Best Things to Do in Chorlton, Manchester

Known for its bohemian charm and thriving cultural scene, Chorlton-cum-Hardy is one of Manchester’s best kept secrets, a place that only locals know about.

With its distinctive character and musical heritage – Morrissey, The Stone Roses, and The Bee Gees have all called Chorlton home – not to mention its green spaces and independent shops, Chorlton is undoubtedly one of the most interesting neighbourhoods in Manchester.

I’ve been frequenting the restaurants and boozers of Chorlton for over 10 years and so I decided to create this guide to all the best places to explore and things to do in Chorlton.

So, whether you’re a local looking to rediscover your neighbourhood or a visitor eager to experience some Manchester hidden gems, this one’s for you.

horse and jockey chorlton
The Horse & Jockey pub

Things To Do In Chorlton, Manchester

Explore Chorlton’s Green Spaces

Considering its proximity to Manchester city centre, there are quite a few green spaces to escape to in Chorlton which offer a sanctuary for nature enthusiasts and a breath of fresh air for locals and visitors alike.

Here are some spots you can’t miss.

Chorlton Water Park

One of the most popular spots in the Mersey Valley, Chorlton Water Park is Manchester’s first dedicated nature reserve, and is the perfect place to take a leisurely stroll or have a picnic on a sunny day.

This 170-acre site is comprised of a central lake surrounded by woodlands and wildflower meadows, and there are tonnes of things to do here including fishing, water sports, bird watching, boating, and more.

There’s also a small playground for the children, parking spaces, and accessible footpaths.

chorlton water park
Chorlton Water Park
IMG: Darren Lewis (Wikimedia Commons)

Longford Park

Although it is technically located in Stretford, Longford Park does border Chorlton, and there are lots of outdoorsy things to do here for all the family.

For those seeking tranquillity, check out the Wildlife Garden or serene Japanese Gardens, or if you prefer to get your sweat on, take advantage of the basketball courts, football and rugby pitches, or even the disk golf course (frisbee golf!).

There are also plenty of things to keep the kids busy, including play areas, Pets’ Corner, and the ‘Tree Trail’ educational game.

The park often hosts community events, making it a great place to meet new people, especially if you’re new to the area. Examples include community gardening, cycling, fitness classes for new mums, litter picking, and more.

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Southern Cemetery

I know that cemeteries aren’t everyone’s idea of fun, but hear me out.

Having been around since 1879, Chorlton’s Southern Cemetery is the largest municipal cemetery in the UK, and the second largest in Europe!

Here, you can visit the graves of local legends including Quentin Crisp, L.S. Lowry, Sir Matt Busby, and Tony Wilson.

The cemetery is also home to 6 Grade II listed buildings, including 4 Neo-Gothic chapels. 

southern cemetery chorlton
Southern Cemetery
IMG: Pete Birkinshaw (Wikimedia Commons)

Check out Chorlton’s Bohemian Vibe

The bohemian spirit of Chorlton is captured in its independent shops, artistic expressions and unique atmosphere, creating the eclectic and vibrant experience that Chorlton is so known for.

Independent shops on Beech Road

Beech Road is lined with independent boutiques, vintage stores, and quirky gift shops, inviting you to uncover curated treasures and one-of-a-kind finds.

From locally-designed clothing to handcrafted goods, the independent shops on Beech Roach offer a unique shopping experience, and there’s nothing quite like a lazy Saturday afternoon window shopping in Chorlton.

Places to check out include:

Franny & Filer – Handmade jewellery showcasing the work of over 40 local designers.

Epicerie Ludo – Award-winning gourmet grocery, deli, and wine merchant.

The Curious Fox – A treasure trove of goodies, including home décor, wellness products, and more. Stepping through the door here feels like entering Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

Creative Recycling – Unique pieces for your home and garden made by local artists from recycled materials.

Chorlton Maker’s Market

Head to Chorlton on the third Saturday of the month for some of the North West’s best independent arts and crafts, gifts, coffee, street food, music, and so much more.

You can find the Chorlton Maker’s Market at Manchester Rd and Oswald School Car Park between 10 am and 4 pm.

Keep up to date on their Facebook page.

Paint a pot at Pottery Corner

One of the quirkiest things to do in Chorlton is to paint your own pot at Pottery Corner!

