Walking around the streets of Macclesfield you cannot help but notice its industrial heritage. Sat at the edge of the Peak District National Park, the town’s history as a centre for silk manufacture and processing looms large, with many of the former mills, workers residences and even the philanthropic enterprises of its leading industrialists, still standing today.
Visitors curious to explore this heritage can visit Paradise Mill, where the handlooms still operate, or look over the archives at The Silk Museum. But if this sense of former industry still hangs over the place – it is literally inscribed into the rocks at Tegg’s Nose Country Park – then it doesn’t entirely define modern Macclesfield.
Indeed, there are plenty of businesses and attractions firmly rooted in the 21st century. Science and music collide at Jodrell Bank’s Bluedot Festival – previous headliners include Kraftewerk, New Order and Hot Chip. While the recently reinvented Barnaby Festival reimagines a 13th century midsummer fair as a celebration of contemporary arts and culture. Nearby Gawsworth Hall sees summer performance take place on the front lawn of the Elizabethan pleasure garden. Macclesfield Treacle Market is a fresh, modern affair too, with an eye on community and ethical consumption – as is the recently formed Scoop and Scales cooperative.
A real independent food and drink scene is also emerging in the town, as pop-up street food vendors at the Treacle Market lead the way for traders such as artisan sourdough specialists Flour Water Salt and the intimate Amy’s Courtyard. Fiveclouds Tap & Bottle brings the latest in craft brewing to the town, while one of the biggest launches in recent years has been Picturedrome, a seven-kitchen food hall from the folk behind Altrincham Market and Manchester’s Mackie Mayor.
As mentioned, Macclesfield lies at the edge of the Peaks, and for many, the nearby hills and spectacular landscapes of places such as Macc Forest, Lyme Park or Tegg’s Nose will be the primary draw. Combined with new cultural and gastronomic ventures and this former silk town – just a short train journey from Manchester – is only increasing its pull.
Just So Festival is back with bang for 2021 – promising a jolly knees up which is sure to entertain the entire family.
Brighter Sound are offering the chance for early career musicians aged 16-24 to spend a week creating, learning and collaborating with PINS.
Adventure around nine new magical, illuminated worlds after dark including an Ice Kingdom and meet Father Christmas.
Enjoy this hilarious Shakespearean comedy in the wonderful open-air surroundings of Grosvenor Park.
Open air theatre shows are happening across the north over the next few months – we’ve collated our top picks into a neat guide for you.
Lumen is returning to Crewe on Friday 26 November to Saturday 11 December 2021. The colourful light-art trail will visit the town centre and give audiences the chance to be immersed in art, light and sound.
A tale of comedy, passion and endless dancing, and one of the most cherished love stories in English literature plays in the open air this summer.