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Things to do in Prestwich, Greater Manchester

Prestwich Village Panorama © Ros Smith

Prestwich is simply a leafy, residential suburb to the north of Manchester city centre.

For many years, along with its sister suburb of Whitefield, just to the north, it remained North Manchester's best kept secret, but more and more people have discovered it as a place to live, it is considered by some to be the Didsbury of North Manchester.

A bit short on delis and trendy bars maybe, but frankly more affordable and family friendly. "The Village" has a very large recently built, upmarket block of flats above new bars etc, by a revamped square with expensive water feature. There are a few independent traders on Bury New Road and the odd deli next to the usual mix of newsagents, charity shops, Tesco, Sainburys etc.

Prestwich is on junction 17 (at 12 o'clock ) on the M60 orbital motorway, which make Leeds and Liverpool city centres accessible in just 40-45 minutes. There is a "Travelodge" by Tesco and a TGI Fridays, just off the motorway. Prestwich is 20 minutes from Manchester airport and about 40 from the much improved John Lennon airport at Liverpool.

Many praise the very many pubs in Prestwich. The "Woodthorpe", in what looks like a very grand, Victorian mansion on Bury Old Road, was once the family home of the Holt brewing family and the interior is worth a look for its own sake.

You can find everything from a small flat or terraced house to the grandest of detached properties worth a million or more in Prestwich.

The Old Town Hall has recently been converted into what must be some of the most expensive flats in the conurbation. The impressive Reformed Church on Newtown Street, near Heaton Park, is also being turned into flats and hence saved from dereliction. The proximity of Prestwich to the "inner city" make security a must for many home owners, it must be said, despite this, Prestwich remains a popular area with quite a strong sense of community. With the possible exception of the exclusive,neighbouring Broughton Park area,just into Salford, it could be described as the first pleasant area you hit to the north of Victoria station, once you have driven through the more deprived, yet very vibrant inner city areas such as Cheetham Hill/Crumpsall or Broughton, depending on the route you have taken out of town. The fruit and veg stalls on Cheetham Hill Road, next to the Ukranian shop, are fantastic! Do they ever close?

Despite its Manchester address, postcode(M25) and close proximity to Manchester centre (Prestwich village is about 4 miles north of Victoria) and is part of The Metropolitan Borough Of Bury in Greater Manchester. Along with Whitefield, Unsworth and Radcliffe it forms the Westminster constituency of Bury South.

Prestwich is a handy place to live for those with business interests in the city centre. The schools are considered good. The metro stations of Bowker Vale, Heaton Park, Prestwich next to the shopping area named, perhaps by the local estate agents, as "The Village" and Besses O'the Barn, all serve much of Prestwich. It is just a 10 minute drive into the city, for those in the know, who avoid the hold ups in Cheetham Hill, on Bury Old Road, by negotiating their way through the rather grand Broughton Park area.

Prestwich has a large Jewish population. There are at least four synagogues in M25 alone, and many more just beyond its confines. Many believe this is what makes the area so interesting, along with a thriving Roman Catholic community and a growing Asian population.

Heaton Park is on the doorstep. Despite what you may be told, the best way into the park is by using the entrance opposite Heaton Park tram station, which makes it handy for a trip out from the city centre. Some buses marked "Heaton Park", but not the double length 135 "bendy" bus which passes the station, will take you to the other side on Middleton Road. It is great in the summer and a breath of fresh air. Heaton Hall in the park, is part of The City Art Gallery and well worth a visit. The park is just into the city boundaries yet Prestwich's main attraction.

The Parish Church in Prestwich is often used by Granada TV to film "Coronation Street" weddings and funerals. Victoria Wood was born in Prestwich and raised in nearby Bury.

It might not be much of a tourist attraction, but Prestwich proves that inner suburbia does not have to be completely without a soul and you do not need to live too far from the bright lights of the constantly improving Manchester city centre.

Description by T. Kitson

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