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The Best Things to Do In Chorlton: An Ultimate Guide

This trendy Manchester suburb is popular with families, young professionals and couples. Find out the best things to do in Chorlton.

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Sat just south of Manchester City Centre (About 20 minutes on the tram, 15 on a good day), Chorlton-cum-Hardy feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of the city. This trendy Manchester suburb is popular with families, young professionals and couples and is known as being the liberal heart of Manchester. Packed full of independent shops, leafy streets, and some of the best restaurants in Manchester.

How ever you’re planning on spending your day in Chorlton there’s more than enough to keep you entertained. With green spaces, independent bars & restaurants, charity shops (that people travel out of the city to visit to get the best second-hand pieces), Saturday markets and a thriving co-operative for all of your fresh grocery needs.

You can’t get much better than an easy Sunday stroll through the picturesque streets of Chorlton. That's why we've rounded up all the best things to do in Chorlton.

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What areas to visit in Chorlton

There are three main areas that make up Chorlton, all within walking distance of each other and do-able to visit all in one day.

1. Beech Road

Often called the ‘trendiest road in Manchester’. Beech Road is packed full of restaurants, bars & shops. Surrounded by the garden village of Chorltonville which as been a conservation area since 1991. This area of Chorlton is also a short walk from Chortlon Ees nature reserve and the River Mersey. More of the crafty type? Pop into Pottery Corner and paint up a storm, this is a great way to spend some time in Chorlton whether you’re a family, out on a date or wanting to do something different with friends (If you’re worried you’ll be surrounded by children don’t fret all the times I’ve visited it has been exclusively adults!).

2. The Centre of Chorlton (Where Wilbraham Road and Barlow Moor Road meet)

Often the busiest part of Chorlton, this area is a 2-minute walk from the Chorlton tram stop. Stretching across a large section of Wilbraham Road you’ll find a more down-to-earth mix of independent and chain shops, coffee shops and casual food and drink spots.

3. Manchester Road

Just a short walk from the centre of Chorlton. This area is home to Unicorn Co-operative and the monthly Makers Market as well as more amazing independent bars and restaurants.

Where to eat in Chorlton

If you’re a foodie, you’ll be spoilt for choice in Chorlton. With more independent restaurants than you can shake a stick at, you certainly won’t go hungry if you make the trip out to Chorlton.

1. The Beagle

A cosy local favourite for drinks and to eat your fill of (my personal Manchester pizza favourite) Nell’s pizza, starting from just £3 a slice what’s not to love. The Beagle is a great spot to catch-up with old friends or end your Sunday off right. If you’re a vegan, don’t fret there is also plenty of vegan pizza options.

2. San Juan

If you want to feel like you’ve stepped out of Manchester and into Spain, San Juan is the place you need to visit. This popular restaurant is in a cosy spot on Beech Road. You’ll find a bustling little restaurant with traditional décor and authentic Tapas (and Sangria by the pitcher!). This is a great restaurant to visit for a late-night bite.

3. The Drop Bar Cafe

This restaurant has a lively atmosphere and delicious authentic West Indian and Caribbean food. The Drop Bar Cafe is an ideal location for catching up with friends while enjoying generous portions of mouth-watering food and great cocktails. If you’ve got less time to spend you can also get food to takeaway here. There are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options as well as halal meat.

4. Double Zero

Trust me, if you tell anyone in Manchester that you’re going to Chorlton they’ll tell you that you HAVE to go to Double Zero, and they’re not wrong. While the overwhelming number of pizza spots in Manchester can make you question how good can a pizza place actually be? Double Zero takes the top spot for authentic, handmade Neapolitan Pizza. Plus it’s BYO, you can’t get much better than that. There are vegan options available, and they recently launched halal chicken instore and for delivery.

5. Lucky Mamas

Born out of Lockdown Lucky Mamas started as a back garden trailer in Eccles selling delicious fresh pasta and pizza. With the Chorlton restaurant opening as the first brick-and-mortar location in March 2022. You can eat in (there’s only a couple of tables so make sure you get there quick if you want to stay in) or takeaway. Choose from fresh pasta, pizza, focaccia and even sweet doughballs. The beef and chicken is halal and there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options.

