail. Before or after your walk, be sure to stop for a hot drink and homemade cake at the Alpine Tearooms located on the elevated terrace overlooking the gardens. 

Close by, Marie Louise Gardens, located on Palatine Road, is a hidden 4.75-acre oasis of accessible pathways and lovingly-maintained green space. Often overlooked, even by long-term residents, the park is adjacent to both the Blackburn Park and Albert Park conservation areas having originally been gifted to the people of Manchester in 1903. The Friends Group of volunteers was formed in 2008 and ably assists the council in preserving the character of the gardens for everyone to enjoy. 

Nicola Suckley of the Wellbeing and Rehabilitation Company

Nicola Suckley of the Wellbeing and Rehabilitation Company - Credit: Kirsty Thompson/Archant

In the spotlight 
Nicola Suckley, The Wellbeing and Rehabilitation Company 
Based in the recently renovated District Bank building in West Didsbury, the Wellbeing and Rehabilitation Company offers a range of wellbeing and clinical health services including physiotherapy and rehabilitation, women’s health, health psychology, counselling, massage therapy, and exercise classes. Nicola, and the team, support individuals to achieve their personal goals regardless of health status; working to rehabilitate patients with long-term conditions including cancer and long-Covid as well as general health and lifestyle assessments. 

Nicola says: 'Having lived in West Didsbury for more than 15 years, it is lovely to now be part of the local business community and offer something which can support the health and wellbeing of its residents.' 

Joanna Boon explains why she loves Didsbury so much

Joanna Boon explains why she loves Didsbury so much - Credit: Kirsty Thompson/Archant

Why I love it here 
Joanna Boon  
Founder, Burton Road, Business Support  

'I love all the independent businesses in Didsbury and how hard people work to make them a success. There is such a strong community feeling with everyone pulling together to create something special. I am biased because I grew up here, but the fact I returned, just proves the fact that people struggle to stay away.  

'The window displays at The Cheese Hamlet, getting a book from Morten's, watching the River Mersey through the seasons... they re all small things, that add up to Didsbury being a rather wonderful place to live. My own local business, Burton Road, now supports start-ups and small-scale businesses dotted throughout Didsbury by providing affordable marketing options to help them grow.' 

Chorlton - why you should move to this Manchester suburb

2021 Chorlton 12 (1)

With a wealth of fashionable delis, cafes, bars and shops, Chorlton-cum-Hardy - to give it its full name - is a haven for independent businesses.

 Why you should move to Chorlton