I moved to Altrincham in Cheshire in 2011, leaving behind Hertfordshire and the local blog I ran there for several years. I’ve resisted the urge to take up hyperlocal blogging again, but that’s not to say there isn’t room for posts about Altrincham life in this Digital Witch.
So here’s the first of them – my favourite things and places in my new Northern hometown.
Altrincham Christmas Market’s live music billboard
1. Altrincham Market, historic with a modern twist
This played a blinder with its Great British Markets in the run-up to Christmas, securing a strong place in locals’ hearts. Live music, good food and great independent stalls from around Manchester – this is Altrincham’s bet for revitalising the once thriving town centre. it’s due to close for a few months in early 2014 but will return refreshed and better than ever. Altrincham Market website. @AltyMarket
2. Beatnik Records vinyl cafe
Thank you good people of Beatnik, for choosing to open in Altrincham instead of your natural home, Chorlton. Seventies decor, vintage vinyl, coffees and light food. But it’s the laid-back and friendly vibe that’s the X factor. Pay it a visit as soon as you can. Greenwood Street, Altrincham WA14. @Beatnik_Shop
3. Mort Subite cellar bar
The name points towards what’s reputedly the original function of this cellar space on Greenwood Street near the Market – Altrincham’s original morgue. Makes sense as the old hospital building is just opposite.
Descending the stairs to Mort Subite is like falling down Alice’s rabbit hole. You step into a different world as you draw back the curtain in the doorway: Continental jazz bar without the smoke or the jazz? Or possibly even a pre-war brothel parlour, without the brothel.
It’s dark and hushed, with waitress service bringing you drinks from a vast Belgian beer selection. Pay it a visit to ease away the cares of the modern day, but be warned, you’ll lose track of time down here. 28-32 Greenwood Street, Altrincham WA14 1RZ. (Not to be confused with @Lamortsubite, ‘purveyors of retro Bohemian dancehall erotica’ in, um, Reading, Berkshire.)
4. Dili Indian Restaurant
Regarded as one of the best Indian restaurants in the country, surprisingly Dili is seldom full to bursting and the staff are engaged with locals (they had stalls at the Christmas markets) and always accommodating. Try the Sunday buffet as an introduction. 60 Stamford New Road, Altrincham WA14 1EE
5. Traders Outlet independent shops
This is just a stone’s throw from my house and I’m eternally grateful to have a source of short-notice presents close at hand, as well as the vintage goodies find their way from Trader’s Outlet into my house. Hummingbird Flowers and Vintage Angel, both in the shop front, deserve special mention. Pay Renee a visit in Fab Patisserie next door if you want stretch your visit out with cake and a cup of tea. 16 the Downs, Altrincham WA14 2PU. @Traders_Outlet
BONUS: County Galleries art
The family-run Gallery on Railway Street has a beautiful selection of artist’s cards sitting alongside the pricier art items. Birthdays, ill friends, new jobs – they all give me an excuse to browse the signed L.S. Lowry limited-edition prints and Geoffrey Key originals before walking out with my £2 card. I can dream, can’t I? 32-34 Railway Street, Altrincham WA14 2RE