Didsbury or Wilmslow? Or some other recommendations...(99 Posts)
DH, DD and I are looking to relocate from SE London to Manchester shortly which we are excited about. Priorities are:
Good primary schools
Not feeling like our life is over because we have left the big smoke...ie would like to be near some cafes, bars, restaurants, cinema, exercise classes etc but but obviously would be happy to drive a short distance to some of these things.
Garden/outdoor space for kids
Easy ish to commute into Manchester and get train to London (happy to commute up to 30 mins or so/drive that to train station)
We ideally need a 3/4 bed for approx £330-350k. From research looks like this should be do-able if we are happy to go for a more modern semi in Didsbury particularly (which we would be).
I would like to hear opinions on what differs between these two areas? is one more 'family' than the other? Also are there any other (perhaps smaller) areas / villages that would be easily accessible to either of the above / central Manchester that we should also look at? We don't know the areas that well so would value some local advice.
Thanks very much.
Lucky you ! South Manchester is a great place to bring up kids and I just wish we could go back <sigh>
Having lived in both places (albeit some years ago) Didsbury to me is a bit more studenty whereas Wilmslow is a bit more detached ££ houses.
Sale, Altrincham are popular with good schools, but Knutsford gets my vote every time.
Thanks MissMilbanke. I have heard of Knutsford but know nothing about it? Can you tell me any more? Looks like it's a bit further out but does it have a good centre/amenities? Property looks to be a bit cheaper there :-)
I think you need to visit both to have a good understanding of the area. Didsbury – more studenty, young professionals / young couples / young familes, older style houses, closer to the City Centre and therefore closer to not-so nice parts of the city. Don't know very much about the schools but (sweeping statement alert), I don't think you have great choices when it comes to secondary / high schools. Commute into the City Centre would be a doddle.
Wilmslow – would suggest its bigger – feels like a little town. Bigger high street, less trendy / urban than Didsbury, definitely more family oriented. Closer to country-side – more Cheshire than Manchester (if you see what I mean). More "up market" than Didsbury (just my view). Train links good but obviously much further out than Didsbury.
Knutsford – lovely. Very quaint. I think the general consensus from other MNetters is that its closer to the feel of SE towns (eg Richmond etc). Your money will go further than in other parts of South Manchester. Good schools, the high school has a relatively good reputation. Train station, think its about 45 mins on the train into Manchester.
Other suggestions – Hale (near Altrincham). Big draw for most people is the schooling – comes under Trafford which is one of best performing LEAs in the country. Most primaries are very good or outstanding, excellent choice re high schools (although the state grammars are increasingly difficult to get into but they consistently get results at A level & GCSE which put them in the Top 10 nationally). Village feel, lovely high street with bars / restaurants. Metrolink straight into town, airport on doorstep etc. Downside is that it is more expensive than other options. Look at Sale / Timperley / Brooklands for slightly cheaper options but still within Trafford.
You need a trip up north!
Thanks Mandy21. Yes we are coming up again in a few weeks. We've been to Didsbury a couple of times to visit friends but this time plan to go on a bit of a road trip and check out some other places. Knutsford and Hale sound well worth a look. I should add our family live in Derbyshire over towards Bakewell so we would probably be swayed slightly by an easy journey over to them also. Looks like there are some fab options and good to hear about the Trafford LEA ratings.
Trafford schools are all very well if you are certain your child will pass the 11-Plus......everyone seems to assume theirs will.
Clawdy, there is no 11+ any more in Trafford, each school has a separate entrance exam. I disagree tho that its only an option if you know a child will get in to one of the selective schools - the alternative high schools local to Altrincham etc get better results than high schools in other parts of the NW (Knutsford etc, most in the Manchester LEA), even though (arguably) the top 5/10% or whatever of pupils get creamed off from the grammars.
Also look at Bramhall, Poynton and Macclesfield.
Agree with most of what's been said.
Coming from SE London you may find Didsbury, Chorlton, Hale, Knutsford all feel an easier transition (depending exactly where you're moving from). None of those places will feel remote.
