Levenshulme, Spinningfields, Afflecks Emporium… Manchester does markets so well. But one of its best can be found eight miles south-west of the city centre, in the Trafford town of Altrincham.
There’s been a covered market at the heart of Altrincham since 1920, but trade took a serious dip with the recession and the building of the shiny new intu Trafford Centre right on its doorstep. Once the hub of the community, the future for Alty Market looked bleak - until its 2014 reinvention as a hipster destination saw foodies and fashionistas coming back in their droves.
Its new owners had a vision - a street market that would promote the identity and culture of the North West. They brought in the region’s best local traders to sell everything from speciality cheeses to handmade pottery. At the same time, the nearby Market House got a £750,000 renovation to become Alty’s street food centrepiece. Here, specialist outlets serve up craft beer, artisan coffee and wood-fired pizza, while hungry market-goers try to bag one of the 180 spaces at its communal tables
Now the market hosts themed weekends that focus on vintage, craft or design, while live bands provide the soundtrack. It’s incredibly popular - and winning the Observer Food Monthly Best Market award in 2015 further cemented the Alty’s reputation as a tourist must-see.
Alty Market is a great place to visit and staying at one of our city centre Manchester hotels means you’re only a 30-minute Metrolink tram ride away. But you could stay even closer to the action, by booking into the Premier Inn Manchester Altrincham hotel - it’s just a ten-minute walk away.
Expect something truly special at Altrincham Market. Each trader is handpicked and must meet two criteria to earn their place behind their stall: they must be ‘the cream of the crop’ at what they sell and from the North-West.
Inside the covered market you’ll find artisan food suppliers from all over the North-West, including the region’s very best fishmongers, butchers, greengrocers and bakers. Besides food, other regular stall-holders sell jewellery and clothes, designer tableware, skincare and bespoke lighting and furniture.
Each weekend has a different theme that rotates each week, to make sure the market embraces as wide a field of interests as possible. There’s vintage, design, craft and food to choose from. Check their website or Twitter feed to see what theme coincides with your visit.
Besides the regular stall-holders, there’s a different focus depending on which day of the week you come to Altrincham Market. On Tuesdays you’ll find fresh quality produce, all locally grown. On Thursdays it’s thrift and antiques, while on Fridays it’s the farmers and flowers market.
Thinking of eating at the Alty Market House? Go early! It gets so busy on weekends that waiting times can be long, and finding a space at one of the communal tables turns into a bit of a free-for-all. Make sure you baggsy a spot or you risk going hangry.
The opening times and market traders change every day, so it’s always worth checking their Twitter page before you go.
The address is Market Street, WA14 1SA and the phone number is 0161 941 4261. Closed on Monday and Wednesday, it opens 8am to 4pm on Tuesday and Saturday, 8am to 3pm on Thursday and 10am to 4pm on Sundays.
The street food enclave is closed on Mondays. It opens from 9am to 10pm Tuesdays to Saturdays, with last orders at 9.30pm, and on Sundays from 9am until 6pm, with last orders at 5.30pm.
There’s one covered outdoor section where you’ll find all the stalls. Some are permanent, while some change each day. The adjoining Market House is indoor and has permanent food outlets serving communal tables.
The market offers disabled access and designated disabled parking in both the Regent Road car park and on nearby Market Street. There’s also a Shopmobility Centre at the Regent Road car park for scooter hire.
Feel like making the most of your day in Altrincham? While you could easily spend a whole day in the market, there are other attractions on offer in this pretty Trafford town.
Just minutes from the Alty is the pedestrianised George Street which is great for high street shopping. There’s a wide range of brands, from House of Fraser, Marks & Spencer, Debenhams and Monsoon, as well as some quirky indie boutiques.
Altrincham also has a National Trust property right on its doorstep. Three miles from the town is Dunham Massey Hall, a Georgian house, gardens and deer park. Great if you’ve overdone it at lunch because there are 300 acres of gorgeous parkland, perfect for that after-burger stroll.
When it comes to eating and drinking at Altrincham Market there’s only one place to head - the gastro hub that is the Market House. Grab your place at one of its communal tables, then head to one of its specialist food outlets to order, telling them your seat number at the same time. But what will you have? To help your decision, we’ve picked out some of the Alty’s finest...
This wood-fired pizzeria started out as a mobile stall at food festivals across the north west. But now people come from miles around to try it. The secret’s in the sourdough base, which has been proved for 36 hours. Toppings change with the seasons but are always local, such as the fennel salami from the award-winning Trealy Farm.
The market has its very own steakhouse - and extremely popular it is too. Grass-fed rare breed British beef is the order of the day here, served in steak sandwiches, burgers and straight up with salad and chips. The most popular dish on the menu? Their mouth-watering 10oz flat iron steak served medium rare with garlic butter and chimichurri.
Great North Pie Company
You can’t come to Manchester without having a pie, so why not make it one of the best? With a seasonally-changing menu and handcrafted using only the finest local produce, the Great North Pie Company’s most popular creation is the Goosnargh chicken, mushroom, mustard and tarragon - all enveloped in a very tasty pastry.
Jack In The Box
Looking for something to wash it all down with? Head straight to the Market House’s own craft beer experts. Jack In The Box has six cask pumps and eight keg lines, showcasing the best of British microbreweries, as well as beers from their own range. Expect to queue - this is one of the most popular areas in the market!
You’ll find the market in the heart of Altrincham, close to the George Street shopping area.
With easy access from Manchester city centre via the A56, there’s plenty of parking when you arrive. Try Market Street for metered on-street parking, or head to the Regent Road car park.
While the tram is the quickest way to get to Altrincham, you can also jump on the bus from Manchester city centre. Buses that serve Altrincham include the 16, 41, 108, 263 and 264 services. Leave an hour for your journey.
Altrincham has its own train station which is on the Mid Cheshire line. Trains run every hour and go as far as Stockport in one direction, and Chester in the other, with connections to North Wales from here.
The most convenient way to get from the city centre to Altrincham is by Metrolink tram. Altrincham is on the A and B line and your journey from Manchester city centre will take around 30 minutes.
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