The elegant market town of Knutsford sits on the edge of rolling Cheshire countryside close to the ‘Golden Triangle’ towns of Wilmslow, Mottram St. Andrew, and Alderley Edge. With its quaint cobbled side streets, impressive architecture, and rich history - Knutsford has an authentic feel with a thriving local community.

While most visitors to the town see its outskirts on the way to spend a day at Tatton Park, a stop in its pretty centre is also recommended. Along its two main thoroughfares – King’s Street and Princess Street – there are thriving independent businesses and culturally significant points of interest waiting to be discovered.

Keep reading as I share 15 of the best things to do in Knutsford:

1. The Moor

The Moor, a 5.5 acre parkland, is located just behind Kings Street and its main car park. This open green space offers a welcome relief from the bustling street above – with a picnic area, enclosed children’s playground, and seating alongside Moor Pool. This Green Flag awarded park is lovingly maintained and offers visitors the opportunity to relax, walk and play. The recent arrival of a permanent building from Tatton Perk, replacing the popular orange van, allows park-goers the opportunity to order a takeaway or sit inside their new café. Nearby on Malt Street, the Real Fruit Creamery is a recommended stop for delicious homemade gelato.

2. The Penny Farthing Museum

Penny Farthing Museum
Tucked away off King’s Street in The Courtyard café is the delightful, and unassuming, Penny Farthing Museum. Opened in 1989, the cobbled courtyard carries visitors into a tearoom of curiosities including a miniature railway doing circuits of the room at a height and a collection of Penny Farthing bikes. The quirky collection of 40 models is considered even more impressive when you think that the design was only made for 20 years from 1871 to 1891. Stop for breakfast, lunch or a slice of mouth-watering homemade cake and revel in your surroundings. Top tip – go for the Welsh Rarebit, you won’t be disappointed!

3. Knutsford Heritage centre

Knutsford Heritage Centre
Located in a reconstructed 17th-century half-timbered building just off King’s Street – Knutsford Heritage Centre is open to the public Thursday – Saturday from 11 am to 4 pm. While arguably Knutsford itself is a living slice of history, the heritage centre ties all of this together with two gallery spaces as well as being home to the 13 metre long tapestry designed and created by over 3,000 residents to celebrate the millennium year. Celebrating Knutsford’s association with famous author Elizabeth Gaskell, alongside its traditions and heritage – walking tours of the town can also be arranged. Close by, one of Knutsford’s most photographed spots – Marble Arch – is worth a look.

4. Richard Harding Watt’s Influence

Richard Harding Watt was a local philanthropist with a passion for architecture – making his great wealth in the glove-making industry in Manchester. While Watt designed some buildings himself, he employed four architects to transform the townscape of Knutsford during the early 19th century. The Ruskin Recreation Rooms were originally built as reading rooms and a fire station and can still be seen located behind King’s Street, off Hillside Road. Walking around Knutsford, it is easy to spot Watt’s influence including the Gaskell Memorial Tower, now known as Belle Epoque and seven further Italianate-style houses on Legh Road.

5. Tatton Park

Tatton Park
Set in 50 acres of park and woodland on the edge of Knutsford – Tatton Park is a year-round playground for locals and visitors alike. At its centre, the imposing Tatton Park Mansion was once home to the Egerton family and is now looked after by the National Trust. Along with fascinating exhibitions and tours of the mansion, visitors can also explore the vast formal gardens, open parkland, farm, and cobbled Stableyard. Here, stop for local delights at the Housekeeper’s Store Gardener’s Cottage or book afternoon tea to enjoy in the private gardens at the Gardener’s Cottage. With a busy event schedule, Tatton Park is home to the RHS Flower Show 20-24th July 2022 and a summer of music, theatre, and comedy at the Pop Up Festival.

6. Elizabeth Gaskell Links

Elizabeth Gaskell Links
Knutsford is incredibly proud of its literary links to major 19th-century novelist Elizabeth Gaskell, who grew up with her aunt in the town after being orphaned young. Using her early life as inspiration for her writing, Gaskell details the social atmosphere of Knutsford in her famous novel Cranford and later works depicting the town as Hollingford in Wives and Daughters. Arriving in Knutsford in 1811 as a baby, she lived in an elegant double-fronted Georgian property, Heathwaite House, while growing up before moving to a school in Stratford. Visitors can walk the streets of Knutsford reading the blue plaques and information boards as they go. The Gaskell Memorial Tower on King’s Street is also home to a copper bust of the author placed there on her 150th birth anniversary in 1960.

