I’m a born and bred Manchester girl, and in all honesty, I’m ridiculously proud. I always get that sense of warmth telling people I’ve always lived and grew up here, and I love watching other people come from other cities and go on to call it their home.
My full time job is pretty much a Manchester blogger and content creator (and a makeup artist here too, although I tend to travel wider for this), and I love how much opportunity this city brings me.
I’ve watched the changes over the years, and seen how Manchester has evolved. The shopping, the socialising, the dining out scene, the cocktail bars, the entertainment venues, markets…. pretty much everything has changed, for the better.
And more so, everywhere is so much more accessible to get to. I remember a time where it would take me 3 hours to get to the Trafford Centre from North Manchester, when it first opened. But now there are direct buses. But more importantly, the Metrolink has literally filled all the gaps for me!
I can now get from Failsworth to Didsbury via Metrolink, which is a life saver for meeting my South Manchester friends in the Summer!
Not only that, I can also get to Manchester Airport via tram, which is quicker and easier than the train for me. But one of my all time favourites is getting to Altrincham food market! At one point, it was drive there, or don’t get there at all…
Metrolink are currently running a campaign based around #catchthemoment – celebrating all those moments you can create in Manchester by simply catching a tram and getting around so easily. #catchthemoment is currently part of Metrolink’s off-peak travel campaign, where if you use the #catchthemoment hashtag on social media, it gives you the chance to win prizes and be featured on their online campaign!
Aside from that, the hashtag highlights the great places and events that you can go to using the tram. We all need a little inspiration every now and again! You can always check out the Transport for Greater Manchester Instagram page here too.
Lets face it: Manchester’s legendary live music scene is unparalleled, everyone knows that, and now most people from all corners of Greater Manchester can jump off the tram at Victoria and head to the arena. But there’s a whole lot more to the capital of the North than just beer, guitars and bands.
From classic concerts in ancient meeting houses and history lessons at famous museums, to flicking through stacks of vinyl or even petting a furry friend or two.
The list of brilliant stuff to do goes on and on. And it’s mega easy to get to all these places by Metrolink, you just gotta know about it! Check out my top 10 places to visit by tram – great times are guaranteed.
Northern Quarter Coffee Shop Scene
Love Coffee? But more so, enjoy tasting the roasted delights from independent, quirkier cafes? Look no further than the Northern Quarter, which is literally a 5 minute walk away from either Shudehill Metrolink Stop, or Piccadilly Gardens (depending which end you prefer to start at!)
The artisanal coffee scene in Manchester is absolutely thriving right now, and they all offer up brunches, lunches, and some even cocktails in the evening! One of my favourites is Takk, an Icelandic-style joint. However, the uber-modernist Foundation Coffee House is a long time favourite of mine, as they do the best almond milk matcha lattes!
Or, if you like a spot of people watching, settle down in the quaint Fig & Sparrow, which places a sharp focus on locally sourced produce and has a great window bench looking out onto Oldham Street’s stylish charity stores and second-hand delights.View this post on Instagram
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Salford Quays and Media City
Salford Quays – home to the buzzing and growing Media City – is the ideal leisure destination for pretty much everything when you want to escape the city, but still be close by. Trams take you direct to Media City, or you can get off at one of the stops beforehand if you would rather have a walk into the area (Exchange Quay).
This wonderful waterside location is just ten minutes from the city centre, where you’ll find The Lowry, Imperial War Museum North, MediaCityUK, Granada TV, Old Trafford Stadium and Lancashire County Cricket Club. There’s also The Lowry shopping centre, a cinema, restaurants and plenty of places to relax, so culture lovers, sport fans and shopaholics alike all get a look-in. Plus, it looks super bright and fantastic at night!
Craft Beer Crazy
It’s not just a rumour that Manchester produces some of the best craft beer in the world. Like, it actually does. Research it if you don’t believe me! Jump off the tram at Picadilly Gardens and you’ll find niche bars such as Port Street Beer House (in the Northern Quarter), and the Piccadilly Tap.
It tends to be the more quirky Piccadilly and Ancoats areas which hold these joints, with a number of popular bars ran by local brewers: Blackjack Brewery’s Smithfield Market Tavern (just next to Band on the Wall), Seven Bro7hers’ bar in Ancoats, or there is even a craft beer and ale store on Tib Street called Beermoth.
