Arrive in Manchester
Get acquainted with the city and drop your bags at your hotel
Make your way to Hatch for a bite to eat, the award-winning food, drink and retail destination located underneath the Mancunian Way. Home to over 30 independent traders, you can find everything from Italian or Mexican street-food, to Manchester favourite Takk espresso bar. If you have time you could even pop in for a haircut or a new tattoo, alternatively take a look around the retail stores to pick up a new pair of shoes, perfectly-worn-in vintage clothing, or hand-crafted jewellery and homewares.
Alternatively, head towards Piccadilly station where you’ll find Depot Mayfield, a long-forgotten freight depot from Manchester’s industrial past, now home to Escape to Freight Island. Hidden in plain sight, the inspiring urban landscape has been rebuilt and rethought around a visionary food market, a unique selection of bars and inventive culture spaces. Reimagined as a cultural space for the future this is a place where you can escape, just when you need it most.
You’ll want to put some time aside to explore the Northern Quarter – full of street art, great coffee, restaurants and bars, boutiques, record stores and specialist shops. Make sure you save some time to hit the well-known ‘emporium of eclecticism’, Afflecks and the Manchester Craft and Design Centre before they close. Why not book yourself onto a Skyliner walking tour to discover the unseen parts of the city, from the history of Street Art to a walking essay following nature in spaces of urban decay.
After a freshen-up at your hotel head to Spinningfields, Manchester's number one destination for shoppers, foodies and party-goers, unwinding in some of the city's best restaurants and bars. Head up to the terrace at 20 stories for spectacular panoramic views over the city whilst sipping an expertly crafted cocktail or stay closer to the ground at the quintessentially English The Lawn Club.
When you’re ready to eat stay in Spinningfields and discover one of the many high-end restaurants on The Avenue, or more casual dining at Leftbank. Highlights include Scene Indian Street Kitchen, Iberica and Tattu.
Alternatively, head to Deansgate, the longest street in the city, where you’ll find a plethora of bars and restaurants waiting for you. Hawksmoor, House of Kai, Rosa’s Thai Café are all well just off Deansgate you’ll find Tast and El Gato Negro on King Street, two of the city’s best Spanish restaurants. A little further down the street you’ll find The Great Northern and a host of independent restaurants such as Platzki, dishing up home-style polish cuisine, Almost Famous for American diner classics, and Siam noodle-bar for authentic Thai dishes. Great Northern is also home to Whistle Punks Urban Axe Throwing – the perfect place to test your daring and get your heart racing.
Take a stroll through the city aiming to be at Manchester Central Library for 11:00 where you can hop onto the daily Discover Manchester Walking Tour. It’s approximately 90 minutes and covers Manchester’s history and heritage, with an easily digestible level of detail. What’s the bee symbol all about? Why is the architecture so mixed? How did Manchester make its name in the world? Find out all this and much more.
The tour will finish around Exchange Square, a perfect spot to stop for a bite to eat. Discover the Corn Exchange and all its original Edwardian beauty, home to a mouth-watering mix of restaurants dishing up cuisines from around the world. Alternatively, head to Mr Thomas’s Chop House, where they serve traditional pub grub, including their famous 10-day-in-the-making corned beef hash.
Make your way to The National Football Museum and delve into the intriguing social history and culture of the much-loved sport. Discover fascinating objects and changing exhibitions or test your skills at the interactive football challenges, including Penalty Shootout.
Alternatively, if you’re not a sporting fan, the John Rylands Library is free to explore all day. Situated next to the modern glass buildings of Spinningfields, the 19th century masterpiece of Victorian Gothic Architecture houses a world-class collection of rare texts, including the oldest known piece of the New Testament and a 1476 William Caxton edition of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
After freshening up at your hotel head to the Northern Quarter where you’ll find a plethora of independent eateries. Edge Street and Thomas street are home to many independent eateries, now with seating taking over the street to increase capacity and allow easy social distancing, serving everything from Vegan junk food to fried chicken and a-la-carte menus, there’s something for everyone.
