In the Domesday Book, the manor of Bramall is called Bramale, a name derived from the old English words ‘brom’ meaning broom and ‘halh’ meaning secret place, generally near water. What is confusing is that the timber-framed manor house many people associate with the village is spelled Bramall, without the ‘h’, the preferred spelling of the hall’s Victorian owner, Charles Nevill, and of Hazel Grove and Bramhall Urban District Council which took it in 1935.

But Bramhall (with an h) is the village, and it has become a desirable place to live with its excellent schools, independent shops and choice of bars and restaurants.

Once named the friendliest village in the UK, its residents and small business owners always give visitors a warm welcome and do their best to attract outsiders with events throughout the year.

Property is costly but along with the price tag comes quality of living and fantastic community spirit, as the residents here explain…

Great British Life: Alejandra Solis.Alejandra Solis. (Image: Paul Morgans)

Alejandra Solis

Owner, Bramhall Dog Groomers

I opened the business three years ago but have lived here for 12 years. Before that, we were in Hale, but many friends and family of my husband, Peter O’Brien, lived in Bramhall and when we had kids (Oscar is 13 and Lydia is nine) we moved here, and it’s great.

The thing that makes Bramhall so special is the community. It’s the people who live here that are so important. Everybody is just lovely.

And great from my point of view is that Bramhall is so dog friendly. You can take your dogs everywhere, including most of the restaurants, cafés, and shops. Many of the business owners have their own pet pooch. It is a very dog-friendly community.

I also love the fact there are lots of places to walk your dog. For example, a 15-20 minute stroll will take you to Carr Wood, where there is a lovely ancient woodland, which is quite secluded so it is safe for dogs to be off their lead. It’s so peaceful, you wouldn’t think you were in the middle of an urban area. Then you cross the road, and you get to Bramall Hall, which is the most stunning black and white building with tiny, mullioned windows, and they have a brilliant café. It’s so special.

A lot is going on for such a small place. In Bramhall Village Square two units are becoming a banking hub, which will be managed by the Post Office. Each day a different bank will take over, so you can make an appointment with your bank for that specific day, and we will also be able to do regular banking there throughout the week.

Oh, and we all love a party in Bramhall. At the end of last year, we had our Christmas lights switch on, Light Up Bramhall, and locals Jason Manford, Les Dennis and Tina O’Brien turned up. They came out, did their thing and it was phenomenal.


Great British Life: James and Natasha Barlow. James and Natasha Barlow. (Image: Paul Morgans)

James and Natasha Barlow

Owners, Mia James Construction and Mia James Interiors

James: I’ve lived here all my life. I’ve been in construction since I left school and now do everything from extensions to rebuilds. We’re working on a house in Bowdon at the moment that is worth £2.5million and have just finished one in Woodford worth £1m, but we also do smaller jobs. If someone wants a light fitting put in, we’ll do it.

This year we are also launching an initiative where if someone is elderly or can’t get around we will offer the services of our team for one day a month free of charge to help them out. It will be about the people who need it the most.

As a builder, we do what we say we will, so that’s why we do really well. We are trying to change the stigma around the construction industry and provide a service that people can rely on.

Natasha opened the interior design business, Mia James Interiors, two years ago, so it goes hand in hand. If someone wants an interior designer Tash comes in afterwards. Sometimes they may want us and sometimes they might want Natasha. It’s entirely up to the client.

What I love about Bramhall is there’s a really good community feel to the village. You’ve got a lot of people coming in from different areas for the schools, and commercial reasons but the residents that have been here a while are really close and look after each other and you don’t get that in many places.

There’s a lot of old money in Bramhall but there’s also a lot of young families, which is a good combination because you’ve got the traditional feel of the place and the new kids. It works.

Natasha: The businesses are named after our children, Mia and James. I was a financial advisor until I went into interior design. This is a good place to bring up children. Everyone is supportive and there are great schools.


