13 Fantastic Experiences You Can Have In Manchester

Manchester is one of those UK cities that’s often overlooked by would-be tourists thanks to its industrial past, but the Northern powerhouse has been undergoing a contemporary resurgence and today it’s buzzing with creative energy. It’s a bit of a UK secret, but Manchester offers some of the best food, drink, nightlife, culture and shopping in the country. From the trendy Northern Quarter to the unique suburbs, Manchester is proving that it’s worth visiting for more than just its football team.

Why you need to plan a city break in Manchester

Reasons to visit Manchester, UK

Whether you live in the UK or are planning a trip to England and want to discover some lesser-visited cities, here’s why you should totally visit Manchester in 2018.


You can sip coffee in a Victorian shopping arcade

When you visit Manchester, be sure to stop at Pot Kettle Black in the exquisite glass-domed  Barton Arcade for a good cup of coffee. The flawlessly restored arcade has three tiers of balconies and while it doesn’t look like anything special from the outside, the interior is a Manchester must-see.

Best things to do in Manchester: see the Barton Arcade


Get your glam on at Blow Ltd

The newly-opened blow dry bar in Manchester’s Debenhams is the perfect place to get your glam on for a night out in the city. Choose from a menu of blow dry styles (the Luxe Blow is my fave) and up-dos, or get your nails and make-up on fleek for a night on the tiles.

Luxury glam experiences in Manchester


Toast your city break at The Refuge

Located in the regal Principal Hotel, The Refuge by Volta is the place to be seen in Manchester. Think small plates made with the best North West ingredients, a mouth-watering cocktail menu and a stylish Winter Garden for the most glamorous of rendezvous.

Best places to eat and drink in Manchester: The Refuge

Feel like Harry Potter at the John Ryland’s Library

Pretend you really did get your letter from Hogwarts in this spectacularly beautiful library, now owned by University of Manchester. It’s hailed as ‘Manchester’s Taj Mahal’ because the building was commissioned by  Enriqueta Rylands in memory of her husband John Rylands. There are around 12 miles of books on the library’s shelves!

Reasons to visit Manchester: The John Rylands Library

Take interior design inspo from the Royal Exchange Theatre

Yet another reason to ‘look up’ in Manchester. The former Cotton Exchange has beautiful pink marble pillars, and you can still see the original trading board with the day’s closing figures. The historic Great Hall now houses a modern performance space, but if you don’t fancy a show, you can also take Afternoon Tea there.

Best things to see and do in Manchester: Royal Exchange Theatre


Be entertained at Albert’s Schloss

On the ground floor of the iconic Albert Hall, this Bavarian ‘bier palace’ serves the freshest Pilsner this side of the Danube alongside great food and even homemade baked treats. The place comes alive with good-natured debauchery at night, with live music, resident DJs and the ‘Schloss night creatures’.

Best nightlife venues in Manchester: Albert's Schloss

Brunch at Evelyn’s

Instagram addicts, gather around. Evelyn’s is the most grid-friendly cafe/bar in Manchester, with grammable interiors, delicious (photogenic) food including Korean chicken rolls and pimped-out avo toast, plus a creative hot drinks menu with such curiosities as peanut butter jelly cappuccinos and blue lattes.

Best brunch place in Manchester: Evelyn's

Shop in style at Selfridges

Fashionistas will fall in love with the Personal Shopping service on the second floor of Selfridges Exchange Square. Get comfortable in a luxurious suite and enlist the help of Selfridges’ stylists to choose your perfect outfit. Follow your shopping session with a bite at Selfridge’s San Carlo Gran Cafe.

Best luxury experiences in Manchester for a girls' weekend break


Shake it at a cocktail masterclass at Cane and Grain

On the upper floor of ‘Manchester’s best bar and rib joint‘, you’ll find The Liar’s Lounge, a tiki bar where showman Steve will teach you how to shake up some of the bar’s favourite cocktails. Masterclasses can be a bit naff – but take it from an experienced bartender – this one is a laugh. Once you’re nicely tipsy on Zombies, retire to the speakeasy-style Science + Industry.

Best cocktail masterclass in Manchester


Take Afternoon Tea at Cloud 23

Reigning over Manchester’s cityscape in Beetham Tower, Cloud 23 is a unique venue located at the highest point in Manchester. Find your silver lining at Cloud 23 with the finest champagnes, signature cocktails, decadent afternoon tea, and panoramic city views.

Best afternoon tea in Manchester

Catch a movie at King Street Town House

This imposing Italian Renaissance building oozes luxury, and what’s more luxurious than an intimate cinema screening in plush armchairs? King Street Townhouse has recently transformed its listed cellar space into The Cellars; a brand new and exclusive private dining space and luxurious screening room experience.

Private cinema experience in Manchester

Go veggie at 1847

If you follow a meat-free diet or just want to try something different, book a table at 1847 on Chapel Walks for inventive dishes like harissa battered halloumi and tofu and barley crunch. Even the most avid carnivore will be impressed by this menu.

Best vegetarian restaurant in Manchester

Party at Impossible

At this theatrical late-night venue, the impossible is made possible. Think raunchy costumes, weird and wonderful performances and dancing the night away. You’re not allowed to take pictures inside Impossible, so please don’t tell!

