Visiting all 250 pubs in Stockport

The Crown Inn in Stockport 19 May 2020. Photo by Richard Gottfried

Simply reading the title of this article might be enough to give you a hangover. But Cheadle Hulme resident Richard Gottfried didn’t feel too rough after paying a visit to all 250 pubs, bars and clubs in Stockport. In fact, he felt as fresh as a daisy. Because he didn’t touch a drop of alcohol. Well, he wasn’t allowed to, as he completed this quirky challenge during this year’s lockdown, when all licensed premises were closed for a few months. The Viaduct loves interesting stories such as this one, so we caught up with Richard to tell us more about his Stockport pub crawl with a difference.

Thanks for joining us Richard. Tell us about your background.
We moved to Cheadle Hulme in the summer of 2016. We’d been looking to move to the North West for a few years. I work in marketing and Emily works in international sales and we both got jobs in the area. Stockport was the perfect spot for us. I love photography, especially documenting the various things I’m interested in and showcasing where I live. I’ve been blogging about a variety of things since 2006 and always seem to find something new to see and do.

What made you decide to visit every pub in Stockport in lockdown?
When we were only able to go for a daily walk in the local area it was really strange to see places that were normally open and thriving to be shuttered in daytime, especially during such beautiful sunny weather. We noticed The Kings Tap had its shutters down while having a walk along Station Road in Cheadle Hulme. We’d never seen it look like that before so I took a photo of it. That was at the start of April and as we’ve got quite a few pubs near us we walked past to see what they looked like and get snaps of them for posterity. The first few included the Cross Keys on Adswood Road, the Micker Brook on Councillor Lane and the March Hare on Ladybridge Road. We didn’t realise there would be over 250 pubs, bars and clubs in Stockport but as we started researching all of the district centres we found different places to have a wander. It was a nice quest to take on, as it helped motivate us to get out for some fresh air and exercise in different places within the local area. We found there are different definitions of what constitutes the boundary of ‘Stockport’ and some of the pubs with an SK postcode were right on the border of the borough. The Waggon & Horses on Wilmslow Road (SK9) is in a bit of a no man’s land between the borough of Stockport and Handforth in Cheshire. Our walks took us all over! We’d never been to places like Bosden Farm or Hawk Green before so it really shows there is so much more to the area you live in, but often you’re too busy to fully explore. There is some superb architecture in the area and certainly a mix of styles of the pubs. From flat-roofers to estate pubs, to chains and gastropubs, to independent pubs and bars. One of the nicest pub views was at the 73rd pub we visited. When you stand opposite The Crown Inn on Heaton Lane you get a magnificent view of the viaduct behind it.

Which pub that’s shut down now do you miss the most?
Thankfully it looks like a lot of pubs in Stockport have survived and fingers crossed they continue to trade. One of the lost pubs that springs to mind is The White Lion in Stockport town centre. While it isn’t a pub anymore, the conversion of the building to housing has kept the exterior looking very nice. We love finding out about the history of Stockport and it’d be fascinating to travel back in time to visit Rostron Brow in its heyday. That street was packed with pubs and I wonder what The Dust Bowl at the bottom was really like? We also saw some new pubs that have since opened for the first time. Hopefully we won’t have to live through another full lockdown and the memories we’ve got of this year will be a one-off moment in our lives.

What was your favourite pub you walked past in lockdown?
That’s a tough one. The last one we got to on our lockdown ‘pub crawl’ was The Nursery Inn in Heaton Norris on July 3rd. It’s down a side street that suddenly becomes a cobbled road and it felt like a time capsule hidden within Stockport. We certainly saw some pubs with character and some interesting sights walking along various streets, alleys, ginnels and paths!

What was your favourite day walking around Stockport and why?
Walking around Marple and along the canal to the aqueduct was a highlight. It was a really nice, sunny day and the perfect example of what Stockport has to offer. We’d been meaning to visit the aqueduct since we moved here but before lockdown we were always too busy to find time to walk there. A number of our daily walks took us along the borough’s canals and The Bull’s Head Hotel in High Lane looks like a nice spot too.

What’s your perfect Stockport night out?
We love visiting The Plaza. When I first drove into the town centre in 2016 I was so pleased to see such a marvellous Art Deco building there. It’s my favourite style of architecture. It’s a real pleasure to go to a show or see a film at The Plaza and feels like you’re stepping back in time. We’ve missed going there this year and can’t wait to visit again in the future.

What’s your favourite pint?
I’m a cider fan and one of my favourites is Welsh Warrior. Strong stuff. Having a chilled out drink with Emily in a nice beer garden on a sunny day is always nice. Roll on next summer!

Do you have any other quests you’re looking to do in future, or any you’ve done previously?
I’m always looking at tickable lists and quirky challenges. They’re a brilliant way to explore your local area and beyond. We’re big fans of mini golf and have been travelling the country visiting crazy golf and adventure golf courses since 2006. When we started there were 600 courses in the UK. We’ve now been to 956, including 39 courses overseas. When we first arrived in Stockport we found a green space challenge and that prompted us to visit all of the different parks in the area, although we only made it to Etherow Country Park for the first time during lockdown. I’ve got a few book projects on the go so I really need to get those completed too!

What’s the most drunk you’ve ever been in Stockport?
I think that’ll be the first time I go out AFTER the pandemic is over!

Head over to hamandeggerfiles.blogspot.com to read about Richard’s mini golf adventures, as well as his other photography quests.