AD- I received spending money in exchange for this blog post. All opinions and pictures my own.
Last week I headed on the early morning train from Harrogate to Manchester to spend the day wandering around and seeing what I could get up to. Having moved up North 3 years ago, I have been to Manchester more times in recent years than I have ever done in my previous life, but when it's only a 2 hour train ride away, it really is convenient. But if you were looking to perhaps stay over (which I normally do), then perhaps serviced apartments Manchester may be the way to go?
By the same token, I kind of know my way around and have a few favoured spots which were definitely on my list to visit this time around. I also did a bit of research about where was good to visit that I hadn't yet so that I was doing new things too - it's such a big city that there's always something on and new places to visit each time you go!
A few of the places on my list included:
The Town Hall
St Ann's Square
Royal Exchange Arcade
Manchester Art Gallery
John Rylands Library
Pot Kettle Black Coffee Shop
Quite a list there, just goes to show that Manchester offers up something different for every kind of mood, time frame, budget and agenda.
The weather was reporting rain all day when I visited, but thankfully when I got there, it was beautifully sunny and stayed all day so that kind of changed my plans slightly but it definitely made it better because there's nothing worse than trying to negotiate a new place in the pouring rain!
Pot Kettle Black
14, Barton Arcade, Deansgate, Manchester M3 2BW
Quite simply, PKB do amazing coffee and food. Served in stunning surroundings with a smile and a bit of a chat. They pride themselves on using the finest ingredients with an attention to detail and passion for what they do.
This was actually my first stop once I'd arrived as I knew it was somewhere I had to visit. I tried their Matcha Latte and boy was it good! I'm a big fan of this green drink and have it almost every time I go out so I like to think I'm something of an aficionado on it.
The Barton Arcade location is just beautiful and definitely worth a visit next time you're in the city, it was busy during the morning with locals and tourists alike taking their morning coffee!
National Football Museum
Urbis Building Cathedral Gardens, Todd St, Manchester M4 3BG
I have been here before and if it had been raining I would have gone inside to see what had changed and to shelter from it. But alas I passed by this time but if you're interested in football then it's definitely worth a visit as there's so much to see and do inside!
Admission is £10 for adults and £5 for children aged 5-15 years, a family ticket (2 adults & 2 children) is £25.
It is packed to the brim with football memorabilia, photos, events, videos from memorable football games. There's even a games area where for an extra fee you can have a go at shooting a penalty, saving one and many other exciting things which I found I was quite useless at!
It's a great venue for the football fan in your life - or even yourself if you're that way inclined! It's the world's biggest and best football museum and something not to miss if you find yourself in the city!
Victoria St, Manchester M3 1SX
Located just to the right of the Football Museum is Manchester Cathedral and definitely somewhere worth visiting. It is visually stunning inside and makes for a good place to shelter from the rain should the weather take a turn for the worse.
The gateway to the Medieval Quarter, the 1421 Hanging Bridge was always the hub of Mancunian life, today it's the showpiece of Manchester Cathedral Visitor Centre, a remnant of ancient origins amidst a bustling, modern metropolis.
There is a busy calendar of events which includes community events, art and heritage exhibitions, book launches and comedy nights at Proper Tea.
I would highly recommend a visit to this beautiful Cathedral if for nothing more than to take in its absolute beauty and admire the architecture of the building itself.
I am in no way religious but I do find myself drawn to churches/cathedrals whenever I visit a new place; they're a hub for community life and can give you an insight into what life was like when the church itself was built.
They can offer an insight into the city you're visiting which you may not be able to get elsewhere.
John Rylands Library
150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH
One of the places which kept coming up when I was researching places to visit was John Rylands Library. It is the most gothic library that I've ever seen and was built by Enriqueta Rylands in loving memory of her husband John.
It was designed by the artist Basil Champneys in 1889, it took 10 years to build and was opened to the public on January 1st 1900.
It became part of the University of Manchester in 1972 and is the third largest academic library in the United Kingdom and the Deansgate building now holds over 250,000 printed volumes and well over a million manuscripts and archival items.
This library has been noted as the best example of neo-Gothic architecture in Europe and is indisputably one of the finest libraries in the world.
Four diverse elements combine to complement each other here: Cumbrain sandstone known as 'shawk' which ranges in colour from grey to rose pink; the best Polish oak from the region of Gdansk; white moulded plasterwork; and bronze cast in the nouveau style of light fittings, radiator grilles and other metalwork.
