Sunday, 20 January 2013

Bramhall

Located in outside Stockport, Bramhall is a sleepy yet pleasant suburb.  We’ve been to Bramhall a few times over the years - never as a special visit, more of a stop off on the way to somewhere else.  I can honestly say I don’t know how we get to there,  as often we get there more by accident than design.

Parking is easy here as they have a couple of cheap pay and display car parks – one behind the precinct and the other behind the Esso garage.  There is a little 60s concrete precinct in the village centre, however thankfully it doesn’t dominate the place.  There is a real mix of buildings including Victorian red brick style you would expect in a northern suburb, some black and white Tudor terraces and the odd white rendered building.
Bramhall has a great range of shops and if you lived nearby you wouldn’t have to travel far to get what you need.  It is definitely a well-to-do place with the types of shops it has including a Pandora shop and an upscale toy shop.  However the impact of the recession can be seen with some empty shops fronts.

Whilst Bramhall isn’t hip and trendy, the things I like about this place are:
1.       There are quite a few charity shops considering the size of the place, including Oxfam, St Ann’s Hospice, Cancer Research, Age UK and Beechwood Cancer Care.  Whilst their primary function is to raise money, I do think these shops provide a social function for the retired, unemployed and people on low incomes.  I know some towns don’t like charity shops as they are perceived to lower the tone, however these places connect people through volunteering, recycling and provide affordable goods.  Just hearing the chatter of the staff and customers shows that community is still alive in this technological world.

2.       Bramhall has a fantastic little book shop called ‘Simply Books’.  According to their website it is an award winning bookshop.  I can quite believe it as it’s really lovely to browse around especially as they do have a good kids section and it has a cafe.  I do feel guilty if I don’t buy a book when I visit here.

3.       I love Elm Interiors.  I can spend ages just browsing round this shop.  It’s full of home stuff, it’s a great place to get some interior design ideas and pick up something for the house or a gift.

Bramhall has its own Costa, which is on my barometer for middle-class suburbs.  We’ve had a pleasant coffee here and watched the world go by.  There are plenty of places to eat too including Piccolinos, Ego and Romulus.  I can’t help but think if you lived round here you wouldn’t need to travel far for a meal out.
One negative thing I can say is that it can be tough crossing the road in Bramhall.  There are three roads that meet at the roundabout in the centre of the village – so things can be dicey trying to get to the other side of the road.
I wouldn’t necessarily make a special visit to Bramhall, but if you are passing through it’s worth a pit stop for a coffee, browse and a book purchase.