Great British Life: Paul Wrigglesworth. Paul Wrigglesworth. (Image: Paul Morgans)

Paul Wrigglesworth

Property director, Wain Estates

I've worked for Wain Estates for 14 years. We've owned the Village Square Shopping Centre since 2011. It was in a period of transition when we bought it because there was an old Co-op where the new Trek Bicycle shop is opening. The Co-op was a tired store and quite a few traders were reluctant to renew their leases because they weren't sure what was happening. We spent the first two years trying to secure a new occupier for that unit, and brought in Sainsbury’s, and then things became easier after that. From that point on, we've spent most of our time trying to attract new business and generate a bit of a buzz around the square, so it’s a really strong business community now. We introduced events into Bramhall Village Square to create more footfall and help out the traders here and they've been a great success. I can't take the credit for this though. It's my colleague Jenny Dockney who deals with all that. She helps out with the Bramhall Vision Group as well as the Bramhall Together Trust, which is the body that runs the Summer Festival and Light Up Bramhall and we organise others such as Food and Groove, on Saturday afternoons from March to September. It is a chance for people to come along, make use of the shops and grab some food. There's usually a DJ on so it's a bit like Foodie Friday in Stockport. Jenny was also instrumental in bringing the banking hub to Bramhall and when that and Trek are open all the units will be full.


Great British Life: The Reverend Sarah Parkin. The Reverend Sarah Parkin. (Image: Paul Morgans)

The Reverend Sarah Parkin

Minister, Bramhall Methodist Church

I’ve been here four years. Before, I was in North Lincolnshire – as Methodist ministers we tend to move around a lot. Both places are lovely in their way, but in Bramhall a lot is going on. It’s also very well connected with the roads, railway, and proximity to the airport.

We are so blessed to be part of the community and as well as having a great position in the centre of the village we very much hope we are a hub for all kinds of activities. We have our Thrift Shop, which is open Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm and 10am to 1pm on Saturday, and a café on Monday to Saturday, 10.15am to 12.30pm for hot drinks and snacks. Then we have our toddler group, Junior Church, Youth Clubs, Messy Church for younger children, baby chat for new mums, and the Thursday Club for older people who can come to us for a hot meal between 10am and 2.30pm. Then some groups use the church hall for activities such as Zumba and baby ballet. You don’t have to be religious or a Methodist to come here, everyone is welcome. I like to think people will come if they feel they want someone to talk to or if they need support. Sometimes people come in for one thing and they end up talking about something completely different (which was probably the thing they came to talk about in the first place) and that is fine.


Great British Life: Jane Farrelly. Jane Farrelly. (Image: Jane Farrelly.)

Jane Farrelly

Owner, The Art Hub

We are a community art hub running classes and workshops for all ages. We teach home-schooled children, we do GCSE coaching, life drawing and portraiture classes, and five days a week we go into care homes to work with residents who have dementia. We play music to stimulate their memory and create a piece of art. That’s a very rewarding thing we do.

I used to live in Dubai and as a way of getting to know people I joined an art group. The British painter Edward Sutcliffe came over from London and while I was in his class he suggested I did something more formal with art, so I did a degree. As a result of that, I knew what I wanted to do as a career and a business – a bit odd because I was a general manager in hotels at the time.

Art was my lifeline when I was out there, so that’s why I set up the Art Hub; I wanted it to be something that could enjoyed by everybody whether they were good at art or just wanted to have a go. Art can be quite stuffy, and I didn’t want It to be like that. I have a group on a Friday morning with members in their 70s and 80s. They get together and we create an artwork and have a cup of coffee and a chat. It’s a lovely way of getting together. Bramhall has a brilliant sense of community and getting people together through art is just great.


Great British Life: Life in Bramhall is awesome, and awesome, whichever way you spell it... Life in Bramhall is awesome, and awesome, whichever way you spell it... (Image: Paul Morgans)


Carr Wood

An ancient woodland little known except to locals, which has been designated as a Site of Biological Importance (SBI). It is a great place to let your dog run free according to resident Alejandra Solis.


In an event

Bramhall Village Square is the place to go if you want to join the locals at events such as Bramhall Summer Festival, Light Up Bramhall and Food and Groove – 'which is a bit like Foodie Friday in Stockport, according to property company director Paul Wrigglesworth.


Magnificent Bramall Hall, a superb example of a Tudor manor house standing in 70 acres of parkland. The building, which is of national importance, is home to 16th-century wall paintings, a striking Elizabethan plaster ceiling and Victorian kitchens, offering unique insights into the families and servants who lived and worked there.