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On the edge of the old Manchester to Oxford Road stands The Romper, an old coaching inn said to have been welcoming patrons through its doors for over 400 years.

With its charming, whitewashed, slate-tiled exterior and rampant lion roaring above the door, The Romper is a former coaching inn, tucked away on a old country lane, on the edge of Altrincham. Just 6 miles from Tatton Park, one of the UK’s most historic estates, and the 18th century Quarry Bank Mill, The Romper is also just a stone’s throw from Manchester Airport, making it a perfect stopover, whether you’re exploring the local area or about to take to the skies.

Offering easy access to Cheshire’s lovely villages and towns, including Hale, Cheadle and Wilmslow, as well as some of the county’s prettiest countryside, The Romper is well placed for walkers wanting to experience both the county’s rural and cosmopolitan sides. Sat in the lovely beer garden on a sunny day, surrounded by leafy lanes, it’s hard to believe how close you are to one of Europe’s busiest airports. In winter, when the log fire crackles in the hearth, and pints of cask ale are being poured under the old-beamed ceilings, you’d be forgiven for thinking you were in a rustic country pub.

Though it’s hard to date precisely, parts of The Romper have stood for over 400 years – the characterful, low-ceilinged section of the building may once have been the local smithy. What is known for sure is that The Romper was once named The Red Lion, though at some point in its existence, a local village wag bequeathed it the nickname, “The Rompin’ Kittlin”. One story goes that a local painter had repainted the lion on the pub’s sign one day, but when he presented his efforts to the drinkers at the bar he was met with derision. They sneeringly declared it bore more resemblance to a romping kitten than a rampant lion. Whatever the truth, in the spirit of good humour, the nickname stuck.


During the 18th century, The Romper was situated on Old Wilmslow Road, the old turnpike road linking Manchester to Oxford. Naturally it was a regular stop-off for coach drivers, but it was also popular amongst the local cycling community, who would ride the country lanes around Ringway that connected Altrincham, Dunham Massey and Wilmslow.

Today, Old Wilmslow Road leads towards Runway, an aviation viewing park, where you can watch planes taking off and landing, and enjoy a tour of the iconic Concorde.

The Romper is situated in Ringway, which is the only civil parish in Greater Manchester. The name derives from Hringhæg, an Old English word that describes a circular or hedged enclosure. Immediately opposite The Romper sits the pretty Ringway Chapel, which is recorded as having stood since at least 1515 (though it was rebuilt in around 1720). In 1721, the local congregation were forcibly ejected from the chapel for refusing to pay their taxes. They re-established two years later, building a new church in neighbouring Hale Barns. Today, Hale Chapel is one of just nine Grade II* listed buildings in Trafford, and worth a visit to see its 18th-century pulpit and 19th century stained glass windows.

The red lion that adorns the sign swinging outside The Romper comes from the family crest of the Egertons of Tatton, an influential family who inherited the Tatton estate in 1598. This included the Tudor Old Hall, Neo-Classical Mansion and over 50 acres of beautifully sculpted gardens that are open to the public today – and just a 15-minute drive from The Romper.

If you are on foot or your bicycle, The Romper provides an ideal starting point for exploring the Bollin Valley Way. This 25-mile pathway follows the course of the River Bollin as it snakes its way south to Macclesfield Riverside Park and north towards Partington, taking you through a wonderfully diverse landscape of open fields, ancient woodlands and the Ship Canal, remnant of Manchester’s industrial past. From The Romper, head south along Sunset Lane, before taking the footpath left, through the woodland cloughs of Sunbank Wood, and join the trail near Mill Lane.

Along the river in Styal is Quarry Bank Mill, “one of Britain's greatest industrial heritage sites”, according to the National Trust, which offers a fascinating insight into how a complete industrial community, from the child apprentices and workers to the mill owner lived. The cotton mill was built in 1784, and powered by the River Bollin, via Europe's most powerful working waterwheel. Most recently it has been featured in the Channel 4 historical drama, The Mill, which tells the true story of Samuel Greg, the founder of Quarry Bank Mill.

With its unique location and enticing menu of traditional pub meals, seasonal specials and Sunday roasts, The Romper is a hidden gem of a pub. So whether you are on a walking holiday in Cheshire, or just fancy a warm, friendly alternative to the airport hotels for dinner, you’re sure to be pleasantly surprised when you pay The Romper a visit.

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Wilmslow Road, Cheshire, WA15 8XJ


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