Shopping in Manchester
You’ll certainly be shopping in style in Manchester as some the city’s most popular shopping destinations are exceptional attractions in their own right. The super-stylish Trafford centre and the bohemian Northern Quarter are certainly worth a visit, even if you’re just browsing.
Trafford centre: The Trafford centre is the second largest shopping centre in the UK, and undoubtedly one of the most iconic. It is famed for its luxurious marble décor and the impressive number of stores/attractions inside. We’d recommend visiting at Christmas to admire the divine seasonal decorations (if you don’t mind crowds that is).
Arndale Centre: Manchester’s Arndale Centre is only a 10 minute walk from Piccadilly train station, and boasts over 200 stores inside. You also find plenty of food spots, with delicious eats from Yo Sushi, Millie’s Cookies, and the brand new Simone's Dessert Café. Simone’s proves revolutionary on the pudding scene, offering healthy alternatives to cheesecakes, brownies, cakes, cupcakes - which all contain no sugar, dairy or gluten.
- Northern Quarter: This hugely popular area of Manchester boasts quirky vintage shops, timeless record stores and one of the UK’s most alternative emporiums, Afflecks. Afflecks offers fetish fashions, tattoo shops, piercing shops and Manchester’s only cereal café. The Northern Quarter is also home to Manchester's first cat café, where you can enjoy coffee, cakes, yoga, craft nights and film nights, all accompanied by some gorgeous felines.
Things to do in Manchester
With a city centre so rich in culture and entertainment, your visit to Manchester can be whatever you make of it. Enjoy the Lowry, MediaCityUK, Chinatown, many well-stocked independent vinyl stores, the world’s oldest public library - Chetham’s, Manchester Jazz Festival, Manchester International Festival, Manchester Christmas Markets and oh so much more.
Museum of Science and Industry: This large and popular museum displays Manchester’s achievements in the subjects of science, technology and industry. It includes plenty of riveting exhibitions on aircrafts, locomotives and computers.
Go Football Mad: Both Old Trafford and the Etihad Stadium boast world-class pitches, facilities and players, whilst behind-the-scenes tours are available at both of the stadiums. The national football museum is also a great day out, offering a slightly less tribal look at the UK’s favourite game.
- Chill Factore: You may be staying in the North West of England without any sign of snow, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a day of skiing. Chill Factore offers the UK’s longest indoor skiing and snowboarding slope, and is most certainly worth a visit.
Eating and drinking in Manchester
Manchester is famed for its independent bars, restaurants and more informal dining scene (checkout B.eat street), but don’t worry there are still plenty of superb upmarket spots to hold a celebration or get dressed up for the evening.
Home Sweet Home: With 2 locations in the city, this Manchester favourite specialises in cheat meals and comfort foods. You can order anything from cheeseburger toasties and breakfast waffles, to cake-shakes and humongous cakes slices with all the trimmings you could dream off.
The French: Housed in the grand setting of The Midland Hotel, this four AA rosette-awarded restaurant evokes the glamour of a former age, whilst the food is anything but dated. Expect elaborate tasting menus with an emphasis on locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients and cutting-edge culinary techniques.
- Hawksmoor: For a steak you’ll never forget, head to the cosy, informal atmosphere of Hawksmoor. The choice of cuts and weights is mind-blowing, and it’s equally difficult to choose from the extensive side dishes which include bone marrow gravy, creamed kale and lobster. The chic bar is also one of the best in the city - don’t miss the cocktail menu.
Culture and nightlife in Manchester
Manchester is often considered the capital of the North, boasting an architecturally, artistically and theatrically-influential culture. You’ll find much to do and see in this progressive city, whether it be visiting a gallery or museum in the day, or enjoying music, food or theatre come night time. We’d highly recommend spending an evening in Spinningfields during your stay, as this business, shopping and restaurant district is famed for its sophisticated nightlife. Begin your night with dinner at Australasia, then enjoy a refreshing selection of drinks at The Alchemist or The Oast House.
- See a gig: Manchester is world famous for its music scene. The city has produced many all-time greats such as The Smiths, Oasis and The Stone Roses, making it the perfect place to see your favourite artist. Some of the best venues include The Deaf Institute, Manchester Arena, Manchester Academy, Castlefield Bowl, O2 Apollo and Antwerp Mansion. The list goes on.
- Canal Street: As one of the UK’s biggest LGBT centres, Canal street is home to a huge number of lively bars and events. The area was also the original setting for the ground-breaking Channel 4 drama Queer as Folk.
- Manchester Art Gallery: This publicly-owned art museum offers a diverse collection of fine art, that spans over six centuries. The gallery is best known for its 19th Century British painting, but it also displays an incredibly wide selection of thought-provoking contemporary pieces.