Warrington has long been a key player in the industrial life of the North West and has evolved into one of the best places in the UK to live in terms of affordable housing, jobs, business, wellbeing, culture, transport and family life.

It is home to the global, European and UK HQs of many high-profile companies with a business base strong in nuclear energy, engineering, logistics and software and with the infrastructure of good schools, bars and restaurants and a planned 120-room hotel and retail complex called The Hive.

The town was recently named one of the best areas in the UK for residents to access green space. The Green Giants research carried out by home improvement specialist Eurocell found Warrington residents have less distance to walk to get to the nearest park, public garden or playing field, at 263 metres, and of all homes for sale on RightMove, 89 per cent have a garden.

Great British Life: Claire Cooper.Claire Cooper. (Image: Paul Morgans)

Claire Cooper

Owner and childminder, Claire Cooper Childcare

My family have lived in Warrington for generations. I was born in Warrington General Hospital and although I left for a while when I was 18, I met Gary my husband and moved back. I love it here. I live in Grappenhall, on the outskirts of the town centre, and we are near to the Bridgewater Canal so you can easily stroll towards Lymm or Stockton Heath.

There are lots of places you can walk to, such as the beautiful Walled Garden in Grappenhall itself.

It is such a brilliant place to bring up children. We’ve got Grappenhall Cricket Club, which is where my boys George, nine and Ben, eight, will be going in the summer, and Grappenhall Sports Club where they play football. They are at St Wilfred’s School which is fantastic, they love going there, and our four-bedroomed detached house is only a 10-minute walk away.

I became a childminder after nearly 20 years in media. Covid was awful but it was also a very special time that allowed me to be at home with the boys. The weather was amazing, and we did loads of crafts together. I enjoyed it so much that Gary said to me: 'Why don’t you do something like this as a job?' So, I did a childminding course with my local council in my own time and was registered as a childminder in April 2021.

The children I look after now are great and it is such a rewarding job. I do a lot of research on how to improve and develop children and last year I had my grading by Ofsted, which was outstanding and the icing on the cake.

Warrington is the perfect location for my work as there are plenty of places to take the children I look after. I have an annual pass for the Blue Planet Aquarium, I can take them everywhere from New Brighton beach to Walton Gardens, which has a children’s zoo.

When Gary and I are not working, we go on bike rides along the TransPennine Trail, close to the house. We love going to Victoria Park, you can watch the skateboarders and rugby and it has a posh restaurant called Spirit. And if you want to head to a city, you can be in Manchester or Liverpool within 20 or 30 minutes.


Great British Life: Roger and Brenda Kinsella. Roger and Brenda Kinsella. (Image: Paul Morgans)

Roger Kinsella, manager, Re-Enhance, Hale

My wife Brenda and I have been here for 12 years. Before that we lived in Altrincham in a 4,000 sq ft house but Altrincham and Bowdon no longer appealed to us.

We knew a guy who lived in Mallorca who told us if he ever came back, he’d live in Grappenhall so we looked there, found a house that was half the size, with half the land and we’ve grown to love the place.

The first house we looked at we bought; it was perfect for what we wanted. I like my garden and the soil is so much better than in Altrincham. Before it was just rhododendrons and camellias but here it’s proper Cheshire soil. I like to grow soft fruit, plums and raspberries and rhubarb and there’s never a problem.

We are within a mile of the M6 or 56 so I can be in work at Re-Enhance clinic within 15 minutes. There are lots of good restaurants and pubs. It is less expensive to go out eat and have a good time than if you were in Hale. There’s really nothing like seeing Grappenhall village with the canal on a summer's evening. It’s beautiful. We are not far from Knutsford and Lymm is a couple of miles away and developments are springing up; it is really up and coming. My younger son, Edward, who lives in Bowdon is aiming to come over here and get himself a larger house. My other son Martin who runs Re-Enhance and is married to Real Housewife of Cheshire Hanna Miraftab, lives a different life and is a big fan of Hale.

We are always busy at the clinic as Martin is always trying out new aesthetic treatments but when I am travelling back home from Hale, I can let all the business side of things drift out of my mind and I can have 15 minutes of peace.


Great British Life: Roger Jeffery. Roger Jeffery. (Image: Paul Morgans)

Roger Jeffery, producer, Culture Warrington, Warrington Museum and Art Gallery

My job involves bridging the gap between the artists exhibiting here and the reality of making it happen. I think about what their message is and how to present that to an audience. I want them to remain true to what they feel.

I’ve worked here since 2008 and I’ve seen a few changes. There has been a gradual shift to more contemporary programming – a desire to bring new audiences in while retaining our existing audiences so occasionally we put on more modern exhibitions.