This is one of my favourite areas to talk about when discussing places to check out in Manchester. Manchester is now brimming with markets all year round – from street food to local independent crafts, you can find it all and a whole lot more across the city.
Keep an eye on Grub for the best food stalls around (Grub sometimes moves around) and the lastest newcomer Mackie Mayor – a huge converted Grade II-listed building close to Band on the Wall that promises 400 seats and cracking food from the likes of Honest Crust. You’ll need to jump off the tram at Shudehill for these.
And then of course you have Altrincham Market, which is easily accessible from Piccadilly Gardens or Mosley Street tram stops, straight through to Altrincham.
A Day At The Museum
Close to Manchester’s universities around Oxford Road lies the Manchester Museum, which hosts a tomb-like exhibition of over 16,000 ancient Egyptian artefacts. It’s a pretty spectacular day out, and a great one for families. It includes 20 human mummies originating from Luxor and Thebes, which were all scanned in 2012 using the most up-to-date technology.
A day out here is just fascinating – the stories behind everything you see here are pretty amazing, too. Around the Museum you’ve got a couple of cute cafes and coffee shops, and also you’re not far from HATCH – a pop-up market for independant food retailers (you can find out more about HATCH on my blog post here).
Nearest tram stop is St Peters Square, where you’ll have around a 15 minute walk along the iconic and super busy Oxford Road.
Stay Classy At Spinningfields
Spinningfields is what I like to call one of the sassiest areas of Manchester city centre, especially due to it’s array of premium, luxury bars and restaurants opening up all the time. This area is expanding by the month- we were once wowed by Manchester House, but now 20 Stories and Menagerie have taken it’s glory.
If you want to sip some exquisite cocktails with Manchester finest and most well dressed, just jump off the tram at either Deansgate or St Peters Square and you have literally a 5-10 minute stroll to this fabulous drinking and dining destination.
The Beautiful Castlefield
Castlefield is an old favourite for Mancunians, especially when the sun is shining! The best thing is that this gorgeous cobbled area, with a river, canal boats, and classic pubs overlooking the water is within easy reach from both Deansgate-Castlefield tram stop, and Cornbrook.
Castlefield often host small local food markets and even gigs in the Summer, but it’s most famous for it’s Duke 92 bar and restaurant. In the sunnier months, this place opens out it’s outdoor seating area and hosts bbqs and outdoor entertainment. Even though it’s a 5 minute stroll from the Deansgate end of Manchester, you feel a million miles away from the city here…
Around Oldham Street and Lever Street areas of Manchester, you’ll find some of Manchester’s best charity stores, second hand boutiques and those much-loved independent record stores. There are some old time favourites here such as Vinyl Exchange, Eastern Bloc and Piccadilly Records, which have been supplying Mancunians with good tunes for years.
Afflecks Palace is an off-the-wall, unique shopping destination to suit literally every fashion taste under the sun – especially the more eclectic. But it’s the line-up of Oxfam Originals, Blue Rinse, Mustard Tree and COW which all the fashion forward crowds flock to! And they all deserve our appreciation, as they have stood firm in the digital age.
For a vintage shopping experience with a difference, hop off the tram at Piccadilly Gardens and head on down to Oldham Street.
Thanks to the tram stop opening up on Burton Road, people from every corner of Manchester can now enjoy the delights of West Didsbury. It’s popular Burton Road destination holds an array of independant shops, butchers, cheese shops, beauty salons, cafes, coffee shops, cocktail bars, unique eateries and boutiques.
It’s also home to The Metropolitan, a classy bar which becomes a hot spot in the Summer months. It’s always a thriving, busy place to visit, and now that the tram stops off here, you can avoid the heavy traffic that falls on the Princess Parkway.
10. Take Off!
Last but not least – you can now get to Manchester Airport via the Metrolink. Hooray! It’s so much smoother and fuss-free than trains, taxis, or buses. And lets not even mention parking up for the long stay car park (very expensive).
If you have kids, or are just plain and simple into aeroplanes, you can also jump on the tram to the airport to spend a day watching the planes at the Aviation Park. Such a handy tram route in my opinion!
To find out more about the competitions running and how you can get involved in the #catchthemoment campaign, head to: http://catchthemoment.
There are so many of you who potentially use the tram service as part of your daily life, and I’d love to see how you find it! But also, there will be so many people who just aren’t aware of how easy it is to get around to all the fantastic places, via the ease of the tram.
This post has been sponsored by Transport for Great Manchester