Following major regeneration, and with dramatic countryside on its doorstep, Oldham has more to offer than just a quick commute to Manchester.
The town of Oldham sits on the outskirts of Manchester in the northwest of England. It is an eclectic mix of urban, suburban and rural areas, with regimented lines of terraced homes giving way to canals and country views.
The town declined after the collapse of the cotton industry. But massive regeneration projects have given Oldham an impressive facelift. It now boasts new amenities and homes as well as new and improved public spaces.
The average house price in Oldham is currently sitting at an attractive £141,000, well below that of the Greater Manchester area. Take a look at the most recent figures here.
Living in Oldham: what to expect
Oldham is dominated by the remaining Victorian cotton mills that once fuelled the town’s growth. The centre and its suburbs are also still filled with mill workers’ red-brick terraces.
But the town is not stuck in the past. A new ‘Independent Quarter’ runs between Yorkshire Street and Union Street, promoting independent businesses, and a new cinema complex at the Old Town Hall is soon to be completed.
A cool £60m will also be spent bringing 800 new homes and new shops to the town centre.
By night, a cosmopolitan collection of restaurants and pubs open their doors, many of which also have live music. But if you need more choice, Manchester is under an hour away by Metrolink tram.
The town has plenty of rural attractions on its doorstep too. The craggy landscape of the Peak District National Park is just 40 minutes away by car, and parks, reservoirs and woodland sit in and around Oldham itself.
Discover exactly what Manchester has to offer by reading our dedicated guide.
Where to start your property search
Oldham centre: The town is characterised by 19th-century, red-brick terraced homes. You can find flat-fronted, uniform versions on roads throughout the centre, including Waterloo Road, Werneth Hall Road and Colwyn Street.
However, there are also new developments. Limehurst Village is just two miles from the town centre and has 11 styles of two-, three- and four-bedroom homes. All of the properties have French doors that open onto rear gardens as well as open-plan kitchen and dining areas. If you have a more flexible budget, opt for a larger three-storey home with an ensuite.
Suburbs: The most desirable residential areas are found in Oldham’s suburbs and, as a result, they tend to command higher prices.
Greenacres Moor is two miles to the east of Oldham and has a mix of 19th- and 20th-century housing. The ubiquitous terraced property can be found on roads such as Taurus Street and Osmond Street, but if you want something more spacious, look to the three-bedroom semis on Yew Crescent or the 1970s semis with moorland views on Yorkdale Road.
If you want to live beneath the towering presence of a Victorian mill, check out the terraced homes on Hilda Street in Northmoor. Alternatively, visit the nearby modern estate, which has two- to three-storey semi-detached, detached and terraced homes. And search along roads such as Kirkbank Street for early 20th-century semis.
A twist on the traditional terrace can be found on Clyde Street in Littlemoor. These two-bedroom properties are slightly bigger and boast bay windows as well as small gardens. If your budget is more modest, flats in purpose-built blocks are available on roads such as Hilton Street.
To the north east of Oldham is Moorside. Contemporary homes with two to three bedrooms set well back from the road are available on Hogarth Rise. Period properties, such as double-fronted cottages built in the 1800s, are also available in areas such as Turf Pit Lane. Homes here have enviable views of the nearby moors.
Saddleworth: If your budget is more flexible and you want to be closer to the Peak District National Park, take a look at the towns and villages in Saddleworth. Greenfield village, Mossley and Chadderton are particularly sought-after and boast attractive stone-built cottages and town houses as well as great views from elevated streets.
Getting around Oldham
By rail: Oldham no longer has a train station, but it is connected to the Greater Manchester area via the Metrolink. Tram stops at Oldham Mumps, Oldham Central and Oldham King Street can take you to areas including Manchester Airport and MediaCityUK in Salford.
The A62 and A627 connect to Manchester and Ashton-under-Lyne respectively, and if you want an alternative route to Rochdale you can join the A671.
By air: Manchester Airport - just half an hour away by car - offers flights to 200 destinations, including Paris, Barcelona, Hong Kong and Las Vegas.
Things to do
History: Natural history and contemporary art exhibitions are displayed at Gallery Oldham. It has 16 exhibitions a year that are sourced from its own collections, as well as international work and touring exhibitions. Check out the gallery’s live music programme and art and craft courses too.
Cultural: Watch a show at the recently renovated Oldham Coliseum Theatre. It has eight in-house shows a year as well as hosting touring companies. Charlie Chaplin once performed here and some stars of Coronation Street also began their careers by treading its boards.
The Lyceum Theatre is home to the Lyceum Players, which put on five productions every year. The theatre is an intimate space that makes it ideal for amateur dramatics.
Meanwhile, live music can be enjoyed six nights a week as well as Sunday afternoons at the rock venue, Whittles.
You can also listen to local bands and watch dance groups and theatre companies perform at the Oldham Carnival RootZ Festival, which is on every summer.
Outdoors: Tennis courts, a boating lake and woodland walks can be found in Alexandra Park, which was built by residents during the cotton famine and is now Grade II listed. Stroll around the ornamental gardens or wade through the paddling pool on hot summer days.
On the very edge of the town centre is Strinesdale Reservoir. Some 20 hectares of reservoirs and meadows are open to the public, making it an ideal location for a walk or bicycle ride.
Fishing and bird watching are just some of the activities on offer at the 40-hectare Daisy Nook Country Park nearby in Failsworth, Greater Manchester.
If you’re feeling energetic, test your fitness on the Oldham Way. This long-distance route covers 40 miles of rugged countryside in the Oldham borough. For something less strenuous, take a walk along Huddersfield Narrow Canal in Saddleworth.
Shopping: High street favourites can be found at Spindles Town Square Shopping Centre. It is home to more than 70 retailers, including Waterstones, Debenhams, H&M and Next.
Head to Tommyfield Market for local goods and produce. The market hall hosts 300 fruit and vegetable, meat, flower and gift stalls, with different days corresponding to different themes. Monday is the day of the traditional market, Wednesday is mixed and on Saturday you can find stalls selling material from all over Asia.
A street market is also held every Friday and Saturday on Curzon Street and Albion Street. Try the traditional dishes served up by Yum Yums Caribbean Food for an alternative lunch.
Food and drink: Steak served on lava stone that is heated to 320 degrees celsius is on offer at The Dog & Partridge. This pub also serves up burgers and classics such as steak and Guinness pie, and has regular live music nights.
For well-presented food in a relaxed dining room, take a seat at The Old Bill. Dishes such as slow-cooked lamb and grilled haddock grace the menu, as do popular pasta dishes. Head over to the pub’s bar – The Coal Hole – for cocktails, wines and ales.
Hearty dishes of lamb’s liver and onions can be found at The Roebuck Inn in nearby Strinesdale. Relax in the dining area of this 16th-century building after a day exploring Saddleworth Moor.
The Old Museum is now the home of the Oldham Theatre Workshop, a creative, inclusive drama group for young people. Keep an eye out for its performances, which promote the social and personal development of its participants.
4 reasons to live in Oldham
- Good value homes
- Close to the rugged scenery of the Peak District National Park
- Near to the entertainment, shops and bars of Manchester
- Large regeneration projects that are updating the town centre
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Have you learned something new about Oldham? Tell us in the comments below.