Choose your ceramic pot and create a masterpiece in this lovely little studio – you can even BYOB if you fancy a glass of fizz while you work!

They also hold monthly late night painting sessions that are also BYOB and food!

To find out more, check out their website.

Chorlton Arts Festival

The annual Chorlton Arts Festival showcases the talents of local artists, musicians and performers.

From art exhibitions to live performances and spoken word, the festival adds a burst of colour and creativity to Chorlton, inviting residents and visitors to revel in the local arts scene.

The festival will run between 17 – 26 May 2024.

Find out more on their website.

Check out Chorlton’s street art

Manchester’s best street art isn’t confined to the Northern Quarter.

Chorlton’s streets are an open-air gallery with murals that tell stories and convey the neighbourhood’s history and distinctive character. Explore the street art at your own leisure and uncover the hidden narratives behind the graffiti.  

One of the most famous pieces of street art in Chorlton is The Chorlton Mural by Russell Meehan. The Chorlton Mural is a tribute to all things Chorlton, with references to The Bee Gees, Quentin Crisp, Dangermouse (which was created in Chorlton!), local celeb Badly Drawn Boy, and many of Chorlton’s iconic landmarks.

If you take the tram into Chorlton, you might spot a depiction of ‘Chorlton Tram Cat,’ a local cat named Batman who is known for befriending passengers!

chorlton tram cat mural
Chorlton Tram Cat!

Try Some of Chorlton’s Gastronomic Delights

One of my favourite things about Chorlton is the culinary scene.

With tonnes of independent eateries where you can try dishes from all over the world, you’ll never be stuck when it comes to finding great restaurants in Chorlton.

There are also lots of gourmet food stores, food markets, and trendy craft beer bars.

dulcimer chorlton
Wine in Dulcimer

Unicorn Grocery

Unicorn Grocery is an iconic worker-owned grocery shop in Chorlton that sells organic, fair-trade, and locally-sourced produce.

Everything sold here is vegan, and you can find organic wines, freshly-baked bread, and a deli counter serving homemade curries, baked goods, and salads.

Unicorn Grocery champions sustainability, fights food waste, and also has a refill station aimed at reducing plastic waste. It’s even been named Best Food Retailer at the BBC Food & Farming Awards twice!

Best Chorlton Restaurants and Cafés

Chorlton boasts a gastronomic scene that caters to every palate, with a diverse range of restaurants and cafés. I love Chorlton’s restaurants, and some of my favourites include:

The Laundrette – known for its laidback ambience, plush interiors and retro décor that creates an inviting space for dining and drinks. From mouthwatering pizzas with unique toppings to indulgent brunch options and creative cocktails, each dish offers something unexpected. 

Benito Lounge – casual restaurant serving everything from curries to tapas. My go-to here is their Tuesday night tapas deal, where you can enjoy 3 tapas and a glass of wine for £11.95.

benito lounge chorlton
Tapas at Benito Lounge

Olive and Thyme – offers home-style East Mediterranean cooking in a fine dining setting that won’t leave you disappointed. I’m a fan of their sigara böreği followed by Kiremitte Köfte doused in a Neopolitan sauce and mozzarella.

Barbakan Deli – this beloved deli is a Chorlton institution that offers an extensive array of artisanal bread, cured meats, cheeses, delectable pastries and gourmet treats. 

The Drop Bar Café – Having been named as the best Caribbean restaurant in Manchester, The Drop Bar Café is well-deserving of a spot on any day out in Chorlton. Jerk chicken, curry goat, saltfish and more can all be found on their menus, and my favourite pick is their famous ‘Hench Box,’ where you can choose 2 mains to be served with slaw, rice n’ peas, plantain, and dumplings.

the drop chorlton
A Hench Box at The Drop

Craft Beer and Cocktail Bars

As the sun sets, Chorlton transforms into a lively hub of nightlife, offering a range of craft beer bars, cosy pubs, and cocktail bars.

Wherever you go in Chorlton, you’ll find friendly patrons who are always up for making new friends and sharing a drink, which is one reason my friends and I love going out there.

Some of my favourite haunts include:

Dulcimer – real ale, live music, and a heated beer garden.

Duffy’s Bar – lively Irish pub with trad music.

The Sedge Lynn – a Wetherspoon in a beautiful Grade II listed building that used to be a billiards hall.