I can see why most people who visit it's grand stonework and Gothic archways say it wouldn't look out of place in Hogwarts. It's just beautiful and you can definitely see the love which went into building it.
People's History Museum
New Ct St, Manchester M3 3ER
The PHM is the national museum of democracy telling the story of its development in Britain: past, present and future.
The museum provides opportunities for all people to learn about, be inspired by and get involved in ideas worth fighting for; ideas such as equality, social justice, co-operation and a fair world for all.
PHM's year long programme for 2019 explores the past, present and future of protest, marking 200 years since the Peterloo Massacre; a major event in Manchester's history, and a defining moment for Britain's democracy.
I really enjoy visiting museums whenever I'm in a new place, I find them fascinating and full of information about the city I'm in. They offer shelter when the weather isn't good and a break from the sun when it's out in full force. I can really connect more when I'm finding out about the history and what took place in the past.
I particularly liked the Peterloo exhibition Disrupt which tells the story of 16 Aug 1819 when 60,000 people marched to (the area now known as Greater Manchester) St Peter's Field to demand more political representation at a time when only wealthy landowners could vote.
It was a peaceful protest to begin with but it soon turned bloody when Manchester magistrates ordered a private militia paid for by rich locals storm the crowds with sabres.
An estimated 18 people died and more than 650 were injured.
It was a powerful story and one which was also on display at John Rylands Library.
25 Church St, Manchester, M4 1PE
One of my absolute favourite areas of Manchester is the Northern Quarter. It's a trendy neighbourhood, with vibrant street art, bohemian bars and independent record shops. It's home to buzzy restaurants and some of the city's liveliest music venues, which host up-and-coming indie bands and established acts.
Cultural attractions include the artist's studios at Manchester Craft and Design Centre and rotating exhibits at the Centre for Chinese Contemporary Art.
There's always so much street art around the northern quarter that I couldn't not have a wander and see what was new:
Craft & Design Centre
17 Oak St, Manchester M4 5JD
Home to the studios of some of the region's most talented artists, designers and makers. Meet the makers and see them at work, be inspired by their changing exhibitions and events, or learn a new skill by taking part in a workshop.
The Oak Street Cafe is available for homemade eats and a warming brew - in the beautiful surroundings of their historic Victorian fish market built in 1873.
57 Thomas Street - Marble Brew
57 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1NA
My first stop in the wonderful Northern Quarter happened to be the first bar I came across!
Packed full of the freshest Marble beer offerings from around the UK and beyond, 57 Thomas Street has a whole lot of beer on offer in their keg focused, Northern Quarter space.
Spread out over 2 floors, you'll find fridges filled with an eclectic selection of guest beers; ranging from cutting-edge cans to classic old world bottles.
Upstairs plays host to their second bar - where if you know what you're doing you'll spot a secret cask line in action - rotating Marble core such as Pint and Manchester Bitter.
I went for 2 halves (should've just had a pint but at the time I didn't know if I wanted one or not!) of Petite as it was low ABV and I was a very happy bunny because it was delicious. It was still only early afternoon when I happened upon 57 Thomas Street,
I was the only one in the bar and the streets were empty but I can imagine that at night it gets lively with a crowd of locals and visitors alike.
79 Thomas St, Manchester M4 1LQ
About an hour after my beers I found myself feeling hungry and wandering along the Northern Quarter streets in search of food!
I had thought I would head down to Turtle Bay for some vegan food and a couple of cocktails but I had actually spied the board advertising Spanish tapas earlier and thought I would go down and check this out instead. Support local!
They still had their lunch offer going - 3 tapas dishes for £11.99 and a glass of their house wine for £3.50.
Patatas Bravas - potatoes with a tomato sauce
Pimentos de Padron - pimento peppers chargrilled with sea salt
Pan Catalan - roast tomatoes on crispy bread
This was one of the best vegan tapas dishes I have ever had, it was absolutely delicious and was the right amount of food to quell my hunger but not too much to leave me bursting at the seams. Delicious!
It got busier as the afternoon drew into early evening and it definitely looks like a popular place for locals to meet friends after work for a drink and food. I would highly recommend Evuna's if you're in the area and in need of refreshment!