For trains down to London you will be looking at Manchester, Stockport, Macclesfield or Wilmslow. If you live in Knutsford then it is a 20-30 min drive to a London station - Wilmslow, Macc or Crewe.
Wilmslow, Alderley, Hale and Knutsford can all be a bit 'Cheshire' (in the bling sense) in different ways - particularly Alderley and Hale on a weekend evening. Didsbury/Chorlton are more urban in feel but to balance that more cramped, dirty, traffic, studenty.
If you were to prioritise education and are not looking for private then Trafford wins hands down.
Bramhall is a good balance between 'not too dull suburbia', nice park, housing, good schools and a good train into Manchester (change Stockport or Macc for London).
Balancing everything, our favourite centre is Knutsford - Mobberley is a great village just outside (although need to be on the Eastern edge to avoid plane undercarriages!). Knutsford has a couple of decent primaries (inc the surrounding villages - small schools in Chelford, Over Peover, Mobberley, slightly larger v good academically in Lower Peover)
Hi - lucky you - we moved the other way from NW to SE and I would move back tomorrow!
If your family are out Bakewell way, ( also lovely) look at Macclesfield/Bollington and even try Buxton which is a lovely place to live... strangely Knutsford did not appeal to us, far too near the Airport and planes so low you could see the pilots' eyes. We lived in Bollington and loved living there, primary schools great, high schools good, there is a good choice of state/private and you can get the train from Macc to Manc very easily.
Good luck, fabulous part of the world, friendly, good quality of life.
Do you want to swap!!!?
Macclesfield very affordable for your budget. Definitely a town on the up (in terms of the high street offer - coffee shops and restaurants springing up anew) and a really lovely friendly place.
I grew up in Hale, it is a really great area and you couldn't really ask for more. But...it is very expensive. You won't get much for your budget there. Timperley has definitely improved and is cheaper but doesn't have the same appeal for me.
We moved back from SE London to Stockton Heath just over two years ago, absolutely love it. V easy commute to Manchester and Liverpool and 5 mins from Warrington Bank Quay from which you can get to London in under two hours.
Lots of countryside around, good schools, lovely houses etc. v happy here and I find Hale sooooo bling when I am there now, although I do still think Hale is great.
We have not looked back for a second having swopped our top floor flat for a 5 bed Victorian house with huge garden.
Only downside of here for you would be access to the Peak District side. Perhaps consider Bramhall too and Macclesfield.
By the way, knutsford is really gorgeous but I do find the planes quite bad there and it is really expensive.
Feel free to PM me.
We live in Heaton Moor Stockport- quite near Didsbury. We love it- similar vibe to Didsbury, nine minutes to Mcr on train, tram at the other end of the Heatons in East Didsbury.
Plenty of pubs, restaurants. Great schools, local comp is Ofsted outstanding. My DS goes to one of the Trafford Grammars though.
Lots of parks and green space.
Would never move.
Hale / Altrincham are lovely, Hale is ££££ though.
If you're looking for somewhere with families that's suburban then I also like Heaton Moor in preference to Didsbury. You get more house for your money, more chance of a reasonable garden and less chance of student vomit on your doorstep.
Bollington is nice as guineapiglet says. We spend a fair bit of time there as have friends there. For me it's more 'peak district' and less 'cheshire' - that's certainly not a criticism and for many a positive! More independent shops than your Costas etc, bakers/butchers etc, lots of pubs, a surprising number of good primaries and lots of walks etc. More wholesome and less materialistic than most of the other places we've mentioned. V handy for Macc train south.
We also live near Stockton Heath. I lived down south for many years (in Berkshire so think Windsor/maidenhead and those lovely places along the Thames).
My absolutel preference would be Knutsford. The plane noise doesn't bother me -but - we didn't move there because actually the high school has a poor reputation. The 'top set' kids are creamed off for grammar and many others go private. Results are not great. It was the sole reason we didn't move to knutsford.
