Nestled between the bustling city of Manchester and the rolling hills of the Peak District lies the historic market town of Stockport. With a rich history dating back over 700 years, Stockport has plenty for visitors to see and do, from museums and historical attractions, to a thriving food scene, sports, and culture. Only 10 miles from Manchester and 25 miles from London, Stockport makes for an easy and enjoyable day trip or weekend getaway. Read on for our ultimate insider’s guide on what to do, where to eat, and how to make the most of your time in Stockport, UK!
- Food, Dining and Drink in Stockport
- Culture and History in Stockport
- Top Museums and Destinations in Stockport
- Sports in Stockport
- Famous Residents Past and Present
- Music Scene in Stockport
- Frequently Asked Questions
Food, Dining and Drink in Stockport
Stockport has developed an impressive reputation for its food and drink scene in recent years. From relaxed cafes to fine dining restaurants, to traditional British pubs overflowing with charm and character, Stockport has something to suit all tastes and budgets.
Trendy Cafes and Coffee Shops
Start your day right at one of Stockport’s cool and quirky independent cafes. Grab a coffee and pastry at the Instagram-worthy Sticky Fingers on Little Underbank. Or head out of town towards the suburbs and try some of the more European inspired bistros such as the recently refurbished and expanded Juniper in Bramhall, a bright and airy cafe serving brunch all day long.
Top Restaurants for Fine Dining
For refined cuisine made from locally-sourced ingredients, book a table at (possibly soon to be) Michelin-starred Where the Light Gets In. Their tasting menus are works of art and change daily based on seasonal produce and what they can forage locally. However, if you’re keen to check this out, they do book up months in advance so be organised and get a booking well before your visit.
Best Pubs and Bars
Nothing beats settling into a cozy booth with a pint after a busy day exploring. Real ale aficionados flock to The Arden Arms, one of CAMRA’s most listed pubs with an impressive array of constantly rotating real ales. Alternatively, book yourself onto a Robinson’s Brewery Tour, the home of nationally known “Trooper” and “Dizzy Blonde” real ales.
Local Specialities and Cuisines
Stockport has some tasty local delicacies to look out for.
For traditional fish and chips, head to Fosters or Fishers of Stockport in Hazel Grove. Alternatively, pick up a meat and potato pie from Greenhalgh’s Bakery in Cheadle, a beloved local institution originating in neighbouring borough Bolton founded in 1957.
You’ll also find plenty of Thai, Indian, Italian, Mexican and gastro pub fare across Stockport to suit any craving!
Culture and History in Stockport
Beyond great food and nightlife, Stockport has a wealth of cultural and historical attractions to discover. Learn about the area’s heritage at museums and landmarks before exploring the local art and entertainment scene. Indeed, LS Lowry, – one of Manchester’s most famous sons – captured the viaduct in a sketch in the late 1960s which now takes pride of place at the Tate in London.
Step back in time at Stockport Air Raid Shelters, an underground WWII shelter that’s been authentically restored. Take an hour-long tour to experience what life was like during air raids.
At Staircase House, built in 1460, discover how Stockport residents lived over the centuries through dressed rooms and interactive exhibits. See reconstructed Victorian shops, wash houses, and costumes.
For an unusual museum, visit the Hat Works and delve into Stockport’s history as the largest hat-making centre in England. View different equipment used and historic hats made here.
One sight not to miss is Stockport Viaduct, which remains one of the largest brick structures throughout Europe. The impressive 120 foot tall viaduct has supported the railway for over 150 years and gives you great views as your cross the circular M60 out to the Peak District with its spectacular caves such as Speedwell Cavern and the Blue John Cavern.
Learn about one of Britain’s finest surviving manor houses at Bramhall Hall, dating back to the 14th century. Wander through ornate rooms with oak panelling, stained glass and intricate plasterwork.
Stroll around St Mary’s Church, built 700 years ago, to see its mix of medieval original features and Victorian updates, along with pleasant gardens.
Arts and Entertainment
Catch a play or musical at the historic Stockport Plaza, a Grade II listed art deco theatre built in 1932. Or browse exhibitions and attend arts events at Stockport Art Gallery.
For music, the Stockport Organ and Keyboard Club hosts live events, with stand-up and open mic nights in the AMP Stockport.
Have laughs galore at the Stockport Plaza’s Annual Panto with regular performances throughout the year with nationally acclaimed performers, including a recent screening of “I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue”.
Annual Events and Festivals
Throughout the year, Stockport hosts exciting events and festivals for the community. Foodie Friday brings together delicious local producers, restaurants, demos and family activities.
Top Museums and Destinations in Stockport
Beyond its history, Stockport offers a wealth of museums, markets, independent shops, and green spaces waiting to be discovered. Spend a full day exploring these top spots for a well-rounded experience.
Stockport Hat Works
One of Stockport’s most famous former industries is commemorated at the Hat Works, where you can learn the history of hat making and see how hats were crafted and finished. Try your hand at making your own mini hat too!
St Mary’s Church
With a church standing on the site since 1190 but with more recent work dating from the 1810s,St Mary’s Church is one of the hidden gems of Stockport.
Set a 10 minute drive in the leafy suburb of Bramhall, explore this historic Tudor manor house and its stunning 30 acres of gardens. Inside you’ll find a unique dining room decorated in 1930s art deco style. Self-guided audio tours are available with other themed events taking place throughout the year including the Rotary Club’s Duck Race taking place in May.
Stockport has had a bustling outdoor market since the 13th century. The current covered market hall sells everything from fresh produce and baked goods to household items. Open Monday to Saturday.
Merseyway Shopping Centre
For high street shops, pop into the Merseyway Shopping Centre in Stockport’s town centre. All your favourite retail stores can be found under one roof.
