While the likes of Stockport‘s ‘Old Town’ revival has seen the borough slowly brought back to life in recent years, it’s easy to forget that it includes a number of attractive suburbs that have become increasingly popular destinations to live in Greater Manchester.
Besides the investment in the town centre’s Merseyway shopping district and Redrock opened back in 2017, many people have long been stopping short of places like Didsbury, Chorlton and Manchester city centre in favour of SK’s best-kept secret: the Heatons.
The Four Heatons – comprised of Heaton Chapel, Mersey, Moor and Norris – are a collection of neighbourhoods dotted around Stockport and situated some 30 mins or so from the city centre that many in the region may have never visited before.
With Heaton Chapel your go-to train station and East Didsbury your closest tram stop, it isn’t hard to venture out that way, but what is there to get up to?
Parks a plenty
If those precious green spaces are what you are looking for then you’re pretty spoilt for choice. Ironically, the famous Heaton Park is the only one that isn’t in the Heatons, but all these are.
First up is Heaton Moor Park, a lovely green space that dates back to 1894 and is still wonderfully maintained by local residents to this day. As well as the customary gardens and children’s play area, you can do everything from bird watching and group knitting to family bowling or joining the running club.
Heaton Norris Park has bowling greens, tennis courts and football pitches if you’re looking to stay active, as well as a playground for the youngens; Heaton Mersey Common is a nice little pocket of natural greenspace with serene ponds and wildflower meadows, perfect for walking the dog.
But the fresh air doesn’t stop there: you also have Thornfield Park, Heaton Mersey Park & Bowl, Marbury Road Park in Chapel; Maunders Field, Bowerfold Open Space and, perhaps the most popular of the lot, Mersey Vale Nature Park.
Nestled among the remnants of the old railways and bleach works, Mersey Vale is a 2.5-mile loop that serves as a great place for a picnic, riverside walk or to just to enjoy the wildlife, and the Trans Pennine Trail actually runs right through the centre of the reserve which lies along a serene stretch of the River Mersey.
Historic sites to see and plenty to do
It isn’t all grass and shrubs, of course, the Four Heatons are steeped in history and culture thanks to its Cheshire heritage and evolution under a Greater Manchester postcode.
Undoubtedly the most historic landmark is the iconic Savoy Cinema, which celebrates its 100th birthday in 2023. Having nearly disappeared following a fire back in 1953 and changed hands on multiple occasions down the years, the Savoy in Heaton Moor has remained a proud local institution throughout.
It was shut for a major refurbishment in late 2014 but, thankfully, it opened back up a year later and is still going strong, showing all the latest releases as well as old classics to suit the vintage aesthetic. They offer everything from private hire to dementia-friendly screenings – a real gem.
Another popular location is the Heatons Sports Club. It’s the home of areas local cricket, rugby, tennis and lacrosse clubs, some of which date back to as far as 1879. Whether you want to get involved or just sit back and watch live sport, be it in front of you or on the telly, there’s something to do every day. There’s also the Heaton Moor Gold Club just five minutes down the road if that’s your thing – perfect for birthdays, work events and so on.
Speaking of the Sports Club, you’ve also got Heatons Comedy Evening on the first Sunday of every month, the longest-running of its kind in Stockport. Resident comperes Alun Cochrane and local comedy legend Justin Moorhouse have garnered a loyal following since its conception in 2010.
The best part is, it’s only getting bigger. With the likes of John Bishop, Sarah Millican, Joe Lycett, Romesh Ranganathan and more having already left audiences in stitches, Moorhouse’s comedy night is one of the best places to catch both headline acts and the best upcoming talent.
Let’s talk shop. Home and fashion-wise, you can find nifty little local traders like the Moo Boutique and Bloom and Dots in Heaton Moor, not to mention one of the best-named wine bars in the world, Cork of the North. You’ll be sure to find plenty of bottles to take home with you.
