Venture into the heart of this charming Cheshire village – home to footballers and millionaires – and it’s a little like stepping back in time.
Prestbury’s pretty main street is a cluster of historic cottages that have been given a new lease of life by quirky independent shops, cafes and restaurants. The village is also home to some of the most historic pubs in Cheshire and destinations in themselves.
Indeed The Bridge pub and hotel, sitting next to the bubbling River Bollin, was recently named one of the coolest places to stay in the. Residents here say the village centre has sparked back into life after a rocky patch in recent years when many units lay empty – and is now a thriving community of independent business owners, reports the Manchester Evening News.
Many of the residents here say that the footballers and TV and music stars who live in Prestbury “keep a low profile”. But the village has famously been home over the years to the likes of Coleen and Wayne Rooney, Real Housewives of Cheshire star Stacey Forsey, TV star Paddy McGuinness and Slade rock icon Noddy Holder.
Once you drive out of the Conservation Area of the village centre and up along Macclesfield Road, the sheer wealth of residents here is clear to see with the village’s jaw-dropping array of mega-mansions. Driving back into the village one of the first businesses you will spy is the Oakmere Lotus garage – with gleaming £80,000 supercars on display.
But being so close to rural Cheshire countryside here, you’re as likely to see a huge tractor lining up behind the Rolls Royce, Lotus and Bentleys thundering through the village on the average day.
Venture further into the village and you’ll find Dress Cheshire – a goldmine for fashion lovers where you can snap up cut-price designer clothes direct from many of the millionaires and footballers’ wives who live in this area. Entrepreneur Christine Colbert, 56, launched the boutique six years ago, having plenty of contacts in her home village who she knew would have unwanted designer clothes from the likes of Balmain, Christian Dior and D&G to sell on.
Often they’re current season, some are even unworn, and so there are plenty of bargains to be had – I spy a Balmain jacket on the first rail in the store priced at £799, which would have cost £1,800 bought new. Meanwhile coveted bags and shoes from the likes of Chanel, Hermes and Louis Vuitton often sell for the same or above their original retail price – even though they’re second hand – due to the sheer demand with massive waiting lists to buy them new.
Fashionistas travel from across the UK to visit the boutique, based in a quirky 280-year-old building on New Road. But through lockdown Christine pivoted to online which has seen huge demand thanks to the cut-price fashions sold from the likes of Balmain, Christian Dior and D&G.
Mum-of-one Christine is also known as the “poodle lady” in the village, thanks to her beloved three dogs Ollie, Eddie and Coco, that she regularly heads out and about with. Christine says Prestbury has become a “destination village” thanks to the wealth of things to see and do here.
She says: “I’ve lived here 26 years now and I think Prestbury has found a new lease of life. A few years it was a bit tumbleweed – but now it’s come back into its own.
“It’s a real destination, because we’ve got everything here – independent shops and great restaurants and famous pubs. We have people travel for miles just to visit the shop – because they know they can make a break of it and stay at The Legh Arms or The Bridge.”
Christine’s shop works so well she says because she only brings in items from “trusted sellers” – most from the Cheshire area. She says: “When I first opened I thought there would be at least 50 people I know around here who would have items to sell. Now it’s grown to 1,500.
“One of the benefits of this area is that we’ve got clients with a wealth of unused, high quality, high value designer goods that we can certify are the real deal.
“It’s also savvy shopping – people want to come and find something that feels like brand new but this is also recycling. Educating people to buy second hand is changing that fast fashion mindset and we also work with charities to donate any unsold stock.”
While Christine may deal with plenty of high net worth individuals through the shop, she says you don’t tend to see footballers out in the village. She says: “The footballers keep themselves to themselves. The backbone of the village is the locals.
“There are a few celebrities here and The Real Housewives has filmed here, and yes if you go out on the trunk roads there are massive mansions. But the day-to-day faces here are just people who have lived here for years, it’s a great community.”
The village’s historic pubs
A couple of doors down from Christine is Ye Olde Admiral Rodney, the village’s legendary 18th century coaching inn that keeps much of its historic details intact inside. The pub is run by Geoff Leigh-Ford, 76, and his ex-wife Gill, 63.
The couple had run restaurants in Prestbury in the past, but had more recently been running a hotel in Wales. But when Geoff heard that the Admiral Rodney was available he leapt at the chance as it was “the pub where I drank when I was 18”.
Geoff says: “It’s a real village, it’s got the village feel to it obviously. It’s a very very nice place to work really.
“I’ve lived in the village since I was 14 and it has changed a lot – all the old houses have been knocked down and castles built,” he laughs. “But that’s because it’s such a great place to commute with the airport so near here.
“As a village it’s got everything you would want with restaurants, hotels you don’t need to go far to eat out. Yes, there are lots of celebrities around as well it is a nice clientele but I won’t drop names.
“You wouldn’t know if people had money or not here. They want their privacy and they come in here for that.”
Giving the Admiral Rodney a run for its money in the history stakes is The Legh Arms, in its prominent spot in the village centre. The inn here has a history dating back to the 16th century, when it was originally called The Black Boy, and is thought to be the oldest surviving business in the village.
In recent years it has had a modern refurbishment inside, while retaining historical features like its vast oak beams, and offers 11 guest rooms upstairs. Duty manager Aimie Krinks said it remains popular because it offers unfussy real pub grub in a relaxed atmosphere.
Although she says plenty of famous faces have enjoyed the inn during her time there. She said: “The Coast restaurant is the place people like to go to ‘see and be seen’ but we are more of the place celebs come if they don’t want to be seen.
“I’ve seen Wayne Rooney here and Phil Foden, and Noddy Holder comes in occasionally.”
The “coolest place to stay”
A few yards down the road from The Legh Arms is The Bridge pub, which also has 23 hotel rooms. Owners Flat Cap Hotels are in the midst of celebrating their latest award, having been named among the best places to stay in the UK by “Cool Places” website.
The pub has had a full recent refurbishment and is also known for its huge outdoor space next to the River Bollin and bar The Shed that is a popular hotspot in the sunnier months.
Cool Places describes The Bridge as a ‘contemporary boutique hotel’, saying: “Is it a pub? A restaurant with rooms?
“Whatever it is, The Bridge displays all of the characteristics that we love in the best British pubs and restaurants. In fact it’s the very essence of a modern inn, with stylish interiors in public areas and rooms which both do a good job of blending contemporary and vintage styles.
“It occupies an alluring riverside location in a picturesque rural village – in this case Prestbury in Cheshire – and features 24 comfortable yet affordable rooms to flop into at the end of the night.”
For a small village, Prestbury also has a wealth of restaurants and cafes. It boasts the acclaimed restaurant The Coast known for its seafood, and Bacchus champagne bar directly opposite on the main street.
Continue onto New Road where you’ll find the popular Base pizza, tapas at Lilac Cottage and Indian Thali based next door.
There is also the award-winning cafe Henry’s serving up breakfasts and a range of hot and cold lunch dishes and freshly-made cakes from the village’s old post office building.
The Bollin Valley Way runs through the village, running alongside the River Bollin. The full route runs for 24 miles starting at Macclesfield Riverside Park and finishing up in Partington.
There is also the pretty public space of Parrott’s Field right next to the River in the village. The fields were donated to the community by the wealthy Leghs of Adlington family and in recent years have been turned into a quiet spot for reflection and bird-watching.