The reinvention of Altrincham and why it’s the place to be
- Credit: Archant
Head to Altrincham for an afternoon and soak up the feelgood vibe, suggests Janet Reeder
Altrincham has got its mojo back. No longer is it the sad downbeat town living on its halcyon days as ‘Cheshire posh’. It’s thriving. With new investment and new mostly independent businesses returning to its high street, Altrincham is once more a ‘destination’.
The inspired re-invention of the market as a hub for dining and shopping has been the catalyst for real change in the town and it’s easy to see why it was named as a finalist in the BBC Radio 4 Food & Farming Awards - and actually did deserve to win. It really is the Borough Market of the north and no doubt others are planning to follow its example.
But the market has been rather like the prince who comes to wake up the sleeping princess with a kiss because it has woken people up to its possibilities. It has given outsiders a reason to visit and discover the great shops, leisure opportunities and people that were already in the town and it’s shown how the fortunes of our high streets can change for the better.
Already, plans are progressing to open a chic wine bar in the market area and bring in a mixed use development of shops, restaurants and accommodation. But you don’t have to wait until that happens because the time to visit Altrincham with its brilliant Metrolink, rail and bus connections, is actually right now.
Don’t take our word for it though. Here are the views of some of the people who live and work in the area about the reinvention of Altrincham and why it’s such a great place to be.
Runs the Chalet Shop in Timperley with business partner Hannah
‘We are an online business that kits out chalets in the Alps, so we are either here or in Verbier,’ she said. Hannah worked for Richard Branson at Necker Island before setting up his lodge for him in Verbier, running it for eight years. ‘I was a chalet girl but we both returned to the UK to have families and decided to team up and do the Chalet Shop.
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‘The thing about Altrincham is that there are great connections here and we’ve got quite a few suppliers that are north west based, plus it is handy for the airport so it is a location that works for us.
‘It’s a good area to bring up children with some great schools and I just love Altrincham market. I think it’s fabulous.’
Celebrity make-up artist and Cheshire Life columnist who lives in nearby Timperley
‘My partner Tony has a salon in Altrincham which is why I’ve been here for the past eight years. The town was quite vibrant until the Trafford Centre opened and then it went downhill, which was so sad to see, so it is fantastic to witness a revival of its fortunes.
Altrincham market was recently a finalist in the Radio 4 awards and you have to go along there on one of the market days when there’s live music and it’s really, really lovely. It’s now a real destination place.
Goose Green has been regenerated and it has a fantastic Tiki bar called Traders owned by Anthony and Mike Prophet. I love the fact that there are loads of health shops here too. Shop4Supplements is one of my favourite haunts and I adore the vegetarian restaurant, The Greenhouse, as well as the award-winning beauty salon Lidos Spa on Oxford Road, where I have been known to make an appearance. My favourite restaurant Yara, which is also on Oxford Road is a wonderful place to chill out and enjoy exceptional food.’
Co-owns Traders Tiki Bar and The Green Room on Goose Green with his brother Edward
‘We’ve been in business for two years. People said the town was finished but we felt that it was the best time to respond, by taking the first step.
I especially like the way the town has become divided into leisure districts, so the area around the market on Greenwood Street and Shaws Road have become dining out sectors while Goose Green in the nightlife quarter with places like Traders, The Green Room and Costello’s.
There’s definitely been a leisure-based revival in these areas while the high street retailers are also responding. I think JD Sports is planning to return and of course, the market has been amazing for the town.’
Owns Edit and Oak on Greenwood Street
‘I worked as a fashion buyer in London and set up Edit and Oak in Altrincham after I saw the way it was developing. The way the market has been done is obviously very important to this area and I felt it had a lot of potential.
All the shops and restaurants are independent and there’s something quite inspiring about that . Altrincham is a destination once again and it’s nice to be part of that journey.
All the businesses seem to complement each other and when I have the weekend off it’s great to go to the market and have a glass of wine and a spot of lunch then browse the independent shops and ‘get lost’ as you would if you were on holiday. All of that attracted me to the area. People care about their homes here too, which is why Edit & Oak fits in so well. Edit is because we create an ‘edit’ of brands and oak is one of a kind. Unique, handmade, natural and rare.’
Owns Idaho on Greenwood Street
‘I came to Manchester about seven years ago to study textile design. I got into interior styling and one part of that was sourcing props so I was always going to trade fairs and online, looking for the unusual and quirky.
I always wanted to open a shop with all the wonderful things I’d found and I could see what was happening in Altrincham. I saw this spot and as soon as it became available I just felt it was completely right. We opened on August 26th last year and I am so happy with my location.
People have such love to Altrincham and it’s such a friendly place. I live 10 minutes away from the shop and when I’m heading home at night I’m waving at everyone or having a chat with people along the way. It takes me about an hour to get back! It’s a lovely place to be, especially at this time of the year.’
Runs the Garden Lodge Bunny Retreat in Altrincham
‘I had been a photographer for a local newspaper but bringing up kids I needed a job change and thought what else could I do. It was my husband who said “why not open a bunny hotel?” We went away last June and had real trouble finding somewhere for our rabbit that didn’t keep them locked up.
We opened on the 4th of December when we took some bunnies for seven weeks (although opened officially a few weeks later) and I soon discovered that looking after rabbits is a lot more complex than you’d think.
You have to keep them separate and some can go into stress, so each family’s bunnies have their own suite. The locals thought we were opening a B&B but we said ‘no. It’s a bunny hotel,’ so all our neighbours came over to take a look.
We’ve been here for 15 years and there’s a lot happening in the area. I think the food hall at Altrincham Market has made a big difference and place like Old Hall and Stamford Park have been done up recently. I also think people are coming together more and doing things together which is really nice.