Chorlton is known as a trendy suburb teeming with wine bars featuring DJs loudly spinning some Dub on vinyl on weekday afternoons, beards, expensive houses, pugs, runners, yet more beards, bootcamps in the rain and cats. If you feel like you want to escape the bustle of the street market and the traffic at Four Banks to discover Chorlton’s true beauty then look no further and sample these five lesser-known attractions of Manchester’s most talked about suburb.
For those with taste for the macabre, beauty, history and wildlife – the UK’s largest municipal cemetery has it all. Situated on the borders of Chorlton, some may say that it’s not Chorlton at all – but let’s go by postcode. The well-kept grounds are rich with leafy pathways and clusters of trees which make for a photographer’s paradise or a quiet yet very open venue to be alone with one’s thoughts.
Opened in 1879, the cemetery is the final resting place of Manchester legends including footballers Sir Matt Busby and Billy Meredith, and ‘Mr Manchester’ and Factory Records co-founder Tony Wilson. The latter is included on the Manchester Music Tours and the cemetery itself is said to be inspiration for The Smiths’ song ‘Cemetery Gates’. There are also guided tours that run intermittently throughout the year.
Barlow Moor Road, Manchester M21 7GL.
Chorlton Water Park
Chorlton residents would argue that this is a well-known beauty spot but with the larger and better-known parks that surround it – Wythenshawe Park and Longford Park – to the outsider this is quite the find. The park stands on the site of Barlow Hall Farm and has a delightful 1km path that trails around the man-made lake, which was created during the construction of the M60. Gravel was needed for the motorway and the subsequent hole that was left was filled and became the lake that sits at the centre of the park. The nature reserve’s facilities include a children’s play area, pond dipping platforms and fishing areas (provided you have an official permit). Around the edges of the park are access to the Manchester Cycle Way and the River Mersey – itself a picturesque setting that provides beautiful views of South Manchester. Take a walk east to neighbouring Didsbury or west towards Sale Water Park via the beautiful Chorlton Meadow. The park also plays host to a number of events year round such as family canoeing and triathlons.
Off Maitland Avenue, Chorlton, Manchester, M21 7JJ.
Coriander Restaurant (Original Southern Cemetery branch)
Away from the hustle and bustle of the Four Banks area and Wilbraham Road bars and nestled between a newsagent and an accountant lies one of the best curry houses in South Manchester (yes, yes including the Curry Mile). Winners of various accolades, the owners pride themselves on a health conscious, MSG-free, menu with an extensive vegetarian selection – a Chorltonite’s heaven. While its newer branch by Chorlton Bus Station gathers in the crowds and a hectic atmosphere, this hidden gem focuses on what a great curry restaurant is all about: the food.
279 Barlow Moor Road, M21 7GH.
Crown Green Bowling
Jennifer Poole flickr.com/photos/jenniferpoole/
Taking up or being a fan of sport is usually a good way to vacate yourself from a hipster presence. Ever considered bowling? Forget bowling alleys, Chorlton is home to two bowling clubs; one at The Lloyds Hotel on Wilbraham Road and the other at the aptly named Bowling Green Pub in Chorlton Green. The Lloyds has eight teams playing in six different leagues and both establishments have regular fixtures and pride themselves on having connections with the local community while the latter describes itself as ‘Chorlton’s best kept secret’ and their bowling lawn is free to use during the day.
The Fallowfield Loop
The prettiest trail to travel through South Manchester starts in Chorlton. The Fallowfield Loop was previously part of the old Manchester Central Station Railway and the line had been derelict for many years until the late 1990s when a group of cyclists started campaigning for its conversion to a traffic-free ‘greenway’. It is now an off-road cycle path, pedestrian and horse riding route from Chorlton through Fallowfield and Levenshulme (with a convenient stop off close to Levy Market) to Gorton and Fairfield. It is part of the National Cycle network and the route is promoted and looked after by volunteers at the Friends of the Fallowfield Loop.
Off Sidbury Road, near St Werburgh’s Road Metrolink station.
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Shout out to my wife for her lovely pictures of the Southern Cem and the Water Park. Isn’t she clever?