Knutsford is located in the county of Cheshire. Based in the north west of England the town is part of the Borough of Macclesfield and lies between Manchester and Macclesfield itself. One of the town’s main claims to fame is that it is the town that was the base for Cranford in Elizabeth Gaskell’s famous book of the same name. Gaskell lived in Knutsford for most of her life.
Knutsford has a rich historical past. The name Knutsford itself is considered by many to date back to King Canute. It is said that Canute forded the River Lily, hence the name Knuts Ford. In the Domesday Book the town was registered as Cunetesford. During medieval times the town was a booming local centre and it was given a charter in the 1290s.
Knutsford is a popular tourist destination that charms most of its visitors. Its situation on the beautiful Cheshire Plain makes this an ideal location for a day trip or a longer visit. Visitors can also enjoy a visit to Tatton Park which holds the Royal Horticultural Society’s Flower Show every year. The Cheshire County Show is also accessible from Knutsford as it is held in a nearby village, Tabley. The town’s May Day carnival also attracts a lot of visitors and traditionally includes one of the largest funfairs in the country. During the May Day festivities the locals carry on the age old Knutsford custom known as sanding the streets where they decorate the town’s streets with sand pictures.
Tatton Park is one of the most visited tourist attractions in the county of Cheshire as a whole. The park is made up from over 1,000 acres of deer park, the Mansion and the Old Hall and various gardens. The parkland here has been farmed right back to Bronze Age times and was in the hands of the Egerton family from Tudor times until the 1950s. Tatton Park is now owned by the National Trust and managed by Cheshire County Council. Tabley House, once the home of the Leicesters, is also well worth a visit and is close to Knutsford.
Elizabeth Gaskell fans can also take a look at the house where the author spent her childhood in Gaskell Avenue and can see her grave in the Unitarian Chapel. The Knutsford Heritage Centre museum is a useful place to start if you want to learn more about the town and its history.