If your exploring Manchester, looking for places to visit, there’s more to it than just the city centre. One of the most popular ways of looking around is by Metrolink, to give it it’s full title: ‘Greater Manchester’s Metrolink Network’. It’s one of the most successful light rail systems in the UK and soon to be come even more popular with work in progress to take the Metro to Oldham, Rochdale, Droylsden in Tameside, Chorlton, Didsbury Village and on to the Airport.
Over the next few posts, using the Cornerstones Guest House as a base, I hope to take you on a journey using the existing Metro Network to see what you can hope to find around each Metro station.
Starting in the south of Manchester is the town of Altrincham, where the Metro ends or begins depending on your perspective. The town offers excellent accessibility, situated on the A56, a main arterial route out of Manchester and the national motorway network is just one mile away. This is complemented by an integrated rail, and bus interchange, providing easy access to the City of Manchester and its mainline rail stations. The interchange is soon to undergo a major refurbishment. Manchester Airport, the UK’s largest airport outside London, is easily accessible, being only 15 minutes away from the centre of Altrincham.
The name Altrincham comes from the old English meaning the homestead of Adhere’s people. Although there is evidence that a Roman road ran through Altrincham, there is no evidence that the Romans ever settled here and Altrincham is not named in the Doomsday Book. Altrincham as a medieval town was probably the creation of the Baron of Dunham Massey, the town was given a Royal Charter for a market by Edward 1 in 1290 and Baron Massey created his own Borough Charter a short time later. The Royal Charter gave the right to hold a Tuesday market and later Fridays and Saturdays were added at a later date and these market days still exist into the present.
Around 1340, the lands of Altrincham passed to the Earl of Stamford and the Stamfords were still influential within the town until the late 20th Century with the Stamford name found on a number of buildings and roads within the town today.
In the 15th century the town was administered by the Court Leet, they met every three weeks to administer a petty offenses court, they also monitored the well being of Altrincham, being the unpaid equivalent of the Police, council officials and health and safety officers of their day. The Court Leet also appointed the Town Crier and they are still active in the town today and can be seen in their ceremonial robes along with the Town Crier at special events around Altrincham.
From the Metro you step out of the station on to the main street Stamford New Rd, turn to your
left to reach the centre of town; Stamford New Rd changes it’s name to Railway Rd at Regent St, cross over the road but before you go down Regent St to the market on Market St, go up Railway St a little and you will discover County Galleries which as been dealing in artwork for over thirty years. The gallery is a large Edwardian gothic building, flooded with natural light, accommodating a vast array of paintings. Some galleries run one artist exhibitions, but they prefer to constantly display selections from all their artists. This creates a more vibrant, ever changing display of art work, and also prevents red sticker rage! The staff are very friendly and love to talk to new comers.
Altrincham Market is one of the town’s oldest attractions and still maintains a loyal fan base today. For others it is a hidden gem yet to be discovered The Market offers good quality fresh local and specialty produce, a great range of other goods and individual products at competitive prices. Many of the traders have been at the Market over a long period of time, know their customers’ tastes and preferences and are happy to offer tastings and samples on a ‘try before you buy’ basis. They are able to provide good advice based on years of experience, sound knowledge and a belief in their goods and produce. Most stallholders have a great rapport with customers old and new and build up relationships over the years that keep them coming back. There are stalls on the Lower Market with its entrance on Shaws Road and in a Victorian Indoor Market Hall and adjacent glass canopied Market, both accessible from Greenwood Street and Market Street.
With its heritage, friendly, relaxed atmosphere and the enthusiasm of its traders, Altrincham Market’s setting in the Historic Market Quarter, gives visitors a shopping experience with a difference.
To complement the increasing number of businesses open on Sunday, the monthly market, which will be on the third Sunday of each month between 10am and 2:30pm. The market features some of the finest food producers and craft makers from the North West.
Building on the success of the producers market which has been held in Hale over the past two years and includes producers from the Greater Manchester region and Cheshire.
Food fanatics will be treated to an outstanding choice of locally-sourced food and drink from the North West’s top producers including:
Free-range chicken, beef, pork and lamb
Local fruit, vegetables, plants and herbs
Regional cheeses, butter, organic free-range eggs and apple juice
Artisan cakes, puddings, breads and pastries
Pâté and restaurant quality pre-prepared meals
Hand Crafted chocolates by master chocolatiers
Jams, pickles and preserves
Visitors to the market will have the chance to meet the producers and try before they buy.
Tuesdays & Saturday – 9am-4pm
General Retail with a variety of stalls selling a range of goods from fresh, local produce to its famed flowers, fruit and fish as well as household goods, gifts, plants and bags.
Thursday – 8am-4pm
Antiques and Bric-a-Brac & Taylor’s Fish Stall – now an established market.
Fridays – 9am-4pm
Smaller scale general retail market
First Friday of Every Month – 8am-2pm
Producers/Craft Market – A popular market that incorporates a farmers market as well as individual crafts.
If your looking for a good night out Altrincham Folk Club meets every Sunday night starting around 8pm at the Conservative Club on Market Street. They usually have a wide range of singers, musicians, poets and songwriters. From sea shanties to traditional folk songs, English, Scottish and Irish, Jacques Brel interpretations, blues, and jazz, modern songs and some unique original material . Each artist plays one or two songs. Occasionally a band turns up and plays three or four at a time.
Admission is usually only £1 unless we have a special guest!
On the edge of town is Dunham Massey hall which was initially built in 1616 by Sir George Booth, who was amongst the creations of Baronets by James I in 1611, but was later remodelled by John Norris for George, Earl of Stamford and Warrington between 1732 and 1740; it was also altered by John Hope towards the end of the 18th century and by Joseph Compton Hall between 1905 and 1908. The hall itself, the stables, and the carriage house of Dunham Massey are all Grade I listed buildings, three of six such buildings in Trafford.The site is moated and lies immediately west of the village of Dunham, with the deer park lying to the south. The hall was donated to the National Trust by the last Earl of Stamford, in 1976. During the First World War Dunham Massey Hall was used as a military hospital.
Inside is a collection of Huguenot silver, the carving The Crucifixion by 17th century wood carver Grinling Gibbons, and a white marble bust of the Emperor Hadrian; the head is antique, but the neck and shoulders are 18th century, it was probably acquired by the 5th Earl of Stamford. A fine collection of paintings are also housed in the hall including Allegory with Venus, Mars, Cupid and Time by Guercino, The Cascade at Terni by Louis Ducros, and portraits by William Beechey, Francis Cotes and Michael Dahl.
The deer park at Dunham Massey is the only medieval park in Trafford to survive to the present day. The hall and grounds are open to the public and are a popular tourist attraction.
All put on plays through out the year
Bars & Restaurants
The Belgian Bar
40 Greenwood Street,
Marvelous selection of Belgian beers, some on draught. Table service. Beers and glasses available to take home. Jazz, simple good food, day or night a lovely atmosphere .
Yara 23 Oxford Road
A family run restaurant selling traditional Lebanese and Syrian food, again simple food done well, bring your own wine if you like corkage is only £1 or
try the Chateau Musar at a very reasonable price.
Altrincham Fish Bar
42 Greenwood Street.
Fish and Chips.
Dilli Indian Restaurant.
60 Stamford New Road.
Regional specialties from the familiar Punjab to the less well-known Chettinad, Mangalore and Pondicherry states