Mid-September I turned 24! And for my birthday, I wanted to go on a little day-trip somewhere new. I’ve been living in the UK for five years, and I’ve mainly seen cities. The countryside and smaller towns are pretty unknown to me. And that’s something I wanted to change! So I went onto Google and found a town 15 minutes from where I live called Knutsford. My boyfriend and I decided to drive down and spend the day there – which turned into a lovely little day trip.
“Welcome to historic Knutsford” reads the entree sign of the little town. This historic town is located only 15 miles outside of Manchester but really kept its historic touch. That charm may be one of the reasons why Knutsford is pretty pricey… It has some of the most expensive houses outside of London, which is definitely seen back in some of the shops on the main streets – Tesla, fancy independent fashion stores and whiskey shops. But that charm also makes it such a lovely little town to visit for the day!
Culture in Knutsford
They aren’t wrong about Knutsford being a historic English town. It’s exactly how you’d imagine an old countryside village to look like. And I loved it! The atmosphere is so serene. It’s a lovely bit of peace and quiet to get out of the city. Inside the town centre, you should definitely check out these:
- St. John’s Parish Church: A beautiful little church located near the former Town Hall (which now hosts a bar/restaurant named Lost & Found).
- Gaskell Memorial Tower: Knutsford was the model for Elizabath Gaskell’s novel Cranford. This tower opened in 1907 to honour her and her work.
- Knutsford Methodist Church: Another little church that can be found in Knutsford is the Methodist Church. You can find it on the other end of Lost & Found.
- Knutsford Heritage Centre: Located in a reconstructed 17th-century timber-framed building, you can learn all about Knutsford’s rich history inside the heritage centre. It’s free to enter, too.
Food & Drinks in Knutsford
This beautiful historic town is also known as the “gastro-capital of Cheshire” according to the leaflet we got when we entered the town. Even though the town is small, there are over 20 eateries! And luckily, there is something for every budget. Some to check out are:
- The Courtyard Coffee House: Hidden on King Street, you can find the Courtyard Cafe. This coffee house is absolutely a-dor-a-ble. It fits in perfectly with the historic charm of Knutsford, with a cobblestoned square, a little house and flowers on the side. They serve breakfast, lunch and cakes alongside coffee and teas. A perfect place for a quick stop!
- Lost and Found: Housed in the Victorian former Town Hall of Knutsford (which is an absolutely stunning building), you can grab a drink or a bite at Lost and Found. Dogs are allowed in as well, which is always a plus. Even if you’re not planning on eating here, it’s worth a visit for the gorgeous architecture.
- Project 53: Beer, gin and pizza. What’s not to love? This lovely bar/restaurant is the place for a great range of beers and gins on top of affordable and tasty pizzas. Vegan options are available too!
- Lord Eldon: After a day of exploring Knutsford, you can wind down with a pint at this 300-year-old pub (!!!). The old pub fits in so perfectly with the rest of the historic town. Just a heads up, there’s no kitchen in this pub, so it’s drinks only!
For more information about the best eateries in Knutsford, check out Taste Knutsford. They do really cool food tours through the town and I’m very tempted to try one in the near future!
Shopping in Knutsford
Even though Knutsford is a small village, the centre is filled with cute and original independent shops. Personally, I’m a huge fan of independent shops. It’s so much more fun to explore compared to the same old high street every city seems to have. If I want to shop at Zara or H&M, I’ll just go to Manchester.
Knutsford has two main shopping streets called King Street (Bottom Street) and Princess Street (Top Street). On these streets, you can find such a wide variety of shops, including a florist, a jeweller, a nail bar, an old fashioned sweet shop, independent fashion shops, a cigar and whiskey shop, a stationery shop and even an independent pub! There is literally something for anybody and typical old-English vibes of both streets add so much extra to your shopping experience.
If you’re visiting on a Tuesday, Thursday or Friday, make sure to check out the Market Hall. Opened in 1964 and still hosting a traditional market till this day. There is also a monthly market on Princess Street, which comes to Knutsford every first Sunday of the month between February and November. At the start of December, you can also visit the 2-day Christmas Market in Knutsford. Here, you can find live entertainment, the Christmas Light Switch On and a lot of street food.
Tatton Park is probably the biggest and most famous “attraction” in Knutsford. One of England’s most complete historic estates, covering over 50 acres. The park is free to enter on foot or bike, but there’s an entree fee of £7 when using a car.
The park itself is really peaceful. There are deer roaming around, which reminded me a lot of Nara, Japan! It acts as a lovely place for a walk through nature. In Tatton Park, you can find some other attractions too. These include the Stableyard, the Gardens, the Mansion, the Farm and the Old Hall.
Please note that even though the park closes at 7 PM, a lot of the attractions inside, like the Japanese garden, shops and the farm close around 4-5 PM. It did disappoint me that we weren’t told at the entrance. We got to Tatton Park at around 4 PM and were told that the park would close at 7. This made us think that we’d have at least 3 hours to see the gardens and the farm, so we paid the £7 car entrance fee. Unfortunately, the gardens were closed when we got there, as well as pretty much everything else in the park. Leaving us with little to do but walk around and enjoy the scenery. Maybe I should’ve looked it up before going. But because the guard told us they closed at 7, I assumed we’d be able to visit the attractions before that time too.
How to get to Knutsford
The easier way to get to Knutsford is by car. From Manchester, it’s about 30-40 minutes by car. Even though this area is known to be a bit expensive, parking is super cheap. We parked our car for £2.60 for the entire day (at the Taton Street car park).
If you don’t drive, you can take the train from Manchester to Knutsford for £6-£7 and get there in 40 minutes. There is an hourly service from Monday to Saturday from Manchester, on Sunday the service departs a little bit less frequent.
All in all, I had a really lovely little day trip to Knutsford. I still can’t believe I wasn’t aware of such a pretty town existing so close to where I live! Have any of you ever been to Knutsford? Or do you have any other recommendations of cute historic towns in the North? Let me know!