There is also Heaton Hops and The Beer Shop in Mersey too. You won’t be surprised to know they very much do what they say on the tin.
We were sad to hear Bernie’s Grocery Store shut down in June 2022 but, thankfully, their Altrincham site isn’t going anywhere; you also have lots of alternatives and similar general store vibes courtesy of Feed in Heaton Chapel and The Good Life in Heaton Mersey.
Lastly, we can’t mention Heaton stores without giving a shout out to Back’s Deli and beloved Mancunian chain, Martin’s Bakery: two of the best local food staples that always guarantee the warm and friendly reception of an independent business whilst delivering insane quality and consistency.
And that brings us to the lifeblood of any good Manc destination: where to eat and drink.
There’s plenty of food and drink in the Heatons
From wine bars and traditional pubs to a premium fish restaurant hidden behind a local fishmonger’s counter, the Heatons have plenty to offer foodies on the hunt for something new.
Cork of the North
This Heaton Moor wine shop and bar is known for its regular tasting events, which offer guests the chance to sample six delicious wines (three reds and three whites) alongside a selection of complementary nibbles, but you can book a table to sit in, drink and graze any time.
The Easy Fish Co.
This quality fourth-generation fishmonger also has a restaurant tucked behind its counter and serves all your chippy tea favourites, alongside the likes of satay monkfish and roasted turbot, crab croquettes and herb-rolled tuna carpaccio.
Originally a deli, this popular Heaton eaterie has a relaxed European feel with a tapas menu served until 10pm. Throughout the day, you can also tuck into a selection of breakfast and lunch dishes that cater to veggies just as well as meat eaters.
This suburban tapas bar in the middle ofHeaton Moor serves a great selection of Spanish gin, alongside traditional regional tapas and a range of imported wines and beers. From Spanish black pudding (morcilla) to courgette ravioli stuffed with goat’s cheese, there’s a huge choice on offer mixing the typical with the unusual.
This cosy pub boasts a great atmosphere, solid grub and a regular quiz night every Thursday at 7pm that’s proven popular with young professionals in the area. Dog friendly too, it’s known for its burgers and epic Sunday roasts with giant Yorkshire puddings.
That Pizza Place
Widely considered to be the best pizza in Heaton Moor, if you’ve got a hankering for a bit of tomato and cheese then this is the place to be.
If one of the Heatons manages to cast a spell on you and the prospect of a move arises, it’s worth knowing how much you’d be looking at paying.
As for Heaton Chapel, the prices skew slightly lower at around £815.75pcm and Norris is even more affordable at around £755, as per Rentberry stats from July 2022.
Now, if you were looking to buy, four districts is a fairly large search area give but you’re easily looking at north of £300,000 in Heaton Moor and Mersey, but prices often break the £400k mark quite comfortably given its up-and-coming reputation. One local told the MEN that she’s heard the area described as ‘Didsbury for those that really know Manchester’.
Once again, Norris and Chapel offer a cheaper option when it comes to the property market, with terraces being the most popular type of home and going for anywhere between £200,000-280,000. That being said, you could still land your forever home starting from around £270,000-£330,000-ish.
Of course, these prices are based on average estimates but take them with a pinch of salt as you’re always likely to end up paying more, especially in this current climate.
Nevertheless, whether you’re looking for somewhere to settle down or a part of Greater Manchester you still perhaps have given enough time to yet, make the Heatons the next one you cross off your list.
You can check out our Manc’s guide to Chinatown and the Gay Village now and, as always, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for more neighbourhood guides soon.
Now that October is here, and the spooky season is creeping up on us, with another new month comes an events calendar that’s filled with lots of different things to be getting up to, so we’ve cherry-picked a few of the best bits for another edition of our ‘what’s on‘ guide.
As always, some of the events we’re going to mention are completely free, while others will set you back a few pounds, and many will need to be booked in advance.
Here’s our top picks.
