Sunday, 24 February 2013

Nantwich


Cards on the table, I love Nantwich.  Its English country quaintness is something you’d find in a Visit England brochure.  If you have never been to the UK and only watched period dramas Nantwich is how you’d perceive England to be.  We’ve visited here over the years and I just think it’s fab. However Neil has never been that convinced.

Nantwich takes about an hour to get to from North Manchester and is quite straightforward to get to: M60, M62, M6, Junction 16, A500, A51 and B5074, or just follow the signs after junction 16.  There are car parks on the edge of town that are pretty cheap or you can park free for 30 minutes in designated street parking spots.

It was a drizzly and cold winter’s day when we visited.  Neil was determined to get a battered burger from the local chippy and I knew I needed to find the deli that sold Coopers gourmet sausage rolls.

Nantwich has evolved over centuries and has its narrow streets filled with a hotch potch of different styles of buildings.  The planners have pedestrianized streets close to the centre of town, which is great for strolling without the fear of getting flattened by a car.  The church dominates the town square.  There are also some lovely black and white Tudor buildings in the town and you must pop into Nantwich bookshop for a browse. 

What is clear from Nantwich is that it’s a wealthy town.  It has an Aga shop, which for me indicates an upper middle class level of affluence. There are hardly any empty shops and the majority of shops in the town are independents.  The butchers sell game meat, even bunnies (No!!!).  There are some antique shops, boutiques and gift shops.  You could easily spend hours having a good browse around the shops.

There is a market behind the church that sells a mix of cheap tat and craft stuff.  We’ve been to Nantwich previously and there has been a farmers market in the town square.  So it’s worth a quick Google to find out when they are held (probably once a month).

There are plenty of charity shops in Nantwich selling quality stock.  Not quite Wilmslow or Alderley Edge standard, but pretty good.  That may explain why the shops were buzzing with people browsing.  I managed to buy a book in one shop, but the ladies running the shop were having trouble with their new-fangled touch screen till.  Neil has never been too struck by Nantwich, but that was to change today.  Oxfam were doing an offer of three 7 inch singles for £1 and there was a fantastic Northern Soul collection in the sale.  He spent £42 on 98 records.  The ladies in Oxfam had never seen so many records sold in one go.    

Whilst Neil was in Oxfam I managed to find some CoopersSausage Rolls in Welch’s Butchers on Hospital Road.  They are really excellent sausage rolls and well worth trying. #

There were plenty of people with dogs in Nantwich.  I noticed quite a few dog owners owned two dogs.  Partly I guess to keep the other dog company and partly to show off to others they could afford two pedigree dogs.  Whilst I was waiting outside Oxfam for Neil, there was a dog owner trying to stop her little spaniel from going in the shop.  She said ‘Sophie I know your daddy is in there, but you can’t go in’ as she was dragging her away.  There was a Big Issue seller in the town square doing a side line in dog minding.  One of her doggy day care customers bought her a sandwich for her efforts – sweet!

We popped into Pepper Street Fryers restaurant to grab a bite to eat.  It used to be a branch of Les’s Fish bar, which can be found across Cheshire and in Wrexham.  Thankfully for Neil it still did battered burger, whilst I had a lovely plate of fish and chips.  I definitely recommend this place if you fancy a simple bite to eat.   

It’s hard to find fault with Nantwich and the only thing I could criticise the place for was the poor 3G coverage for smart phones. However if you go to Pepper Street there is some free Wi-Fi courtesy of the mobile phone shop.

If you are in the area and have an afternoon to spare definitely go to Nantwich – it is a lovely and pleasant place to visit.  Thankfully Neil is also now converted to the joys of Nantwich with its cheap records, battered burgers and Cooper’s sausage rolls – so we’ll definitely be back here soon.