Do you remember sitting down to watch the latest episode of The Royle Family? That beloved British sitcom that always offered plenty of laughs, sometimes followed by a lump in our throats? The show captivated us with its comedic brilliance, oh-so-relatable family dynamics, and humorous peek into working-class life in Manchester. But the big question Royle Family fans have always wondered is – where exactly in Manchester is the show set? While producers have kept the precise location under wraps, die-hard fans have managed to piece together clues from the show to pinpoint the general area where the Royle’s lived.
In this article, we’ll dive into the many hints dropped throughout the show’s run to unlock the mystery location. We’ll also provide tips on how you can plan your own Royle Family-inspired trip to Manchester to walk in their footsteps. From family-friendly activities, local sights, and places to eat, we’ve got you covered on experiencing the true Royle Family charm. Let’s begin our own Royle adventure!
But first, a glimpse of genius!
- Examining the Evidence: What We Know About the Show’s Setting
- Transforming Your Love of the Show into a Family Adventure
- So What Is there to See in Wythenshaw?
- Bringing Your Trip Full Circle
- Key Moments from The Royle Family
- Why The Royle Family Matters to Manchester
- Finding the Royles’ Manchester Home
Examining the Evidence: What We Know About the Show’s Setting
For the majority of the show, it’s largely set in the confines of the Royle’s living room which was filmed at nearby Granada Studios. The Royles’ house looks like a typical English suburban home. But where in the sprawling city of Manchester could it be located?
Here are the key clues some detectives over on Reddit have pieced together from the show’s dialogues over three seasons:
- Openshaw or Audenshaw: In one episode, Nana makes reference to nearby Droylsden where she used to work. We know Jim took a bus to visit Nana’s place, so it must be connected by public transport. Both Openshaw and Audenshaw fit the bill.
- Gorton: Barb jokingly referred to Nana’s place as being “a bit like Beirut.” This could quite easily mean it’s just about set anywhere in Manchester
- Wythenshawe: Perhaps one big clue is that the BBC itself described the Royles as a “Wythenshawe working-class family.” Wythenshawe is a large district south of Manchester city centre.
- Timperley: Anthony had a vegetarian girlfriend from Timperley, which is part of Trafford and located near to Altrincham to the southwest of Manchester.
- Stockport: Jim and Dave once chatted about a Stockport County score. With Stockport County FC being local, the Royles perhaps lived nearby.
And for true Manchester locals, the heart of the show seems to be Wythenshawe as per the BBC. Most likely specifically the areas of Baguley or Benchill. References made to The Pear Tree pub in Brooklands, Wythenshawe, which later changed to The Wendover, also point to this area. Meanwhile, actress Caroline Aherne’s own mum still lives close by in Baguley!
Transforming Your Love of the Show into a Family Adventure
Beyond just the humour, The Royle Family provided genuine insight into the warmth and charm of northern English working-class communities. For fans, visiting Manchester can be a chance to step into the show’s world and connect with the places and people that inspired its stories.
Planning a Royle Family-themed trip with your family can let you strengthen bonds over your shared love of the show. Follow these tips:
- Dive Into History: Manchester has a rich past as an industrial empire. Visiting museums will help you understand what shaped the Royles’ way of life.
- Explore Filming Locations: With clues like Wythenshawe in hand, scout out areas from the show. See if you recognize landmarks and settings that appeared on screen.
- Get to Know the Neighbourhoods: While exploring, get a feel for the communities around locations like Benchill. Soak in the local flavour.
So What Is there to See in Wythenshaw?
Wythenshawe, located 8 miles south of Manchester, is a must-visit spot, especially therefore for aficionados of the Royle Family. It is a relatively new area of the city, with most of it built after the second world war.
Rich in history, it was once planned as a “garden city” and now boasts historic sites like the Wythenshawe Hall and the UK’s first municipal airfield.
The area is green and lush with twelve parks, including the famous Wythenshawe Park and Local Nature Reserve. Visitors love its friendly community, parks, and tasty dining spots.
