Food & Drink

The Magnet Freehouse in Stockport has been named as one of National Geographic’s 12 ‘perfect’ UK pubs

Stockport putting itself on the Nat Geo map.

Danny Jones Danny Jones - 17th January 2024

The ever-regenerating face of Stockport continues to build a new and improved reputation for itself, as one of its local boozers has just been named among National Geographic’s list of 12 ‘perfect’ pubs in the UK — and it’s none other than old The Magnet.

While many of you might be familiar with the likes of the viral Chestergate pub right in the town centre, people not so familiar with the area may never have heard of The Magnet Freehouse before, but it’s actually been sat on Wellington Road since 1840.

Originally built as a coaching inn for people to rest up along the busy stretch of the A6, it eventually went on to become a Wilson’s Brewery, drifting into company pub ownership limbo and was at one point left derelict, before it was ultimately reopened and turned into a multi-beer freehouse in 2009.

Brought back to life by mother and son duo, Lesley and Lee Watts, The Magnet is now considered one of Stockport‘s best and not-so-hidden gems, with more and more punters popping in to see its evolution year on year — so much so that Nat Geo has even paid a fair few visits themselves, as it turns out.

All that being said, for those in the know, this latest piece of recognition won’t come as that big of a surprise whatsoever.


Not only was The Magnet voted the best pub in Stockport by CAMRA (Campaign For Real Ale) back in 2011 but the family-run venture also won the same accolade at the Greater Manchester Beer Awards in 2017, as well as numerous other regional nods down the years.

Making a splash within the first 18 months of its resurrection, the pub has been plugging away at locals over time and post-pandemic, especially, it seems the number of regulars and new faces enjoying a tipple at the modern-day Magnet has increased — and so has the buzz around the place.


Take that from an SK native who knows a fair few people who have only recently taken their first steps in place over the past couple of years to see what all the fuss was about.

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With National Geographic insisting that “if everyone had a neighbourhood local like this, the world would be a better place”, they hail the no-frills watering hole for getting “all the basic things bang-on” and focusing on “crucially, the community”.

Now multi-award winning and offering up 14 different cask ales, 12 ever-changing craft kegs, as well as a wide selection of wine and spirits including craft gins, The Magnet Freehous has come along in the past decade and a half. They even have their own microbrewery and have done since 2014.


As well as live music and comedy nights, they also now boast everything from special events like ‘Cocktails ‘n’ Canvas’ and their hugely popular weekly pizza nights, where stonebaked slices are served up by fellow Stopfordian and artisan market regular, ‘The Pizza Maker’.

Stockport is becoming trendy — that’s just their words, they’re ours too and, at this point, just straight-up fact. There’s a reason it was voted Greater Manchester’s Town of Culture in 2023. Congratulations to The Magnet and whether you’re a local or not, make sure to stop in for a pint next time you’re in the area.

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Featured Images — The Magnet Freehouse (via Facebook)