Cheshire's photogenic towns and villages
- Credit: Jenny Schippers
Jenny Schippers looks at some of Cheshire's most Instagrammable places
Cheshire is blessed with quaint rural villages, picturesque vistas and stunning architecture that provides the backdrop for any self-respecting Insta-worthy image. Here we round up 9 Instagrammable villages in Cheshire worth exploring, from country hamlets to larger county towns including a model garden village not to be missed.
Arguably the most photographed village in Cheshire, Great Budworth was historically part of the nearby Arley Hall estate. With the Grade I listed St Mary and All Saints Church sitting proudly at the top end of the village, the clock tower is a recognisable landmark from miles around thanks to the centre’s elevated position. In the shadows of the church stands the red-brick George and Dragon pub, a Georgian coaching inn, and a collection of half-timbered Grade II listed buildings including Goldmine House and attached Rose Cottage. Visitors to Great Budworth feel as though they have stepped back in time with the pretty cobbled High Street allowing for an Insta-worthy photograph at every turn.
The cobbled semi-rural village of Grappenhall, just outside Warrington, may only be small but its historic centre with two excellent pubs and imposing St Wilfrid’s Church draws visitors from across the county and beyond. The grinning Cheshire cat carving on the west face of the church clock tower reportedly provided inspiration for the feline character in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. Along with a smattering of photogenic houses, the Bridgewater Canal dissects the village and the accompanying humpback bridges at the entrance and exit to the centre afford delightful waterside views.
Visitors are drawn to Lymm thanks in part to its proximity to Lymm Dam, a popular tourist attraction, and its accompanying waterside walks. The beautiful village centre straddling the Bridgewater Canal and Lower Dam is a conservation area, protecting the historic sights and listed buildings at its core. Lymm Heritage Trail is a popular 3.5-mile route for walkers taking in the hidden Slittin Gorge nestled in The Dingle, and Grade I listed Lymm Cross and stocks. The colourful narrowboats that moor on the Bridgewater Canal in front of the White House make for an iconic Insta-worthy photograph of Lymm.
The modern-day village of Bunbury, situated south of Tarporley, is a collection of four smaller hamlets that have combined to form Higher and Lower Bunbury, naturally divided by the River Gowy. The parish church of St Boniface was built on the highest part of the village and sits within walking distance of Bunbury Lane with its collection of charming shops, listed buildings and historic pubs. Close by, Bunbury Mill is a restored watermill and museum open to visitors with an accompanying millpond and two acres of grounds to delight wildlife photographers.
Sitting right at the edge of east Cheshire, a stone’s throw from the Peak District National Park, Bollington still bears the signs of its rich cotton-spinning heritage. The grand Clarence Mill serves as a reminder of Bollington’s historical links to the lace-making industry and there is plenty to photograph, as you walk around the centre. Bollington forms a rural section of the Cheshire Ring waterway with the Macclesfield Canal cutting through. Rising above the town is Kerridge Hill, and White Nancy, a listed monument built to commemorate the Battle of Waterloo, and most definitely worth the climb for the views alone.
Dominated by the nearby Quarry Bank Mill, the attractive village of Styal was built by Samuel Greg to house the mill workers with many of these buildings, including the primary school, still falling under the care of the estate to this day. Step back in time as you walk the cobbled residential streets past the quintessential traditional houses and thatched cottages. Taking the route via Chapel Woods will bring you within sight of the magnificent Quarry Bank Mill, standing on the banks of the River Bollin. This National Trust site is one of the finest remaining complete mills of the Industrial Revolution and deserves a separate trip to document.
The bustling market town of Knutsford, just outside the walls of the Tatton Park estate, gives visitors a multitude of Insta-worthy opportunities as they walk in the footsteps of author Elizabeth Gaskell and see how she drew inspiration for her most famous novel, Cranford. Knutsford Heritage Centre is housed in a 17th-century timbered framed building just off King’s Street and includes a museum and gallery documenting Knutsford’s history. Visit the Courtyard Café from where you will find the only Penny Farthing Museum in the country, a quirky day out for sure. From Knutsford, the Golden Triangle towns of Wilmslow, Mottram St Andrew and Alderley Edge are within easy reach.
Peaceful Port Sunlight on the Wirral Peninsula is a Victorian architectural gem not to miss. Designed by an array of architects, there are more than 900 unique Grade II listed buildings, influenced by William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement. This model garden village was the creation of the Lever Brothers to house the workers from their nearby soap works, producing the famous Sunlight soap. Now a conservation area, visitors to Port Sunlight are welcome to walk the village and formal parkland, with guided tours available.
The up-market village of Prestbury nestled between Macclesfield and Wilmslow may be small but its scenic position on the banks of the River Bollin and fine collection of listed buildings makes it an Insta-worthy stop on a tour of Cheshire. Many of the buildings along the high street are listed by English Heritage including the Irish Row, once the home of weavers employed in the area’s silk industry. Enjoy time spent walking around the conservation area and ensure a stop at S. Peter’s Church, housing a Norman chapel in its churchyard and a Saxon cross.
About the author
Jenny is a travel writer and blogger providing ideas for days out, places to eat and where to stay in her home county of Cheshire. Follow her on Instagram at Girl About Cheshire for a daily dose of inspiration.