Old Fisherman's Market
59-63 Baldwin St, Bristol BS1 1QZ
The area now known as part of the Northern Quarter was named Smithfield Market in May 1822 the potato market having moved to the area in 1820.
As the market grew more land was acquired in 1850; built between 1857-1858 and roofed over with iron trusses in 1865 the Hall replaced an earlier butchers shambles on the same site.
As the area continued to expand a retail fish market was built in the same year the building has since been demolished, however its extension built in two stages has since survived.
At is peak in 1897, the market place covered four and a half acres in Manchester City Centre stretching from Swan St in Ancoats in the north, Thomas St in the Northern Quarter, Shudehill to the east and Oak St to the west.
Other parts of the market have since been converted into other uses such as the fish market, whose external walls still stand but contained within are apartments and flats. However the former market hall after a period of occupancy has remained derelict since 2008.
I loves stumbling across this area and couldn't not stop to take photos of it. I can see that there are some cafes and restaurants here which is good. I love to see buildings which have such a strong link to the past of the city they've been built in.
Dough Pizza Kitchen
75-77 High Street, Northern Quarter
Right in the heart of Manchester's Northern Quarter, Dough Pizza Kitchen offers a contemporary slice of Italian dining, with creative pizza recipes served over 2 floors in a funky, creative space.
There are classic topping options, such as wild mushroom with garlic oil and fresh parsley, while unique signature creations include the English Breakfast, and the Surf & Turf with cajun-spiced prawns, chicken, juicy steak, chillis and lime dressing.
There are all kinds of antipasti options to share, as well as gourmet salads and pasta dishes. Gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options are all available too.
Ice cream milkshakes are a popular dessert choice at Dough Pizza Kitchen in Manchester, while the drinks menu includes a selection of international beers, wines and bottles of bubbles.
I knew I had to visit Dough after my last visit to the city and not being able to partake in a delicious milkshake or pizza. I went here after my lunch at Evuna's so I wasn't in need of food but I did have a rather tasty (vegan) Oreo Milkshake.
One of these days I'll come here and have a pizza, the ones I saw looked delicious and smelt great too!
52 Church St, Manchester M4 1PW
Affleck's is an emporium of Eclecticism in the heart of the Northern Quarter. It is a virtual Aladdin's cave full of treasures, just waiting for you to get lost in.
I always make a beeline for Affleck's whenever I'm in Manchester as it's just so eclectic. Above all else it's a fantastic place to shop for anything from top hats to tattoos!
I challenge you to not find something in the many shops available which you can't get elsewhere!
I made a visit to The Manchester Shop and picked up a beautiful bee necklace - last time I was there I bought a pin which I wear proudly on my denim jacket.
There's even a vegan cafe which I will definitely be checking out next time I visit!
I particularly loved these two pieces of art work which were installed inside, they just bring something a bit different to what is already a pretty amazing store!
The Lion is called George and came from Sale Art Zoo, an art exhibition of decorated zoo animals that paraded the streets of Sale, the home of George Mottershead founder and director of Chester Zoo 'a zoo without bars'.
Children were invited to draw a self portrait which was then stuck onto George in relation to where they lived. Local artist and Affleck's supporter Dave Draws decorated George.
Artist Liam Hopkins AKA Lazerian created the MCR heart the day after the terror attack on Manchester, it was then placed the in several locations around the City centre for a duration of 3 weeks.
The MCR Heart sculpture by Lanzerian is a tribute to those hurt and affected by the tragic events. The heart is made entirely from paper and glue to represent the fragility of people's emotions and the Mancunian spirit that bonds us all together.
The piece was finished in a clear lacquer to keep it in good condition from the Manchester rain. it has held up well, but it's not in perfect condition but it has soul from the elements.
Friends Cafe - Primark
106/122 Market Street | Primark, Manchester M1 1WA, England
How could I go to Manchester and NOT make a stop at the best cafe in town!? Joking aside, I always make sure I go here when I come to Manchester as it's just so perfectly themed and if you're anything like me - someone who grew up watching Friends the first time around you'll definitely appreciate this cafe!
There's even a sofa just outside where you can get THAT photo opportunity!
And that rounds off my trip to Manchester! It was so good to go back to one of favourite cities and explore more. Have I missed anywhere that I should visit next time? Where should I head that I didn't go? Please let me know in the comments below!
Love, Sarah xoxoxo