7. The Courthouse Hotel

The Courthouse Hotel
One of Knutsford’s most iconic buildings, The Courthouse is now a magnificent boutique hotel with 9 bedrooms, vast event space, and a restaurant. This Grade II, 200 year old building, was opened in 1820 and served as the town’s courthouse and gaol, taking its last prisoner in 1915. Famous for the trial of Alan Turing in 1952, the Session House remained open for court cases until 2014. Nowadays, visitors can enjoy the vast domed spaces over afternoon tea and a stylish night away. For those staying longer, Knutsford has a small one-screen cinema across the road from the hotel as well as a plethora of bars and restaurants on its doorstep. Market Days in the town are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday with a monthly artisan Makers Market.

8. Shop Independent

Begin any visit on Princess Street at Detaljer – a Scandi-inspired lifestyle store and café. With an emphasis on slow-living and sustainability, there are unique gifts to peruse and healthy and nutritious food to be enjoyed. Newly opened Mini and Moi on Minshull Street is a Mama + Mini lifestyle concept store – incorporating gifts and clothing as well as a mum hub for events and a nail bar, it is the place for new parents to head to in Knutsford. For the foodies, Hot Cocoa on King’s Street is a must for delectable hand-crafted chocolate and Petite Pomme on Regent Street is home to delicate French pastries and Macarons. Cheshire Quality, also on King’s Street, is a fantastic way to shop all things local – stocking gifts and artisan foods by small, independent businesses.

9. Drink & Dine

Where to start for places to eat and drink in Knutsford – it’s just absolutely brimming with brilliant bars and exciting eateries. Recommendations include Lost and Found, housed within the stunning Victorian Town Hall on Princess Street. From cocktails to bottomless brunches, lunch, and evening meals – this bustling spot is always busy.  Along King’s Steet, you are spoiled for choice with Neki Café, The Tea Room, Gusto, Piccolino, King Street Kitchen, Wine and Wallop, Kampai, and Giovanni’s to name but a few! For those with a passion for craft beer, Project 53 on Minshull Street is the place to head.

10. Gauntlet Birds of Prey

Gauntlet Birds of Prey
Leaving the town of Knutsford, Gauntlet Birds of Prey is located close to the Cottons Hotel and Fryer’s Garden Centre & Roses on Manchester Road. Open seven days a week, the park is home to 180 birds from 50 different species – the largest collection in the North West. Visitors will experience flying demonstrations as well as the opportunity to up close to the birds including Eagles, Falcons, Hawks, and Owls. Alongside the birds of prey, the park also houses ferrets, meerkats, and goats. Onsite there is a café, playground, and picnic area to enjoy.

11. Tabley House

Tabley House
Situated just outside Knutsford, close to Junction 19 on the M6, is the grand Tabley House – open Thursday – Sunday, 1-5 pm, April to October. Built in the 18th century, Tabley House is the finest Palladian mansion in Cheshire, built for the Leicester family. With a vast collection of paintings, furniture, and memorabilia on display - visitors can walk the rooms as well as visit St. Peter’s Chapel and the Tabley House Tea Rooms. Serving light lunches and Afternoon Tea - a visit to Tabley House is always a pleasant way to spend an afternoon in Knutsford.

12. White Peak Alpaca

White Peak Alpacas
Described as a little gem in the heart of Cheshire, this family-run alpaca farm started life in Derbyshire before moving to its present location just outside Mobberley. Open seven days a week, visitors must pre-book to arrange a meet and greet, cuddle experience or a longer alpaca walk. While visiting the area, be sure to incorporate lunch at any one of the wonderful pubs in Mobberley itself including – The Church Inn, The Bulls Head, The Frozen Mop and The Roebuck.

13. Lambing Shed

This award-winning farm shop, butchery and café is located on Chelford Road – a few minutes’ drive from the centre of Knutsford. Open seven days, the well-stocked farm shop is bursting with tasty treats, home-reared meat, and curated homewares. The adjacent café serves hearty breakfasts and lunches along with homemade cakes and a children’s menu. There is small children’s playground for little ones to enjoy, countryside walks and a calendar of seasonal events including Moonlight Flicks.

14. Seven Sisters

Serving ‘posh’ ice cream, the Seven Sisters Ice Cream farm can be found on Holmes Chapel Road, just outside Knutsford. From tempting Knickerbocker Glories, waffles, and milkshakes – Seven Sisters is an ice cream farm with a difference! Take a seat in their bright pink indoor café or outside adjacent to the cow sheds, with views over the Cheshire Plain. Open Wednesday – Sunday and Bank Holiday Mondays, it is also dog friendly.

15. Booths Park

Although many Knutsford locals would associate Booths Park with corporate offices, its gardens are also open to the public daily. Situated on Chelford Road, just outside Knutsford, Booths Park is a 220-acre estate with ornamental gardens, a lake and parkland to explore. Standing in the shadows of the 14th-century Booths Hall, visitors are welcome to walk the grounds and enjoy a Tatton Perk coffee.

ENJOYED READING?

Head to the Girl About Cheshire webpage for tons more inspiration about places to visit in Cheshire. Or give Jenny a follow on Instagram.

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