Best experiences in Manchester

Search and book accommodation in Manchester

Check out these fab Manchester tours and experiences


Its heritage may be industrial, but progressive Manchester is now claiming its place as ‘The original modern city’, with a youthful energy driving the destination’s transformation into a culture hub.  If you’re planning a whirlwind weekend break in the UK, visit Manchester for some of the best delicious food, drink and luxury shopping experiences. It’s genuinely one of the most exciting cities to visit in the UK at the moment, and you won’t regret a trip.

What’s your favourite thing about Manchester? Leave your Manchester hidden gems and tips in the comments for everyone to read!

Sign up to my newsletter for new posts, travel updates and style buys – hitting your inbox every Tuesday.

Pin this

The best luxury food, drink and shopping experiences in Manchester, UK



  1. thenorthleftblog
    November 29, 2017 / 9:41 am

    I go to Manchester quite often, but I haven’t heard of so many of these places! Lovely photos too 🙂

    • Dannielle | While I'm Young
      November 30, 2017 / 2:35 pm

      Neither had I, I was just lucky enough to have excellent tour guides! I really think Manchester is one of those cities that you need to be a bit ‘in-the-know’ to truly get to grips with it and fall in love.

  2. November 29, 2017 / 11:10 am

    Amazing Pics, Looks like such a fascinating place, one I would LOVE to visit someday!

    • Dannielle | While I'm Young
      November 30, 2017 / 2:34 pm

      I hope you get there!

  3. November 29, 2017 / 3:01 pm

    Everything looks fab – I’m off to Manchester on Friday with the girls and can’t wait. One of my oldest friends lives there. We enjoyed cocktails in Cloud 23 a few years ago and I loved it x

    • Dannielle | While I'm Young
      November 30, 2017 / 2:34 pm

      Ooh sounds fab! It was really nice and Christmassy when I was there. Make sure you take a walk around the markets! x

  4. November 29, 2017 / 6:50 pm

    I know I say it every time I comment but I LOVE your photos! I’d been to Manchester many many times before I discovered how truly wonderful it is, it amuses me that my husband (who grew up in Manchester) could never show me anything to impress me yet as soon as I started researching Manchester using inspiration from blogs I realised what an amazing city it is! How on earth could he not have taken me to the Northern Quarter before I read about it on a blog …. DOH!

    We took Simon’s Mum for Afternoon Tea at Cloud 23 a couple of years ago and loved it, not tried out anywhere else on your list though so going to make a note for our next visit when I WILL get to stay at King Street Town House!!!

    • Dannielle | While I'm Young
      November 30, 2017 / 2:34 pm

      It makes my day every time Chloe, because I’m not overly confident about my photography! Isn’t is weird how we don’t see the beauty in the places we grew up? I have the same problem with trying to get my boyfriend to show me places in the NE! I’ve got ALL my fingers crossed for you that you finally get to KSTH, I know how much you want to stay there 🙂

  5. November 29, 2017 / 11:22 pm

    I love the architecture in all these buildings .

    • Dannielle | While I'm Young
      November 30, 2017 / 2:32 pm

      Aren’t they gorgeous?! I don’t know which is better, the library or that pink marble!

  6. November 30, 2017 / 11:09 pm

    Always wanted to go to Manchester but never put it on the agenda. Lots of great places I just added to my list but since my name is Evelyne the first place I’ll have to hit is Evelyn’s lol.

  7. December 2, 2017 / 7:51 pm

    I have family just outside of Manchester, my flight home transferred through Manchester airport last year but I’ve never actually visited! I think I need to change that!

  8. December 2, 2017 / 7:57 pm

    I had no idea there was so much to do in Manchester. Would love to see the library, the Victorian Arcade and have afternoon tea with that view!

  9. December 2, 2017 / 8:58 pm

    As a Manchester resident it’s always great to see the city getting some love! The John Rylands Library is amazing – there’s also Chetham’s Library which is worth a visit – it’s the oldest library in the English speaking world!

  10. December 2, 2017 / 9:05 pm

    Lovely places! I go to Manchester so often with work trips but never get to see much of the city itself! But I loved wondering around the Northern quarter last time I was there. Such a strong Mancunian vibe there!

  11. Tami
    December 4, 2017 / 1:27 am

    Love those beautiful railings in the Barton Arcade, and the University of Manchester’s library is incredible! I love architectural details like those — even the pink columns in the Royal Exchange Theatre. You’ve got quite a nice list of things to do and see in Manchester…

  12. Kate Korte
    December 4, 2017 / 5:46 am

    Really wish I had spent more time in Manchester, but I’ll be back- these photos look great and I’ve heard the night life is really good.

  13. Raksha Rao
    December 4, 2017 / 11:05 am

    Such beautiful pictures! I can go to Manchester just for that spectacular library. Bookmarked it 🙂

  14. December 4, 2017 / 3:47 pm

    Fabulous destination! I wasn’t all that familiar with it. I love shopping in European arcades. Awesome architecture and just feels so cool. The theatre would be a must for me!

  15. Jessica
    December 6, 2017 / 11:41 pm

    Stunning pictures! Did you take them all? Those pink marble columns got me like <3