Two towns in Greater Manchester have been named in a list of the best places to live in the UK, according to a guide by The Sunday Times. Prestwich and Altrincham have been selected among four other locations in the North West as part of the annual Sunday Times Best Places to Live in 2022.
The comprehensive guide, which features 70 locations in total, is put together by The Sunday Times’ expert judges who take into account a wide range of factors, from schools, transport and broadband to culture, green spaces and the health of the high street.
It is the first ever year that Prestwich has made it onto the list. Last year, Altrincham was named the best place to live in the North West, and was described as the Greater Manchester market town where “suburbia meets utopia” and one of Manchester’s ‘best’ destinations.
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The Sunday Times’ favored Altrincham yet again for its ‘magical’ food hall and market that was transformed from ‘the worst high street in Britain’ into one of the region’s best destinations.
Judges also noted that some of Altrincham’s schools, which include Altrincham Grammar School for Girls, are among the best in the North West. The tram also offers easy access to MediaCityUK, the city center with scenic parks and the Cheshire countryside close by.
The average house price in the area, according to Halifax, is £531,000 which is a growth of 10% since 2020 – showing its increase in demand during and after the pandemic.
The Sunday Times’ Best Places to Live guide, which is in its 10th year running, also looks to celebrate improving towns, villages or city centres, and locations bursting with community spirit – which is likely why Prestwich has been selected this year.
The North Manchester suburb has made its debut on the Best Places to Live list, thanks to a fast-improving roster of bars and restaurants including Osma, Keg, Cask and Bottle and many more. Prestwich is also home to a fish and chip shop voted one of the best in the country.
It has recently been revealed that Prestwich will undergo a huge £100 million pound project that is set to ‘transform’ the Bury town and give it ‘a new community heart’. The Longfield Center is set to be redeveloped over the next few years with a mix of new shops, homes, public space and a health centre.
Heaton Park, where music festival Parklife takes place each year, was also named by judges as ‘probably Manchester’s best’, as well as its tram routes which offer quick and easy access to the centre. Judges also said that volunteer-run arts festival show that both culture and community are thriving.
The Sunday Times’ says that Prestwich now rivals more traditional hotspots such as Chorlton or Didsbury. Average house prices in the town are around £246,000, which has grown by 18% since 2020.
Alongside Altrincham and Prestwich, four other North West locations were selected in the guide. The top pick and a new addition to the list this year was Trawden.
Judges said that this “unsung corner of Lancashire” has a stunning countryside and a great example to the rest of rural Britain. The village was also noted for its triumph in buying and saving its shop, pub and library and running them to the highest standard.
The three other locations, which were listed in no particular order, were Christleton in Cheshire, Kirkby Lonsdale in Cumbria and West Kirby in Merseyside.
Helen Davies, The Times and Sunday Times Property Editor, said: “The Sunday Times Best Places to Live list is necessarily subjective. Leave it just to statistics and you will never capture the spirit of a place. For that, you need to visit to take into account that ‘you have to be here’ feeling. Is the pub dog-friendly, for example? Can you live car-free? What are the schools and houses like? Is it multicultural and multigenerational, and can it offer a good way of life to lots of different sorts of people?
“Ten years ago, when we launched the inaugural list, London’s gravitational pull was strong, the WFH revolution had not yet reached our doorstep and high streets were stacked with chains. How times have changed — and how welcome that change is.
“This year we have discovered new best places to live from resurgent city centers in the North, rejuvenated suburbs across the country, hidden villages in the Southwest, and a commutable Scottish island. We hope there is something to suit everyone.”
Here is what the judges had to say about the other three North West locations on the list:
“This picture-perfect spot offers an aspirational version of traditional village life just a few miles from the center of Chester. It’s beautiful, much loved by its residents, has excellent schools right on the doorstep and a shop, café and excellent pubs.”
The average house price in the Cheshire village is £489,000, with 39% growth since 2020.
Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria
“An immovable fixture in Best Places to Live: no other town offers better access to so much magical scenery, and few others can match its attractive town center for independent shops.
“The school, rugby club and churches all play a keen role in the community and the Royal Barn tap room and Milking Parlor cow-to-cone ice cream shop are the kind of businesses that would improve any town.”
Kirkby Lonsdale has an average house price of £ 404,000, which has increased by just 3% since 2020.
West Kirby, Merseyside
“A view across the Dee estuary and the choice of excellent independent cafés and bars add a sprinkle of magic to a town that’s perfect for both active downsizers and families – with excellent schools, sports clubs and trains to Liverpool.”
With a growth of 14% since 2020, the average house price in the Merseyside town is £409,000.
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