Prestwich, Greater Manchester

Discover why Prestwich was chosen as one of The Sunday Times Best Places to Live 2022 in their words.

Stroud, Gloucestershire

A word of warning: residents of this smart northern address with family-friendly Victorian homes, leafy streets and parks, and outstanding schools, don’t like to be labelled the “new Didsbury”. So much so that the constant comparison with Manchester’s smugger southern suburb inspired locals to launch its own community arts festival in 2018, in addition to Festwich, its tribute-band bunfight.

“I was so sick of hearing people saying that Prestwich is the new Didsbury. It’s its own place, with its own community and lots of talent of its own, so we decided to do something to show it off,” says Jane Thomson, the DJ behind the roving club night Take Me to Church. The festival now involves 500 volunteers and theatre, music and art events aimed at showcasing local talent and bringing Prestwich’s enviably diverse communities together.

It has left its mark, not least on the walls. There are giant murals of local legends Victoria Wood on the side of a tattoo parlour and Mark E Smith, next to Chips@No 8, a superior chippie, painted by street artist Akse P19. There are many lively places to eat along Bury New Road, the main drag. You can hardly move here for craft beers, cocktails, oat lattes and smoothies — which gives you an idea of the new demographic.

The pub scene is companionable, the dining scene lively — you can’t move for craft beers, cocktails, oat lattes and smoothies on New Bury Road — and the scenery is life-enhancing.  Walk along Prestwich Clough, a pretty valley that will take you all the way to Bolton without crossing a road, or stay closer to home in Heaton Park where on Saturdays 400 runners gather for a parkrun. On Thursday evenings, amateur astronomers gather to scour the dark skies, proving that this really is the Northwest’s starriest address. 

High Street

An interesting mix of old and new, clustered around the bleak-at-best Longfield shopping centre. It’s due for a council revamp, helped by regeneration specialists Muse, to transform it into a sociable, community-minded village centre. Everything you need is here, however, from a Greggs’ sausage roll to sourdough and organic veg at the Village Greens co-operative. There’s a pet shop, chemist and hardware store, right next to the “reptile specialist” Viper and Vine, all bookended by a large Tesco and an Aldi.

No-frills joints such as the Woodthorpe dish out pints and snacks to a melting pot of newbies and old Prestwichians. Drink nerds are well catered for at Keg, Cask & Bottle (craft beer) and Grape to Grain (wine).

Most of the restaurants are dotted among the shops on New Bury Road. Highlights include the family-run Lebanese joint Remal and All the Shapes, which has DJs and exhibitions alongside brunches and beef-rib tacos (£7.80). Cuckoo serves cocktails and thin, crispy pizzas with free biscuits for the dog thrown in (it has a takeaway hatch too), while the smartest spot is Osma, an upmarket Scandi restaurant (Oslo-Manchester, geddit?), which features in the Michelin guide.

Connections

The tram is the star here. It runs from Prestwich and Heaton Park into the centre of Manchester in 20 minutes. It takes about the same time to reach Bury in the opposite direction, to stock up at the brilliant market.

You can cycle into the city in 30 minutes, about the same as it takes by car. Avoid Bury New Road, which has been plagued by roadworks. Escape by car is easier — the M60 motorway is a couple of minutes up the road, which will get you to Leeds in 50 minutes, Liverpool in just over an hour and Manchester airport in 25 minutes.

Broadband

A lot of full-fibre from Openreach, with superfast through to gigabit speed options. Virgin Media is also available but to a smaller part of Prestwich.

Schools

St Mary’s C of E primary is rated outstanding by Ofsted, the other primaries are all good. Among the secondaries, King David High is rated outstanding by Ofsted and Manchester Mesivta School is rated good. Parrenthorn requires improvement, while two others — St Monica’s RC High and Prestwich Arts College (now The Heys School) have reopened as academies after poor inspection reports.

Best Address

If you’ve got big bucks — about £1 million — the grand detached houses on Sheepfoot Lane will be first choice. Otherwise look at redbrick Victorian houses in the Poppythorn Lane conservation area or Rectory Lane, one of the nicest roads in the warren between Heaton Park and Bury New Road, where a four-bedroom semi will cost about £350,000. 

Property prices

Average house price: £246,000
Growth since 2020: 18%
Source: Halifax using Land Registry data

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Prices are correct as of April 2022.

Halifax is a division of Bank of Scotland plc. Registered in Scotland No. SC327000. Registered Office: The Mound, Edinburgh EH1 1YZ. Bank of Scotland plc is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority under registration number 169628.