When hotels.com got in touch to work on a collaboration highlighting some of Manchester’s hidden gems, I was thrilled. I live in the Northern Quarter in Manchester and love any excuse to get out and explore. Here is my 24 Hours in Manchester, England travel guide…
24 Hours isn’t really enough time to explore Manchester, there’s so much to see, do and of course eat, the city has many different areas each with its own personality. My guide focuses mainly on the Northern Quarter, but I’ll try and link to a few other places that are worth visiting if you have time during your stay. There are lots of beautiful hotels in Manchester, so you won’t struggle to find a place to stay. The Northern Quarter is a colourful neighbourhood with lots of street art, music venues, vintage shops and independent booutiques and bars.
Morning coffee: Kick your day off with a decent coffee at speciality coffee house Just Between Friends on Tib Street (56 Tib Street, M4 1LG) they open for breakfast from 7.30am Monday to Friday, and from 8.30am on weekends and use sustainable cups made in Berlin entirely from recycled coffee grounds. They serve Avo on Toast and all the usual suspects.
Flowers: Next door to Just Between Friends is Northern Flower (58 Tib Street, M4 1LG) a cute floral boutique renowned for contemporary eye catching arrangements, bespoke floristry and plant design. Northern Flower also host events and workshops like wreath making and flower arranging. The girls in Northern Flower are super friendly, so it’s a great place to book for a party or special event.
Craft and Design Centre: Manchester’s Craft and Design Centre (17 Oak St, Manchester M4 5JD) aims to make handmade art, craft and design accessible for all. Set in a former Victorian Fish Market the Craft and Design Centre boasts lots of little studio come retail spaces where artists and designers make and sell their creations. You can stroll around bobbing in and out of the various art spaces seeing the artists at work. Expect to find everything from glass, ceramics, jewellery, textiles, wood to fine art and more. You’ll also find a great little cafe selling healthy dishes with vegan and gluten- free options.
Form Lifestyle Store: Tucked away and off the beaten track Form Lifestyle Store (6 Bradley Street, Manchester M1 1EH) would be very easy to overlook. Form Lifestyle Store is a beautiful and well curated space selling a carefully chosen selection of ethical candles, prints, ceramics, soaps and other pieces by independent makers. They also host regular workshops with their makers and other local creatives- including Calligraphy, hand embroidery, dry flower arranging and jewellery to name a few.
Lunch: Manchester has a thriving food scene with new places popping up all the time, there’s everything from GRUB street food pop up fairs to fine dining at The Ivy. One of my go-to spots is TNQ- The Northern Quarter Restaurant (108 High Street, Manchester, M4 1HQ) TNQ is a laid-back restaurant serving only the finest seasonal ingredients that the British Isles has to offer. The menu is ever evolving with the seasons, the atmosphere is elegant and relaxed and the staff are lovely. At lunchtime you can choose from the Express Menu which offers two-courses for just £15 (even on weekends)
(Wearing the Ellis Dress and Linda Cardigan from Joanie Clothing)
The Library: Manchester is home to lots of beautiful libraries that host exciting events, makers fairs, art exhibitions and musical performances- as well as boasting some of the cities most breathtaking interior design and architecture. The John Rylands Library (150 Deansgate, Manchester M3 3EH) is a stunningly-beautiful late-Victorian neo-Gothic building on Deansgate, well worth popping in to marvel at the interior.
There’s also the famous Chetham’s Library (Long Millgate, Manchester M3 1SB), the oldest free public library in the UK and the place where Marks and Engels wrote the communist manifesto. Chetham’s also hosts lots of events and musical performances throughout the year- so always worth checking out what’s on there.
Not to be missed is Manchester’s Central Library (St Peter’s Square, Manchester M2 5PD) where you can find regular independent makers fairs and interactive art exhibitions- as well as lots of books of course.
Art: As a city Manchester is overflowing with creativity. Lots of the shops and bars like Common, TwentyTwentyTwo and Fred Aldous play host to independent art exhibitions, there is also a number of internationally renowned art galleries including The Whitworth Art Gallery, Castlefield Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery. The Manchester Art Gallery (Mosley St, Manchester M2 3JL) is located centrally so perfect for perusing the fine art as well as the many contemporary visiting art exhibitions, most of which are free to see, there’s also a children’s play area, great gift shop and cafe.
Afternoon Tea: If after all this excitement you’re in need of a pit stop for afternoon tea, you can head to Sugar Junction (just next door to Northern Flower) Sugar Junction is a vintage style Tearooms serving food on old-fashioned China tea sets in a homely atmosphere. They also offer fabulous gluten-free cakes (just saying)
Dinner + Drinks: The Mackie Mayor (1 Eagle St, Manchester M45BU) is tucked away just next to the famous music venue Band on the Wall (25 Swan St, Manchester M4 5JZ) The Mackie Mayor is an artisan food market set within a 1858 Grade II listed market building on the edge of Manchester’s NQ. If you’re looking for a good place to meet a group of friends for drinks and food, then this is it. You can sit on the bench seating and select pretty much any type of food or drink that you want from pizza to Korean food, from real ale to speciality coffee.
Top tips: Central Manchester is easily accessible by foot. There is also the option to travel by the Metrolink system, which is handy and efficient for reaching areas on the outskirts of the city. It often rains in Manchester, so pack an umbrella.
(The spending money was gifted by Hotels.com, but all views are my own)