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One Giant Leap for Stockport …


Posted – 13 Aug 2019

It’s one giant leap for Stockport – The sun was high in the sky, lazily embracing the town. I skipped down the steps that ran adjacent to the Plaza, and crossed over to the Merseyway Shopping Centre, the Hat Museum behind me.

The sun began to set, slowly declining, behind the viaduct. I paused for a second, casting a glance over my shoulder. The sunsets were always somewhat mesmerising behind the towering, iconic stature of the viaduct. In all four seasons, the day’s end is marked by Stockport’s skyline being doused in a ferocious oil painting of shocking golden and red hues.

The town was unwinding after a stifling July day. Happy shoppers filtered out of the prescient in dribs and drabs. Families walked in huddles towards Red Rock; excitable chatter audible.

I rounded the corner, and stopped, momentarily stunned to the spot. And then I grinned. A large, vibrant frog statue beamed back at me.

The invasion of our fantastic frogs – marking Stockport’s Giant Leap art trail – had well and truly begun, inevitably set to stir a smile in passersby.

When in Stockport, one can go either way up the A6 for a set of very different experiences. Twenty minutes one way will present one with the endless beauty of the Peak District, whereas twenty minutes in the opposite direction will showcase Manchester, our amazing capital city. But what if one were to stay in Stockport? What if one were to enquire what Stockport has to offer in comparison to its well-known counterparts?

I am confident in proclaiming that one would be far from disappointed in their decision to give Stockport a chance…

Perfectly nestled between the bright lights of Manchester and the sumptuous Cheshire countryside, Stockport is a town buzzing with a unique combination of olde-worlde ambiance and wicked modern twists.

Firmly associate Stockport with a convenient shopping spot, and nothing more? Think again!

It’s true; we do have a fabulous shopping district – including the Merseyway and the Peel Centre – but that’s not all we’ve got!

Culture? Tick.

History? Tick.

Food? Tick.

Music? Tick.

Entertainment? Tick

19 giant frogs? Tick!

Stockport boasts a day out to suit the tastes of everybody, whatever age.

Keen on history? Look no further. The Air Raid Shelters provide an educational and authentic excursion for children and adults. Step out of the modern world and tumble back in time with a walk through the underground passageways, complete with interactive sound clips and facts along the way.

The Hat Works Museum, in a prime position overlooking the town, proudly shares an insight into the infamous ‘Hatters’ nickname. The museum in itself – a Victorian style mill – beholds an impressive exterior, with its Grade II listed status.

One of Stockport’s most sparkling hidden gems is its sensational Old Town. Linking Underbank with the markets and all of the fascinating twists and turns in-between, the Old Town is both charming and captivating in equal amounts. With its old fashioned lampposts, mysterious looming stature of St Mary’s church, and its jumble of little independent shops and cafes, love at first sight is an almost inevitable instruction.

Bonus points if you are ever lucky enough to experience the mystical aura of the Old Town in the rain. There is just something so defiantly cosy about sitting in the window of the Rhode Island coffee shop, watching the rain pounce off the cobbles as the glow of the lampposts ebb across the glistening street…

For the majority of Stockport’s loyal residents, it simply wouldn’t be Christmas without the tradition of attending a pantomime at the prestigious Plaza! And indeed, why halt this tradition outside of the festive season?! The Plaza plays host to a variation of theatrical treasures throughout the year, from popular film, to music and dance events respectively.

Fancy a bite to eat before the show? I would highly recommend the Plaza’s afternoon tea! Prepare to be treated like royalty in the stunning surroundings of the Art Deco Plaza Cafe. The afternoon tea combines luxury with taste sensations in the form of fluffy scones topped with tangy jam and cream, delicate finger sandwiches, and a delightful array of sweet treats.

Within the last couple of years, Stockport was gifted the Red Rock complex: home to The Light cinema. This wonderful addition has accounted for an element of ‘Cinema Snobbery’ amongst locals, whereby none of us will ever visit a Cineworld again! (You can actually order pies and take them into your film with you at The Light… Which pure genius came up with this divine concoction?!)

Red Rock was a huge step in the right direction in terms of Stockport’s growth and futuristic vision.

With its collection of tempting restaurants, Red Rock has provided a relaxing environment for families, friends, couples, and everyone in-between to simply chill out and catch up.

If Red Rock’s Pizza Express, Zizzi’s and Beretto Lounge don’t take your fancy, why not check out our Foodie Friday event up on the market? (I mean, we don’t like to show off or anything, BUT… Stockport’s Foodie Friday was the 2016 winner in Manchester Food & Drink Festival’s ‘Best Pop Up, Event, Club or Project!’)

Held on the last Friday of every month, the event, which is ever-growing in popularity, promises an evening of sizzling street food, live music, and hearty drinks. The Market Place defines the heart of Stockport, both geographically and metaphorically, and the vibe is simply electric.

The pride we feel for our town is only enhanced via the aid of pretty much every radio station up and down the country, and indeed beyond!

Upon hearing the sensational chords of any of the Blossoms hits, it has become somewhat of a tradition to inform anybody who will listen: ‘they come from Stockport, you know.’

Alongside the brilliant Blossoms, up and coming Fuzzy Sun are also adding to our home town glory, thus further creating an electrically renowned music scene right on our doorstep.

The Blossoms recent gig at Edgeley Park saw the town warmly drenched in a sense of unity; all of us reunited in our support and adoration for the music which we are blessed enough to fiercely claim as our own.

As locals, we all have fond, ever-lasting memories of Stockport, from Saturday morning swimming lessons at Grand Central, and thrilling Woolworths Pick & Mix trips, to attending County matches at Edgeley Park, and selecting a TY Beanie Baby from the stall that used to stand in the middle of the shopping precinct. Now, new memories are being formed for locals and tourist alike: Friday nights at The Light with our mates, an impromptu participation in the frog trail with Grandma and Grandad, afternoon tea and a catch-up with Mum at the Plaza…

Stockport has recently been dubbed a ‘Boom Town,’ – ‘The Next Big a Thing,’ and, as I reflect upon the remarkable growth of the town over the past few years, it isn’t hard to see why.

Thank you to Cara Jasmine Bradley for contributing the above article 

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    LATEST TOWN CENTRE FOOTFALL

    Total visits this period:

    492,332

    Busiest time of the day:

    12.00 - 13.00

    Average dwell time:

    141 mins

    Average visits per day:

    16,410

    (Provided by Sept 2021 research)