Why Macclesfield is a great place to live, according to its locals

Wander down the cobbled streets of Church Street. Photo: Kirsty Thompson

Wander down the cobbled streets of Church Street. Photo: Kirsty Thompson - Credit: Archant

This lovely historic market town is full of independent traders and endless outdoor escapes

View along Church Street, Macclesfield. Photo: Kirsty Thompson

View along Church Street, Macclesfield. Photo: Kirsty Thompson - Credit: Archant

Maybe it’s the glorious countryside on the doorstep happy homeowners here love so much; perhaps it’s the unique independents and quirky eateries peppered along the high street or the quick and easy commute to bigger cities. Maybe it’s simply that life feels good here, in the historic market town of Macclesfield, sandwiched between the Peak District and the Cheshire Plain.

Afterall, its loyal locals landed it in the top 10 happiest places to live in 2018, and three years later, things are only getting better. The King’s School has an impressive new £60 million campus and the Picturedrome has been revamped by the trendy folk behind Alty Market. Trust us, this place deserves your attention.

When it comes to high street gems, Macclesfield’s offering is far from boring. Open the doors to the industrial-style Picturedrome to eat your way around seven wonderful kitchens, a chocolatier, coffee shop, craft beer bar and wine bar; artisan bakery Flour Water Salt has all of your bakery and pizza needs or if it’s independent coffee you’re after, stop off at Kickback Coffee.

Lord of the Pies comes highly recommended. Photo: Kirsty Thompson

Lord of the Pies comes highly recommended. Photo: Kirsty Thompson - Credit: Archant

Pick up a bottle of beautiful fresh, pressed juice from The Random Apple Company, grab a pint of real ale at Wed-Led or enjoy a tipple of seasonal beer from keg, can and cask at Fiveclouds Tap & Bottle, tap room for Fiveclouds Brew Co. The award-winning and ingeniously named, Lord of the Pies, has a near five-star rating and also comes highly recommended.

Quirky, locally-run Medina specialises in the weird and wonderful, family business Arighi Bianchi focuses on quality and provenance with only the best furniture for the home, and David Lisle Kitchen Design has more than 30 years’ experience creating exquisite kitchens and interiors. Or if you fancy a day at the auction, TV’s Adam Partridge Auctioneers and Valuers covers the world of antiques and fine art, with specialist auctions for items including silver, boutiques, wine and spirits and musical instruments.

And if the retail therapy here isn’t enough, hop on a train to the bigger cities of Manchester, Birmingham and London where you can shop till you drop.

Forest Gin owners Karl and Lindsay in the gin distillery. Photo: Forest Gin

Forest Gin owners Karl and Lindsay in the gin distillery. Photo: Forest Gin - Credit: Archant

Gin lovers rejoice as Macclesfield is also home to the award-winning Forest Gin. Karl and Lindsay Bond have been distilling since 2014, with their products recognised and exported around the world. ‘The awards and ratings that both our gin and whisky have been awarded place them amongst the world’s very best,’ they say. Expect only the finest bottles of natural, organic and foraged ingredients.

Visit the Silk Museum to delve into the history of this lovely market town, famed for its silk production heritage, and in the summer, enjoy a celebration of contemporary arts and culture at The Barnaby Festival, which dates back to the 13th century.

Shop with 160 unique craft, vintage and food and drink stalls at the wonderful Treacle Market on the last Sunday of every month, nicknamed by the centuries-old topple of a treacle-filled horse-drawn cargo wagon onto the cobbles below. And for a spot of culture, MASH is your place. Promising the unexpected, locals come with high praise for the mix of multi-genre musicians here.

Sunrise over Macclesfield Forest. Photo: Elizabeth Lane

Sunrise over Macclesfield Forest. Photo: Elizabeth Lane - Credit: Archant

Macclesfield isn’t short of a breathtaking view or two, with everything from picturesque countryside to rivers, canals, reservoirs and woodland. January’s Cheshire Life cover featured an early morning sunrise at the beautiful Tegg’s Nose, a dog-lover’s paradise with a lovely cafe, while the beauty of Macclesfield Forest is worth an explore. Locals say Macclesfield Canal is a hidden gem, and if you’re feeling brave, why not conquer the 108 Steps in the town centre? Or venture just outside of Macclesfield to climb the Shining Tor, with views of the Goyt Valley and beyond.

Local Mel Whittaker says: ‘Having moved from a small town in the north east in the early 1990s to Manchester for university, I loved the city, it was magical. My home was there until 2004 when I moved in with my partner, who lived in Macclesfield. I love the town centre with its quirky, local shops, bars, restaurants, takeaways and cafes, the amazing cultural scene with musicians of many genres playing live, and the stunning countryside on your doorstep. It truly is a great place to live.’

When it comes to where to live, Gascoigne Halman branch manager Nicholas P Longworth says: ‘Macclesfield is the most fabulous place to live. When it comes to property, Macclesfield’s huge draw is its sheer variety of characterful stock, from mill cottages to Victorian villas, with a fabulous range of houses to suit most needs and budgets.

‘Given its expensive neighbours, Macclesfield is still a relatively affordable area for young professionals and families and also offers a range of new builds in contrast to the many period homes. Local schools are excellent in both the private and state sectors, and whilst every town centre seems to be struggling in its own right, in recent years the opening of the local Picturedrome as an award-winning venue is symbolic of the ambition of this town and its residents.

‘There certainly is a renewed energy and positivity about Macclesfield and its lovely surrounding villages.’

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