Thinking of moving out to Cheshire? Take a look at the village of Holmes Chapel which is a nice area within easy commuting distance of Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham.
Holmes Chapel is a village in Cheshire. It's quite small, the last census measured the population at under 6,000 and it retains an "old fashioned" feel (and I mean that in a positive way) compared to my previous experiences of living in cities and in other towns.
Geographically it is less than a mile from the M6 motorway which means you have easy access to the M6 and the M56 so it's easy to get to Manchester, Warrington, Crewe, Stoke, Birmingham and obviously many places in between and all around. It's also on the Crewe to Manchester train line so getting into Manchester is fairly easy as the journey takes approximately 40 minutes. Holmes Chapel station also has a book club and has won lots of awards. Compared to the grim faceless and vandalized train stations you find in most towns and cities, it's great!
The village has two primary schools, Hermitage and Holmes Chapel Primary both of which have excellent Ofsted and DFES results so it's a great place to move to find a better state education for your kids. It also has a secondary school and attached sixth form center which again, is very highly rated by Ofsted and is particularly strong in Science. In other words, if you're looking to move to somewhere outside of the city so your kids can go to good local schools all the way through then it's an excellent choice.
Because of the good schools and the good commuting opportunities, Holmes Chapel is relatively expensive compared to some larger more industrialized towns. The cheapest homes I've seen in recent months come in at around £ 160,000 for a fairly small 2 bedroomed terraced house. For a three bedroomed semi or terraced you'd probably be looking ar £ 170-190k and for a 3 bedroom detached house, over £ 230k. There are also lots of large 4 bed detached homes in the village which currently sell for anything between £ 270k and £ 370k depending on where they are and what they're like. It is possible to rent as well though, and three bedroom houses seem to be available around £ 700 a month upwards.
Holmes Chapel has a lot of older residents because a lot of the housing was built in the 70's with more in the mid 1980's and bought as new by people moving into the area to take advantage of the schools, commuting and the general niceness of the environment . Many of these people are now near retirement. This means that there is a nice relaxed feel to the place and a stroll to the shops will generally produce many polite smiles, nods and hellos from people you do not actually know. Again, a very nice and old fashion attitude that has been sadly lost in many places where people scurry about in fear of being attacked or asserted.
There is a Youth Club and a Leisure Center and two private sports and leisure clubs which also provide excellent sporting and social facilities throughout the year. Holmes Chapel also has a library, doctors surgery, a dentist and an opticians along a variety of excellent local shops and businesses.
All in all if you are looking for somewhere to commute to Manchester or Warrington from where you can find excellent local schools then Holmes Chapel is a good option and well worth a look.