Manchester & Trafford - our local site of the week
This week's Local Site of the Week is Manchester & Trafford. Here, the Local Editors tell us a bit about themselves and their area.
What's your name and where do you come from?
Manchester & Trafford has two local editors.
Rachael: I came up from London 20 years ago for university and stayed. I met my husband, also from down south, here and now I wouldn't move away for anything - it's such a friendly city, plus my kids are Northerners.
Kate: I came up from Birmingham in 2000 and I settled really quickly and now this is my home. I am now an Honorary Mancunian.
Why did you apply to head up your Local site?
We have seven children between us, all at different stages. Manchester has so much going on but locally you often hear about things after the event. We were both really interested in creating an up-to-date, community What's On guide that covers all areas for kids and grown-ups alike.
We also have the opportunity to swap ideas with other parents and offer a support network for newcomers to our city.
We have learned so much about what is happening on our doorstep over the past six months that we feel like an even bigger part of the community.
What's your favourite thing about the area?
I adore the multicultural attitude with that endearing Northern edge. It has the proper buzz of a large city as well as the ease of getting around without too much hassle. South Manchester is now connected by the Metro and has a 24-hour bus network.
Also, the city never shuts, which comes in handy on an urgent Calpol run at 3am to the 24-hour chemist.
And your least favourite?
Years ago it was the rain, but that's country-wide now so... nothing!
Best child-friendly cafe?
Lead Station in Chorlton - nothing is too much trouble for the staff here and to top it all off, there are baby-changing facilities in both the ladies' and men's toilets…yay!
Elsewhere, there's the Bean & Brush Family Art Cafe.
Best place to go if you want a child-free night out?
If in the city centre, then we would go to the Northern Quarter where there are bars aplenty.
In terms of the best spots for a night out, Apotheca wins our vote by a clear mile for possibly the best cocktails ever. You watch them being made as if you were watching medicine being dispensed. After that, I'd definitely include Odd Bar, which is relaxing, chilled-out and features good tunes. It's a great place to meet up with friends.
If you're staying local, then there are two well-known areas in West Didsbury: Burton Road has the buzz of the city centre but all its bars are on one road. Then there's Beech Road in Chorlton, complete with its many bars and pubs. West Didsbury, Cholton, Sale & Altrincham all have plenty of bars and a great nightlife and for a better look at where to enjoy a night out, visit Manchester & Trafford's bars and pubs page.
If you're not looking to eat or drink, then the Independent Cornerhouse Cinema is a sure bet as it always has a really good choice of indie and foreign films.
Best outside space?
Average semi-detached house price
Pupils achieving 5+ GCSEs, A*-C
Fletcher Moss Gardens has the most amazing enclosed gardens with unusual plants and trees. For familes, however, it is simply the best venue for runabouts.
If you need even more space, the Gardens run into Stenner Woods & Millgate Fields. Here, you really get a sense of being away from it all and the kids get some really good old-fashioned, back-to-nature fun -not a swing in sight, lots of tree climbing, the opportunity to throw sticks in the River (Mersey) and, apparently, there are even fairy trees.
Wythenshawe Park is a huge space and great for picnics. Children have lots of space and freedom, but there is also a playground at City Farm with tennis courts for the older ones and beautiful gardens to gaze around for the others. There's always so much going on.
Chorlton Water Park features a lovely walk around the lake with plenty of wildlife. There is a wooden play area for the kids.
If you're feeling adventurous, Chorlton is connected by the River Mersey where you can walk along into Chorlton (Beech Road) and enjoy many of the cafés and bars.
Our pick would be Bar San Juan, run by a very friendly Spanish team - amazing tapas or just a drink and they will always squeeze you in.
Favourite hidden gem?
John Rylands Library is an amazing building and the architecture really isn't that of a conventional library. It's a magical place for children as well, as, once a year, the establishment hosts a sleepover event for children and this year's theme was Doctor Who - the kids loved it.
Which are the most sought-after primary and secondary schools in your area?
For secondary schools, Trafford is one of the few areas in the country that has free grammar schools, Sale Grammar being one of them. Elsewhere, take a look at Stretford High School or Wellington in Timperley.
Turning to our selection of primary schools in Trafford, there is Heyes Lane Primary, Bollin Primary, St. John's Primary in Chorlton, St. Catherine's RC Primary in Didsbury, Beaver Road School and Urmston Junior School. While these are all state schools, our local site has a great selection of private schools as well.
Most of the museums are free and are good with the kids; our pick is the National Football Musuem.
It's incredibly interactive and you don't have to spend any money. On a nice day you can sit outside and watch the skaters doing their thing. Our kids can spend hours here.
And finally, sum up why it's so great for families?
Manchester is the largest and fastest-growing economy outside of London. The city has transformed itself into one of Europe's most dynamic and exciting cities in which to live and work. It is big on entrepreneurs.
The Trafford Centre, just five miles away from the city centre, is one of the largest shopping centres in Europe and hosts restaurants, cinemas, hundreds of shops and features beautiful architecture.
If that's not your thing, then South Manchester is full of independent shops and, with the tide quickly turning to sourcing and eating your food locally; we are now spoiled for choice with local weekend farmers' markets.
Manchester is currently number seven in Europe's top 10 emerging tourist attractions, with our diverse culture, music and entertaiment bringing visitors from all over the world.
Mancunians are proud of their heritage and culture, and for those of us that weren't born and bred in the North, this heritage seeps into us and makes us also proud to be living in the North and bringing up our families here. There are so many places to see and vist. We love our city, so come and visit us.
What do the Manchester & Trafford Mumsnetters have to say?
Wythenshawe Park to the south is vibrant and under-celebrated. Librarina
When I have friends with children visiting I like to take them to the Lead Station in Chorlton, Manchester Art Gallery Cafe, The Buddhist Centre (Vegan) or Croma (City Centre, Chorlton or Prestwich). These all have yummy food at reasonable prices and amuse the children without being completely hideous. Librarina
My favourite thing about the city of Manchester is how vibrant and diverse it is. There are plenty of shops, museums, galleries and libraries, the suburbs range from rough to fancy, the people are warm and chatty and the nightlife is brilliant. Every two years there is the Manchester International Festival, which programmes new theatre, music and art. It has seen incredible events. Librarina