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
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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’.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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