6. Ring Sushi

Sushi lovers rejoice, Ring Sushi is located on Barlow Moor Road on the same strip as Double Zero and The Drop Bar Café. This is a small and friendly spot, ideal for a quick dinner or lunch with delicious fresh sushi. My personal favourite is the vegetarian sushi platter. Make sure you bring cash! They don’t normally take card, the nearest cash machine is a few minutes walk away at Tesco Express.

7. The Tibetan Kitchen

The Tibetan Kitchen has a few locations, in central Chorlton you’ll find it in Chorlton Park next to the playground. This stand is a surprising food spot which serves a delicious range of traditional Tibetan dishes. Perfect for a quick but tasty lunch, there are benches outside the hut to sit or take your food to go and have a stroll around the park. There are always plenty of vegetarian and vegan options available.

8. Ruyi Vegetarian House

At Ruyi’s you can expect traditional Chinese cuisine that is entirely vegetarian, and most dishes are vegan to boot. With a range of mock meat as well as more traditional tofu dishes, prepare to fill your stomach with delicious plant-based food. Everything is surprisingly realistic so you can drag your meat-eating friends and family here without fear of disappointment. I recommend the Szechuan Crispy ‘Beef’ and the ‘prawn’ toast. You can eat in at the Manchester Road location or takeaway here.

9. The Little Yeti

Located on Barlow Moor Road, Little Yeti brings authentic Nepalese Street Food with a contemporary twist to Chorlton. Think butter paneer roti wraps, onion bhajis, masala chips (yum!) and momos (a delicious, steamed dumpling!). There are loads of vegetarian and vegan options on the menu. This is a great spot for a lowkey dinner with amazing food. Like most restaurants in Chorlton, Little Yeti is in a small building so make sure you book if you want to visit.

Where to get a coffee (and a cake!) in Chorlton

After a morning of walking around the leafy streets of Chorlton you'll in doubt be in need of a caffeine break. As with most things in Chorlton, you'll be spoilt for choice of cosy indepdent cafes.

1. Tea Hive

This quaint little café on Manchester Road is all about the nation’s favourite drink. Aside from the good old English brekkie tea you’ll find kinds of loose-leaf teas and a whole variety of chai lattes. Not a tea fan? Not to worry there’s also a whole range of coffees and hot chocolates. There’s also cake, lots of cake. Choose from a selection of fresh cakes and other baked treats. If you time your trip right, there’s nothing better than a cream tea at Tea Hive with a fresh warm scone (or is it scone?) straight out of the oven. Delish.

2. Bisous Bisous

Bisous Bisous is a French patisserie with several locations around Manchester that specialises in eclairs, tarts, gateaus and macarons. Ooh la la. The Chorlton location is on the bustling Beech Road and has inside seating as well as outdoor decking which makes for the perfect spot to sit and watch the world go by on a (rare) sunny day.

3. Cocoa Tree

Do you love hot chocolate? Of course you do. Cocoa Tree is home to the best hot chocolate in Manchester (in my humble opinion). Located on Wilbraham Road, Cocoa Tree are chocolate specialists who handmake chocolate in Manchester. At the café you can browse all their wonderful chocolates or sit and enjoy a hot drink and a cake.

Where to get a drink in Chorlton

What better way to finish of a trip to Chorlton than at a cosy pub or a bustling bar. Whatever vibe you're after, there's a place to get a drink in Chorlton for you.

1. Mary & Archie's

An easygoing haunt that’s popular with the locals, Mary & Archie’s is a great spot for a chilled-out drink in a cosy location. With a great selection of beers, ciders, cocktails, and wines. They also serve food throughout the day if you fancy a bite to go with your drink.

2. The Font

Also on Manchester Road close to Mary & Archie's is The Font. The city centre Font Bar is often seen as a student spot with really cheap cocktails, The Font in Chorlton is a more sophisticated spot that often hosts quizzes, live music and comedy nights. Plus, really cheap cocktails. In a slightly larger location than some other bars in Chorlton, The Font is still a cosy spot for a lowkey drink. They serve a variety of food as well, so don’t worry about going hungry.

