So this day out will mostly be that – boozing. If you’re looking for somewhere to eat, most of these places do cracking food but there’s also a bit of Gusto, Piccolino’s or The Botanist if you prefer.
Anyway, on to the day…
I’m going to presume that you’ve arrived in Knutsford on the train, so this is where we will start the tour. The train station is a little far out so you’re going to have to walk down towards the lovely main strip – King Street.
You’ve got everything you could ever desire here on King Street with loads of bars, pubs, restaurants and shops. You’re probably thirsty though so carry on up until you get to the Cross Keys Hotel.
A charming Tudor exterior opens up into a cracking pub which has a few little bits of character here and there that elevates it above the usual over-vamped Starbucked boozer you find nowadays. There’s some proper pub grub flying around as well as the usual range of rotating craft ales and lagers. There are quite a few little nooks and crannies in which to sit down and chat shit with your mates and there’s even a pool table if you decide that you don’t really get on and have nothing to talk about. The bit outside is perfect if it’s sunny too!
Cross Keys Hotel, 52 King St, Knutsford WA16 6DT
At this point I should mention a couple of cracking shops in the vicinity, which, although I’m not a big shopping guy, sell booze and cheese so they’re definitely worth a visit.
The Cheese Yard
The perfect place for anyone who enjoys cheese, (which is everyone surely?) – The Cheese Yard is filled floor to ceiling with the stuff, from all over the country and particularly from the local area. You’ll find the likes of Drunken Burt made in Knutsford itself which is washed in cider as well as an Appleby’s Cheshire that will blow your socks off. They also have a cute little cafe here where you can order all of the cheeses, a bit of pickle and engorge yourself into a cheese coma.
The Cheese Yard, 69 King St, Knutsford WA16 6DX
Yaaay! Booze! Not only is Corks Out a place with a rather impressive selection of spirits, wines, champers and beers but it’s also a proper nice place to have a few drinks and even a bit of grub if you’re feeling peckish. Their range of wine is exactly what you’d expect to find in the loveliest parts of Cheshire, with a selection that would excite Jilly Goulden into a grape-frothing fit. I’m a big fan of the Port that they have in here, as well as their excellent range of whiskies. There’s a proper nice terrace upstairs in which you can sip some champagne with your girlfriends and talk about how you want your next 4×4 to be in a baby pink colour.
Corks Out, 50 King St, Knutsford WA16 6DT
Rose & Crown
You might get a sense of deja vu from the exterior of the Rose & Crown but once you step over the threshold – this place makes you feel like you’re on the set of Wolf Hall, tiptoeing around Henry VIII so you don’t get your bloody head chopped off. There’s more leather and wood in here than in Mike Baldwin’s Jaguar and a range of drinks and food that will keep you happy for hours. To be fair I’ve never actually eaten in here but I’ve heard some very good things about it. There’s a shit load of gin knocking about and it is dog friendly to boot. As you’d expect nowadays too – they’ve got a lovely (massive) beer garden round the back.
Rose & Crown, 62 King St, Knutsford WA16 6DT
Carry on up King Street and you’ll come to a tiny little alleyway on the left – Silk Mill Street. Go on down there.
Towards the top of Silk Mill you’ll find the Freemasons, a pub where one of my most enduring memories is of singing. I can’t remember what I was singing, or even why, but I just remember I was singing. Not just me though – everyone was. I’ll have to ask around and see what that was all about. This does sum up The Freemasons though – there’s always a cracking atmosphere in here and plenty of characters in which to banter. Again I’ve never actually eaten here but a quick look at their menu tells me that they serve ‘Volcanic Lava Stones’ – where your meat comes out to the table of a big jock-off bit of volcano – still cooking. Sounds interesting (and a little bit dangerous!)
Freemasons, Silk Mill St, Knutsford WA16 6DF
Round the corner from The Freemasons is a rather swanky and definitely ‘Cheshire’ bar & restaurant – April’s Kitchen. It can get pretty busy in here at the weekends with a selection of people who are likely to end up on the next series of Real Housewives. It’s great fun though and their cocktail menu is fantastically extravagant – perfect alongside the regular DJs you’d find here of a night. The breakfast is also well worth a try with a Full English that is just begging to be eaten alongside a big bottle of Prosecco.
April’s Kitchen, 37 Regent Street, Knutsford WA16 6GR
Carry on up Princess Street and you’ll find Old Sessions House.
Old Sessions House
A very large and very polished pub (& kitchen), the Old Sessions House is another decent Knutsford boozer which gets pretty packed and rowdy on a weekend and nice and cosy on a weekday. I’m struggling to find much else to say about the Old Sessions – it’s a very safe pair of hands in which to drink your drinks or eat your food – they rarely get anything wrong, with top notch service and a little flourish of class about the place. If you want your drinks wet and your food hot – you can’t go wrong.
Old Sessions House, 43 Princess St, Knutsford WA16 6BW
The White Bear
Take a left from the Old Sessions and you’re going to see The White Bear, probably my most favourite boozer in the whole of Knutsford and always a bloody good time. It’s everything you want from a pub, with those little stools, tonnes of wood, horse brass and of course – the obligatory dart board. My only gripe is that as a man who is 6ft 3, I have to either sit down at all times or get a crick in my neck due to the old timey low ceilings. This is usually fixed pretty quickly after a few ciders though.
White Bear, 1 Canute Pl, Knutsford WA16 6BH
From here you can either head back towards Kings Street to carry on the drinking and hit up a restaurant or take a left down King Eddy Road back towards the train station. There’s a couple of places to hit up on the way back.
This place is pretty impressive, especially if you’re a little Oldham scumbag like myself. If you’re a bit of Cheshire totty though – it’s perfect – you’ll fit right in no problems. The main bar/restaurant area looks like it’s the old court room, with an amazing glass dome above your head and a ceiling that you’ll struggle to pull your eyes away from. They’ve decked it out so it actually feels like a proper court room – just don’t start shouting ‘Free Deirdre’ from the public viewing box. Recently opened is the new Rooftop Garden as well, which looks to be amazing.
The Courthouse, Toft Rd, Knutsford WA16 0PB
Lost & Found Bar
Down the road, just opposite the Cop Shop on Church Hill is Lost & Found, a bar that’s ideally located within the old Town Hall, which was created by the designer of the Natural History Museum – Alfred Waterhouse. It’s a very impressive space and probably a good enough reason to head here all on its own. Luckily though they also serve up some cracking cocktails here as well as a massive range of dishes throughout the day. My mate said that they do a good bottomless brunch on the weekends for £25 so give that a go if you get to your day out early doors.
Lost & Found Bar, Princess St, Knutsford WA16 6BW
From here the train station is just a quick walk down past Dominos and the Curzon Cinema.