Tag Archives: The Royal Oak

Five fabulous things about Didsbury Village

Didsbury Village in South Manchester is a pretty special place to live and I’m lucky enough to have been born here. I’ve been thinking about why Didsbury is so special. Is it the parks, the people, the pubs, the sense of community or something else? 

You will have probably seen Didsbury on TV, it’s where Cold Feet is set, and it’s popped up on Queer as Folk, Coronation Street and loads of ITV dramas. Some days you can’t turn a corner without tripping over a film crew. 

Family legend has it that my family have lived in Didsbury village for over 400 years. I am not descended from titled landowners, but from carters and labourers, servants and shop workers. Didsbury is part of me, and I am part of Didsbury. I can’t imagine being anywhere else. But what’s so special about Didsbury Village?

Five fabulous things about Didsbury Village

Is it the pubs?

Didsbury is home to one of the best pub crawls in Manchester, the Didsbury Dozen. I have done it several times and it’s something of a tradition for me to do it on milestone birthdays. 

Didsbury has some great pubs, my favourite of which is the Fletcher Moss in Didsbury Village. It used to be called The Albert and my Grandad and his pals went to war from there. There are several ancient pubs in Didsbury which have in recent years been joined by glossy bars serving £10 gin and tonics and an array of frothy cocktails and craft beers. 

But the pubs in the village are among the longest running businesses in the area, The Royal Oak, The Famous Crown, The Didsbury and Ye Old Cock as well as The Station, The Dog and Partridge and The Nelson have all be serving pints to the good people for Didsbury longer than living memory serves.

Is it the parks?

Didsbury is a leafy suburb of South Manchester, fringed on one side by the River Mersey we are never short of places to walk our dogs. We have Fletcher Moss Gardens, with its untamed meadows, nature reserve, botanical gardens and woodlands to explore. Didsbury Park, a dog walking haven with a newly refurbished and extended playground, Didsbury Park is a hub of community activity. As well as Fog Lane Park, Cavendish Park, Parsonage Gardens and Marie Louise Gardens. We are spoilt for green spaces and when the sun shines we make the most of them.

Didsbury Village

Is it the people?

Didsbury has a great sense of community. Didsbury people have always looked after their own, be it the great benefactors who built schools and libraries in the area, to smaller community groups which help and support local people.

Despite our well heeled reputation, most of the imported millionaires who live here tend to lock themselves away in gated communities, ordering their shopping from Ocado and keeping themselves to themselves.

The streets of Didsbury weren’t always paved with gold, and if you look behind the polished facade you’ll find plenty of normal, every day people who have normal jobs and do what they can to support the local community. From the Didsbury in Bloom volunteers (who are currently planting up the flower bed near my house ready for judging day), to Didsbury Good Neighbours, the WI, Didsbury and West Didsbury Civic Societies as well as local churches and the mosque who collect for the local food banks and other charitable causes. 

There are plenty of opportunities for local people to get involved in their local community throughout the year. As well as the previously mentioned Didsbury in Bloom, there’s the Didsbury Festival, the Didsbury Beer Festival, the Didsbury Arts Festival and West Fest – a celebration of all things West Didsbury. Didsbury Traders support and advocate for local businesses, which in turn try to do their bit to keep Didsbury a thriving place to live and work.

The Shops in Didsbury Village

Didsbury has a strong independent streak, it’s an area which encourages and supports independent businesses. From Didsbury stalwarts such as Axons the butchers, The Cheese Hamlet, Evans the fishmongers, Peter Woolley Printers and Morten’s Bookshop who have been there for generations. To more recent and equally loved businesses like Giddy Goat Toys, Harriet & Dee, Healthy Spirit, Jo Padmore Opticians, Fresh Save and the new butchers – Three Little Pigs.

Didsbury is also known as a great place to go bargain hunting in our many charity shops. Most of my friends have at one time or another stumbled across a designer bargain or two. We are lucky to have a great range of shops and small businesses in Didsbury, but in order for them to survive we need to support them. Go forth and shop local!

