Manchester, in my opinion, is the unofficially the capital of the North. I mean, London is brilliant – I thoroughly enjoy ‘The Big Smoke’ every time I visit. However, there is just something about Manchester which oozes cool, culture and creativity.
If you’ve never been to Manchester before, or even if you have but not too many times, you’ll find it’s one of those cities you can’t help but fall in love with. It’s filled with all the history and culture and beautiful buildings you’d expect from the UK’s third largest city.
For me though, it’s the friendly vibe, laid-back atmosphere, and mountains of things to see and do.
You can spend half the day at the more premium, prestigious stores, bars and restaurants around King St and Spinningfields, or explore the more urban vibes of Ancoats and Shudehill. Either way, you can find an abundance of hotels in Manchester located all around the key areas.
And did I mention food?! Manchester is literally brimming with amazing places to eat! Some are incredibly unique, some are fabulous chains, and some are pop-up style, hosted by various independents each week.
So here’s how I recently spent a day in Manchester, and what I recommend to anyone else:
Take advantages of its transport links
If you’re coming to the city by train, Piccadilly is a huge station, perfectly situated for shopping, dining, or exploring. Piccadilly station is ideally located for a morning exploring the nearby Northern Quarter – the hipster neighbourhood of the city centre. If you haven’t visited before, you definitely should! It’s filled with the best coffee shops, cafes, independent shops and street art.
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If you want to move on from the Northern Quarter and Piccadilly area, then you should take advantage of the tram. The tram travels all around Manchester and beyond, from Deansgate, Castlefield and St Peters Square, letting you get around the city as super speed!
Enjoy unique coffees
If you want a recommendation for you first coffee stop, then please make a beeline for Foundation Coffee! Situated on Lever Street, this place is a modern, minimal style space and offers up one of the best cups of coffee in town. The reason being is that they serve up Beetroot Matcha Lattes, and Green Matcha Lattes, which taste incredible with almond milk. You’ll struggle to find these at other places across the city!
Before you plan to head off to eat or explore, just enjoy twenty minutes at one of their window seats and watch the workers pass by!
Indulge in a spot of brunch
Manchester is filled with amazing places for brunch. From bottomless brunches with sparkling Prosecco, to piled high bagels and endless roasted coffee, Mancunians have firmly put brunching on the map.
Places worth checking out include Mr White’s English Chophouse on Canal Street, which is an elegant, luxurious restaurant for those looking for a bit of class. I recently enjoyed a bottomless brunch here where I indulged in a large, delicious vegetarian full English breakfast, and free flowing Prosecco, for £30.
Other popular places include Pen and Pencil, Blackdog Ballroom, Menegerie and The Bay Horse.
Check out Afflecks Palace
This is Manchester’s number one spot for off-the-wall, unique retailers with their own units. Here you’ll find a large emporium of eclecticism and quirky finds over four floors. From personalised clothing and wall art, to vinyls and jewellery, there is something wow for everyone. But the beauty is, you’ll never find anything else like their products elsewhere in the city!
Head over to MOSI
The Museum of Science and Industry is free to enter, and acts as a large museum devoted to the development of science, technology and industry. But the key thing is that it has an emphasis on the city’s achievements in these fields over the decades. It acts as a place for children to learn, and adults to explore, and covers everything from transport, physics and technology.
If you wanted to head for a spot of fine dining after MOSI, you’re in the right place, as you’re on the edge of Spinningfields. My favourite eatery around the MOSI area is Randall and Aubin – Manchester’s best seafood restaurant!
See the views
When in Manchester, be sure to head to Cloud 23, situated at the Hilton Deansgate just behind Deansgate train station. If you get the lift directly to floor 23, it takes you to the bar filled with ceiling to floor windows, allowing you to enjoy views around the entire city and beyond.
But whilst you’re there, make sure you experience a signature cocktail from Cloud 23. They do incredible versions which have reference to Manchester, and make discovering the views that little more luxury! They also do a mean Afternoon Tea too, which is totally worth checking out if you have a sweet tooth.
A second option for Afternoon Tea is also the Harvey Nichols Manchester version too!
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Get your head down
Manchester is filled with hotels, so why not make the most out of the day by having a full on day exploring, eating, drinking and shopping, and then getting your head down in one of the cities many hotels? This way, you don’t have to worry about times of transport, and you can enjoy the odd tipple or two so you don’t have to drive back.
Plus, you’ll find a range of gorgeous boutique hotels combined with older, vintage style ones, and of course, the large, popular chain hotels which always guarantee comfort and style.
Some last minute things to bear in mind include the below too, so don’t think the list stops here!
- Experience pizza at Rudy’s Pizza
- Have the most unique game of golf at Junkyard Golf
- Check out the farmers markets at Castlefield once a month
- And whilst in Castlefield, take a stroll along the canal and the cobbled streets, you’ll feel like you’re out of the city for a moment!
If you wish for any personalised plans for your Manchester trip, you can always drop me a message on Instagram!