Spend a day in Manchester

PUBLISHED: 00:00 15 April 2019

View from 1 St Peters Square (c) Rich J Jones Photography

View from 1 St Peters Square (c) Rich J Jones Photography

Rich J Jones Photography

Visit the cosmopolitan city for a day or stay overnight - there’s plenty to do that will keep you busy.

John Rylands Library (c) Rich J Jones PhotographyJohn Rylands Library (c) Rich J Jones Photography

There’s nothing better on a crisp sunny morning (as rare as they may be in Manchester) than to have a coffee from one of the many independent cafes in hand, strolling through the bustling cosmopolitan city. If you want to imagine that you’re in a warmer climate then grab a tasty ‘cuppa’ from Federal, an Antipodean café that specialises in Aussie goodies. Or try Foundation Coffee House, whose heart lies in all things caffeine.

Drink in hand, you will marvel at the beautiful architecture that makes up the Manchester skyline, from the newly built towering skyscrapers to the contrasting historic buildings. Meander to St Peter’s Square where you’ll be able to marvel at the newly renovated Central Library, a magnificent domed building that will make you feel like an extra in a Harry Potter film.

Not playing favourites here, but The John Rylands Library is a must see. The late-Victorian gothic building situated on Deansgate is a stunning piece of architecture, both inside and out. There’s something comforting about wandering around their beautiful collections of classic books.

Love shopping? Then Manchester Arndale, which is home to over 200 stylish shops, is definitely worth a visit. It’s also ideally located next to New Cathedral Street, which is home to favourites such as Harvey Nichols, Zara and Selfridges.

Oklahoma in the Northern Quarter (c) Rich J Jones PhotographyOklahoma in the Northern Quarter (c) Rich J Jones Photography

But what makes Manchester a city like no other is the wide range of independent and quirky boutiques the city has to offer. You’ll find most of them located in the Northern Quarter, a trendy neighbourhood that is full of vibrant street art, independent record shops and vintage clothing boutiques.

If you like to hear the latest up and coming indie bands or established artists, then you’ll also find a selection of music venues here. The Northern Quarter is also home to some of the quirkiest bars and restaurants. Taking over a once neglected Victorian market house is Mackie Mayor, an open food market that serves a variety of food. Expect Taiwanese steamed buns from the Bao House, high-end coffee from J Atkinson & Co, charcoal-cooked fish from FIN and sourdough pizza from Honest Crust. Ideal if you want to try a mix of cuisines in a bustling atmosphere. The Northern Quarter Restaurant is also worth a visit, a modern food lover’s paradise that serves British cuisine in a unique way; expect dishes from roast chicken and truffle foam to braised monkfish. If you fancy something a bit more upmarket then The Ivy located in Spinningfields is for you. Across four floors, this restaurant offers an all day British menu including brunch and afternoon tea. If you’re craving something oriental then Umezushi is a must visit. A firm favourite with the locals, the sushi is lovingly prepared in front of you, so you know it’s as fresh as can be. Or maybe you want to enjoy your meal with a view? Head to the popular 20 Stories; with the urban metropolis that is Manchester in view, it’s the ideal place for dinner or a cocktail.

If you’ve got time to squeeze in a show then Manchester has something for everyone. The Palace Theatre and sister venue The Opera House show the latest shows and lavish pantomimes, HOME showcases the newest independent shows, whilst the Royal Exchange Theatre is inspired by the world’s greatest stories and aims to bring them to life on stage. Manchester is also home to some beautiful art galleries. The Manchester Art Gallery, which is free, offers a range of historical collections as well as international contemporary art. Or visit the Whitworth Art Gallery, which is located on Oxford Road and focuses on contemporary inspiration and influences. A recent development has seen the gallery double in size, and also be fully integrated into the park it calls home. An art garden designed by Sarah Price can be seen as well as a sculpture terrace and orchard garden.

You can’t come to Manchester and not be aware of the relationship with football. Take a short trip outside of the city to the Etihad Stadium or Old Trafford, or visit The National Football Museum if you are feeling neutral.

If you think this is too much to squeeze into one day, don’t worry, Manchester is full of modern hotels, central apartments and hostels if you so choose. Ideally located near Manchester Piccadilly is The Principal. With its clock tower and striking Victorian architecture, The Principal Manchester is a Grade II listed building and an unmistakable landmark in the city’s skyline.

A personal favourite is the Cow Hollow Hotel. A restored turn-of-the-century textile warehouse, it’s one of Manchester’s coolest boutique hotels and located in the Northern Quarter. Picture exposed brick and metal staircases – and the free glass of Prosecco on arrival helps too.

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