Scare City Experience
Monday 3 October – onwards
Scare City Experience is back for 2022.
The hugely-popular outdoor immersive horror experience is taking on a new life just in time for Halloween, and this time round, it’s set to take over the derelict site of one of the North West’s most iconic theme parks.
Events company Park N Party has announced that its sell-out success Scare City is coming to Camelot with a new walkthrough scare attraction, and it’s already being described as a “blood-soaked ordeal”.
For those who’ve got the guts to enter this year, a trek through “nightmarish zones” awaits.
Manchester‘s first new park in the heart of the city centre for more than 100 years has officially opened to the public.
It’s been a long journey to get here, but Mayfield Park has become a reality.
Over the last 18 months, the vast and mostly-derelict former industrial site next to Piccadilly Station has been transformed into what project developers are calling a “stunning, accessible, and varied” green space for everyone who visits the city centre to enjoy.
Tarantulas, komodo dragons, and poisonous dart frogs are just some of the creatures you can meet on Chester Zoo‘s newest interactive trail next month.
With the spooky season right around the corner, Luna’s Lost Spell Halloween Trail is set to take over the UK’s biggest charity zoo for the whole of next month from Saturday 1 – Monday 31 October, and it looks set to be an ideal day out for families during the half term.
The trail is free with the price of admission, and aims to raise awareness of all the “creepy but crucial creatures” at the zoo that are venomous and poisonous.
Coronation Street’s famous ‘Stars Tours’ have returned, and it means you can meet “mystery” cast members on the legendary cobbles.
Just as the name suggests, the Stars Tours not only include the standard 90-minute guided tour of the external Coronation Street set in MediaCityUK, but they also give you the opportunity to meet the a surprise cast member from the show.
While bosses of the official guided tours are keeping names of the mystery cast members who are set to make appearances close to their chest, they have assured fans that they’ll pop out to say hello, and pose for pictures, as well as letting you in on a few filming secrets or a story during the special events too.
Yard & Coop is giving away free fried chicken to help students this week.
From 12pm until close on Wednesday 5 October, students of Manchester and Salford can get their hands on some of the Northern Quarter restaurant’s famous buttermilk fried chicken thighs and fries at no cost at all.
You’ve got the option to pay a fiver to upgrade to a full portion if the hangovers are really getting the better of you.
GRIMMFEST is back for its 10th anniversary special in our city this weekend.
A truly-independent genre film festival, GRIMMFEST is committed and dedicated to sharing great movies from both new and established filmmakers in the world of cinema in the horror, cult, extreme fantasy, and sci-fi genres.
Some of the northern premieres film fans can expect this year include Better Watch Out, Replace, Game of Death, Killing Ground, Still/Born, 68 Kill, Ruin Me, Double Date, Freehold (2 Pigeons), Leatherface, and Attack of the Adult Babies.
For one night only on 7 October, the iconic Victoria Baths will be transformed into what is being described as the ultimate shopping experience.
From artisans, artists, and jewellers, to designers, bakers, and candlestick makers, The Night Market showcases the finest local small business talent with over 100 independent stalls, plus there’ll be street food to feast on, multiple bars to whet your whistle, alongside a Vintage Pool Party filled with the finest vintage treasures.
There’ll also be a DJ, some live music performances from Manchester based singer/songwriters, and so much more.
With more than 160 consoles and hundreds of games to play, Power UP is back at the Science and Industry Museum for the first time in three years, taking ticket-holders on a journey through five decades of gaming, with everything from retro arcade games, to state-of-the-art virtual reality, and so much more.
Power UP is taking place every weekend and school holiday all the way through to December 2023, and every ticket includes unlimited play all day.
To help mark this year’s World Mental Health Awareness Week, mental health services provider Self Space is teaming up with Manchester’s very-own Feel Good Club to offer 30-minute therapy session slots at its cafe hub in the heart of the Northern Quarter for completely free of charge.
