Whether you’re flying in for the football or planning a wild weekend on the town, Manchester is a gem of a city that promises good times every time. For tips on what to see and do while you’re there, check out our destination video and read our guide to the city below.
Manchester has a free bus service called the Metroshuttle. The green, purple and orange coloured Metroshuttle buses loop around the city centre on three different routes.
There’s also a tram service called the Metrolink – hop on this when you’re heading to out of town places such as Salford Quays or Old Trafford. Just pick up a ticket at the machines before boarding.
The Midland: Opened in 1903, The Midland is one of Manchester’s landmark hotels. Over the years, visiting rockstars, royalty and footballers have all snuggled up here.
With the award-winning The French restaurant and Mr Coopers House and Garden on site, as well as all the restaurants, bars and nightlife of the Northern Quarter and Deansgate just a short stroll away, this is the perfect option for weekend breakers who fancy a bit of old world charm.
Hotel Football: Eat, sleep and breathe Manchester United? Look no further than Hotel Football for the ultimate footie weekend.
Owned by a group of former United players, a stay here comes complete with spectacular views of the Old Trafford stadium and tasty, fan-friendly eats at Cafe Football.
El Gato Negro: Enjoy a taste of Spain at this tapas bar located on King Street. Upstairs, there’s expertly mixed cocktails in The Black Cat bar. Weather permitting, don’t miss out on an evening under the stars – the bar’s retractable roof is pure magic.
Crazy Pedro’s, Northern Quarter: For a hot slice with a difference, head to Crazy Pedro’s, the Northern Quarter pizzeria famed for its insanely good toppings.
Think fried chicken, shredded oriental duck and even beer-soaked hotdog. If it’s tasty and a little bit bizarre, you’ll find it on a pizza here.
Albert’s Schloss: Bavaria comes to Peter Street in the form of Albert’s Schloss, an Oktoberfest-themed restaurant where Flammkuchen (German flatbreads topped with meats, cheese and creme fraiche) and juicy joints such as beef sauerbraten, schweinshaxe, chicken schnitzel, and bratwursts are the order of the day. Lederhosen optional.
Alabama’s: Expect Americana on a plate at this Newton Street brunch spot. From New Orleans Etouffee, (curried gumbo with king prawns) and Cajun chicken, to brunch-time reliables such as pancakes, eggs Benedict and spicy Bloody Marys, Alabama’s is every reason to rise and shine.
Gorilla: Tucked away under the railway bridge on Whitworth Street West, Gorilla is a bar, kitchen and live music venue, and above all, the place to go for a mean gin and tonic.
Gorilla’s Gin Parlour stocks some of the world’s finest gins as well as their own house-produced buttered gin, fresh fruit infusions and homemade tonic syrups. Chin-chin.
Cane and Grain: The home of cocktails and sticky ribs in the trendy Northern Quarter, Cane and Grain mixes skater-inspired decor with one of the city’s finest selections of craft beers, rum, beer and bourbon. Set over three floors, boredom is not an option here.
National Football Museum: With free admission, Manchester’s National Football Museum is a must for all football fans.
Whether you support City, United (or neither, for that matter), the museum’s interactive displays offer a fascinating look at how football has become ‘the people’s game’. The collection of over 140,000 items, including the FIFA Collection is said to be the largest in the world.
The Northern Quarter: Manchester’s creative quarter is a treasure trove of independent fashion stores, record shops, cafés, bars and restaurants.
Head to Tib Street to check out places like Beermoth and Bags of Flavour and Oldham Street via Affleck’s. There are tonnes of interesting shops and cafés on Oldham Street, as well as Stevenson Square.
Fred Aldous craft shop, Eastern Bloc Records and Foundation Coffee on Lever Street are just a few of the not-to-be-missed hotspots.
Street Art: The Northern Quarter is filled with eye-popping works of street art. Stevenson Square is a good place to start if you’re looking to inject a little colour into your Instagram feed.
Museum of Science and Industry: Located in one of the oldest surviving passenger railway buildings in the world, this free, family friendly museum tells the story of Manchester’s history as the world’s first industrial city.
The Whitworth: The beautiful Whitworth gallery underwent major refurbishment in 2015. Now considered one of the finest galleries in Europe, it won the Art Prize for Museum of the Year in 2015. Well worth a visit.
The John Rylands Library: Built in the 1890s, the John Rylands Library is one of the most spectacular libraries you’ll ever encounter. Picture a beautiful gothic cathedral filled with books. Or a scene from a Harry Potter movie and you’ll come close to realising its wow factor. Go, you won’t regret it.
- Fiona Hilliard