3. The Laundrette

More of the cocktail type? The Laundrette is the spot for you. Located at the heart of Beech Road, The Laundrette has a fun and vibrant atmosphere. Think pink neon lights and crazy cocktails. The Raspberry Flossy cocktail is topped off with a ball of candyfloss and you can’t make a trip to The Laundrette without getting their sharing Bubble Bath cocktail which is served in a little bath and topped with white chocolate foam. They also serve a range of food to go alongside their iconic cocktails.

4. The Bowling Green

One of the oldest pubs in Chorlton, The Bowling Green is tucked away just up from Beech Road near the entrance to the Chorlton Ees nature reserve. The local running club meet here on Tuesday evenings (apparently Peter Andre is a member so keep your eyes peeled if you visit). This family-friendly, traditional pub is a great spot to finish off a walk around Chorlton.

5. The Horse & Jockey

This large family-friendly pub is located at the top of Beech Road, overlooking Chorlton Green. Set in a 500-year-old building, expect a warm homely atmosphere with a cosy interior and outside seating facing the green.

6. The Sedge Lynn

Okay, yes, it is just a Wetherspoons. BUT have you ever seen a Wetherspoons like this? Located on Manchester Road, it’s worth the trip even if you don’t step foot inside. The building was originally a Billiards Hall built in 1907 this grade II listed building is well worth a look.

Where to shop in Chorlton

What's a trip to a new place without a bit of retail therapy? Chorlton is home to loads of amazing independent shops, so get your purse out and get shopping!

1. Unicorn Grocery

Unicorn is an iconic worker-owned grocery shop that sells organic, locally sourced fruit and veg, vegan essentials, eco-friendly household goods and fresh deli products. This co-operative store is a Chorlton favourite, it’s always full of locals stocking up on essentials. It’s a must visit, there’s nowhere else like it!

2. The Makers Market

Find this market on Manchester Road on the third Saturday of each month. It stretches all the way round to Oswald School Car Park. Expect an array of art, craft, food, drink, coffee, live music, and street food. It’s a great addition to a visit to Chorlton if you time your trip right.

3. Barbakan Delicatessen

Established In 1964, the Barbakan Delicatessen is an award-winning craft bakery and continental deli set in the heart of Chorlton on Manchester Road. Find locals queued up to get their hands on a freshly baked loaf of bread, browsing the deli or sitting outside enjoying a coffee.

4. Epicerie Ludo

This gourmet grocery, deli, spirit & wine merchant is located on Beech Road. They sell fresh bread and pastries which you can smell as you walk past. Delish. Pop by and browse their range of fresh goods and cupboard essentials.

5. Object Style

Another staple of Beech Road, Object Style is a small independent lifestyle store which stocks a variety of small batch goods, handmade products, and Danish inspired homeware. Think classy, neutral colours and fancy candles. They also host workshops like candle making with Manchester-based candle company Cedar Lifestyle and silver ring making with Lucy Charlotte Jewellery. This is the perfect spot if you’re after a thoughtful gift or looking to treat yourself.

6. Hurricane

You really are spoilt for choice if you’re looking for an independent gift shop in Chorlton. Hurricane is a little independent shop also conveniently located on Beech Road. They’ve been around for 24 years and sell fun, colourful gifts. The back of the shop is often dedicated to children’s toys and gifts so ideal if you have a little one you’re wanting to treat.

7. No.68

Not another gift shop! Yes, another independent gift shop. You lucky thing. All the amazing independent gift shops have completely different vibes so don’t worry about getting bored. No.68 is the hot pink shop located at the end of Beech Road. If you’re after a gift for a parent or a child No.68 is the shop to check out. Think funny cards, humorous gifts, a range of jewellery and cute homewares

8. The Curious Fox

I know, I know, another gift and homeware shop on Beech Road. But trust me all of the shops on Beech Road really hold their own. The Curious Fox always has incredible window displays that change seasonally, it’s really something you need to see. The namesake fox is a frequent feature but expect to see a snow queen fairy in a light-up woodland wonderland when December rolls around. The Curious Fox feels like a quirky, slightly dimly lit, maze filled with an eclectic mix of unusual homeware, cards, candles and much more.

