How Manchester has come together in the face of COVID-19

PUBLISHED: 10:19 09 April 2020 | UPDATED: 10:19 09 April 2020

View of St Peter's Square and the local landmark, Manchester Central Library and Manchester Town Hall

View of St Peter's Square and the local landmark, Manchester Central Library and Manchester Town Hall

Julian Elliott

In times of adversity, Manchester’s many creatives and talents have come together to offer plenty to get us through this difficult time

Mural of Blue Tit in Newton Street in the Northern QuarterMural of Blue Tit in Newton Street in the Northern Quarter

The current global pandemic we’re all facing is scary and it’s completely normal to feel anxious and unsure - but you are not alone and can celebrate the spirit of togetherness that is being shown across the country. One city that shows just how this is done is Manchester. The northern capital has always been known for its laid-back attitude and this is needed even more so in the current climate. The sprawling city has also always been known for being one of the most vibrant cities in England, full of creativity, both in individuals and businesses.

Manchester is home to some super quirky neighbourhoods; the Northern Quarter, a unique hub in the centre of the city, boasts colourful street art, independent shops and plenty of bars and restaurants. Before we were put on total lockdown, many of the bars and restaurants of the Northern Quarter began to change how they did things. Favourite neighbourhood spots such as Thaikhun, Federal and The Bay Horse Tavern began to offer delivery to keep their businesses running. This spread to restaurants around the city and fine dining spots such as Tattu and TNQ; breweries and distillers even offered home deliveries, with many offering NHS discounts. Manchester is home to several city-based gin makers: Three Rivers, Halcyon Gin and Manchester Gin. If you fancy a tipple in isolation, then you can order a bottle of gin online and treat yourself to a cocktail or two.

Being isolated doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the benefits of the city’s great food scene. Chef Simon Wood, of Wood Restaurants, will be revealing recipes each day on his Instagram feed that will allow you to recreate some of his dishes at home, whilst the chef from neighbourhood spot Salvis will be teaching you how to make homemade pasta and sauces through a series of videos. Manchester has one of the most varied of foodie scenes, and the list is endless for you to try once you’re able to. Everything from small, rustic places such as Evuna to the Michelin-starred Mana and the recently opened Bull & Bear, run by Tom Kerridge in The Stock Exchange Hotel.

Manchester is rightly known for its rich musical history. The red-bricked streets of the city have gifted the world with the likes of the Stone Roses, The Smiths and legendary club, the Hacienda. But we won’t get hung up on the past. Today, Manchester is home to a variety of live-music venues, from Victoria Warehouse to Albert Hall and one of the latest openings, YES, which has everything from a rooftop terrace to a basement club. In this unprecedented time, music is something everybody values. Spirit Studios, Manchester’s iconic music production school, is kicking off a full year of special events with their very first social distancing special – a livestream teaching you how to create music from everyday objects, perfect to keep you and the children entertained at home.

The city usually has a huge events calendar offering occasions that everybody can enjoy. From Pride festival, which parades through the streets and hosts some huge performers, to the famous music festival Parklife, whilst the Manchester International Arts Festival brings together different artists from varied genres. Whilst most of these are currently on hold, they will be back with a bang for you to experience.

So many creatives call Manchester home, and that includes Georgia Toms, a model with BOSS Modelling Agency. ‘Manchester is like the London I’ve always wanted, one where all the best places are in walking distance and all your friends are living right on your doorstep. I’ve lived in major cities all over the world, it comes with the job. But now, Manchester puts so much creativity and thought into its businesses that it rivals London and New York with its wealth of culture - and let’s not forget the great food!’ she says. ‘People put their heart and soul into their business here and it shows. And it’s all done with the wonderful northern friendliness the city is known for.’

Whatever your interests, Manchester is a city that offers so much and once we’re through this difficult time, it’ll be there to welcome you with its northern smile.

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