Warrington Museum dates back to the 1840s (the building was built between 1855 and 1857). It’s a lot of things all at once, which is part of its charm. It’s not just a gallery. It’s not a white cube gallery for contemporary arts, or a traditional art gallery or a museum; it’s all those things at once. The museum remains pretty true to how it was originally set up, with glass cabinets crammed full of lots of objects. It is quite an old-fashioned way of displaying things but that’s our USP. Some parts of the museum are almost like a museum of a museum, and it is quite rare to find that, maybe in Cambridge or Oxford but not in the North of England and it harks back to the radical origins of the museum as the first rent-supported municipal museum in the country.

One of the most unusual things here is the Cabinet of Curiosities gallery. It’s replicating an approach before museums when collectors would be concerned with gathering together disparate things. One of the exhibits in there is called The Court Scene and it’s a tableau of taxidermied animals re-enacting a real-life court scene where someone was put on trial for cock fighting. You’ve got all these different animals acting out these human roles. It’s quite a lot to take in.

I’m always aiming to meet the needs of different audiences not just one particular sector. We try to present a balanced programme so there might be visitors who want to see cutting-edge contemporary art and others who want traditional landscape paintings. Some people want art to comfort them, and others want it to challenge them so we have a programme that at any point in the year will include something you like.


Great British Life: Emma Akinbaleye.Emma Akinbaleye. (Image: Paul Morgans)

Emma Akinbaleye, Resident

We were living in South East London before we came here. My husband Samuel and I had a surprise third child during lockdown and although our house was sufficient, we didn’t live in the best area, so we decided to come up north for a weekend to look around.

Warrington was the first place on our list, and we viewed two houses to see what our options were on our budget, and we never went anywhere else. We came back a few times to view houses but the WA5 postcode was always our safety zone. We felt very comfortable here. The schools were very good, which was important for our children, Des, aged nine, Nathan, six and Leona, three, and we found a four-bedroom family home which was a new build, so it all fell into place. My husband transferred his job in banking very easily and I don’t work any more, which is lovely.

We are no longer fans of busy city life, but we know we can always hop on a train or go in a car to a city if we wish. We have a lovely house in Westbrook with so much space we’ve had 50 people there for a party, which is something you wouldn’t be able to afford in the south. Our neighbours are fantastic.

I love that there’s loads to do here. I love to take the children to Walton Gardens, which has a massive park with goats, pigs, and peacocks. Ten-pin bowling in the south was £60 for four people and here it is £12. People’s mentality is very good up here too – they are much more relaxed. On Friday, everybody switches off. When we do go back to London, I have to stop myself from saying hello to everyone because they just look at me so oddly whereas here it is the norm. School life at St Wilfred’s is completely different as well. You see fewer broken families, parents both pick up their children after school and they are not on their phones all the time. I would recommend Warrington.


Great British Life: Richard Powell. Richard Powell. (Image: Paul Morgans)

Richard Powell, Managing director and owner, Kuckoo

I opened Kuckoo in Preston in 2010 after learning my trade as a bartender in places like The Living Room and Panacea in Manchester and I quickly realised the mix of rock and roll music and top-end cocktail making was not only different but scarce. We could be a sophisticated early-evening hotel-style cocktail bar, but later turn the music up a little bit and let the atmosphere grow. It also means our staff can go to work and listen to the music they love. I did a few shifts at a bar called Mojo which had great music and was working at a place called Socio Rehab in the Northern Quarter, and felt I could mix up the cocktails I was making there with the music of Mojo which is how Kuckoo came about.

We then opened in Chester in 2013, Sheffield in 2016, Knutsford 2017 and Warrington a few months ago.

We looked at the demographics of all the towns and cities in the North West and it was the right mix. When we looked at Warrington I knew about the Treasury Building on Palmyra Square and when the unit downstairs came available I decided to go ahead. It was the only place I wanted to be because this building is unbelievable.

I like Warrington and I love this building; it was a council treasury but has been various things over the years. It had fallen derelict, and the landlords went systematically through it to create different venues and did a stunning job.

I moved into the area when travelling from my hometown of Preston became difficult. It’s so easy here or the motorway and trains; you can be in London in one hour 47 minutes so it’s almost a commute. It made getting down to London unbelievably easy.

My wife, Natalie and I are settled in Grappenhall with our children, Oliver aged eight and Louis five, and everybody’s happy here.


The Terrace Gin and Cigar Bar

Part of San Lorenzo Restaurant in the Treasury Building at Palmyra Square this upmarket al fresco bar and eaterie is the place to see and be seen. Outdoor heaters make it a go-to location all year around but expect to join the queues when the weather hots up.



The Cabinet of Curiosities at Warrington Museum and Gallery

This unique display is a stepping-back-in-time experience, a chance to see how the Victorians did museums back in the day. Stuffed animals arranged in a tableau depicting an old court case may not be PC but fascinating all the same.



Warrington Market

Not just a place to explore more than 50 fantastic independent traders selling a wide range of fresh food, gifts, goods and services, this purpose-built, state-of-the-art market is now a hub for casual dining and entertainment, in the heart of the town on Time Square.