Stay in the Northern Quarter to experience the buzzing nightlife, with seating now taking over Stevenson Square, Edge Street and Thomas Street, to allow for table service and easy social distancing. Enjoy a cocktail in Cane & Grain or Cottonopolis, or a speciality beer in 57 Thomas Street Bar.
Alternatively, head to Canal Street for a change of scenery - the heart of Manchester’s Gay Village. Home to traditional pubs, luxe cocktail bars and clubs and green spaces set alongside a long stretch of the Rochdale Canal, making it the perfect setting for alfresco drinking and dining.
Day trip to McArthur Glen Cheshire Oaks
Hop on a direct train to Chester from either Manchester Piccadilly or Manchester Victoria stations. Then take the 1 or X1 bus from outside Chester Train station directly to the Outlet Village.
Take your time and start exploring the Designer Outlet’s 140+ stores. Home to outlet stores for the likes of Build-A-Bear, Converse, Gap, M&S, Kate Spade, Polo Ralph Lauren and Armani, there’s something on offer for every type of shopper.
When you’re ready to re-fuel there are plenty of places to stop for a quick coffee or proper meal. From the usual suspects Costa, Starbucks and Pret, to international eateries Wagamama, Yo! Sushi and Comptoir Libanais, plus many more restaurant options to suit every palette.
Continue exploring the outlet to find your perfect new wardrobe or household items for up to 60% off.
Stay at Cheshire Oaks for your evening meal if you’re not done exploring. The centre closes at 8pm Monday-Saturday and 6pm on Sundays. Alternatively, head back to Chester train station on the 1 or X1 bus from Platform B, to catch your train back to Manchester.
After a long day on your feet you’ll want to relax in style when dining and drinking. Dine in at one of the city’s luxury hotels, Peter Street Kitchen at the Edwardian Manchester offers a delicious combo of Japanese and Mexican tapas-style tasting plates, perfectly paired with one of their signature cocktails. For a more relaxed atmosphere try Refuge at Kimpton Clocktower Hotel, inspired by the restaurant founders’ travels enjoy a range of small and large plates perfect for sharing.
Other options include; Mount Street Dining Room and Bar at The Midland, this newly opened restaurant offers a modern take on British classics focusing on great ingredients from local sources, and The River Restaurant at The Lowry Hotel, serving up classic dishes with a twist in luxury surroundings and overlooking the River Irwell.
It’s your final chance to explore the city or do some last-minute shopping. Spend some time in the luxury department stores Harvey Nichols and Selfridges on New Cathedral Street, then wander down through to St Anne’s Square and to Barton Arcade or King Street where you’ll find independent businesses and high-end boutiques respectively.
If you’re travelling by train stay close to the stations. For Piccadilly why not try Escape to Freight Island if you haven’t already, or Ducie Street Warehouse for a relaxing lunch before you travel. Alternatively, if you have a little longer to spare, explore China Town and transport yourself to East Asia in one of the area’s many restaurants. Yang Sing is a highlight, famous for their dim sum afternoon tea and traditional Cantonese cuisine. Don’t forget to pick up dessert at one of the traditional Chinese bakeries in the area, Ho’s or Wong Wong.
If you’re leaving via Victoria try the Corn Exchange if you’re yet to visit, or why not try a different restaurant if you’ve been here already. Home to twelve restaurants serving cuisines from around the world; Banyan bar & kitchen is a crow-pleaser with something on the menu for everyone, for authentic Italian cuisine Salvi’s is the place, a family run restaurant and deli offering a slice of Neapolitan life in the heart of Manchester. If you’re short on time the Arndale Market is home to several independent street-food eateries, serving international cuisines for you to take-away.
It’s time to say goodbye to the city. We know it will be difficult, but we hope you enjoyed your visit, and are planning to re-discover Manchester again soon.