Reddish Vale Country Park
Stretch your legs in the countryside without leaving Stockport! This large country park has woodlands, meadows, a visitor centre, and walking/cycling trails to enjoy. Nestled in the centre of the park is a wonderful farm that is great for younger kids – Sam had a recent birthday party there. But it also hosts events throughout the year with pumpkin picking for Halloween, a Farmer Christmas Experience and even a Dino Farm. Alternatively, just a short drive out of Hazel Grove is Poynton Park, another great place to burn some energy.
Gain insight into how local residents lived in medieval, Tudor, and Victorian times at this historic townhouse turned interactive museum. Costumed guides provide tours.
Sports in Stockport
Sports play a huge role in Stockport’s culture, from local teams to recreational activities. Catch a football match, watch some first-class cricket, or get active yourself at one of Stockport’s top sports facilities.
Stockport County Football Club
Cheer on Stockport County FC, nicknamed “The Hatters”, at their home ground Edgeley Park. The club was founded in 1883 and currently competes in League Two. This follows the conclusion of the 2022/23 season having knocked out local rivals Salford City in the play off semi finals and almost securing back to back promotions, only to lose to Carlisle United at Wembley following a thrilling penalty shoot out.
Stockport is perfect for cycling with routes like the Trans Pennine Trail and fantastic bike routes along the many canal trails snaking out to Macclesfield and the Peak District with some beautiful canal locks situated at Marple.
Lace up your walking shoes for trails like the Fred Perry Way for scenic views of Stockport’s waterways and greenery.
Gyms and Leisure Centres
Stay active with swimming, gym facilities, and fitness classes at Life Leisure or PureGym, along with plenty of other local independent options. I’ve been a member of the PureGym South Stockport branch and cannot speak highly enough of the guys there, including Stephen Keyworth (although he doesn’t have a social media presence).
Famous Residents Past and Present
Stockport has been home to many influential figures over the centuries, from ground-breaking scientists to legendary comedians. Learn about some of the town’s most famous sons and daughters.
- Martin Fry, lead singer of ABC grew up in Bramhall whilst 2010’s the Blossoms were all born in Stepping Hill Hospital and took their name from The Blossoms Pub situated on the A6, London Road. They still regularly turn up at local events surprising fans and kids in local schools.
- Stockport-born actress Claire Foy gained international fame playing Queen Elizabeth in the hit Netflix series ‘The Crown’. She’s won both BAFTA and Emmy awards.
- Current Manchester City footballer Phil Foden was born in Stockport and still lives in leafy suburb of Bramhall which is also where Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Peter Schmeichel called home whilst playing for local rivals Manchester United
Music Scene in Stockport
It may be a small town, but Stockport packs a musical punch above its weight. With a vibrant live music scene and many talented musicians emerging from here, it is the perfect place to catch some local tunes.
Live Music Venues
See up-and-coming indie bands or singer-songwriters perform at intimate venues like Remedy Bar and The Magnet. Check The Bungalow for their roster of blues, rock, and tribute acts playing weekly.
The historical Plaza Theatre puts on musical productions in its ornate 1932 setting. Or relax with live jazz, swing, and soul at Albert’s Restaurant’s music nights.
Local Bands and Musicians
Stockport’s music scene has nurtured the talents of bands like Blossoms, whose indie pop song “Charlemagne” reached #1 in the UK charts. Keep an eye out as you may spot them playing surprise local gigs.
In the 1980s and 90s, local Madchester band James found fame with singles like “Sit Down” and “Laid” having recorded their debut album at world famous Strawberry Studios, which also played host to Joy Division, 10cc and Paul McCartney amongst others.
Visiting Stockport – A Quick Recap
Stockport has cemented itself as a destination offering the perfect combination of rich history, vibrant culture, and traditional northern hospitality. Here’s a quick recap of some of the highlights:
- Try the trendy cafes and coffee shops in the town centre for a caffeine fix. Have dinner at Michelin-recommended restaurants serving hyper-local cuisine.
- Learn about its hat-making heritage at the Hat Works museum. Step back in time at historic houses like Bramhall Hall and Staircase House.
- Catch live comedy at The Comedy Store or live music at venues like Remedy Bar for a fun night out.
- Explore Reddish Vale Country Park’s hiking trails or walk along the River Mersey for fresh air.
- Marvel at the imposing brick viaduct that put the town on the railway map in Victorian times.
- Sample local delicacies like hat-shaped cake, meat and potato pies, or traditional fish and chips.
- Discover how one-time resident John Dalton pioneered atomic theory or how Phoebe Green is continuing the music legacy today.
Just 10 miles from Manchester and two hours from London by train, Stockport makes for an easy day trip or weekend break full of history, flavour, arts, and adventure.
So what are you waiting for? Start planning your Northern getaway in this unsung gem of a town!
Frequently Asked Questions
Why is Stockport famous?
Stockport is historically known for its role in the hatting industry. For several centuries, it was a major center for hat production, and the town’s Hat Works museum pays homage to this history. Stockport is also known for its impressive viaduct, which stands tall above the town and was once one of the largest brick structures in Europe. Moreover, Stockport has several historic buildings and landmarks, like the Stockport Air Raid Shelters, which are a network of underground tunnels used during World War II.
Is Stockport a nice place to live?
Is Stockport in Greater Manchester or Cheshire?
Historically, Stockport was a part of Cheshire. However, administrative changes in 1974 led to Stockport becoming a part of the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester. So, while it has its roots in Cheshire, it is now officially a part of Greater Manchester. However, a lot of residents (including yours truly)- especially those on the borders with Poynton and Wilmslow, may still include Cheshire as their county rather than say they live in Greater Manchester!
Which country is Stockport in?
Stockport is in England, which is a constituent country of the United Kingdom.