Chorlton Tap – one of Manchester’s best new breweries. Some of their beers go as high at 16%!

Horse & Jockey – located on Chorlton Green in a 500 year-old building, Horse & Jockey is a great place to visit in the summer and serves decent pub grub.

Brewski – North American comfort food, delicious cocktails, and unique desserts (including Creme Egg profiteroles).

The Bowling Green – licensed since 1693, The Bowling Green is one of the oldest pubs in the area and also a B&B!

chorlton pub, wetherspoons
The Sedge Lynn

Visit Chorlton’s Cultural and Community Hubs

One of the things that people love about Chorlton is that it maintains a strong community feel.

There are several places and events in Chorlton that really encompass this community vibe.

Chorlton Library

The Chorlton Library is a lively gathering spot for author talks, book club discussions and local initiatives, including workshops that range from art to technology.

This beautiful library is a Grade II listed building, and is the second busiest library in Manchester. Each year, it plays host to the Chorlton Book Festival, which will be taking place from 20 – 28 September 2024.

chorlton library
Chorlton Library
IMG: Julia Chandler, Libraries Taskforce (Wikimedia Commons)

The Manchester Caribbean Carnival

Located just outside of Chorlton (but within walking distance) in Alexandra Park, The Manchester Caribbean Carnival is a free 2-day event that celebrates community, Caribbean heritage, and music.

Between midday and 8 pm, a huge host of artists will play on the various stages, a huge parade takes place on the streets, and you can also find delicious Caribbean street food and cocktails at the various pop-up stalls.

dani and her friend liam
Enjoying Manchester Carnival with Liam, a Chorlton local

I went to the Manchester Carnival for the first time in 2023 and had an absolute blast. I drank cans of Red Stripe, ate jerk chicken, and got right to the front when Stylo G performed!

The Manchester Carnival will take place on the 10 – 11th August 2024.

stylo g manchester carnival
Stylo G performing at Manchester Carnival

The Edge Theatre and Arts Centre

The Edge Theatre and Arts Centre showcases the talent of local artists through captivating performances and thought-provoking exhibits. The diverse programme line-up ensures there’s something for everyone, from thought-provoking plays that challenge societal norms to exhibitions that showcase the visual prowess of local artists. 

There are also lots of classes offered here, including tap-dancing, script writing, life drawing, and even ukulele lessons, so if you’re stuck for things to do in Chorlton, The Edge has got you covered!

How to Get to Chorlton

Getting from Manchester to Chorlton is super easy.

The Metrolink tram service is the best way to get to Chorlton from Manchester as it takes just 15 minutes and the tram stop is right on Wilbraham Road, opposite several of the bars I’ve mentioned in this post.

You can also get off at St Werburgh’s Road or Barlow Moor Road, but the Chorlton stop is the most central.

There are also frequent buses that serve Wilbraham Road and Manchester Road from the city centre.

Parking in Chorlton is mainly on-street. 

chorlton tram stop
Chorlton tram stop

Things to Do in Chorlton | Final Thoughts

I hope that this post has given you some ideas for what to do in Chorlton!

From the scenic green spaces to the vibrant streets and local community spirit, Chorlton has a lot to offer, and it’s a great escape from hectic Manchester city centre.

Whether you’re savouring culinary delights at the Maker’s Market, discovering hidden gems in independent boutiques, or testing out experimental craft beer, there’s something for everyone in Chorlton.

So, whether you’re a Manchester local wanting to get to know a new neighbourhood, or a traveller wanting to get off the beaten path in Manchester, a trip to Chorlton is a great way to spend a day.

Further Reading

If you’re planning a trip to Chorlton, you may find my other articles about Manchester and the North West interesting!

Here are some posts that you might like:

The Oldest Pubs in Manchester

12 Iconic Day Trips from Manchester

Gandey’s Circus Review

The Fountain House – The Best Sunday Roast in Manchester?

10 Places to Visit in Northern England

Best Restaurants in Manchester’s Northern Quarter

33 Reasons to Visit Manchester

Bleakholt Animal Sanctuary, Ramsbottom – A Lovely Day Trip from Manchester

Cosy Club Manchester Review

That’s all for today’s post, but as always, if you have any questions then don’t hesitate to reach out and ask in the comments section below!

Until next time,


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