And this is despite having a child who is apparently 'top of the class' pretty much across the board. I am confident she would get into altrincham grammar if we lived in Altrincham but the further afield you go, the harder it is and obviously knutsford isn't in Altrincham!
Our local high school is Bridgewater. It has an outstanding ofsted. We are on the edge of countryside and walk from our door in one direction to open fields and woodland. In the other direction we reach restaurants etc.
Your budget would stretch to a nice semi here or a larger detached up the road on a new estate in Appleton. Trains to Euston take 1hr 44 mins. Manchester is 30 mins by car outside the rush hour. Several well regarded primary schools and buses to private schools (Manchester grammar/the grange).
Have a look on rightmove - better still just come and have a proper look around. Start in Stockton Heath and work your way back up the A49 towards the motorway taking in Appleton and Stretton. I still prefer Knutsford but this place also takes some beating.
Another vote here for Heaton Moor, more villagey than Didsbury,with excellent comprehensive school and primaries. Some great restaurants and bars too.
In terms of budget on heaton Moor that should just about get you what you are after- its not v cheap. We wanted to move for 4 beds but was out of our price range so we extended instead .
Forgot to say new houses being built ( estate called Heaton
manor)Iigjt be worth a look?
We're in Heaton Moor too. You'll probably get a smaller 4 bed here with a decent garden for £350k if you are prepared to wait for the right house. My husband isn't willing to relocate further out, and this is our favourite area close to Manchester (we've lived in Chorlton, Didsbury and Cheadle). However, given a free choice, I'd move to Knutsford like a shot. Lovely town and great big country park literally in your doorstep.
Brilliant tips here! Schools are important but we are only really thinking about primary at this stage (DD is almost 2) so we are a way off secondary and I would imagine we will move again before that stage but who knows possibly not.
I will definitely check out the Heatons and Knutsford too. I think for now though being closer to the city centre will work best for DH due to nature of his work and easy for me to get to London when I need to for work. Bollington also sounds worth a look. Oh wow I am excited now! We are not looking to make the move until August this year so time to plan. Budget wise looks as if 350k will at least get us something decent and much much bigger than what we live in now in SE London! I will be glad to be leaving the London property market behind!
We live just outside didsbury and love it, I agree lots of the other areas mentionned are great too. Just a couple of specific points I don't think have been mentionned:
If you're moving to didsbury make sure your schools research is thorough (details are on the council website of how close you have had to live to a school in previous year to get in, but it varies year to year). There are several very good but oversubscribed primaries. I've heard of several families who live close to lots of good schools but managed to be in a black spot where they couldn't quite get in to any of them.
If you or dh will be commuting by car into Manchester make sure you check out the commute during rush hour. Eg being over Poynton way would be convenient for seeing your friends but the route is a really slow crawl both ends of the day, even for some colleagues of mine who travel super early to supposedly 'beat the traffic'.
Hope that helps, it is lovely up here!
Suggest you look at:
Heaton Moor & Hale/Altrincham
That will give you a balance of suburbia, an attractive mid-sized town that's quite Cheshire and similar in some ways to nicer parts of the SE and finally a small town that's a little more Derbyshire than Cheshire in character.
If you had time beyond that, you could extend 'suburbia' to include Stockton Heath and Bramhall (both different things going for them), Wilmslow as another discrete town and maybe villages on the end of town (of which there are lots - Alderley, Prestbury, Mobberley etc - although budget hurts in villages).
There are lots of other great places of course but the suggestions have focused on South and West of Manchester - which makes sense for London & Manc. Although having said that places like Marple to London via Stockport are perfectly doable too!
We moved from City Centre Manc to Marple last year, and absolutely love it - I can heartily recommend it. Good schools, lovely town centre with nice pubs and restaurants, and properties not quite as expensive as the likes of Bramhall or Wilmslow or Altrincham. Also on the edge of the Peak District - my family live in Bakewell / Matlock too! - which means we can get help from GPs for childcare... ;-)
Oh and both DH and I commute into Manchester city centre for work, and I haven't found it too much of a drag at all.
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