It also just so happens to be the outdoor filming location for another famous Manchester based sitcom – Shameless, based on the fictional Chatsworth council estate, so be sure to look for famous sights from that tv series!
Family-Friendly Attractions and Activities in Manchester
Luckily, Manchester offers plenty of kid-friendly things to see and do for a well-rounded family vacation:
- Museums: Dive into Manchester’s history and culture by visiting Manchester Museum or the Science and Industry Museum.
- Parks: Relax and have fun at large green spaces like Heaton Park and Platt Fields Park.
- Food: Enjoy local favourites like fish and chips (with gravy – although this still seems odd to me as a southerner) Eccles cakes, and Bury black pudding.
- Events: Look out for family-oriented festivals, markets, and events year-round. We discovered a brilliant new festival at Salford Media City in early June of this year which will hopefully make a comeback.
Bringing Your Trip Full Circle
At its heart, Manchester in The Royle Family was more than a backdrop. It was a character—a way of life. By touring areas like Wythenshawe and its lively neighborhoods, you truly experience what made the show so special.
As your trip comes to an end, take a moment to reflect on the laughter, wisdom, and nostalgia the Royles gave us. Appreciate the hard-working communities and rich culture that shaped them. Manchester’s spirit lives on through the lives it touches. Wherever your own Royle Family journey leads, don’t forget to share the memories and connections you made.
Royle Family Trivia & Fun Facts
Even after uncovering clues about filming locations, much of the show’s beloved world remains a mystery! Share your own theories, insights and discoveries with fellow Royle Family fans to keep the legacy alive.
Key Moments from The Royle Family
Part of what makes The Royle Family so special are the iconic moments and witty one-liners. Let’s reminisce about some highlights!
Jim’s Catchphrases Like “My Arse!”
Father Jim Royle, played brilliantly by the late Ricky Tomlinson, had some of the most memorable lines. His exasperated catchphrase “My arse!” punctuated many scenes.
Banter Between Barbara and Denise
The back-and-forth between matriarch Barbara (Sue Johnston) and daughter Denise (Caroline Aherne) provided hilarious banter. Their family spats and witty exchanges still stand out.
Antony Worrying About His Diet
Anthony (Ralf Little) obsessing over his calorie intake, food choices, and love life delivered plenty of laughs. His neurotic personality contrasted Jim’s indifference perfectly.
Dave and Denise’s Romance
Denise’s romance with next door neighbour Dave (Ricky Tomlinson’s real-life son) gave the show warmth. Their eventual marriage and pregnancy was a highlight for loyal viewers.
The Christmas Specials
Some of the show’s most iconic moments happened during the Christmas special episodes. From reciting Queen speeches to messy gift exchanges, the Royles delivered major holiday laughs.
Why The Royle Family Matters to Manchester
It’s clear The Royle Family holds a special place in Manchester’s pop culture history. Let’s discuss why.
Depicting Northern Working-Class Life
The Royles embodied the experiences and culture of northern England’s working class in a rarely seen way. Mancunians felt their lives reflected on-screen.
Local Dialect and Humour
The show authentically used Manchester dialects and accents for natural comedy. The dry, ironic humour resonated with Manchester natives.
Granada Studios’ Legacy
By filming at Granada Studios, The Royle Family became part of the studio’s immense TV legacy before its closure. It represents a bygone era of Manchester media.
Inspiring Future Generations
Upcoming Manchester artists and show runners grew up watching The Royle Family. Its impact shaped their own creative endeavours depicting Manchester life.
Cultural Time Capsule of 1990s Manchester
Through its fashion, music, culture references, and filming locations, The Royle Family preserved 1990s Manchester for future generations. It serves as a cultural time capsule.
Finding the Royles’ Manchester Home
We’ve explored the key sites that defined this Manchester classic. Unfortunately it’s not possible to find the actual house that the film was filmed in as it was based at Granada Studios, however you can explore Wythenshawe, which is the most likely setting for the series.
Beyond just filming sites, The Royle Family represents a cultural touchstone for Manchester. Its humour and depiction of Mancunian families left a lasting mark.