I used to cycle into Manchester from Tatton!
Although I’m a dangerous daredevil, so used to risk life and limb on the A56.
Best bet is;
Tatton Mile to Hale…down Victoria Road (it feels like you’re going the wrong way down a one way, but bikes are allowed that way!) then through Altrincham as straight as possible to the Gardeners Arms (WA15 6SQ)
Follow that road round the canal until the bridge.
Over the road bridge, then through Newton Park, join the path, then into the Bridgewater Way.
From there, it’s all plain sailing into Manchester
You can stick on it and go all round Old Trafford to get into Manchester. But it’s full of millennials not givingAF about cyclists, even when you’ve a bell
I’ll comment on a few routes now for you.
EDIT: if you don’t mind a non-direct route, then maybe get dropped off at Lymm/Latchford Locks and just take the Trans Pennine Trail to Dunham Massey-ish, then switch onto the Bridgewater Canal there?
They’ve resurfaced the TPT for the section through Lymm with rubberised “stuff” (no idea what the tech term is) so it’s not bad for cycling through these days. But from the heatley crossing onwards it’s back to the gravel route.
You could also have a stop at the cider farm in Dunham if it’s a good sunny day.
A stop at a cider barn is always a good thing.
My mum lives close to some kind of national cider & perry collection in East Sussex - it’s essentially a barn full of casks and you buy it in 2/4 pint plastic milk bottles.
I need to think through how much stuff I’ll be taking. Quite likely I’ll be carrying more weight that when I went round Wales for 6 days as I’ll need to carry shoes