Free sessions will take place on Sunday 9 October.
All you have to do is register, walk in, and have a good conversation with a qualified person.
One of the standout experiences on the 2022 East Lancashire Railway (ELR) events lineup has to be the chance to go on a ‘wizarding adventure’ and ride a Harry Potter-themed train through Greater Manchester.
Aspiring witches and wizards can gather at the ELR for a day of sharing spells and magic-themed fun.
This interactive adventure will see visitors, both young and old, enjoy a range of performances from colourful characters and magical creatures – provided by performance company Funcast – all before boarding the ‘Wizard Express’ for a two-hour round trip journey through the Irwell Valley of wonders.
The new restaurants and bars opening in Manchester this month | October 2022
Another month, another round of new openings – and there’s plenty to get stuck into.
Whether you’re into glitzy late-night hang outs, casual dining turnarounds or award-winning burritos, let’s just say there’s something on the list for you this October.
From the brand new Shogun Ramen and Bar, which sees beloved Chorlton restaurant Peck & Yard give it ‘one more shot’ with a ramen and sushi concept, to Mayfair celeb haunt Mnky Hse, keep reading to discover where to put on your list this month.
Shogun Ramen and Bar
Fans and staff alike were heartbroken when Chorlton restaurant Peck & Yard announced it was closing its doors for good in August, so we’re all happy to see the team return under a new guise.
Switching from baskets of fried chicken to steaming bowls of ramen and handrolled sushi, bosses will try something entirely new as they delve into the world of Japanese cuisine.
The concept is something they had originally considered before opening Peck & Yard, and they said that “with the times we’re in” they thought “why not go back to the original idea and give this one last shot”.
Soft launch 1 October from 5pm, open from 6 October.
Late-night bar and restaurant Mnky Hse (pronounced “monkey house”) is set to be taking over a space in Lloyd House this month.
First opened in Mayfair, London, in 2016, it will be the second UK site for the restaurant and its first in the north of England when it opens its doors this September.
Known for its ‘hidden entrance’, Instagram-friendly interiors, live music, extensive cocktail menu and Latin American dishes, here you’ll find a great range of tacos – both soft and crunchy – alongside a range of sushi, ceviche and grill dishes.
Tortilla, Oxford Road
Mexican food chain Tortilla has arrived in Manchester, bringing a new burrito shop to the Oxford Road student stretch this month.
Offering a range of award-winning burritos, nachos and tacos, you’ll also find quesadillas, chips and salsa, salad bowls and more on the menu.
A new arrival in Longridge, Fell Bistro comes from former Masterchef the Professional finalist Oli Martin who previously spent eight years at four AA rosette restaurant Hipping Hall.
With head chef Rikki Hughes, previousl of Tom Kerridge’s Michelin pub The Hand and Flowers in Marlow, heading up the kitchen we expect great things.
The menu offers a selection of classic dishes with their wood fired oven and grill featuring prominently. Elsewhere, find hearty Sunday lunches and light bites.
Bread and Bowl, Spinningfields
There are carb overloads, and then there is Bread & Bowls‘ Full English breakfast in a hollowed-out loaf.
First launched in February 2020, these ginormous loaves of sourdough – stuffed with fry-up favourites like high-grade local sausages, crispy streaky bacon, beans, cheese, mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and hash browns – became something of a hungover lockdown sensation.
Now, you can find them at the new Spinningfields coffee shop 92 Degrees, housed inside the no.1 Spinningfields building Served between 8am and 4pm every day.
Bold Street Coffee, Oxford Road
Liverpool-born Bold Street Coffee has just opened its second shop here in the space of a few months.
Moving into the universities territory, the new site is found at University Green just off Oxford Road.
Serving the same menu as its Cross Street site, head down for egg boxes, signature BSC frys, and hearty bowls of super porridge and granola.
Feature image – Federal / Tortilla / The Manc Eats