Is it our Public Transport?

Reason number five to love Didsbury is our public transport. Yes I know how silly that sounds, but I don’t drive, so buses, trams, trains, planes, cycle lanes and safe pavements to walk down mean a lot to me.

From Didsbury I can hop on a tram and be sat in a bar in town in less than half an hour. I can get a bus, tram or train to Manchester, Stockport, the airport, the Trafford Centre or a hundred other destinations. The Metrolink tram system has opened up Greater Manchester to us and far-flung outposts such as Bury, Oldham and Eccles are just a tram change away. 

Didsbury Village straddles the busiest bus corridor in Europe. Wilmslow Road – the busy artery which runs from the Cheshire border to the university fringes of the city literally is the lifeblood of South Manchester.

Without the buses, trams, trains, planes, cycle lanes and safe pavements of South Manchester, it’s entirely possible this thriving and popular suburb would be nothing but a dusty neglected one horse town with nothing of note to wave a flag about.

Didsbury is a beautiful and historic suburb with lots going for it and so much going on. It’s my home and my history and hopefully my future. What do you love about Didsbury?

Five fabulous things about Didsbury Village

Thanks to Didsbury Traders for the map above.

PCA Predict are experts in email validation and are running a Postcode Pride campaign to find out why people are so proud of their postcode. This is why I’m proud of mine.

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Pub Crawls: The Didsbury Dozen

In a few days time I will be 40 years old. I do not fear this milestone, in fact I’m quite looking forward to it for one particular reason. It’s a bloody good excuse to do the Didsbury Dozen again – a famous, or infamous pub crawl.

I’ve done the Didsbury Dozen once before – on my 30th birthday and I’m keen to prove I’ve still got what it takes (which I have, I totally have).

Ten years ago Didsbury was quite a different looking place, pubs and bars have come and gone, some remain and will always be here I hope. This was the order I did the Didsbury Dozen in ten years ago…

  1. The Didsbury
  2. Ye Olde Cock
  3. The Famous Crown
  4. The Royal Oak
  5. The Fletcher Moss
  6. The Pitcher & Piano
  7. The Dog & Partridge
  8. O’Neills
  9. Saints & Scholars
  10. Cafe Rouge
  11. Hog’s Head
  12. Slug & Lettuce

Ten years ago after I’d finished my final pint of the dozen I ended up returning to my favourite pub, The Fletcher Moss to have one last drink for the road. I wonder if I’ll feel like doing that this year?

These days things have changed and there are a couple of decent pubs in West Didsbury I enjoy a pint in, so because it’s my birthday I’ve decided to start proceedings in West Didsbury and then pub crawl towards home in Didsbury village. 

This year the course I’ve plotted looks like this…

  1. The Railway
  2. The Metropolitan
  3. The Greenfinch
  4. Slug & Lettuce
  5. The Station
  6. The Stokers Arms
  7. The Dog & Partridge
  8. The Milson Rhodes
  9. Fletcher Moss
  10. The Royal Oak
  11. The Famous Crown
  12. Bourbon & Black

If the weather is nice there will be some excellent beer gardening opportunities and I’m hoping some of my oldest, newest, bestest and nicest friends will join me along the way. I’m hoping it’ll be a good day to remember and a nice way to round off my 30’s and herald my 40’s.

To make the most of the Didsbury Dozen it’s really important to be disciplined with yourself and your pub crawl team mates. It’s easy to find a sunny spot in a beer garden and not want to leave, or to spend too much time in one place. Someone needs to marshall the troops, check no one is cheating and that you’ve visited 12 establishments before last orders.

My tip is to start early, get three or four pubs or bars under your belt and then have a slow hour in a pub with a good beer garden. Then crank it up again. Stop for a hearty bite to eat to soak up some of the booze and then power through. 

I’ll let you know how I got on, but wish me luck and please raise a glass to the dawning of my next decade. Chin chin.

Didsbury Dozen