9. Chorlton Bookshop

Located in the heart of Chorlton on Wilbraham Road, Chorlton Bookshop is a book lovers paradise. It’s a family-owned business that has been serving the local community since 1983. Despite being a small shop, you’ll find a wide range of books here. The calm and friendly atmosphere makes this the perfect shop to browse in on a rainy Saturday afternoon.

10. Department

One of the recent additions to the Chorlton shopping scene. Department is a modern vintage home store selling an eclectic mix of vintage furniture, art, records, and fashion (and much more!). Located on Barlow Moor Road this is a great shop to check out before heading to Beech Road. Its in a larger unit compared to most other shops in Chorlton so you’ll have plenty to browse.

Things to see in Chorlton

What's a trip to a new place without a bit of sightseeing? Prepare for lots of art and quirky sights in Chorlton.

1. Chorlton Arts Festival

If you’re planning your visit in May don’t miss out on the Chorlton Arts festival. Falling on the 19th-28th May in 2023. In its 21st year, for a week in May neighbourhoods around Chorlton participate in musical, visual arts, creative writing and poetry events in local venues and public spaces. Think decorated alleyways, artist’s exhibitions, an art trail through the park and a sea shanty night at the local pub. Count us in!

2. Murals & Graffiti

As you would expect from bohemian, creative neighbourhood Chorlton walls are covered in art. Take a stroll through the residential streets and keep your eyes peeled. The Chorlton Mural, created by Russell Meehan, is a tribute to all things Chorlton with references to the Bee Gees (who spent 8 years of their childhood living in Chorlton) and iconic cartoon characters like Dangermouse (animated at Cosgrove Hall in Chorlton) to name just a few.

My personal favourite is the Tiger Who Came to Tea inspired mural on the side of home on Thornbridge Avenue, just a few minutes from Beech Road. Make sure you pop down to Beech Road Park as well as there is a mural there which changes periodically (and fun frog bins, who knew bins could be fun?).

This unique gallery and sculpture garden is located on Beech Road, step through the shop and be transported to a peaceful respite away. This independent, self-funded gallery is committed to recycling and reusing waste. Owned and ran by artists Glennis Andrews and Fiona Norton since the 1990s.

Where to walk in Chorlton

Being outside of the city centre means greenspaces aren't hard to find. If you're after a bit of nature there are some great options for walking spots in Chorlton. If you're after even more country walks near Manchester, we've got you.

1. Chorlton Ees Nature Reserve

This 58 hectacre site, sometimes called Chorlton Medows, features pasture, woodlands, and ponds. You can access the River Mersey from the reserve and walk along the footpaths on its banks which are suitable for wheelchairs and pushchairs and is popular with joggers and cyclists. There’s an entrance on Brookburn Road, near The Bowling Green pub which has parking.

2. Chorlton Water Park

No there’s no water slides, it’s not that kind of water park, sorry. Chorlton Water Park is nature reserve which features a lake surrounded by grassland and woodlands. This reclaimed farmland features woods, fishing, picnic benches, a network of accessible parks and a play area. This is the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll, or to take children or dogs. There’s parking or it’s a 30-minute walk from all 3 Chorlton tram stops.

3. The Southern Cemetery

A walk through the largest municipal cemetery in the UK (and second largest in Europe) might not be for everyone. But for fellow Cemetery walkers, this one is for you. A 25-minute walk from Chorlton’s main tram stop, this expansive cemetery opened in 1879 and contains 6 Grade II listed buildings, four of which are Neo-gothic chapels. The cemetery is also the final resting place of many notable Mancunians.

How to get to Chorlton

Chorlton has three tram stops – Chorlton, St Werburgh’s Road and Barlow Moor Road. A frequent bus route also serves Wilbraham Road and Manchester Road from the city centre. If you’re driving, you can park on most streets for free (don’t tell the locals I told you that!)

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